Vegas Stakes

The Maitre d’ looked at my worn trousers and ruffled blazer. Then he asked for my name. I told him it was Mr. Elefant. It made me sound big and imposing, two things I am most certainly not. I spelled it ‘Elefant’ — no ph — for two reasons: it looked more like a last name to me and I didn’t have enough room for the more traditional spelling. It was a fake name, of course. But this was Vegas; everyone had a fake name.

Some room I had. No television, no chairs — just a bed and a phone. Presumably, the drabness of the hotel room was intended to drive guests out and into the casino area. Never one to argue with well-devised population management techniques, I picked up the phone. “Craig,” I said to Craig, who was my friend. “Craig,” I said, “Let’s get sloshed and throw money at the mere concept of hope.” He said alright, and we began a mistical journey of sorts.

I called Craig because he looked like the best candidate for the position of My Wingman. He was blond, bright, and had a full-toothed smile that sent shivers down my heterosexual spine. Also, he was rich. In my years of gambling, I have learned this simple rule: money attracts money. So having a certified moneybags around was sure to be an asset. Down we went.

I told him to keep his fat mouth shut and help me take these shallow shells of human beings for all they were worth. He said that he wasn’t a betting man, but if he was, he would bet on my enthusiasm and talent any day. I gave him a high-five and we slipped into two chairs at the nearest blackjack table.

The dealer was probably of the weapons variety by the look of his scarred visage. “Oh boy,” I said to him, and I slapped down a 20-piece thing. It was a good day to die.

Suddenly, I realized something. Everyone in the place was looking at me. Fuck. They know I’m a genius at gambling, I thought. But they didn’t do anything, so I continued to play.

Should have gone for the insurance, whatever that means.

But it wasn’t going so hot. I kept dropping down 20-piece things and then the dealer would give me bad cards and then I would lose the money and then I would have to put down another 20-piece thing and then I would also lose that and then I would put down another 20-piece thing and then I would also lose that but I didn’t stop putting down 20-piece things and losing money because I knew that I was good at gambling and my luck would soon turn around.

I looked around again. Still staring. I was still the centre of attention.

But wait. I waved my hand in front of my face. I had no depth perception. What the hell? I checked my eyes. I had two, but I couldn’t see out of one. Why hadn’t I realized this? Then I looked back at the table; jagged edges.

“Shit, everything aliasing!” I shouted. No one reacted. They just looked at me.

The  I realized I didn’t know how I got here. I realized I didn’t even know my real name.

What is this?

“It’s a videogame.” Craig was staring at me from the seat beside me.

“What?”

“It’s a videogame.” Craig said again, in the exact same tone, with the exact same spacing between words.

Movement. A group of large men were approaching our table.

“Run.” Craig said, his toothy smile never wavering.

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