Several other dancers followed the first, each with a similar routine. There was a red-head named Tania with breasts so huge that they actually frightened Mike a little bit. There was a pretty and quite athletic dancer named Sugar, and a chubby blonde stripper named Malachai, of all things. Yes, a girl named Malachai.
It was approaching midnight by this time, but rather than thinning out, the crowd got larger. Almost every table was full. Mike and Patience still managed to get another drink order from the harried waitress. Then a woman came out on stage. She appeared to be another dancer, but instead of beginning a routine, she put a microphone to her bright red lips and made an announcement.
“Ladies and gentlemen,” Mike looked around and was moderately surprised to find that there were indeed more than a couple of ladies present. “It’s almost time for our Midnight Amateur Exotic Dance Contest!”
“Can you dance?” asked Mike. “I mean, you know, strip?”
“Then I definitely think you should enter this contest.”
“Do you think they will let me?”
Mike grabbed the passing waitress by the arm and asked her.
“Sorry, no robots. All of our dancers are real women. It says so on the sign out front.”
“Not even for the amateur show?”
“It’s a contest. It wouldn’t be fair.”
By this time a dozen women were leaving their seats in the audience to be ushered behind the stage. Mike finished his drink. He and Patience didn’t wait for the show to begin. They got up and headed for the exit, their seats filled almost as soon as they had vacated them. Just as they reached the exit the announcer came back on.
“Our first contestant tonight is a local girl.” The crowd cheered. “Here for your enjoyment is the very sexy Alyssa!”
Alyssa was a pretty dark-haired girl but she was plainly nervous. She had apparently dressed back stage in the standard stripper attire– miniskirt, tube top, garter belts and stockings. She stumbled more than strutted to the front of the stage and stopped several feet before reaching the optimum position. She swung her hips to the left and the right several times, then with trembling hands pulled the tube top up over her head. The crowd applauded and cheered, and this apparently gave her a little more confidence. She grabbed hold of the pole and tossed up her heels a few times.
“I know you could have won the contest,” said Mike, as he went out the front door.
“You cannot be sure Mike, as you have never seen me dance.”
“Well, we should rectify that immediately,” said Mike.
As they climbed into another cab and told the driver to return them to the Palms, Mike noted the “Real Live Girls! No Robots!” sign on the outside of the building.
“Say, how come we came here?”
“Didn’t you want to come?” asked Patience.
“I guess so, but you were the one who told the cab where to go.”
“I told you I would know what you wanted before you did.”
Back in the hotel room, Patience sat Mike on the edge of the bed and went into the bathroom to change. She poked her head out the door and in a remarkable imitation of the female announcer at the Olympic Gardens, said. “And now, from California, here’s Patience!” Mike applauded.
Patience strutted out as though she were already dancing. She had on her same top and her own shoes, but she had replaced her jeans with a black miniskirt. When she reached the spot directly in front of Mike, she spun in a perfect 540 degree circle, so that she came to a stop facing away from him. She then bent over at the waist and began to gyrate her perfect ass at his face. Mike whistled. He was aroused and she was still fully clothed. Patience danced forward and wrapped herself around the doorway to the bathroom, using the doorjamb as a stripper would use a pole. She twirled to the side and began to sensually slide up and down. She threw her arms back, holding herself off the floor with her thigh muscles alone. She slowly let herself slide to the floor and then rose up to gyrate back and forth across the room.
She slinked forward and whipped off the miniskirt so quickly that Mike didn’t see how she had removed it. Beneath it she was wearing her own pink lace thong. With an equally slick move she removed her top and those magnificent breasts were revealed. There was an audible gasp at the sight and it took Mike a moment to recognize it as his own. Cupping her breasts with her hands, she tossed her head back; eyes closed, and let her hands trail down the sides of her body, all the time rolling her hips in a circular motion. She then raised her arms up and placed her hands behind her head and slowly dropped to splits that a college cheerleader would have been proud of. She tossed her hair with one hand and with one finger of the other suggestively tugged down her bottom lip.
“That was amazing,” said Mike, applauding. “I can’t believe that you belong to me.”
“I am for you, Mr. Smith.”
The following morning, Mike went down to the casino to gamble. Patience stayed in the room. She wasn’t allowed on the casino floor and she utilized the time to clean and organize their possessions and to read. Mike played twenty-one at the gaming tables for a short time, but quickly lost the three hundred dollars that he had allowed for that purpose. He then walked to the side of the casino and played poker on the machines. He had played for ten minutes or so, when a robot cocktail waitress stopped by. He ordered a gin and tonic. When the mechanical woman had left, he looked up and around. He noticed the series of shops running along the length of the casino. Perhaps he could buy some more new clothes for Patience. There was a tattoo parlor. He idly wondered if her skin would hold tattoo ink. And at the far end was a wedding chapel.
Perhaps he should marry Patience. He didn’t wonder whether he should ask her to marry him. There was no question of her answer. She was his. Did he love her? He knew that he didn’t want to be without her. He did love her. But did he love her the way he loved his vueTee or did he love her the way that he had loved Tiffany. He wasn’t even sure if he remembered how he had loved Tiffany anymore. He stood up and walked over to the wedding chapel.
Just inside the glass doors draped with white decorations, Mike found a small counter with a woman standing behind it. She was tall and attractive, her blonde wavy hair a stark contrast to her chocolate skin. She looked up and smiled.
“Good morning,” replied Mike. “How much does it cost to get married?”
The woman rewarded him with a broad smile. “We have weddings from three hundred dollars.”
“Really? That’s amazingly inexpensive.”
“That’s just for a simple in and out service,” she said. “We have many extras, such as a video record of the nuptials and we can accommodate large weddings, with receptions for up to two thousand guests.”
“No. In and out was what I was thinking about.”
“The three hundred does not include the minister. We have one on duty, if you don’t have one of your own. His fee is one hundred fifty dollars. And of course, you must have a license.”
“Do you sell those here?”
“Oh, no. You have to buy a license from the county.”
As it turned out, in order to purchase a marriage license in Las Vegas, Mike had to drive to the Clark County Building. It sat amid massive skyscrapers just west of Glitter Gulch. Patience had seemed ecstatic when Mike told her that they were to be married. Of course, now that he thought about it, she seemed ecstatic about almost anything he decided to do. They arrived at just before 10:00 AM and walked up to a window. A blond woman looked out at them through the glass with a small round hole cut in it.
“Can I help you?”
“We would like to purchase a marriage license.”
“I need to see your birth certificates please.”
“Um, we don’t have birth certificates…”
“That’s all right,” she said. “Let me have your drivers’ licenses and I can pull up your birth records.”
Mike set his driver’s license on the counter. The woman behind the window looked at Patience.
“I don’t have a driver’s license,” said Patience.
Patience shook her head.
“Wait a second,” said the woman behind the glass, squinting her eyes. “You’re a robot.”
“You can’t marry a robot.” The woman turned to Mike.
“What do you mean ‘why not’? She’s not a person. She’s a machine. I might as well marry my shower massage.”
“Perhaps that’s too much information,” suggested Patience.
“Look at her,” said Mike to the woman behind the glass. “She speaks. She thinks. She wants to get married. Don’t you, Patience.”
“It doesn’t matter,” the woman replied. “Under the Nevada Constitution, marriage is defined as a contract between a man and a woman. And robots by Nevada law are neither man nor woman.”
“You mean gay marriage is illegal in Nevada?” asked Mike.
“Of course not.”
“Well that wouldn’t be a man and a woman. That would be a man and a man, or a woman and a woman.”
“I’m not going to argue with you about it, sir,” said the blond woman. “If you don’t like the law, I suggest you go to a different state.”
“Well, how do you like that?” said Mike, as they walked to the car.
“Perhaps it wasn’t such a good idea after all,” said Patience.
“You don’t want to marry me?”
“Of course I do, if it would make you happy. I don’t want you to get into trouble though.”
“Don’t worry. They don’t throw people in jail for illegally marrying… well, not usually. Let’s forget about it for now and go to the Star Trek Experience. That is really why we came to Vegas anyway.”
By the time they pulled into the massive parking lot of the Tangiers, Patience, not unexpectedly, seemed as excited as Mike was to visit the home of Captains Kirk, Picard, Sisko, Janeway, Archer, and Winters. They parked and locked the car, and then they headed inside. The Star Trek experience was located at the end of one space themed section of the casino. As they approached, Mike pointed out to Patience the twelve foot long models of the USS Enterprise-F and the USS Excalibur hanging from the ceiling. Just to the right of the entrance was the ticket booth. They were able to step right up. There was no one waiting in line. The clerk behind the counter was not dressed as a Star Trek character, but was wearing a Star Trek Experience jacket.
“Two, please,” said Mike.
“That will be $187.47.”
“What?” said Mike. “A hundred eighty one?”
“Yes, but that includes all four rides and the museum tour.”
“Shit. No wonder the Federation stopped using money. They were probably all broke.”
Mike paid for the tickets and he and Patience walked in. The museum tour was more of a fancy queue line into the ride than a real museum. It wound around in a circle following a time line of the pseudo-history of the future. Opposite the time line were displays of hundreds of props and re-creations of props, including uniforms, communicators, phasers, and much more. Mike happily pointed out the events that he most vividly remembered from the shows as he led Patience along.