Roy had been in Vegas for 10 years and this is where it got him: singing 11 to 3 am at “Dale’s Wagon Wheel Lounge,” a dump on the outskirts of the old strip where a tourist wouldn’t be caught dead. Scratch that – dead was the only way you’d find a tourist in this part of town. Whoever Dale had been was mercifully lost to the boozy winds of time – if he saw what his dream had become he’d be spinning in his grave.
Alcoholic Mexican busboys, cons fresh out of the joint with nowhere to go, meth-head hookers with green teeth, bail bondsman and cops enjoying their booze where they thought no one would find them. You either know this place or you don’t – for your sake, I sincerely hope it’s the latter.
A lifetime of singing for the wilted vegetables in his refrigerator had prepared Roy well for failure, and Dale’s was failure writ large. He wiped the flop-sweat running down his forehead, put his cassette tape in the slot and pressed play. Slamming the shot of Jack Darlene had brought him from the bar, he straightened his rug and stepped on what he pretended was a stage. The opening of “Unchained Melody” blared from the shitty PA as he struck his best Elvis pose.
It was going to be a good night.