by Savannah Hendricks
My brand new, pearl white 1953 Chevrolet Corvette had blown a tire. I didn’t have a clue as to what I might do to change it. To be exact, Daddy had never taught me what to do. If that alone was not enough, my heels were not meant to for long distances. I started to walk north, staring at my heels with each step. I figured if my eyes met the horizon I would realize I had too far to go.
The clouds layered the black sky with their ruffled lines, the stars where hiding, the moon’s light obstructed. I continued walking, the dimming lights of Las Vegas behind me.
The Flamingo Las Vegas opened the day after Christmas in 1946, I was only twenty-three at the time. I learned my skills at other hotels on the strip to build my resume; finally landing a part in one of the most lavish shows when Champagne Towers opened in 1950. And it’s where I remained until today.
I had left my dressing room at nearly three-fifteen a.m. exiting through the bright lights of the casino floor. I glided through the hotel, my royal blue costume hidden under a tan pink glittery overcoat. Tonight was the night I had had enough of the drunken men, the sparkling lights, and the sequin costumes.
One would think that a showgirl from Las Vegas would not be lonely, or walking away from the famous lights on the strip. You would be surprised how bright lights can get to you.
To be honest I had no idea where I was going, other than north. Then my right heel gave way. I stumbled to the gravel.
“Damn it!” I screamed, throwing a handful of gravel.
I looked up at the sliver of a moon and noticed the clouds separating, and stars were reveled. But the stars didn’t twinkle like they did when Daddy would sing My Blue Heaven. He was always so loving, rocking me back and forth on the porch swing for all those years. The stars didn’t shine bright like they seemed to when I wished on them about Mama. Every night Daddy and I would find the brightest star and that was Mama. The star, never in the same spot. Daddy always said it was because Mama was encompassing the world with her love for us.
“Oh Mama, what am I doing? Where am I going?” I asked at the brightest one tonight.
A car coming down the freeway broke through my conversation with Mama. Pushing myself up off the gravel, I stood as graceful as possible with just one heel on.
The car slowed and the passenger window rolled down.
“Is that your Corvette back there Miss?” the voice from the shadows of the driver seat asked.
“Yes, the tire went down,” I replied, balancing steadily on my one heel.
“Your heel busted there too I see Miss?”
“Yes, I am afraid it did as well.”
“Do you have a spare?”
“No, I lent it to a friend, didn’t think I would be needing it anytime soon, it being new and all,” I mentioned, broken heel in hand.
“Can I give you a lift into town Miss?”
I thought, looked up at the bright star, and sighed. Then I looked back at the shadow of the gentleman in the car. “Thank you sir, but I will pass on your offer.”
“Mighty dangerous out here alone as a woman, if I do say so.”
“Thank you for your concern,” I said, back up from the gentleman’s car.
“Suit yourself Miss.” His voice had turned hostile.
The car tires squealed on the asphalt as desert dust kicked into the air.
I stretched my neck back up to the sky to Mama’s star. It seemed to me as though the star’s light was pointing away from the Vegas lights. I hobbled back to my car, and situated myself to sleep in the driver’s seat. Before I was able to completely doze off a loud engine revved towards my car, the lights blinded my vision.
The engine came to a stop, the noise of a door squeaked open, then slammed shut.
“Excuse me!” a man’s voice yelled. “Excuse me, anyone in there?”
I popped open the door and climbed out, barefoot. “Hi.”
“I see you have a flat Miss,” the man said, pointing.
He had climbed out of a tow truck.
“Can give you a lift Miss?” the man questioned. “Are you headed to or out of Las Vegas?”
With the moon, and Mama’s star bright I said, “out.”