On the way home he had a vision. He had been doing his breathing exercises, focusing on nothing but his breath and the road, and then, in a moment of perfect clarity, he had a vision, and in the vision he was sitting in front of a slot machine, the Dolly Parton slot machine, and dropping in a quarter and watching as the sparkling butterflies lined up three in a row and then listening to the sirens go off and blinking at the swirling lights and flinching at the coins tumbling out in a glorious torrent of metal chatter. As soon as the vision was over he put on his blinker, changed lanes and switched freeways. His wife woke up and asked him where they were going. “We’re going to Vegas,” he told her. His wife protested, said something about how it was Sunday, how the kids – still asleep in the back – had school tomorrow and how he had work and they just couldn’t up and take a trip to Vegas. He said he couldn’t turn around, he had a vision, they were going to Vegas, and short of pushing him out of a the car – while it was moving – and taking control of the steering wheel – there was nothing she could do about it. He explained to his wife that he had had a vision and if someone was lucky, really lucky, they might have a vision like his once in their life. His wife said she didn’t care, and his kids, after they awoke, complained the whole way, but he didn’t care either, he simply blocked them out, focused on his breathing, and in what seemed like minutes – to him at least – they were in Vegas, walking briskly through a casino, and then standing in front of the very slot machine he had seen in his vision. He put in a quarter, hit the button, and watched the symbols spin. On his first turn they didn’t come up sparkling butterflies, as they didn’t on his third, tenth, twentieth, fiftieth, and one hundredth turns. By that time his family was ensconced in a booth at the hotel buffet. His wife absent-mindedly stabbed at an over-cooked piece of prime rib and his children poked at their hot fudge sundaes. He showed up two hours after he had promised and made a joke about how even though his vision had been incorrect this was going to be an experience they would all remember and laugh about in the future. When he said this he looked specifically at his kids, who, years later, would have no recall of this event, as they had formed no memories around it (they had most likely blacked it out, as they were want to do with events fitting snugly into the “bored beyond belief” category), and told their father as such every time he mentioned it, which was often, especially during the latter stages of senile dementia, when his family preferred to believe that everything he said was either a fabrication or a random nugget of meaningless coherence inside another word salad.
Light Of A Clear Blue Morning