Jeremy was four and a half and could not wait until he was a grownup. A lumbering adult had strapped him to a monkey that never once fooled Jeremy about its actual malicious purpose to keep him on a leash and prevent him from exploring the universe, fulfilling his destiny. This was the third time his father (or rather alleged father, as Jeremy imagined his real father was out there fighting to free him from the tyranny of these uncivilized beings) had forced him into the embarrassing contraption and drug him from the room inside The Plaza and down the road like no other he’d ever seen called Fremont Street.
On the two outings previous to this one, Jeremy spent his time in captivity in one of three states. He was lost in curiosity and reverence at each one of the infinite things his eyes were catching for the first time in their short life, being yanked out of the beauty of that present moment when being physically yanked on by the adult at the end of his leash. Or trying to escape from his captivity when the adult was distracted by other adults or playing a video game.
But this time was different. Jeremy knew it. With each attempt at trying to escape the monkey’s grasp, he could tell he was closer to solving the freedom puzzle. So there he was, feeling the weight of the monkey attached to his slender shoulders, waiting for the adult to find a distraction. When it happened, it was quick. They had gone into one of the sparkling casinos and the adult was at a counter over which there were many TVs: some had horses, some sports and some just long lists of numbers. Jeremy was curious, but this was his chance. He pulled his shoulders back with all his focus and strength, bent one arm up and so far back he thought it might break and managed to catch the strap with enough leverage and space to force his arm through. He paused in disbelief for a moment before letting the other strap slide to the floor and ran toward the daylight as fast as his legs could carry him.
Perhaps it was because he was only three feet tall, perhaps because his father was woefully uninterested, perhaps because it was a slow day and the men watching the cameras were too busy gossiping about the regulars at the tables to notice, but Jeremy made it to the open entrance. He burst through the force field where the cold, deodorized air met the warm light of day.
It would seem that his fate as a free boy would be short lived, but today was the kind of fantastic day when odds and circumstance were dominated by luck. Jeremy began to strut down the Experience like he was a king returning home. He stopped at the airbrush artist and complimented his ability with a polite, “You’re a good painter!” When he was shooed away by the future-teller for having no money, he balked at her unwillingness to share. He made friends with the young men selling light-up shirts; they asked where his parents were, believed him when Jeremy lied and affectionately gave him a pair of sunglasses because they thought he was cool.
Eventually, he was no longer under the shade of the light canopy. Among the legs of the masses, he crossed a road and found himself in a place much less interesting. He stopped to pet a dog next to a dirty man with whom he spoke for a few minutes. He asked about the dog and what fun there was to be had around them. The man said there was a park (but not here, and even though they called this place “park,” it was not one) about twenty minutes away, but Jeremy should have some water before he went. Jeremy smiled and thanked the man when he gave him a bottle and he wandered in the direction of the park.
Jeremy had to ask a few people along the way for directions to the park and had a great adventure in route. He danced in a record store, explored an empty castle called Huntridge, chased a few fantastic flying beasts and caught the eye of other captive children.
Eventually, his feet felt the give of grass and he was out of the concrete jungle. Here was an oasis—many people were resting in the shade of big trees and there was a playground, a water fountain and peace. It was a good place to rest; he would play after a quick nap.
When the policewoman scooped him up, he didn’t wake. He slept through the whole ride back to The Plaza, through the transfer to his father’s relieved arms and through being tucked safely into bed. When he woke, his father was waiting, smiled and asked him if wanted some pancakes.
Amelia Pond is Nevada native who works and writes in downtown Las Vegas. She spends her free time exploring the Mojave and the world via bare feet and cargo ships. You can read her real-life adventures on medium.com/@ameliaraepond.