Mona’s Bar


Jack couldn’t get a handle on Vegas. In the 6/10ths of a second it took the lift to descend to the lobby, he tried to orientate himself. On the cab-ride to the Bellagio, he’d seen Paris, Venice and Egypt all within a buck-fifty of each other. He needed  to ground himself in the banality of a faceless hotel lobby. Not a chance. The lift opened to a cacophony of bells and whistles which in London would have drawn the homeless from 6 counties. He looked for an exit. Bad idea – the heat hit him like a holiday in hell. He retreated into the hotel and was immediately confronted with a Roman centurion. Jack just didn’t get it. There was more money here than in Dick Whittington’s A-Z but everyone dressed as though they’d just come from an audition at the circus – and they didn’t get the part. Americans, it would seem, liked their fun. He found another exit with taxis within snorkeling distance and asked for the Mona’s Bar. The driver smirked but said nothing. He didn’t have to – it was that kind of town.


The bar was small; so small Jack was glad no-one in the band was playing the trombone. He ordered a vodka coke. It came in a glass which looked as though it had recently housed goldfish and tasted like the thing that killed them. She was sitting at the far end of the bar absorbing light without putting on weight. She was blonde: it looked natural and so did everything else. She was dressed in a green Chanel suit that looked as though it had clocked up air-miles before it hit the store and cost more than a first-class ticket. She turned slightly to flick the ash from her cigar and her jacket moved just enough to prove that gravity is a law made to be broken. Her skin was that special kind of white that’s usually reserved for the best china and her eyes had an Asian tilt although they were the same colour as her suit – she probably ordered them to match. She blew smoke in Jack’s direction. A lot of people had been doing that recently and not one of them looked as good as she did. Jack moved the length of the bar in about two steps.

‘Mona Mind’ was all she said. It was all she had to. This was more than sexual chemistry; they both immediately recognised something in the other – something put there by the hand of Dr. Marten. So this was why he was here. There were things to be discussed, much to be learned but first things first: This was, after all, Las Vegas.

(Tim Shreeve)



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