I spent the last four days there, which is longer than any of my previous stays by about four days (but if you have buy an overpriced sandwich in a casino, it counts as being there; if you have to get out of the car, it counts as being there; if you don't get out of the car, but the car is stopped and all the desert road before you is shiny with other stopped cars, like a bike chain, cars waiting as the CHP lets you across the border one by one, your bladder full and the air conditioning non-existent, it counts as being there). I was there for the JACL National Convention, which took place in an icy ballroom high above the casino and was a far cry from the tone of the rest of the city, though Las Vegas below remained a tacky cesspool where food cost too much and pedestrians were reminded over and over again, This was not built for you. If you're a city in the desert, you were meant to be driven through. That Vegas became what it is, fountains quickly evaporating and ice pillars self-reforming in glammed up designer shops, was human error. Though by the time Day 3 of the convention rolled around, I was almost glad to steal down to the casino to use the bathroom, almost happy to be surrounded by the zing and trill of slot machines and the smoky indoors I didn't realize was still legal in the United States--it was nice to be around JAs, and shame-inducing to be as political apathetic as I honestly am. But maybe I'm just apathetic. I'm pretty sure I met my future husband at Convention--you know, the scenes from the movies where someone confesses that they met a person and knew instantly that one day, they'd be married. It's apparently not just a line in a script, but I think this means I'm probably never going to get married (not even in Vegas) because I'm actually too apathetic to act on something that ridiculous. I'm not describing attraction, or even some extreme continuity between us, or spiritual bonding. The feeling I'm describing is exactly what I said it was--that I'd met my future husband; nothing other than that.
I spent a decent amount of time this week trying not to set fire to Las Vegas by imagining what, exactly, Dean sees in it--enough to make it the site of a sacred annual pilgrimage. Not that I disbelieve this--there's no doubt in my mind that Dean likes Las Vegas quite a bit. But mostly I just thought, Dean, you are an idiot. You are an idiot. You are an idiot. I guess I'd be curious to know what Vegas has that other places don't--it's not like girls, gambling, and alcohol don't exist in the wild. Plus, food is expensive as shit here. I imagine that doesn't actually bother Dean much (because in spite of their general lack of it, I don't think Dean is all that careful with money), in general but especially not in Las Vegas. He'd play the tables over the slots, definitely. Even if Vegas isn't as grungy as their usual and hustling is not allowed; and neither is fighting. He probably likes the idea of Vegas more than any particular thing, the feel of it around him and all it stands for versus his actual ability to participate (since he apparently doesn't pay for sex/escort services, they certainly don't go to shows, and fine dining probably isn't a thing they do--even if the pretension of fine dining is removed by the bare fact of Vegas being Vegas, and therefore becomes appealing). It's some register of glitz and glamor that is made respectable by its rich unrespectability, rather than a subject of scorn, ridicule, or non-comprehension. He likes the idea of weird shit out in the desert. Weird, fabricated plastic shit out in the desert that gives absolutely no fucks and actually kinda gets credit for being that way. He's probably a huge fan of sweet but dirt-cheap digs, even if on this pilgrimage they're never in the room. Out all night, because this is Las Vegas, and that's the only way to do it.
Maybe it's 2015 and Cain is dead and they're in Vegas because the year isn't quite young anymore and if there are traditions to be upheld it seems like a better idea to get her done sooner rather than later. Cole's friends haven't started desiccating yet and Dean can still hear the grind of his ribs if he moves too much, is still digging slivers of window glass from his neck, so Vegas it is. He's losing his voice before they leave, though you wouldn't know it for all the talking they don't do; the desert, mixed with shit whiskey and smoke (not this time from bodies, or graves) and the volume over which Dean yells too loudly at Sam, takes it entirely. Sam's never sure what he's saying, but it doesn't matter; it's only what they've always ever said to one another. Dean shrugs at himself in the bathroom mirror when he realizes his voice is gone. When he goes back to Sam he speaks words silently, which in their absence can't really be words at all. He says I can make you no promises.
I can make you no promises.