The belly of the beast

Las Vegas Strip at 6 a.m.

Dude bought me breakfast this morning. Said I was gonna bring him gambling luck.

Being an early riser on the Las Vegas strip is weird.

I don’t claim any “healthy, wealthy, and wise” virtue here. My money came from privilege, and my early rising is a side-effect of the drugs I take to manage my brain. Both work well – it was a lovely morning, but the only breakfast you can get at 5:30 a.m. at Caesar’s Palace on the Las Vegas strip is bar food, “breakfast” for the overnight crowd.

Omar, from Tennessee, regaled me with tales that included a precise accounting of how much money he had won on each of his previous Las Vegas trips. He was buying a drink before heading off to gamble. He grabbed my check and handed cash to the bartender. The exchange seemed to make him happy.

Out the door of Caesar’s and onto the strip for a morning walk, the crews were dusting the escalators and doing what seemed like maintenance or testing or something of the Fountains of the Bellagio. One section at a time burst forth synchronized water and light, like a dancer’s morning exercises.

A guy digging through a trash can asked me what time it was, surprised when I told him it was 6 a.m., not 5. Overheard: three bleary guys walking down the street, one seeming to argue (from the snippet I caught) that you had to overcome the need to sleep because Vegas.

Two police cars and an ambulance roared up under lights and sirens, making a U-turn on the strip and settling in front of a casino with a French theme (you know, the one with an Eiffel Tower).

It could have been a scene from any city, except that this is not any city. The story will almost certainly be more interesting in the telling later by those involved.



  1. Nice story. My second home. I’ve spent most of my life in Vegas. Crazy how much its changed and grown in the past 30 years. Now I spend part of my time in Corrales NM and part in Boulder City. Love both equally.

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