I’ve been having aberrant fantasies about a neon striped seafood buffet somewhere in the middle of the desert. I’m doing my best to arrange a vacation getaway to Las Vegas, the land of vice and degenerate corruption, dancing people in Asian-themed face paints and all manner of glimmer and noise. For me, the crux to any of the big Vegas resorts is the buffet, and just how vast and accessible the thing is. I’ve written before, at length, about my lifelong devotion and possible obsessions with the buffet style feeding system, that long sneeze-protected trough of self served food, that row of endless possibilities. There’s an inherent beauty in the idea of grabbing the portions you prefer, the right amount that fills you up without leaving you hungry for more or embarrassed with a leftover plate of orange chicken and bread pudding. It gives me disgusted pause at these places who serve you food that was clearly intended for a buffet, places that serve up a salad for you, letting you pick a few nuts and berries while they skimp on the dressing and pork proteins and then charge you an electric bill for the meal. Blasphemous, these places. I’ll let you charge me twelve dollars for a salad I didn’t make right after I’ve finished my suicide note and profane letter to congress. Keep the sprouts and knotted chunks of lettuce—I’m heading to Vegas—and in Vegas, shit goes on my plate with a ladle.
Kayla and I aren’t Vegas People(tm). We can barely consume alcohol, if any, and we’ve never danced in a club nor have we any impulse to do so. We visited the city of sin just the once together, and our idea of being pampered equated to overpaying for a high-rise room and only leaving it for the occasional buffet run or fifteen dollar bottle of Tylenol. We loved it though, simply existing amongst the lights and the food and the possibility of it all. The buffet stole my heart, this massive testament to the developments and availability mankind has to offer. Buffets in Vegas hotels and casinos are a “thing,” I’ve heard, as many of them tout the special flair that makes this particular buffet the one to visit after the circumcision of your child or any other event that requires scissors and alcohol. So, naturally, I’ve been planning our hotel stay to coincide with whatever buffet the place offers and if they have an adequate salad bar, plenty of bacon at the breakfast end, and a ranch dressing tub large enough to give birth in.
I imagine the coronation like some distressing fever, piles of drugs consumed in a short time span or a few too many vegetables from an unkept pantry, something rotten causes the colors to blur and the loud neon nightmare that Vegas has become is now twisted into something Tim Burton thought of by living in the woods and snorting lady bugs. I am the King of the Buffet, and every few years I bestow my presence upon Nevada to sample what the ragged and overworked peasantry has toiled all year long to present me with. A warped roving circus follows me everywhere, the size of the thing ten times what any normal carnival might travel with, and keeping pace with the slow droning bells and music, dozens of waif-thin jesters and frumpy sad clowns cartwheel and patter around an enormous wooden cart. On the platform, a six story high and perfectly round creature balances like the world’s largest yoga ball, decked in patched purple robes and jewelry, baby hands grasping at the air, and on its tiny head a crown of bejeweled bacon rests. It is me, the mighty Glutton King of the Buffet, and I’ve come to suckle and graze from this season’s harvest.
The feeding is the real spectacle. The casino floor starts to shake, and what sounds like bass feedback rumbles through the building, the sad clowns and skeletal jesters all coming to a halt and beginning to weep. An army of monkey butlers clad in little red tuxedos start climbing all over the Glutton King and the wooden platform that he arrived in, powered by thirty overfed horses with shrouded eyes and droopy hair. The monkeys work their way up the platform’s scaffolding, and after dropping an enormous black handle, a creaky and massive wooden crane snaps into gear, and starts swinging toward the piles and piles of salad fixings and shrimp scampi in phases 1 and 2 of the buffet. On the sides of the massive crane’s scoop are large steel letters, contorted by time, and they spell out “The Nurse,” the words painted and embossed by the first full bucket of ranch dressing making its way toward the King. After he’s near drowned by the salad bar, the crane will make its way toward the fried chicken, then the cakes and brownies, then finally to go with the equivalent of a post-dinner coffee—the casino patrons in crunchy but manageable groups of six.
The hotel and casino have been demolished, and reek of salt, seafood, and blood. The Glutton King has fallen into a deep slumber, only to be awoken for a Penn & Teller show later that evening, and following that, the complete rape of another casino buffet, and then maybe Cirque du Soleil if there’s time. After a full night of terror and bewildered slaughter, the platform withdraws slowly, the droning circus music in tune with the clump of each overweight horse step, and as the entire show leaves through the massive hole in the wall that was created on entry, the light of morning shoots through and illuminates the carnage left behind. A casino floor, demolished. The bones of patrons who stepped too close to the omelet bar, everywhere. Everything ruined, and everything ultimately to be restored for the King’s visit in the next season. As The King and his circus move toward the horizon, a purple shimmering light fills the atmosphere, and in a blink the whole thing is gone, off to the other realms, and seconds later, the sky starts to rain buffalo wings.
Music in this episode:
happiness in aeroplanes – autobahnen
Telegraphy – Its In The Attic On The Right