Mapping Vice City

There’s only one way in and there’s no way out. There are no city gates, only an open invitation. You walk along a path of blackjack cards that leads you further and further in. The smiling faces of the queen, king and jack are tell-tale signs that you belong. They wink at you, enticing you to tread along their path to find the hidden gems within. Everything is so bright – neon lights advertise thrill and adventure and promise fulfillment. Cash floats by, suspended in the air, just waiting to be snatched up and laid out.

When you grow weary on the spiralling walk, benches made of fifties, twenties and hundreds offer rest for a moment and spur you to action again with fists full of money. Towers erupt to your left and right, dazzling you with images of satisfaction and glory. Walking into the nearest building you see shelf upon shelf of luxurious scotches, whiskeys, beers, vodkas, wines, champagnes and spirits that are laid out for the picking. Each bottle murmurs your name softly, luring you into desire – the need to feel the smoothing liquids cascade through your body. Your money inches its way out of your pockets while even more floats in. Armed with intoxicants you walk on to the next tower which shifts and changes with every step. In a moment, upright, in the next, tilting, but always grinning down at you, inviting you inside to experience its treasures.

Everyone is your friend – we know no pain, no hurt, no loss or shame or insufficiency. The tables are set and the dice roll. The cards are turned and the bets are laid. Everyone always wins. The house always wins. You rake in the money, filling laughing buckets upon laughing buckets as the cards hit twenty-one again. The building is green, its carpets are green and the people themselves have begun to turn green.

Taking to the path again, more towers erupt beside you. No one goes hungry. Arches of gold tell of saturated delicacies inside and walking beneath them signals the waterfalls. Milkshakes and coke and cream soda and red bull flow ceaselessly down while french-fries and onion rings and burgers and pizzas and ice cream and chips and cookies pass by on the conveyer belt waiting to be claimed. Everything spills in hues of gold until you finally waddle back under the arches.

Sleep does not exist. This place is too alive to waste a moment on sleep. We are beyond what our bodies may have once demanded as a necessity.

The bridge you must cross is steaming as the boiling black liquid beneath snaps you to attention through smell alone. Others are swimming in it and emerging with uncontrollable shakes and vomiting run-ons. On the other side, your friends rush to meet you – willing to do anything and everything. Balloons float by carrying baskets of lubricants and latex and you step into your own personal playground fleshed out by naked desire.

The spiral continues as the cards flash through the colours of the rainbow – changing to the beat of trance. The snow falls dry and light and warm. The needles come in all shapes and sizes. They flicker through the colours as they transform from tubes to vials of elephants and vines and shoes and indeterminate objects. You take one from the wall and watch as the blue liquid inside changes to pink and you stab yourself in that moment. As it enters your body, you become the mirror, reflecting the world around you. The trance pulses louder, the colours fly at you and reflect back. The towers begin to rave and the greens and purples and reds and blues and yellows explode outwards from the buildings like a spontaneous release.

The spiral continues, but you are lost. The path is there, but you can’t see it through the swirling, pulsating, star-studded colours. A white flag is waving, but no one sees and you stumble ever down on the spiral, blind with bliss.

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