Do Not Dance

IMG_0693Preparations are being made for my moment in Las Vegas. My goals are simple:

1. find a date, preferably with a knight

2. see friends

3. escape with bank account and hair intact

My people are working on possible dates with knights. Rick called Erica, who works in production in the casinos. It turns out, is friends with Kris who is one of my favorite people, even if we haven’t been in contact with each other since he moved out there, Kris wants to be my date and says he will dress up like a knight if I can’t find a real fake knight.

Moreover, I am fit, lean, and ready to take on any knight errant, I should I meet by happenstance in the court, check-in desk, or hallways of the Excalibur Hotel, where I am staying for twenty-nine dollars a night in a room with two Very Big Beds.

Sara suggests I look towards The Guide for any information on dating in casinos. Gabe has no input on picking up girls (or guys) in these very specific circumstances, but he does offer this very pertinent advice:

Do Not Dance.

As a general rule, you should never dance. Dancing is a big waste of time. Avoid it at all costs. Most straight men can’t dance without looking foolish while doing it…

I feel good. I feel right. I am focused and prepared. Everything is under control.

***

The numbers of Hasidic Jews and their children waiting for what appears to be the same early morning flight to Las Vegas that I am taking is staggering. Thankfully, they board a different flight to Orlando, which seems to make a little more sense. Though, I wonder if they’re going to Disneyland. And, if so, how paying homage to any number of theme-park costumed celebrity characters is much different from paying homage to a golden calf in the middle of the desert, which caused all sorts of problems back in the day.

I don’t understand organized religion.

***

Superbowl Sunday, I soon discover, is a national holiday in Las Vegas, and Kris has left town on a long weekend. Goal number 2 is off the table.

***

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The minute I step off the shuttle bus and look up towards the majestic spires of the Excalibur Castle, my wallet starts to throb. I repeat a mantra as I cross the lobby. I will not spend money. i will not spend money. I will not spend money.

Not a knight in sight.

I will not spend money. I will not spend money. I will not –

There’s a bar in the lobby called The Sherwood Forest. A knight, tired from an evening of jousting and sword play, might unwind there. Perhaps I will find two empty seats side by side. I will sit in one and see who sits down next to me.

I will not spend money. I will not spend money. I will not become victim to the manipulative capitalist machine. I will not spend money.

Up the elevators, down the hall, into my room. I don’t pass a Squire. Or even a court jester. Shit.

I will not spend money. I will not spend money. I will not –

The hotel spa brochure lays open on the pillow next to a piece of chocolate.

I will not –

A massage sounds nice.

***

My possible pre-arranged date with a knight falls through. I’m left with an apology and the phone number of some woman who knows some other woman who is the company manager of a show whose company manager might know the company manager of Excalibur’s Tournament of Kings.

I’ve never been good at cold calls.

Anyway, all the interesting knights are probably home watching the Superbowl.

Thumbing through the hotel magazine, I find a coupon for a thirty dollar ticket to The Australian Bee Gees Tribute Show.

This seems like a Very Good Idea.

***

In the thirty minutes between purchasing my ticket to The Australian Bee Gees Tribute Show and finding the theater, I am sucked into buying a stupidly expensive hand cream by a twenty-year old Italian man who sells like an Israeli.

***

“The thing is,” the hostess says as she takes my ticket, “your section is closed. We didn’t sell enough tickets. Do you mind sitting in front?”

She seats me center stage.

The audience, mostly women in gold lamé jackets, sits in polite anticipation of the retelling their youths. Archival footage of the Bee Gees plays on a screen upstage of the microphones. I am falling in love with Barry Gibb all over again.

Though, Robin Gibb’s more my type. And I really like Maurice’s hat.

The lights dim, smoke rises, the cocktail waitress ignores me, which I am thankful for, on account of my recent hand cream purchase, and the fake Bee Gees take the stage.

For the first time in my life, at the hands of fake Robin, Barry, and Maurice, I hear, actually taste, the music these brothers wrote. Stripped away, their harmonies are sublime, full of depth, and sweetness. I am a smiling, smitten seven-year old dreaming along to her new LP, pretending that one day, someone will sing these songs to me.

Fake Robin Gibb steps into the audience as fake Barry and Maurice continue to play.

I know your eyes in the morning sun
I feel you touch me in the pouring rain
And the moment that you wander far from me
I wanna feel you in my arms again…

He greets each person in the front row. The little bit of my heart that still belongs to my seven-year old self beats faster. But he skips me. So, then it beats sadder. He turns back towards me. He smiles. My heart beats faster again. He takes my hand. He doesn’t let go. He looks into my eyes. And smiles.

And you come to me on a summer breeze
Keep me warm in your love and then softly leave
And it’s me you need to show
How Deep Is Your Love…

“Come with me…”

We slow dance on the stage. Cheek to cheek. Heart to heart. He whispers in my ear.

“You’ve done this before.”

I whisper back. “A million years ago.”

***

The next evening, I’m in the stands at the Excalibur Tournament of Kings. Like Hemingway with his bullfights, I sweat with wicked anticipation for the knights to begin their joust.

These are no ordinary knights, I soon find out. They are kings. Subservient to King Arthur, but king’s, nonetheless. And as such, they lack humility. And they flip their hair a lot.

I’m not so into dating a king.

Though, they all have really nice hair.

***

I wonder who fake Robin Gibb is dancing with tonight and why the Dragon Blood Soup at the jousting match tastes like Campbell’s Cream of Tomato and what it’s like to pretend you’re someone else for most of your working life.

Sherwood Forest, the bar, is empty. I linger by the Betty Boop slot machine right across the way.

No knight, and certainly no king knight, even one subservient to King Arthur would be caught dead in a bar called Sherwood Forest. Unless he was slumming it.

Sherwood Forest is Robin Hood’s territory.

Robin Hood steals from the people the knights are paid to protect.

I am so slow sometimes.

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1 thought on “Do Not Dance

  1. I love this one! Your quest for the knight momentarily transported me not just to Vegas, but out into a whole other world. Even if it didn’t all end in a glorious ride on horseback through the forest, the story was solid and lovely.

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