The Lounge Lizard
Copyright of the author 2002.
None of the characters portrayed in this story are meant to represent any real persons, living or dead.
The lower horizon of the velvety deep blue sky was reflecting the last tinge of the sunset's red and orange glow. As night settled in over the Nevada desert the stars winked into existence, a long, far-distant white cloud overhead marking out the age-old presence of the Milky Way.
Yet nature's light show, which had garnered mankind's admiration for thousands of years, had some tough competition. The glittery neon glow of Las Vegas blinded her jaded resident's eyes to the natural beauties of the night. Much in the same way that the scantily clad showgirl, shaking her shapely ass and abundant tits, would so easily distract the unhappy family man from the reality of his marital bondage.
It was a hot, dry summer night in Vegas. The strip was humming with tourists and seasoned gamblers alike. All looking to escape their current situations for a myriad of reasons not particularly important to anyone but themselves. Some hoped to change their lives by winning big at the tables. Others merely wanted to wish away the reality of their life for a few days, by larking about in an adult fairy land. The big rollers and well-heeled tourists flocked to the big, loud, blousy casinos. Everyone else—meaning, those just scraping by though life, went elsewhere.
For instance, if you were strapped for cash or weren't particular about where you did your drinking and gambling, you might decide to visit a little backstreet nightclub. Perhaps you'd choose a nondescript, one-story place called the Bluebird Lounge and Cocktail Bar.
That's what the flashing red and blue neon sign mounted on the rooftop proclaimed the place to be. It had an arrangement of five flying neon bluebirds. They lit up in progression, bottom to top, to imitate a bird taking off in flight. Except that the middle bluebird no longer worked. In daytime it looked more like that one neon bird had thumbed its beak at the other birds and flown off to a cooler climate. At night it looked like the bluebird had teleported midway in flight, from one end of the sign to the other.
Inside, the club was as seedy looking as the outside. The dimly lit space contained a long bar, several dozen tables, a small dance floor and stage. Two of the walls were lined with slot machines. In a gaudily decorated back room one could play blackjack, craps and roulette. Every night beginning at eight o'clock sharp, there was a floor show. It was now half past nine, and the show was in full swing in front of a crowd of nine. Three drunks, a truck driver, a cowboy, two prostitutes drumming up some trade, and a pair of easily amused Japanese tourists.
To handle the bustling crowd a bored, heavily pierced goth girl acted as the waitress. An overabundance of black makeup accentuated the young woman's pasty face. The hairspray hardened magenta and blue tipped spikes in her hair might be considered by some to be a safety hazard. Her waitress ensemble consisted of a short black denim skirt, combat boots, fishnet stockings and an Ozzy Osborne tee shirt. Around her waist was tied a frilly red apron, with pockets to hold her order pad and pencil. The girl's name tag read, simply, 'Death.'
The bald, tattooed, leather clad bartender was busy making appletini's for the tourists. After serving ten years for armed robbery, he'd retired to the quiet life of the Bluebird Lounge. On his nights off, Morris the bartender performed on stage doing a ventriloquist act. He worked with a dummy made to look like a tabby cat in a tuxedo and top hat, which he'd affectionately named Mr. Whiskers.
Backstage waiting in the wings was singer Manny Love, whose real name was Eugene Mankowski. He was watching the girl currently performing on stage with more than a casual interest. Actually, watching isn't quite the right word to use to describe what Manny was doing. Leering like a sex-starved pervert would probably be a better description. He unconsciously adjusted his cheap toupee and gazed longingly at her bouncing tits. The seventy-four year old singer was wearing his usual on-stage clobber, which consisted of a burgundy velvet tux, ruffled white shirt and black kangaroo skin cowboy boots.
The girl's act came to it's conclusion resulting in a few desultory claps from the drunks, truck driver and cowboy. However, she got an enthusiastic round of cheers from the two tourists. Straightening his bow tie, Manny slapped the showgirl's bottom as she bustled by him.
"Hey babe," He said to her as she walked past, "is it hot in here or is that all you?"
"Get lost, Manny." The blond, buxom, bare-chested thong-wearing showgirl sniffed.
The girl was one year shy of thirty, but refused to admit defeat, insisting on looking and acting like she was still a cheerleader in high school.
"If I do, will you come and find me?" Manny growled suggestively.
"Sure I will. When hell freezes over." The showgirl said, as she turned in the direction of the ladies dressing room. Which in the Bluebird also doubled as the female staff's toilet.
"Brrr—Satan says to turn up the heat, sweetheart. How 'bout I wrap my body around yours to keep you warm?" Manny replied, completely un-fazed by her rejection.
Without warning, there came a metallic rattle from overhead. Startled, Manny looked up.
"What the...hey, look out!" He shouted.
A small spotlight in the overhead rigging had suddenly come loose. It hung there by a single bolt, swinging back and forth precariously for a fraction of a second, before falling to the concrete floor below. Instinctively pushing the showgirl out of harm's way, Manny didn't have time to duck. As it fell, the edge of the light bounced off of Manny's head. He instantly slumped to the floor, unconscious.