What Happens in Vegas
by Caroline M. Yoachim
We can't afford this, not on top of my medical bills. The elevator that takes us up from the transit tube has brass railings and rosewood panels, and, when Alejandro and I step out into the lobby, the first thing I see is a fish tank that stretches across the entire back wall. There are giant chunks of coral in the bottom of the tank, and it's teeming with honest-to-god tropical fish. The water is emerald green. I can't even see the other side; the tank is too wide and there's too many fish. It's like we stepped into an advertising holo for one of the arcologies out west. Everything is clean and the air smells like plants.
"You'll like the fishes even better from the other side," the elevator attendant tells me. All this glamour and glitz is supposed to make me want their drug, their munin. I walk through the bioscanner and the attendant hands me my output card. Alejandro is at the reception desk already. I try to hurry, and a sharp pain in my left leg makes me stumble. I'm getting worse. Pretty soon the muscle spasms will be so bad I won't be able to do needlework, and I'll lose my job. Alejandro is talking to the receptionist, focusing all his attention on her because I'm an embarrassment. I rotate my wedding band so the diamond faces up. It's loose on my finger, and the diamond falls back to the side as soon as I move my hand.
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"What Happens in Vegas" is roughly 8000 words.
Caroline M. Yoachim is a writer and photographer living in Seattle, WA. She is a graduate of the Clarion West Writers' Workshop, and her fiction has appeared in Asimov's Science Fiction, Fantasy Magazine, and Beneath Ceaseless Skies. For more about Caroline, check out her website at: carolineyoachim.com.