Tonight’s story is brought to you by the Random First Line Generator.
There was nothing left of the money, except for a hundred dollars in twenties, tens and ones, in the wallet in Alesia’s purse. It had been a great run. A year of living like the 0.01%; no worries, being able to travel anywhere, do anything, buy (or rent) anything or anyone.
Unburdened by the cares of those who have to earn their money as they need it, she had found it easy to connect to others, and just as easy to disconnect. Across the globe, the people she’d befriended, seduced, been seduced by. A tryst with the concierge in a posh New York hotel on her first night as an elite, ending when she flew away from him to Bermuda on a whim. A fling in Morroco with two students in a hostel. A long two week chaste romance in Sydney with a thin girl, only to break her heart when the girl had wanted her to meet her parents. Being swept off her feet during a parade in Oslo by a bearded bear of a man older than her father, who accused her of many hurtful things and drove her away after only a few days.
There were more, but, strangely, Alesia couldn’t remember their names. They were cities and emotions to her, fleeting memories of the year past. Like the cars she had driven, or the private planes she had flown in from… somewhere, to somewhere else. She had really lived it, every moment, but now she had nothing but memories, and barely enough money to pay for another couple of nights in this cheap motel.
She was in Las Vegas, where it had all began, but not in nearly the same circumstances. She looked around at the tiny room, that smelled of cigarette smoke despite being a non-smoking room, and heard the roar of jet airliners from McCarran International Airport even over the rattling air conditioner unit. She sat on the bed above the covers, and wondered what seedy things had been done in this room.
She tried to remember how she had gotten the card, the shiny ebony card with no markings that nonetheless had been her all access pass to the entire world. Did someone give it to her, a year ago, when she had been staying in a nicer (but not elite) room at the black pyramid on the Strip? Had she woken up with it that morning? Did someone leave it on a table when she wandered down to the buffet, hungover and happy, for her to find? Did she win it in some game of chance or bar bet?
Why couldn’t she remember?
It’s good that she had known enough to get some cash as the year wound to a close, but what was she going to do now? She’d left behind her life in an instant. The friend of a friend who had been getting married, 12 months ago, is probably living his life; her friends back home had probably given up looking for her, must think she’s dead. What little family she had barely cared she existed before. Alesia had had so few strings already, it had been easy to run away from it all.
And so, so worth it. Every moment had been supercharged, excited to a higher state of being.
She got up, put on her shoes, made sure she had her passport and purse. The ridiculously expensive gold iPhone appeared to be dead; it didn’t hold a charge as of midnight last night, wouldn’t power on. It felt inert in her hands. She tossed it on the bed. Maybe it would be of use to someone.
Her luggage, all bespoke and handcrafted by artisans, had been gone when she’d woken up today. All she had left was the passport, and the clothes she was wearing, the purse, and a small stack of money tucked into the purse.
Outside, the desert air blasted her even in the middle of the night. Looking over the wrought iron railing she could see, of course, of course, that the Mercedes SUV she had driven for the last several days was not in the spot she’d left it. Gone. All gone.
Alesia walked across the parking lot, and into the night. She would have to find a way to call someone, anyone, reconnect. What would she tell them, though?
Eight hours later, Victoria pushed her cart up to the door Alesia had abandoned. Not seeing a “Do Not Disturb” sign, she knocked, loudly.
A pause. Another knock. Another shout.
She entered the room and began her cleaning in the bathroom, moving efficiently towards the front of the room, as she had done dozens of times before.
When she stripped the covers off the bed, something small and lightweight, and a deep ebony, flew off, bounced off the mirror, and landed on the small desk, startling her. Victoria walked over to it. It looked like a credit card, but had some weight to it, and had no markings at all.
She poked at it, and when she touched it, she knew. She knew things could be different, starting right now.