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Under the Neon Sky
Wait until dark, when the mood is right. The night is about possibilities.
Invite a hooker to the blackjack table. Drop an extra hundred bucks on your bet. Order more drinks than you can handle. The forbidden makes Vegas unforgettable.
Jay Rankin places the reader on his shoulder as he takes us into a world few can imagine. Although nonfiction, his story reads like a work of fiction. The story not only gives the reader a glimpse of behind the scenes, but takes us on a perilous roller coaster ride that can only happen in Las Vegas.
Las Vegas. The name conjures up images of casinos, gambling, drinking, spectacles, and sex. Yes, Vegas is all that, and more. It's a city without boundaries. There are no clocks, no last calls, no one to stop you from staying up all night, getting rich or going broke, destroying your marriage, or finding true love. For a brief moment in time you're free to be whomever or whatever you want to be. What could be more alluring?
In his position as a doorman, Rankin found himself at the intersection of two worlds: the flashy, electric exterior of the Las Vegas strip, and its gritty hidden infrastructure. Surrounded by hordes of visitors whose singular goal was often to cross lines, Rankin faced a nightly fight for his sanity and his safety.
Visiting Vegas, says Rankin, is one thing. But trying to live and work in a gambling town that never sleeps, all the while struggling not to succumb to Sin City's temptations yourself? Well, that's another thing entirely.
Imagine working a 2 a.m. cab line populated by the desperate and the drunk, by high rollers and hookers. Imagine a workplace characterized by up-close-and-personal vice and violence. Now imagine getting through each shift under scrutiny from surveillance cameras, supervisors, and guests alike, knowing that one false move-whether in self-defense or in the best interests of another-might get you fired, or worse.
When I first arrived in Las Vegas there were about 30 fewer hotels than today. If you wanted to see the famous Vegas girls, only several topless clubs existed. There were no intersection bridges for people to safely cross the streets. But there were neon lights, and lots of people. At the time I had no idea how many more lights there would be, or how many more people the future would bring.
I was hired to be the doorman at the newest and largest hotel on the Las Vegas Strip. It was also the largest hotel in the world.
Initially the job felt overwhelming but in time, it became addicting. What causes so many people to have a love affair with Las Vegas? Is it the casino gambling, drinking, restaurants, or the lack of boundaries? Maybe it’s all the above. You’re free to be whatever or whoever you want to be. Where else can you let it all go? How many times in your life can you feel this way? It’s addicting. Multiply this scenario by one hundred-thousand people and it becomes a challenge for anyone who works for the hotels and deals with the guests in Las Vegas.