08-07-2012, 08:28 PM
The big day arrived. At exactly two PM on Friday, a black stretch Mercedes limo tooled up the main drive of the Luxor hotel. Every parking attendant on duty snapped to attention as it eased to a stop in front of the glass-encased foyer, while a blue jacketed security guard opened the rear passenger door, allowing the guest of honor to exit the vehicle. As if on cue, the bell attendants moved in to collect the luggage from the trunk.
Buzz Aldrin, Lunar Module Pilot of the Apollo 11 moon mission, climbed out of the back of the Mercedes, blinking at the harsh Nevada sun after nearly a half-hour's ride in the dim confines of the limo and giving his aging limbs a much needed stretch. He had been to Vegas many times in the past, but always stayed in a different hotel each time; in fact, some of them had been torn down years ago to make room for the new ones. Oh, well, it kept his visits exciting, always giving him something new to see.
He entered the refreshingly cool comfort of the lobby, followed by his assistant--his daughter, Janice, who was walking up to the front desk to check in. A bell attendant wheeling their luggage on a shiny brass cart brought up the rear. Buzz took a moment to size up his surroundings: the plush carpeting, the slanting terraces inside the giant black pyramid, and the spaciousness of it all, so unlike many other hotels in which he had stayed in the past. The Egyptian theme had been toned down, much to his relief. So many Vegas hotels, especially in the past, played up to the images they presented to the point of irritation; he just hoped he didn't have to meet some guy dressed as a Pharoh or something.
Instead, he and Janice were escorted by the same security guard to the elevators, or rather inclinators, as he soon learned. Due to the angular structure of the hotel, the cars ran on an inclined track along the slope of the building, something Buzz found very interesting. It was also a very smooth ride; he hardly felt any hint of g-force. Must be the angle, he thought.
The doors slid open onto his floor, and the Aldrins were shown their suite. Their luggage had arrived at the same time by freight inclinator. The bell attendant slid a keycard into the door slot and opened the door, standing back respectfully to allow the guests to enter first. The security guard, his duty fulfilled, took his leave in silence, leaving the attendant to make sure the Aldrins were situated comfortably in their suite.
The bags were unloaded from the cart and set carefully on the floor by the sofa. With customary deference, he showed Buzz and Janice the bedrooms, the baths, the phone system, the minibar (of which Buzz made a mental note to steer clear), and made the usual offer of assistance in anything they wished to make their stay more comfortable. Buzz gave a hasty but cordial refusal, gave the attendant a twenty, and sent him on his way with a quick word of thanks.
Once relieved of the fawning hotel employee, Buzz breathed a huge sigh and fell back on the giant king-sized bed. As much as he was dedicated to his foundation, ShareSpace, the traveling was wearing him out, especially at seventy-two years of age. One day it was Chicago, the next New York, then Dallas, then Phoenix, then Las Vegas. The total miles he had traveled around the country in the past decade alone would have equaled the distance between the Earth and the moon! Still, it was his purpose in life. If not for ShareSpace, he would have remained in the quagmire of depression and alcoholism that he had sunken into since his return from the moon back in 1969.
Janice held out a sheet of paper in front of him. "Here's the itinerary, Dad," she said.
Buzz took the sheet and glanced over it. It read like a pre-launch checklist, right down to meals and lecture times. The seven PM time slot caught his eye. "Interview with Criss Angel for MagicPlace dot com," he read. His brow furrowed in puzzlement. "Who the hell is Criss Angel?" he wondered aloud.
"Some magician who performs here," Janice replied drily. "He's their biggest draw, and his website's the Luxor's biggest free form of advertising."
"A magician?" Buzz sniffed.
"It's an interview with a call-in Q-and-A. You want to cancel?"
"Oh, no, no, I don't wanna cancel it," Buzz said. "I don't mind a few magic tricks if they're good enough. Might be fun."
Last edited by Veritas; 08-14-2012 at 04:18 PM.