Jake was catching his breath from his drunken sprint down the dilapidated hallway of the Plaza Hotel. Jake was stoked to be in Las Vegas for the first time and had squashed any plans for holding back and taking it all in. Hell, he dropped forty-two dollars between the closing of the taxi door and the check in desk. It was a penny machine that had cows and spaceships on it. Before Jake had left for the Dane County Airport his grandmother, Virginia, a regular winner in the Oneida Casinos, gave Jake a hundred-dollar bill. “Take this Ben Franklin and feed those one-armed bandits Jakey, and make sure you rub them and talk to them. I was in Vegas once and it paid for my college tuition and a back rub from Richard Pryor, but that’s a story for another time.”
Jake had saved for a while and was in Vegas for a buddies bachelor party. Giraldo Roberto was not one of Jake’s closet friends but he was invited because Giraldo was marrying Jake’s older sister, Pam. They actually got along just fine and even went to a Packers game together; which holds a lot of power friendship wise. Everyone was in a hotel down on Fremont street, but Jake was the only one in the dumpy Plaza.
As Jake showered in the wake of the evenings activities, he drank a whiskey seven and sang the words he knew to the rock and roll tunes playing on his phone. “And you hear it, telling you beware… Like a rainbow in the dark, yeah, you’re a rainbow in the dark!” Jake loved all rock and roll but he derived most of his internal drive and views on the world through the words of Ronnie James Dio. Mr. Dio was known for throwing up a few fingers that many folks construed as the devil’s horns. Jake often threw these same fingers up in photos or moments of heightened ego.
Jake stepped out the sliding doors of the Plaza as the limousine pulled up with the other 9 participants in the weekends festivities. Everyone knew Jake and the consensus was that he was cool and would bring added fun with his wildcard antics.
In third grade Jake set off a firecracker in his Catholic School science class… third grade! Of course there were outside influences that shuttled this boy from wallflower to class hero. The 6th grade boys allowed him to play football with them, and their leader, Angel, gave the firecracker to Jake on the bus ride in from Chatterstick. In Jake’s mind it was an obligation now, an “US against them” moment. Jake also thought that getting a love letter back from Susie with the box marked “Yes” was inevitable after such a brave act of defiance.
“Jakey!” everybody yelled as the gang ushered in the energy of hope and the unknowing. “Tiities! Titties! Titties!” was the chant started by Greg, the gregarious guy from Freedom. Greg was the known leader regardless of who was penciled in for the spot on any given event. If Greg was there, he was the leader, period.
His spot was solidified after he took a beat down from a policeman for defending a homeless man from getting his ass kicked. When the police arrived they could not make heads or tails of the situation and performed a group macing accompanied by blunderbusses dancing. After a night in the clink Greg walked out to news crews and a standing ovation from the towns folk, who all helped out the homeless man during daylight hours. Reginald Sladberger was the homeless man’s name. He was there and hugged Greg… instant town hero.
As the just shy of a dozen crew awkwardly climbed out of the free limo, they paid twenty dollars each to get in the front door of Shady Slims Butt Naked Club. The cashier, in turn, handed the money over to the limo driver. “Here ya go Ed, keep those deprived boys coming. We will take care of you. There is a big convention of computer geeks at the Hilton, don’t forget those cock wallets.” Ed laughed as he stashed the quick hit in his faded alligator wallet that his brother gave him 7 years ago.
Vernon was the high roller of the group and quickly paid for VIP lounge access for everybody. Vernon’s family had invested in Proctor and Gamble generations ago and were now able to spoil friends without fear of ever going broke. Cigars were lit and a toast to the bachelor was celebrated by all as they hoisted their whiskey sevens or whiskey cokes in the air. No booze was served in the totally nude joints so Greg and Vernon each stashed a bottle of whiskey that would get this Wisconsin crew through the first hour.
Jake wasn’t shy and hit sniffer’s row, as Greg called it, right up by a nude woman that danced to Marilyn Manson’s Beautiful People. Jake could not even fathom the awesomeness that Vegas offered at every turn. The woman’s name was CFB, which she told Jake stood for Closed Fisted Bitch. Jake asked if he could just call her Claire. She let out an exhaustive, deep breathed laugh; one that had been waiting to come out for 3 years. “Claire, that’s funny. Can I call you Phil Mc Crackin?” She laughed at her third grade humor, but Jake did not catch the innuendo.
“My name’s Jake, but whatever. I like your tattoos, especially the dragon with the crook and flail. Did you get that somewhere in Vegas? I am looking to get one. A tattoo, not really a crook and flail.” Jake was excited as he thought he might go back to work with a new tattoo.
“Crook and flail, you know your Egyptian deities Jake?” Claire seemed intrigued.
“I know some shit about some shit,” Jake replied, trying to be modest.
All of a sudden Jake feels a punch in the arm. It is Greg and he has a pretty good buzz going. ” Hey pussy, take the nipple off your drink. Here is some more whiskey.” Jake slammed his drink, then slammed the second drink just as fast. Jake did not want to be the sandbagger of the group… anything but the sandbagger. Even passing out was better than sandbagging.
Jake turned around and Claire was gone. He was upset and quickly did a 360 degree chair swivel, peering into the dark corners of the club, looking for any sign of Claire. He sees a tattooed finger floating in the darkness, asking him to come behind the black curtain. He stands up and stumbles a bit, tripping over some chairs and spilling some of his drink. The guys saw him going into the mega VIP area and started shouting “Jake! Jake! Jake!”
When Jake went through the curtain, there was Claire… and Horus… yes, that Horus. Jake was staring at the first Egyptian Pharaoh… he pissed his pants and dropped his drink. There was no glass breaking and Jake glanced down to see why not. “What the hell is going on?” Jake’s eyes were flooding from pure fear as he stared at where the floor should be… only there was no floor. Below Jake flowed water and fire. Statues of thousands of people were carved in ice. The statues would melt, then just reappear again. Horus walked over to Jake and touched his shoulder. Instantly Jake was calm, and had the realization that the life he knew was over.
“I’m fucking dead, aren’t I?” Jake was ready for any answer Horus would give him.
“Not dead Jake, just suspended in time”, Claire stated for the record.
Jake had forgotten about Claire being there. “Oh, well that’s cool… in opposite land! You crazy woman, why have you brought me here?” Jake was speaking in hysterics.
“Actually Jake, you brought us here. Before your birth you set up this exact moment. You asked your son to be here and to bring the power of healing to you.” Claire was to the point.
“You mean, I am Osiris?! That’s some crazy bullshit! I am just a Wisconsin boy! I love the Packers and cheese curds. I just want to go back with my friends. Please don’t kill me.” Jake was calm but still very scared.
Horus laughed heartily and spoke for the first time. “You are not Osiris mom, you are Isis. This whole male/female thing with humans is confusing. We are all both, in energy and in soul. When I am done speaking you will have a massive headache, but it will pass quickly. I will speak no more after this. I love you, and remember, you wanted this. You actually pleaded with father to come down here. You have your healing power now, you will have to figure it out on your own though. If you choose to discard your abilities, there will be no punishment. It’s all entirely up to you.” With that Horus was gone, Claire was gone, and Jake found himself in intense pain.
Just as quickly as the pain came, it left and Jake walked out to his buddies from behind the black curtain. “That was fast quick draw McGraw!” Greg yelled out at Jake. Jake felt the urge to learn more and his buzz had entirely left him. Jake’s mind was thirsty for knowledge but knew this was a big deal for Roberto.
Jake stuck out the night with the boys, until everyone seemed to disappear into the arms of the Fremont Street casinos. Jake was walking, and still wondering what the hell had happened. Healing powers… what the hell does that even mean? I was or I am Isis? Come on man, this is too much. Jake was standing at the cross walk and the green light gave everybody permission to cross and continue on their respective routes. As Jake walked into the Plaza lobby, there was a man having a heart attack. The paramedics had not arrived and nobody was helping the man. They were just standing around and one hipster chic from Denver was doing a snapchat while standing there.
This really pissed Jake off, that no one was helping this man. Jake figured he might as well see if he had any “powers”. Jake knelt next to the guy, and for reasons he did not understand, he put the thumb of his left hand on the gentleman’s head, right between the eyes. His other hand he held over the man’s chest, about 3 inches away. Jake closed his eyes. “Holy shit” passed through his lips as he saw Horus and Claire right there, smiling. Claire dropped some shiny looking… well, stars is what they looked like. Like someone had blown up a star and stored the pieces in a pouch. Claire blew a kiss to Jake and winked at him.
“Open your eyes silly, before the situation gets weird to those humans.” Claire whispered to Jake.
“Oh yeah” Jake said. With that, Jake opened his eyes and the man was looking right at him. Jake jumped from being startled. “You scared me mister!” Jake said to the heart attack man.
“You saved me young man. Thank You! I feel great.” The man was Walter Wittberry from Manhattan, Kansas. He has 6 kids and a wife that has stuck with him through thick and thin. Walter thought about her in this moment, then called her. “Coco dear, it’s time for me to retire, I am coming home tomorrow.”
Coco had no idea what prompted Walter to retire, but she was thrilled — even if this great news arrived at 4 a.m. Jake saw the importance of healing and was stoked to be part of something much greater than himself… or herself. It would Jake a while to work everything out in his head, but his heart knew that everything was cool.
As Jake closed his eyes in room 13333, he laughed to himself. “Closed Fisted Bitch, good one Claire. Goodnight dear.”