by: Miranda González
There’s a casino on tribal land not ten minutes from Dee’s house. Over the years, she’s watched it grow from a white bingo tent to a massive resort and amphitheater. Its noisy bulbs glitter at her while she sits on her front stoop. But she decides to drive nine hours to Las Vegas anyway, to see if her luck will turn.
Dee’s passed several more casinos: Route 66, Dancing Eagle, Sky City, Fire Rock. None of these move her to abort the trip. She gasses up at a truck stop so large it has a food court inside. The supersonic automatic dryers in the bathroom hurt her ears, but it’s nice not to hear her own thoughts.
The policeman leans his mustached face into her car. “You know,” he recites, “the Grand Canyon’s not going anywhere. Slow down.” He rips a warning off the pad and she breathes out a shaky thank you. He doesn’t notice the one tail light covered in tape, or at least he doesn’t say anything. She turns the key, accelerates, and sets the cruise control.
She passes a green sign with white letters and momentarily considers stopping, but she still has plenty of gas and no real reason to get off the interstate. For a full hour afterwards she can’t get the Eagles’ “Take it Easy” out of her head. She turns on the radio, but all she can find is tragic country music. She switches it off again.
Grand Canyon National Park
Dee stares at the beautiful gaping trench for a long time and wonders if she should hike to the bottom and live there. The daydream makes her thirsty, so she drinks from spring water on a tap jutting out from a visitor’s information sign. With this kind of view, she expects it to taste like the elixir of life. It tastes like metal pipes, possibly twice as bad as her tap water at home.
She fills up the tank and buys three chocolate bars to last her the last leg of the trip. She eats all three within thirty minutes. The image of the handsome cashier with the perfect fade doesn’t get out of her head until a glimpse of Lake Mead’s shiny surface displaces him.
A dead-eyed woman with a perfect body dances on a tabletop inside Caesar’s Palace. Dee instinctively moves to cover her children’s eyes, then she remembers she no longer has them. While getting slowly sloshed on complimentary drinks, she loses the rest of her money at the blackjack tables. She wanders to the Bellagio where the fountains dance along to the Pink Panther theme. The air sobers her up a bit and she realizes she will definitely lose her house. She doesn’t need to drive back home. She smiles broadly at the next stranger who passes by.
Miranda Divett González holds an MFA from the University of Texas at El Paso, teaches English composition at San Antonio College, and is the marketing coordinator for the Association of Writers & Writing Programs. Her other recent work has been published in Lost Balloon and Monkeybicycle. Find her on Twitter at @miranda_write.