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Then we continued our Sunday afternoon charge through the desert.

It looked like my wishes might be granted though, because as soon as I stepped off the bus and ordered an Uber to my hotel, I received a text alert from my driver, informing me that he was deaf. It was a silent ride downtown to the El Cortez. I dropped my bags in my room and stepped out into the street. I took a lap around the Spanish Colonial Revival-style building in the brain-crushing degree evening heat, vaguely comforted to find a mailbox on one of the corners. I had about 36 hours before the Riviera implosion.

I wandered toward the shuttered Beverly Palms hotel and peered through the chain-link fence surrounding it: a dead phone booth, 10 cents for a local call. It became a bit difficult to breathe in the heat.

Implosions of America: Nine Stories by David Biddle -

I needed to go inside. So I walked over to Atomic Liquors for a beer.

A cardboard young Elvis Presley stood smiling in the corner of the dirty little room. It smelled like baseball card bubblegum. They maintained a decent moccasins section. I bought a postcard of desert ocotillo flowers in bloom.

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On my way back to the El Cortez, I passed a man with a very large lump on his neck, banging on a set of steel drums. The hot wind got me drowsy. I retired to my room. So I ventured there in the morning, posthaste. On the elevator ride up to the start of the exhibitions, a black-and-white video of a sweaty cop read me my Miranda rights. So the first thing the museum told me was that I had the right to remain silent. My wish for a quiet trip continued to be granted. Waiting for an implosion.

It looked like it could also serve as a brutal weapon. I found some relief in an early s menu from the Flamingo Hotel. Sanka, 30 cents. Baked potatoes, 50 cents. Add sour cream and chives for just 10 cents more. Served with our Famous Flamingo Toast. They die. Everyone dies eventually. The question is when — and how. A display ran through the hypotheses; for one, Hoffa may have been incinerated at a Detroit sanitation facility. Back on the Fremont Street Experience, the museum continued to hold a strange power over my imagination.

A Robert De Niro impersonator sat in a canvas chair, twitching, tapping a wooden club on his thigh.

WeWork Is Imploding. More Co-Working Spaces Could Be Next

I happened to be standing in front of one of my favorite places to meditate in Las Vegas — the Golden Nugget. I made my way to its 75,gallon tropical fish aquarium at the Chart House bar. Some of the big, long-nosed fish looked glum. Yellow-and-black striped ones chased each other around.

Up in a top corner, a school of little silver fish mingled intelligently. Appropriately, the televisions at the bar showed the Marlins game. He asked about the Tigers game but it had already started, so he cursed and wagered on another. I went back to the El Cortez to think about it. In a vestibule of vending machines — one dollar for a comb, 10 dollars for cigarettes, a buck and a half for ear plugs — I admired a photo of Elvis Presley and Liberace kidding around at the Riviera in Out on the casino floor, I looked up from the red-rose carpet at a television mounted to the ceiling above a craps table.

WeWork has imploded. Why are we so vulnerable to the cult of the startup?

Time to get going. I got lucky and landed a front-row seat on the second floor of a double-decker Deuce bus bound for the Strip. Marilyn Monroe smiled at me from a lip-filled mural on the Kiss Bail Bonds building.

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As I got off the bus I wondered if the street would continue to have that name once the new Las Vegas Convention Center space opens on the former Riviera land. I looked at the semi-dismantled multicolored mirror glass addition where the food court and theaters used to be, and I remembered the big white neon faces that lined the walls along the escalators inside. Entering the nearby Circus Circus, I got another round of silence at the steakhouse bar.

I studied a cloudy lithograph of cattle grazing in some ancient ruins for a while. When it came time to sign my bill, the bartender handed me a ballpoint from the Riviera. Categorically, no.

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Can we stop this and explore the original version again? You know, the one with real competition driving up quality, driving down prices and rewarding true innovation? But businesses like WeWork depend on smoke and mirrors. We've found a reliable rule with financial instruments is: if you don't understand it, ask for it to be explained.

If you don't understand that, ask again. Still don't get it? Give them one last try to make it clear. If you don't understand it then, it's probably nonsense. Robert Greifeld, the former Nasdaq boss, certainly thinks so. Remember the disruptive kid in class? The one who was always running their mouth off, making it difficult for the other kids to learn? You probably wished they were chucked out. We did too. And so the WeWork story ends—at least for now. Cults, after all, can evolve into cultures.