Every city has a soul. They have an undercurrent to them, a shape, a feel. Stand in New York, in San Francisco. Close your eyes. Open your mind. Reach out. Feel the energy there. Everyone sees these things differently – some people see energy, some simply feel it. Some hear it as if it were music.
I feel it.
I don’t know why I decided to go to Las Vegas. I only knew that I didn’t want to be where I was… and there’s an appeal to going to a place that’s known as such a destination. Like living in DisneyWorld, but with topless nightclubs. So I packed some bags, got on a Greyhound, and set off to have an adventure.
The energy in Vegas is like nothing I’ve ever experienced. It’s a beacon. It’s strong, it’s active, it’s incredibly magnetic…
But it’s not healthy.
Not many people realize that. Most people skate the edges of these things. If they’re sensitive to any of this, they just feel what’s on the surface – the city-soul equivalent of a toddler on a sugar high. What they’d see if they look a little beneath that…
The drug of choice in Las Vegas is crystal meth. The whole town is on amphetamines. If the runaways aren’t already on the stuff when they arrive, they will be soon enough. It’s pervasive. Try to find someone who’s not doing it.
A line of crystal meth gets you high for quite some time. Longer than cocaine. The street kids in this city are always feverishly bright-eyed. Jittery. Forced laughs and shaking hands. And they’ll do anything to keep that going, because the eventual crash is unbearable, it’s suicidal depression to the nth degree.
The city itself mirrors this condition. The city feels like it’s constantly supplementing its own energy. Hyping itself up. Because if it stops –
Like the speedfreaks it creates – the city is not healthy.
And if you feel just a little bit below its surface, that’s what you get. Just how close the city is to succumbing to its own darkness. That slick sheen of trepidation, like fever-sweat. The sour “smell” you get when you’re sick.
The city attracts the innocents, drawing them with neon light and the promise of adventure.
And it draws those who know full well the sickness that swirls beneath the surface – and know how to use it.