A peek inside Beer And Groping In Las Vegas
Mirjam rubbed the tiredness from her eyes, but the caterpillar from Alice in Wonderland still occupied the Rivenbark Hotel & Casino elevator with her. She blinked and squinted. Yep. And life-size. Complete with hookah.
Plastic squeaked against glass as the caterpillar shifted to make more room. It made eye contact.
“Er, nice costume,” Mirjam ventured.
“Thanks,” came the muffled reply.
The elevator swooped to a stop on the mezzanine level. A pirate and a Ghostbuster stepped on and pushed the lobby button. Mirjam angled back to avoid being knocked over by the guy’s Proton Pack.
“Convention?” Mirjam asked the caterpillar and it rewarded her with a nod.
Mirjam groaned inwardly. She’d attended her share, but now, they reminded her too much of The Turd, otherwise known as Brian. Great. She wanted to go home but apparently, that was asking too much—a blizzard in Ann Arbor nixed her flight this morning. Next chance to get out—tomorrow.
The elevator dinged at the lobby, and she headed to the hotel bar. Maybe she could salvage the day by squeezing in some work.
“What can I get you?” The bartender sported a headband with gold, sparkly antennae in her pink, cropped hair.
Mirjam pulled out her laptop. “Sprite, please.” Only a few others populated the bar, too early for drinking. Though this was Vegas. Pink Hair Lady plopped down Mirjam’s drink, the stir stick topped by a wiggling green rubber alien.
“So, which convention is this?” Mirjam motioned to a couple of Spartans walking by, though they probably shouldn’t have chosen that look.
“It’s ConVegas—sci-fi, fantasy, pop culture, that kind of thing. Doesn’t start until tomorrow, but we always get some folks early. What brings you here?”
“AppExpo that ended last night.” Mirjam connected to the hotel’s free WiFi. Time to figure out what caused her new app to choke while compiling.
Pink Hair Lady cocked her hip, fist resting on the bone. “Lemme guess. You’re always working, aren’t you?” She slid a glass bowl of pistachios over. “This is Vegas. You should be out having fun.”
Fun. Pfft. No time for that. “My flight got canceled and the timing blows. Too much to do. I didn’t want to come, but my partner thought it might be good for business.”
Mirjam shrugged and pulled up and scanned her code, hoping her fixed focus on the laptop would clue Chatty One to leave her alone.
“I’m Jenn, by the way.”
Mirjam peeked up and pasted on a smile. “Nice to meet you.” She tracked back to the code.
The bartender left to help another customer but returned her inquisitive butt a few minutes later. “So, Vegas at your feet and your nose is to the grindstone. This is truly what you wish to do with your unexpected free night?”
Mirjam gritted her teeth. If Jenn would stop pestering her, she might be able to figure out the rendering bug. “No. If I had my wish, I’d spend it having hot sex with the man of my dreams, but since that’s not going to happen…” she snapped.
The bartender’s eyes flashed for a second. Or had they literally flashed?
Mirgam shook her head. She really was tired. “Sorry. Don’t mind me.”
“No worries, I’ll leave you to your work.” Jenn smiled and strode to the other end of the bar.
No matter how long Mirjam stared at the code, the solution eluded her. Man, she could use a nap. She motioned to Jenn and settled her tab.
“Have fun in Vegas. Here,” Jenn fished in her back pocket, “try the slot machine on the corner there. On me.” She slid a dollar across the counter. “I hear one gets lucky with it.”
Mirjam tried to shove the bill back, but Jenn kept her hand in place, pinning the bill to the counter with a bright pink fingernail. “I insist.”
Oh, what would it hurt? “Okay, thanks. I will.”
She packed away her laptop and swung the bag over her shoulder. At the machine, she fed in the dollar and received three credits. Yank. Nothing. Yank. Nothing. Yank. Ding, ding, ding! Mirjam jumped back, a rotating red light atop the machine joining the cacophony.
What in the—
Mirjam peered into the output tray and scooped out a heavy-stock envelope with a pink wax seal, not the expected handful of chips one hopes for in Las Vegas. She flipped it over. Embossed on the front, her name—Mirjam Linna.
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