If the tourists sitting at the slot machines were worried about some giant creature that had destroyed Los Angeles and was now heading east, they didn’t show it. The girl tending the Big Chill Bar at Circus Circus flipped the channels trying to find something that didn’t show a giant dinosaur, but she was unsuccessful. A drunken man in a seersucker jacket he’d been in since yesterday stumbled to the counter and thrust out the giant blue plastic sippy cup he’d purchased from her earlier.
“I need a refill, baby. And a side order of you.”
“You’ll get neither,” she said. “Now run along.”
He didn’t though, and another man, equally drunk, staggered up beside him. This one had a green cup.
“God Bless America!” Green Cup shouted. There was a large smear of barbecue sauce on the lapel of his wrinkled linen suit and another across his cheek.
“Wassat song?” Blue Cup asked.
“The one about America.”
Green Cup raised his green cup in the air and bellowed, “… and I’ll proudly stand up next to you!”
Blue Cup joined in and they shouted in discord, “… and defend her still today! ‘Cause there ain’t no doubt I love this land! God bless the USA!”
“Do I need to call security?” the bartender asked.
But they didn’t reply. Their drunken gazes had found the television. Blue Cup sipped loudly from his plastic straw and seemed unaware that he was drinking only air. A slightly frazzled reporter was standing on a windy desert plateau.
“Despite the military’s inability to contain the creature that so recently destroyed much of Manhattan, top officials are confident they can halt the progress of the beast that has been labeled Godzilla. As you can see behind me, Godzilla is continuing eastward through Death Valley.”
The camera zoomed in over the reporter’s shoulder and far in the distance a black form was visible.
“We regret,” she continued, “that we are unable to provided closer footage as the military has established a no-go zone approximately fifteen miles around Godzilla. They plan to strike the monster with a nuclear device before it can leave Death Valley. Evacuations are underway and authorities are confident the danger to civilians is minimal. They hope to destroy the creature before it can reach another population center.”
“I’ll give you twenty to one,” Green Cup said, “that they don’t get it.”
“It’s a nuclear bomb,” Blue Cup said, pronouncing it ‘nukyular’. “Of course they’ll get it. S’America we’re talking about.”
“They didn’t get that one in New York.”
“Scientists agree,” the reporter continued, “that the creature is a female, but as of yet there are many conflicting theories on its ... on her age and why she has chosen now to emerge from the ocean.”
A trio of jets screamed over the reporter and the camera panned upward to follow them. They shot toward the distant form. A cloud erupted from the ground and obscured the monster and the camera rocked moments later as the shockwave arrived. The monster appeared again through the dust, moving forward at the same steady speed as before.
“It appears,” the reporter said, “that the nuclear option has been unsuccessful. Anyone in the creature’s current path is urged to take shelter.”
The screen switched to aerial footage of Las Vegas, which was a gridlock of thousands of cars trying to leave the city and military vehicles trying to set up a perimeter.
An electronic voice echoed through the Circus Circus. “All guests choosing to remain at Circus Circus should stay on the lower floor until the danger has passed. Please see any associate for assistance. For your convenience, all bars, buffets, and gaming areas will continue operation as normal.” A loud cheer went up. “Thank you for choosing Circus Circus, Las Vegas’ most vibrant casino since 1968.”
Blue Cup banged his blue cup on the bar. “Hey, how about that refill?”
The bartender looked at him coldly. “What the hell. Why not?” She filled the cup. He handed her a fifty and she rang it up as a twenty. “And how about you, sir?” she asked Green Cup.
“Fill ‘er up!”
He handed her the cup and wad of crumpled bills that turned out to be seventy-three dollars. She entered another twenty and handed him back the cup.
“Now why don’t you boys run along and win some more money.”
“Come on,” Blue Cup said. “There’s a blackjack dealer over there that’s got a pair like you wouldn’t believe.”
They made their way to the blackjack table and found two empty seats.
“See, what’d I tell you?” Blue Cup said, nodding his head toward the dealer.
“Deal us in, baby. Little strip poker on the strip, if you know what I mean?”
She ignored him, dealing the cards as efficiently as a machine.
“Eighteen,” she said. “Dealer stands.”
“That ain’t the only thing standing,” Blue Cup said. “Hit me, baby.”
She gave him a ten and took his chips. A few hands passed until Green Cup reached into his jacket and came up empty.
“I need some more chips.”
There was a dull thud, followed shortly by another. The voice came again.
“Attention guests. You may hear the report of guns and other weapons outside as our Armed Forces deflect … Godzilla’s … course. Please remain inside on the lower floor and do not be alarmed. Thank you for choosing Circus Circus, Las Vegas’ most vibrant casino since 1968.”
The thuds were closer. Chips jumped on the blackjack table. They could hear the muffled blasts of guns and tanks outside. Television screens showed the great beast at the western end of the strip. Everyone in the casino was now following the battle and some began screaming and running for the door as Godzilla easily breached the military line and began moving toward the strip.
“This I gotta see,” Green Cup said. He joined the flow of people running for the doors and Blue Cup got up to go with him, but first reached into his jacket and put a business card down the neck of the dealer’s shirt. She was fixated on scenes now showing Godzilla trampling the planes at McCarran Airport and didn’t notice.
“Room 213, baby,” Green Cup whispered. “Let’s get together later.” He joined the surge for the door and looked around for his partner.
The strip was chaos. Godzilla had moved through the airport and was now approaching Mandalay Bay. A line of tanks positioned themselves in front of the Luxor and began blasting the monster. She stopped for a moment and looked down at them. There was a strange humming sound like a giant electric engine coming to life and the lowest of the jagged spikes on the monster’s back began glowing blue. The blue light surged up the larger spikes and the beast opened its mouth. A torrent of blue flame burst forth and washed over the tanks, melting them into shapeless glowing hulks.
A fighter jet flashed by and its missiles struck without effect. The jet swung around for another pass, too close this time, and Godzilla swatted it with the back of a reptilian hand, dashing it into the side of the Bellagio. The monster roared and moved forward, destroying the Excalibur with a swipe of its tail.
Blue Cup stumbled and fell to the asphalt. He reached up and grabbed someone’s leg. Linen pants. It was Green Cup. He fell down on top of Blue Cup. Waves of people washed over them, mindlessly kicking and stomping. Their cups were crushed and the colorful drinks spilled out on the pavement like alien blood. The ground was shaking and Godzilla was looming over them looking a million feet tall. The monster raised a gargantuan foot and it blotted out the sun as they disappeared beneath it.