Ninety miles from the strip on Interstate-15, where the asphalt still wears shades of black, the first billboards spring up along the road’s shoulder. “Casinos, Shows, Clubs, & More!” and “Clark County Visitor’s Bureau! 50% Off Hotels!” The five of us– me, the boyfriend, and three friends– follow the signs into the desert, driving in the late afternoon with the windows down, the summer heat blasting their faces. The speed limit is seventy, but the little four-door went ninety, sometimes ninety-five but never over a hundred as we had already passed three crashes: two fender-benders and a possible fatal. The engine croons and competes for attention against the crackle of the radio. No one speaks. More billboards hail. Magicians and singers! Cowboys and Elivis! Buffets! Chapels. I move my foot towards his.
This is our first time in Vegas.