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and said no thanks. Sprout looked away and saw Colin coming back
across the street. His eyes were distant and low and he was almost
run over by a limousine. He looked deflated, which for Colin was no
mean feat.
“Nothing left. I’m officially one of the insolvent masses. Poor as
a peasant.” he mourned. “The Bidden dynasty has been officially
They decided to throw in the towel and make the long, slow crawl
back home. Vegas suddenly seemed hellish and dark, despite the
turbulent sea of neon, and suddenly they all felt as if they had been
bartering not with money but with their souls. They shuffled silently
towards the van.
“You should have tried to contact Martin,” Sprout said.
“No. He’s still in Purgatory,” Bennie said.
“Ditto,” Colin said.
Sprout drove back, Izzy in the passenger seat beside her. Bennie and
Colin had bought a bottle of cheap rum and were mixing Cuba Libres
in the back seat. No one said a word.
She drove as slow as possible to calm Izzy’s nerves. He looped the
seatbelt around his head to help prevent whiplash. Every now and
then she reassured him by reaching over to pat his skinny thigh. His
head darted about like a rodent, painstakingly scanning the horizon
for potential hazards. Tumbleweeds sent him into hysterics.
“I see them,” Sprout said. Cars whizzed past, angrily honking and
flashing their lights at the dallying van.
“Fucking cars. They kill more people on earth than anything
else,” Izzy exclaimed, “More than war, disease and murder. What
they don’t run over dies from their pollution. They’re the worst thing
ever to happen to earth. And still we allow them.”
“Death ain’t so bad,” said Colin, “Life is worse. Just ask the
“I’m not a Buddhist,” Izzy said.
“Maybe you should be. Frankly, I’m thinking of converting.”
“You got the belly,” Bennie joked, giving it a friendly pat.
“I’m ready for car-tastrophes,” Colin giggled, “Got my own
“Watch out!” Izzy screamed yet again.
Colin and Bennie didn’t even bother to look. “Another
tumbleweed,” Colin guessed incorrectly.
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