Writing Challenges

Fact or Fiction

I’d fallen asleep again and when I opened my eyes, I could see a kaleidocope of stars above through the rear window. The desert. Nevada or California, it was hard to tell. The Mojave stradles both states and pretty much looks the same from both sides.

Especially when you’re fucking lost.

“We’re not lost”, Dave said.
“Then where are we?” Phil flung the map at him.
“We’re not far. Look, you see that glow in the distance? That’s Vegas.”

I yawned. “Then fucking get us there, Magellan.”

“Haha, Mike”
“Shut up, Alex”

Somewhere we’d taken a wrong turn and somehow had ended up back in Death Valley, made our way out again, took another wrong turn at Beatty, and ended up doubling back once again. The way things were going between us, Death Valley was going to be renamed “Murder Valley”.

After another hour, we spotted a little roadside Casino. We pulled in to ask directions.

The place was more of a bar with a few slots and pool tables than an actual casino, but it would do. We just needed some directions. I went with Dave to ask directions while the others walked over to the pool tables.

The bartender was reading a book and didn’t even look at us. He raised a bushy eyebrow as we approached.

“We’re lost. Can you tell us how to get to Vegas?”
“Easy”, he said.
“Ok, can you tell us then?”

He continued to look at his book, “change the direction from where you’re going, you will wind up where you’re headed.”


Me and Dave looked at each other and shrugged, and walked over to the pool tables. Phil was about to win the table from a man in a beret who didn’t look too happy about it.

“Any luck?” Dave asked.
“Not much”, I said. “Confucius over there isn’t making any sense.”

Phil sunk the 8 and held out his hand to shake on a game well played. Beret threw down his pool cue and shot us all a dirty look before walking over to talk with Confucius at the bar while glancing back in our direction.

“Maybe you should have let him win.”
“You think so? Maybe we should leave.”
“Finally, a good idea.”

We headed for the door figuring we’d be better off finding our own way back than hanging out here. When we got outside, I couldn’t help but be amazed at the brilliance of the night sky.

“Whoa, look at the stars.”
“Shut up, Copernicus.”

And with that, we aimed the car at that distant glow and made our way towards Vegas.


Day something of 30 Minus 2 Days of Writing. I missed yesterday but I slipped in a little Confucius for today. That didn’t sound right. Whatever. Go see what everyone else wrote!

las vegas roadside casino nevada

Actual grainy photo of the casino…or is it??

Related Posts

  • Tami Von Zalez

    “slipped in a little Confucious” now I have a new name for a … position.

  • Confucius say what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas but what happens on the way there is repeatable.

  • This is turning into a really weird road trip. Also, you guys were really bad at reading a map, weren’t you?

  • Another chapter in the torturous nightmare journey, and a good recovery on missing Confucius yesterday. Well done!

  • Finally a man who stops for directions!

  • mikewjattoomanymornings

    People die in Death Valley. It’s miserable hot there.

    I think this story is true, but moderately embellished for literary effect. It’s a good story, too, although I’m surprised at how badly this trip went.

  • It is rather amazing that you survived the trip. Hopefully you are all still speaking to each other.

  • This is like the never-ending trip – or three hour boat trip if you remember Gilligan’s Island…

  • This must be what the road to hell is like. Great stuff, Mike; I’ve enjoyed all of these. Indigo

  • Cadeaux

    We took a back road (dirt – not even remotely paved) back to Las Vegas from Pahrump once. I don’t know how we managed to get back and not eaten by a gang of cannibalistic bikers. All these “take a left or take a right…or go straight” decisions along the way. No clue. None whatsoever…just dirt. Honestly…I don’t know how we didn’t get killed by someone. Scariest thing I ever did in my life.

  • Yep. And I’m sure it’s gonna become a “thing”.

  • Confucius was a wise man. Maybe a little drunk too, but wise.

  • I’m a great map reader. It was all their fault I swear.

  • Thanks. I couldn’t have forgiven myself if I ignored Confucius

  • Yep. One for the books!

  • I’ll always remember how acutely aware I was of exactly where the sun was at all times.

    How much truth is there in this story? I’ll never tell. Well, I might in exchange for a cheeseburger.

  • I won’t let on to how things turned out (or how true the events were ;)), but immediately after the trip no one spoke for a month.

  • Gilligan’s Island went on wayyyy longer than this saga,but at times it felt like it.

  • Was it fact or fiction? Loved this: “Then fucking get us there, Magellan.” Then, Magellan led you to Confucius.

    I hope the distant glow was Vegas and not Area 51.

  • Thanks, I. I’ve enjoyed writing them.

  • We did make it to Vegas eventually. Area 51 is another tale.

  • We stayed on the main roads at least, but yeah, there’s a lot of weird shit in Nevada.

  • MalisaHargrove

    Loved the conversation between friends…especially the name calling! I could have been on that trip with you guys. I would have fit right in!

  • Hey, you have a picture of my house!!!

  • Cadeaux

    Yep – I wanted to go to a “house of ill repute” to see one in person. Prostitution is legal in Pahrump…but that ride back – never ever again. Ever. When the pavement ends – that’s where I will now turn around.

  • KZ

    I love the way you use historical figures’ names as insults. The back-and-forth in all of these road trip pieces are always funny and entertaining to read, Mike.

  • Oh, Mike! This is funny as hell. Also, I am terrified to go to Vegas. I’m afraid I’ll come home in a body bag!

  • Has to be fact. At least I hope it is. 🙂


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