Vegas – The Good Old Days! 

MGM Grand, Las Vegas 1996 Photo Credit: Bari Demers

Happy Throwback Thursday Everyone!  

Today I like to take you on a journey, way back to the 1980’s. During a time when Las Vegas use to be more colorful, should we say?  

Remember the good old days?

When going to Las Vegas meant good times in the casino and actually going home with cash in your pocket? Well, those days are becoming few and far in between. You still hear of a few winning the jackpot, but today was never like the good old days.

Even MGM International Resorts and Wynn Resorts Limited are changing their tune to better accommodate patrons. It’s true. Not all vacationers are flocking to the casinos like they use to. To reflect those changes, Vegas Resorts are going for pure luxury, from poolside oasis to mega Superstar concerts, while reaching out to family oriented vacationers, hoping to cash in on another form of revenue. After all, the bottom line is to generate millions of dollars a day, in order for these massive hotels to meet their daily overhead costs. 

But don’t start worrying over the mega corporations just yet.

Highrollers may not be rolling in like they use to, but they still are out there.
In fact, they are a lot richer then before. And let’s not forget about the countless high-stake poker games drawing thousands of spectators across the world, generating millions of dollars during each tournament. Adding more millions of revenue are the popular nightlife, streaming with electronic music and dance mania showcasing DJ celebrities, such as Tiësto. On top of that, the wealthy few are still looking for the most luxurious comfort to suit their lifestyle. With money not being an issue, Vegas resorts are eager to please their VIP guests in anyway they can.

 

The Mirage ,Las Vegas Photo Credit: Bari Demers

 
But, for us it’s a different story all together. I’m talking about regular folks like you and me. 

The ones who have worked hard for ever penny, scrimping enough money together, just to go on their yearly vacation. Yes, that’s you and me. We’re the ones who usually dream about, what it’s like not to worry about money and be treated like the glorified rich, we constantly hear about on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. It’s you and me that look forward to a little luxury when we can afford it. It’s you and me who shop for the best possible price to stretch our dollar just a little bit more. We may not own that Mercedes or that $23 million dollar mansion, but we still love to experience a small piece of luxury to make us feel good and important, once in awhile. And Las Vegas allows us that opportunity, making us feel like a King or Queen, even if it’s just a day or weekend. 

Vegas today is just as exciting as it was 40 years ago, but even though the younger generation may have heard of Vintage Vegas, they never really had the opportunity to experience it. So, since it’s Throwback Thursday, let me reflex with you what it was like back then.

Join me in my Time Machine, as I take you back to the 1980’s.

During the 1980’s gambling was the heart of Las Vegas. It was a time when the Mafia still had its claws firmly into the casino business, skimming hundreds of thousands of hard cold cash. But, it was also a time, when the FBI was slowly gaining control over the countless illegal tax evasions. 

To you and me, Vegas back then, meant an oasis in the desert and a vacation paradise, giving more bang for your buck. Where a Prime Rib dinner only cost you $4.95, Steak and Eggs $2.99 after midnight, 0.99 cent breakfasts and bar drinks were only 0.50 cents a shot. 

Yes. Those were the days! 

Coming down the elevator to the casino floor of your hotel, the doors would open, and you would instantly hear the clanging of change hitting the slot trays, along with bells and whistles across the casino floor.

The excitement was in the air! 

You would always hear of not one, but many cheering after they hit the jackpot. The thought of winning was always on everyone’s mind. Imagine seeing rows of people lining up to cash-in, holding small buckets full of hard cold cash. As a matter of fact, some patrons were precariously hanging onto five to six buckets at a time, grinning from ear to ear. And their hands were caked silver from handling the coins they so eagerly scooped up into the buckets. Today, you won’t hear that clang, clang, clang sound of countless coins hitting the trays below, or a flock of people heading home after a winning spree.   People are still winning, but nothing like before.   And the rush of winning was like nothing you ever experienced before. It literally makes you feel good, waiting to come back next year for more. 

And the best part? 

The casinos really didn’t mind at all. They were raking in the cash so fast, it was hard to count it all. The loose change you thought were winnings to you, were merely a business marketing plan. The casino very well knew, you would would be back to try your hand at blackjack, poker or roulette. 

And the word of winning in Vegas was like a wild fire!

You would tell your friends and they would tell theirs and so on. Before you knew it, your winning spree was over exaggerated by a hundred times. Even farmer Joe decided to try his hand at blackjack.

Vegas back then was a whirlwind of pure excitement. 

Today, Las Vegas has grown into a corporate business of shareholders, only interested in the bottom line. They need to feed these hungry mega resorts with lots and lots of money, in order to stay afloat. The need for add on revenue, such as resort fees and paid parking has lead many to believe Vegas is gouging the basic consumers.  
But really, it’s the cost of a changing market. 

In Vegas, my weekly spending may seem high, until I go back home and realize the resorts on my own turf are selling their rooms from $350 to $950 per night!  Yikes!  That’s a little steep for me. As a matter of fact, that’s a whole a lot of cash for just one night stay, wouldn’t you say? So, in the end, Las Vegas is still the place to go to enjoy a reasonable priced vacation.

What’s your historical memory of Vegas ? 

The 1980’s was over 36 years ago. What this means to us; my wife and I celebrated our first anniversary at the Maxim, Las Vegas. We arrived in August of that year, three months before the horrific fire at the former MGM Grand (now Bally’s, Las Vegas). Apparently the Maxim hotel pool deck we lounged at was the same place Maxim employees watch the fire across the street. 

 

The Venetian, Las Vegas Photo Credit : Bari Demers

 
Soon we will be celebrating our 37 anniversary and once again, Las Vegas will be our choice.  You might say we are Vegas Lovers! 

By Bari Demers – freelance writer and screenwriter 

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In My Dreams – 7074

  

BLACK ANGELS by Bari Demers

 

YEAR 2045

It was early morning, the sunrise slowly rose across the southern desert, edging its way up Nevada’s Bald Mountain.  From the outside, the barren landscape gave no indication of buzzing activity below. 

Alisha sat calmly in her chair. She said, “I’m not sure you would be capable of understanding the whole time travel theory. The concept is way too complicated for your evolutionary brain.”

Alisha  gave this sickening smirk, sending shivers throughout the secret enclosed courtroom, packed full of military officials. 

She continues,”Besides…there’s a more pressing problem.  It must be solved immediately, before it’s too late.” 

Being some kind of new generation android, her petite framed memory alloy structure (also referred to as SMA, Smart Metal Alloy) would have easily passed as human, if it hadn’t been for the flickering pools of blood, resembling eyes.

District Attorney James Codwell wasn’t easily swayed by Alisha’s piercing eyes, or her whispering moans, exhibiting a frightening demeanor.  His cutthroat courtroom antics were highly publicized worldwide, giving him the nickname ‘Bulldog Jimmie’ for good reason.  If this short stalky man, resembling a powerhouse of arrogance was on your radar, watch out!   

You had no hope in hell.  So they thought.

His services were at the request of the most influential and powerful businessman in the world, Mr. Steve Wiseman.  It was in his best interest to know what the hell was going on. 

He wanted answers, and wanted them now!  

“Let me be the judge of that!,” Bulldog Jimmie replied, placing his hands squarely on his hips,” Do you think for one moment you frightening me?!”

Alisha continued,” Being frightened isn’t relevant, if you’re not unaware of the danger.”

Quote by Bari Demers

Bulldog Jimmie gets up close and personal.  Up close those pool of blood resembling eyes were indeed frightening.  

” Are you threatening me?!” his bark echoes across the enclosed room. 

“Of course not,” Alisha says motionless,”May I continue?  After all…it’s for your own good.”

“Whatever…” Bulldog Jimmie replies, ” It’s your funeral. Proceed !”

“As I was saying,” Alisha’s eyes shimmered, “It was long ago determined, living tissue of any kind wouldn’t be successful in time travel, due to your molecular composition. It would simply form into a mass of misplaced tissue.” 

Alisha paused scanning her surroundings.  It was a long pause, as if you had switched it off. 

Suddenly she whirled back on,”Trust me, it wouldn’t be pretty.”

The underground courtroom was tense.  

Everyone, except Jimmie was frightened by this unknown alien prototype. Scientists, high ranking Generals, influential businessmen and the President of the United States, were asking if a new alien species had come to invade earth, thinking maybe they sent this frightening android ahead.

The ‘Fatcats‘ of society were the most nervous of them all, thinking a uncontrollable force could change everything they built from scratch.   Never before, had they felt threatened Or came across anything so bizarre.  

The very idea the Fatcats bubble could burst, loosing control over the world was an inconceivable form of hell to them. 

With all the confusion, the Commander and Chief, President Jennifer Clayton ordered this unknown android to be contained in the highly publicized military base, Area 51.

Alisha was well strapped in an enclosed force field, surely safe for everyone of concern.

Well. That’s what they thought. 

The day before, Alisha was discovered by a heavily guarded police force in Las Vegas. She wouldn’t have been noticed, if it wasn’t the fact her memory shaped body appeared within a violent vortex of pure energy, in front of a crowd, during the Grand Opening of The Wiser Hotel & Casino Resort by trillionaire Mr. Steve Wiseman. The $60 billion dollar ultra modern architectural wonder, was said to be the worlds first resort to miraculously float over the Vegas strip without touching ground and accommodating 30,000 tourists at one time. 

Steve Wiseman was, without a doubt, a true Vegas Lover.  His undying thirst for Las Vegas was undeniable.  

The Wiser Hotel and Casino was an impressive floating oasis in the middle of the desert. They  nicknamed it The Floating Stars in resemblance to its three pristine white curvilinear structures towering over the skyline of Las Vegas. 

When Alisha’s form took shape within the vortex, the crowd thought the appearance was part of the Grand Opening Act, as security and police rushed in to secure the threat.  

Entrepreneur Wiseman had countless threats throughout the years, ever since his controversial G-SMH 707 project successfully produced genetically altered Super Human Beings specifically for military use. Wiseman was well known for having numerous contracts with the United States Federation of Homeland Security. As a matter of fact, genetic engineering was what made him rich in the first place. 

So, when an unannounced entity shows up, just a couple of feet from the infamous Wiseman, all hell broke loose. Wiseman cleverly convinces the crowd, it was indeed part of the grand opening after all.

Alisha was quickly taken away without incident. Unknown to them she allowed it. 

After all, Alisha was sent here to help change history before it was too late. In her relativity time period, earlier historical evidence had predicted earth would have ended by 3797. Despite countless close-calls with asteroids hitting earth, mankind had managed to avoid the inevitable by making significant discoveries in technology, proving to be mankind’s biggest benefactor, preventing serious harm to our planet. 

The greatest technological wonder was the GWS (the Global Wave Shield) described as a wave cloaking device, which literally bounced any threatening objects back into space. Not only that, it would control devastation on earth’s surface.  

After the 2025 Yellowstone Supervolcano in northwest corner of Wyoming ( once known as Yellowstone National Park) exploded, killing over four million people and causing a ten year world-wide nuclear winter, it was clear something had to be done.  

GWS solved world devastations for good.

In essence, it followed and controlled the geological formations of earth, from earthquakes, hurricanes to volcanic eruptions, stopping them dead in their tracks.  It was an ingenious discovery, rumoured to be ‘Alien’ in design.  

But there wasn’t any concrete evidence to make such a claim.

For everyone of concern, it was a miraculous god-send. 

Along for the ride was it’s undisclosed military component. A highly classified Tri-Star Laser, ready to eliminate any weapons of mass destruction. Overall, mankind’s future seemed promising, making some significant changes, from clean environmental air, population control to eliminating starvation. Mars in 3797 was a bustling world of its own with nearly a million Martian residence. Jupiter was where the latest space station resided, while Titan teamed with scientists. 

“Listen,” Alisha said,” If  there’s one thing you need to do, it’s just listen to what I have to say. Your very lives will depend on it. It’s …”

“And why would you care ?!” Bulldog Jimmie interrupts,” I mean, what’s so important now that wasn’t before? After all, where were you when the  Supervolcano devastated our lives back in 2025?”

“I know, it’s true,” Alisha said,” My creators had to make some very hard decisions.  I could have easily come back in 2025.  It was decided the death of a few souls outweigh the lives of many.”

Outraged by Alisha’s statement, Bulldog Jimmie said,” Are you kidding me?! Four million lives were lost in one day.  Another 25 million people were misplaced.  That means whole families were subject to terror of a few radical doomsday survivalists. Starvation and rampant violence plagued North America for five years. The military has no choice but to eliminate its own citizens who revolted, just to keep order…” 

Jimmie pranced around the room. Looking at it from a comical perspective, his hands were waving frantically like a Frenchmen and  dancing around like an Ape, as if in a ceremonial mating call.  But, there wasn’t anything funny about the looming threat of homeland security. 

“I understand it hard for you to fathom,” Alisha says,” But I must stress we have a more serious problem at hand. As a matter of fact, it will make your Supervolcano look like a walk in the park, in comparison.” 

“Alright then!” says Jimmie,” Tell us what’s so damn important ?!” 

“Good. You’re ready to listen then?” Alisha says sarcastically, “Let me begin. Through mankind’s short history in the evolutionary time scale, man has proven to make significant changes to our earth, good or bad. Life on earth had finally reached 7074 despite Nostradamus predictions. We had explored distant galaxies and met up with other species. Some bad while others proved to be a strong alliance. After all this time, it was proven, man wasn’t alone in the universe after all.”

She pauses.

Alisha gets up, breaking free of the restraints.  The crowd gasps, uncertain if they were in danger.

Alisha continues,” But there’s one thing mankind failed to realize throughout time. Man wasn’t and will never be the leader of the pack. In fact, because of mans sensational thirst of curiosity, it had inadvertently opened up a more deadlier threat to the existence of mankind.” 

“Oh please! Don’t keep us in suspense!”  Jimmie laughs out like an hyena,” Pray tell …who or what is this so called threat?!”

The room was deafening quiet. 

Alisha’s blood eyes flickered,”They are called  BLACK ANGELS.   It will mean the human civilization will cease to exist…  It’s imperative they must be stopped immediately before it’s too late!”

By Bari Demersscreenwriter and freelance storyteller