Two days later Mike sat looking at an ad on vueTee. He had seen the commercial at least twenty times during the past week, and the possibilities presented had slowly gelled in his brain into a decision. When Patience came into the room, he looked up at her.
“After you’re done with whatever things you have planned for the day, pack a bag. We’re going out of town for the next three days.”
“Where are we going, Mike?” she asked.
“We are going to Vegas.”
“Las Vegas, Nevada. County of Clark. Population 2,575,174, 131.2 square miles…”
“Yes, that’s the place,” he interrupted.
“Why are we going to Las Vegas, Mike?”
“It’s too damn hot here, and I need a vacation.”
“The average median temperature in Las Vegas is significantly higher than that of Springdale.”
“Yes, but only on the outside. We can stay in. You don’t even need to go out of your room to go swimming.”
Mike fell asleep entwined with Patience, but he woke up alone. He got up, shaved, and showered, and was met at the bathroom door, as he expected, by his beautiful robot, toast and juice in hand and a towel warm from the drier over her arm. He ate and got dressed and found Patience once again in the living room. She had already prepared the house for their four day absence, and packed the car with everything they needed. She had also driven to the filling station, fueled up the car, and checked all the fluids and systems. Mike put his hands on Patience’s shoulders and looked into her eyes. He kissed her gently on the lips.
“I am still unsure why you wish to go to Las Vegas,” said Patience.
“There are a lot of things to see there, you know.”
“Yes, I know. They have casinos, an indoor amusement park, a water park, a museum devoted to Liberace…”
“And the all new Star Trek Experience,” said Mike.
“The Star Trek Experience at the Las Vegas Hilton was closed almost twenty four years ago. That hotel isn’t even there now.”
“They’ve built a new one,” explained Mike. “A new Star Trek, not a new Hilton. It’s part of the remodeling of the Tangiers. I can’t believe you didn’t know that.”
“I can’t believe it either,” said Patience.
I-15 was a long road through the desert. It wouldn’t be fair to call it a lonely road because it was almost as packed with cars as any single section of the Los Angeles freeway. It zoomed down one long, slow incline to the desert floor and then zoomed up one long, slow climb to cross the mountains, only to do the same thing again on the other side. And again. And again. The highway was so busy that there was a great deal of concentration involved in negotiating one’s path through the slower vehicles. That so many California drivers apparently did not understand that the left lane was supposed to be for passing only made it more so. By the time they had reached Barstow, Mike wished that they had booked passage on the mag-lev train that ran along beside the highway.
Mike drove with his left hand on the steering wheel and his right hand resting on the back of Patience’s neck. She was reading Fodor’s Guide to Having Fun in Las Vegas ’32 Edition, at a rate of about a seven pages per minute, which meant that she was studying it quite carefully. Mike was amused, watching her flip through the screens of her texTee, because he had never seen her read a book before, what with her having been apparently imbued with a seemingly endless store of information about every topic which she had approached. Whoever supplied that information, apparently hadn’t anticipated a trip to Vegas. Patience was more than capable of filling that void herself though.
Mike stopped to fill the tank in Baker. Nearby were half a dozen fast food restaurants, so he steered into the drive-through of Arby’s and purchased a Western Garden Salad and a diet Pepsi for himself, and a bottle of water for Patience. She quickly drank her water, then knelt sideways on the seat, and fed him his salad as he continued on to Vegas. She carefully inserted a fork full of lettuce, tomato, chicken, or apples each time he opened his mouth, with a large beautiful smile each time she managed to get it in without vinaigrette running down his chin, and a cute little pout when she didn’t.
It was 3:30 in the afternoon when they topped the final hill and looked down over the vast stretches of Las Vegas below. It wasn’t so much that it was a huge city, though it was much larger than it had been when Mike had been there last. It was that you could see the whole thing at once, which was true of so very few cities. It seemed like quite a drive down the hill and into the valley because Mike could drive the entire distance and never lose sight of his destination, but it actually only took about forty five minutes. He took the Flamingo exit and drove west towards the Palms.
Parking the car in the high-rise parking structure, they made their way in through a large door and into the vast sparkling landscape of the casino. A golden pathway on the rug led through it to the hotel lobby. Along the way, Mike stopped and swiped his cash card through the reader in front of a slot machine. Pressing the indicators below the slot, he bet five dollars and then pulled the one arm of the one arm bandit. The digital pictures that had long ago replaced mechanical wheels whirled around and came to a stop. There was a rocket ship in the first column, a naked woman in the second, and a banana in the third.
“No robots allowed in the casino,” came a voice behind them.
Mike looked back to see an armed security guard standing next to Patience. They were both a good five feet away from any of the gaming machines.
“She’s not playing.”
“Robots are not allowed in casino. It’s state law: Nevada Revised Statutes. It can pass through with you, but you can’t stop and play while it’s with you.”
Mike took Patience by the hand and led her through the far end of the casino and into the spacious marble-tiled hotel lobby. It took only minutes to check in and receive their key.
“I didn’t like it when he called me an ‘it’,” said Patience, while they waited.
“No, I didn’t either,” said Mike.
Moments later they were on their way up in the elevator. Their room was on the seventh floor, which Mike took as a good omen. He had been tempted to get one of the custom suites. The Erotic suite, the g-Suite, the Sapphire Sundown Suite, and the Hot Pink Suite had all sounded like fun. But he reminded himself that he was still a teacher and had been living quite the high life lately. Despite the large bank balance that he had upon Patience’s arrival, he had only received one paycheck since that time, and he still wasn’t all that sure about Patience’s eBay money-making schemes. The Superior room, as it was called, had a king-sized bed, a big vueTee, a Jacuzzi tub, and a very nice sound system.
Mike plopped down on the over-stuffed, king-sized bed. Not twenty minutes later, the robot bellhop arrived with their luggage and Patience unpacked and put all of the clothes in the dresser drawers and the closet. Mike smiled. He usually left everything in the suitcases. She finished quickly then knelt down at the foot of the bed and gave Mike a foot massage. He sighed and relaxed and had almost fallen asleep, when she began to move up from his feet to the zipper of his pants.
“I find it amazing, Mike.”
“I don’t think it’s all that different from any other guy?”
Patience laughed. “I find it amazing that we are here hundreds of miles from where we were just this morning.”
“Pretty amazing,” he agreed.
Mike lay back and let Patience take care of him. At some point, he wasn’t sure exactly when, he fell asleep. When he woke up, Patience had already changed to go out for dinner. Even though she had purchased these particular clothes from Victoria Secret, they were not inherently sexy—at least no more than anything she wore was inherently sexy. She had a navy tube top that was cut asymmetrically across the bottom, but even the short side was cut below her waist. The blue jeans she had on with them seemed fairly tame too. The red leather Valkyrie strap-on pumps with the four and a half inch heels, on the other hand, virtually screamed “knock me down and do me.”
When Mike had been to Vegas many years before with Tiffany, he had eaten at the Circus Circus buffet. Circus Circus had put out a lot of food for fifteen dollars. A lot of food. Not good food, but a lot of food. The buffet downstairs in the Palms was called The Fantasy Market. While it was twenty times as expensive as the last Las Vegas buffet that Mike had eaten, it was easily twenty times as good too. He feasted on oysters, crab legs, and sliced prime rib, asparagus, garlic herb potatoes, and fried okra. He found that he filled quickly and didn’t have room for desert though. He didn’t have to pay for Patience. She was recognized as a robot by the robot at the counter.
“I understand one robot recognizing another,” he said. “But how did that security guard know? I don’t think most people at the beach could tell you weren’t human, and that was under the bright sun.”
“They have electronic detectors all around the casino,” said Patience. “I can feel the magnetic field they give off.”
“They want to make sure that a robot is not allowed to gamble. With a computer brain and heightened senses, I would not be fooled by the randomizing efforts used in gambling games. I would win.”
“Well, I guess they can’t have that.”
After dinner they walked through the casino and out the front entrance of the hotel. Mike didn’t want to bother with his car, so he had a robot valet hail a taxi for them. Once inside, Patience directed the driver, Mike recognized him as a Gizmo Servbot, to take them to the “finest gentleman’s club” in the area. Mike knew that the driver would take them to whichever strip club paid the biggest kickback to the taxi company. He wondered if Patience knew that as well. Had they included that in her memory banks? Had she read it in Fodor’s Guide?
A quick drive to and then down the fabulous Las Vegas Strip brought them to the Olympic Gardens. It was a large warehouse looking structure that had been done over with faux Greek Columns—Doric columns, Mike noted—and ivy. In between each pair of columns was a huge poster of some fabulously beautiful and scantily clad female—or male!—stripper. Inside, the main room was decorated in red satin, with dozens of tables and booths surrounding a large main stage which featured the requisite dancing pole.
Mike and Patience sat down at a large round booth. A waitress dressed and coifed as though she had fallen out of a gladiator movie came and took their drink orders. It was dark enough that Mike couldn’t tell if she was a robot or not. Though he did not drink as a rule, he ordered a Beefeater and tonic. Patience of course had bottled water. The bill came to $82.00, not including tip. Mike was surprised to see people eating as they watched the strippers. Such traditional ancient Greek cuisine as hot dogs and spicy chicken fingers seemed most popular.
As they sat, the first dancer came on stage. She was introduced by a hidden announcer as Bailey. She was young and blonde and quite attractive. Physically, she was proportioned about the same as Patience, but her large breasts did not have that feeling of defying gravity that Patience’s did. She came out in a pink mini-skirt and top, both zippered in front and in back. As she strutted up and down the stage, she unzipped first one and then the other. With a single flip, she removed both, allowing those large breasts to bounce free and revealing a tiny g-string. She grabbed hold of the pole and began humping against it, spinning and gyrating. A few moments later she finished her routine and left the stage.