After a few weeks of lying low, I received a call from The Chief.
“Hop in your car and drive into the heart of the desert,” he barked. “I need you to find the best high-end guitar in Vegas.”
I scrambled to get my ducks in a row, jumped in my car and drove for miles on a sunny day into the desert toward Las Vegas. Reddish orange mountain ranges stretched out in all directions, barricading my car on one or both sides at different junctures. There was still some snow up in the desert mountains on my route in, and miles where the only things to see were cacti and tumbleweeds. “I hope my car doesn’t break down out here in the middle of nowhere,” I thought to myself at times. After a while, though, the desert lulled me into a trance-like state and, before I knew it, the casinos of Vegas stretched out in front of me, all lit up and beckoning visitors into timeless caverns in which gambling and all sorts of lavish fun could be had ’round the clock. But I wasn’t in Vegas to party—at least, not just yet. I was there to visit guitar stores…to search high and low for the best high-end models.
On the way to my first destination, traffic was bearable and navigation was pretty effortless. Everything seemed larger than life: the lanes wide and the casinos leaning in on me, trying to entice me through their doors. I pushed thoughts of high living out of my head, dead set on accomplishing my mission before the sun set over the mountains in the distance.