On May 21st, the date of the Rapture, my best friend got married in Las Vegas, the least likely place for anyone to ascend to heaven. It was an intentionally small affair, which is the only reason I did not attend. I did, however, flirt with the idea of ruining everything by hopping a cheap weekend flight out for the ceremony, but the combination of laziness and cheapness prevented that. Plus, I had to build a desk that weekend. Oh, and there’s the matter of respecting the wishes of my pal—that’s way down on the list, though, because there isn’t a major life event for somebody else that I can’t turn into something about me.
The game plan was to have a small, quick wedding in Vegas and a honeymoon starting in Vegas and touring the American Southwest, known primarily for heat, panoramic vistas, and “land art” projects developed by acid junkies in the ’70s. (Somehow, they missed the 879,000 billboards for The Thing?, arguably the Southwest’s most significant cultural contribution outside the Donner Party.) This would be followed by a reception in the Chicagoland area, known primarily for Al Capone and smoke billowing from flaming downtown records offices, a couple of weeks later. That’s where I enter the story.