Las Vegas is the glittering jewel in the Pueblo Corporate Council’s crown. Neon, like liquid lightning, races and drapes across the foyers and windows of even the most modest of buildings. Curling like ivy from some acid induced fever dream, it outlines all that is solid and meaningful. Overhead, vast holoprojections clothe the naked desert sky in gossamer veils painted with breathtaking explosions of color, the latest trid sensation, and the ubiquitous logos of dozens of corporate sponsors. The landscape approaches surreal in AR. Advertisements slowly drift over crowded walkways in schools like bizarre, tropical fish. The icon of Lady Luck, a public access virtual tour guide, stands bright eyed on every corner. Through it all, the clang and clatter of this second’s big winners rings like a thousand misshapen bells.

Of course, there are places where the neon doesn’t glow, where the night’s sky looms stark overhead. Exposed. Vulnerable. There are places where the bells of luck are replaced by the duet of staccato gunfire and low, whimpering, cries. Where a different sort of woman waits on every corner. There is no lack of luck here, though it manifests in the form of a narrow escape, a hot meal, or a new friend in just the right place. This is the realm beyond Elysium. This is the underworld, the shadow world, and these are the stories of its children. Lost, desperate and cool as a knife’s edge, they ply a trade of bullets, blood, and cold hard cash and hope that Lady Luck smiles just one more night.

...when the chips are down

Las vegas Palthinon MagpieDRB