Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

In a club called Kooky: Chapter 3, the finale

Chloe Williams

The pitstop at the Native American store was a waste of time. To my dismay, there was no ice-cold beverage like a sugary Coke or even a Snickers bar with so many caramel-covered nuts that it hurts your molars when you bite down on it. The store itself felt like a steam room, it was cooler to be outside than in. While the store had nothing that I needed, it was still a nice place that lived up to their signage on the highway. I felt bad for walking around and gawking at the handcrafted jewelry, so I bought a bracelet for my mother. On a table, I fell in love with an authentic-looking replica Colt revolver but was reasoned out of buying it due to its realism. 

I had dashed dreams of throwing a chrome revolver out of the car at an unsuspecting group of Vegas drunks and yelling some terrible phrase like “You poor fool. That very weapon shot the state gaming commissioner, the hunt is on,” and peeling out into the dark abyss. We walked back out to the scorching desert to the Mustang for another six hours of driving. The black leather seats soaked up the arid sun and as we sat down our backs felt like bacon sizzling on a pan. The top was going up after that sensation. I pulled the Mustang back onto the asphalt and was off on Interstate 40. 

The Arizona leg of Interstate 40 is a treacherous road with long expanses of deserts in the east and west and a brief break of cool wind in the mountains near Flagstaff. This harsh landscape can be a shock to new travelers going through the region. This reason alone tested the will of the Okies or the 49ers when they went through the region seeking their fortunes all those years ago. Many of the small towns that are sprinkled along the interstate can trace their roots back to those groups. Places like Winslow, Seligman and Kingman are filled with these people who can claim that as a part of their lineage. 

Unlike the Okies or the 49ers, my partner and I couldn’t afford to stop our progress in this journey even if we wanted to. We had an obligation to pursue this road until we couldn’t go any further, or in our case until we reached Las Vegas. We had no time to mess around and do touristy crap like stop and explore the half-abandoned towns of old Route 66. I had to check into my room at the Flamingo Hotel and Casino by the end of the day or I would null the reservation. 

The profession of journalism isn’t a lucrative gig by any means and I wasn’t going to pay for an additional hotel just because I missed my reservation prepaid from my publication. On our metallic horse, my partner and I rode through Holbrook, Williams, Seligman and finally to Kingman at an average of 90 miles per hour. It felt like everything was going our way with unlimited luck to abuse. Nobody could stop us even if they wanted to, a dangerous feeling to be dawned upon. 

We rode into Las Vegas as the sun was setting in the west. The orange and purple sky gave a picture-perfect setting to our mission ahead. The Vegas strip was glittered up for another evening of business, another night of risk-filled adult entertainment. As I approached the Flamingo it felt as if the valets were waiting for us, as if they knew we were coming. I turned to my partner who by now was in a better mood and said to him, “Don’t get out of the car when we approach the valet, these 16-year-olds will take this car for a joy ride if we allow them to park it.” 

“I know you didn’t get extended coverage for this car right?” my partner asked.

“Damn right, that crude rental salesman back in Oklahoma barely let us get the keys.” 

We drove up to the front of The Flamingo and an older gentleman walked up to the car and smiled down at me in the driver’s seat. 

“Welcome to Las Vegas gentlemen,” he said as he signaled two fresh-faced 16-year-olds over to the car. “I like the car, you can’t ever go wrong with a Ford V8.” 

I smiled at the man. 

“No sir, you don’t mess with American muscle,” I said. 

“We’ll take care of you, just pop the trunk and I’ll have my boys load your things onto the dolly. We’ll park for you,” he said, still grinning. 

“You’re fine, we’ve been stalling for the past five hours so we can get our luggage, need the exercise anyway,” my partner said. 

“Scratch parking the car, I can do that myself. You boys have been working all day and I’ll be the one who gives y’all a break,” I said. 

The older gentleman slanted his head slightly and gave us a suspicious look. He knew we didn’t trust him. 

“Oh, it’s our pleasure, and Hell, those kids don’t even have licenses, so we’ll be liable if anything were to happen.” 

At that moment, I didn’t care what happened to the car and if anything were going to happen, it would be handled by the legal department of my publication. 

“You talked me into it, but I’m still handling my luggage,” I said to him while handing the keys to the Mustang. 

The room was nice, nothing special but it had everything that some influencer paid by the Vegas Board of Tourism would want. I couldn’t complain, the higher-ups could have put my partner and me in some Hell hole like the drug-infested clown show of the circus or the embodiment of old Vegas in the Tropicana. I went down to the casino to try and find the sports book to gamble on the game I was covering tomorrow. The Dodgers farm system is far superior to the Athletics system and I was more familiar with the Dodgers triple-A guys with covering them for the whole summer. 

The sports bookie told me they didn’t have minor league baseball on the book, so I put some cash on a San Francisco Giants-Chicago Cubs game to satisfy my gambling itch. Gambling is worse than any narcotic, in my opinion, the gambler can win and lose in this risky game with an unlimited return on their investment. The life of a sportswriter is much like a degenerate gambler, a high-risk trade with a low return. No guarantees in this life, Vegas and professional writing epitomize that notion. When you’ve sucked enough money into the sportsbook, or in my case, my soul, it’s hard to pull back, because behind the next roll or issue could be your big break. Vegas is the best place for a lowly sportswriter like myself seeking his first big break in this luck-based profession.

Leave a Comment
More to Discover
About the Contributors
Nicholas Kingman
Nicholas Kingman, Assistant Opinion Editor
Nicholas is a freshman CAP student who joined The Paisano in Summer 2023. He is a San Antonio Native and is excited to stay home for another year.
Chloe Williams
Chloe Williams, Managing Editor
Chloe (she/her) is a senior majoring in Business Marketing with a minor in Adaptive Decision Business Models. On her off days you can find Chloe thrifting, being a self-proclaimed food critic or outside enjoying nature. This is her third year at The Paisano and she is excited to serve as Managing Editor.

Comments (0)

The Paisano intends for this area to be used to foster healthy, thought-provoking discussion. Comments are expected to adhere to our standards and to be respectful and constructive. As such, we do not permit the use of profanity, foul language, personal attacks, or the use of language that might be interpreted as libelous. Comments are reviewed and approved by a moderator to ensure that they meet these standards. The Paisano does not allow anonymous comments, and The Paisano requires a valid email address. The email address will not be displayed but will be used to confirm your comments.
All The Paisano Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *