The Blossom of Nevada
The clock hand clunks creakily onwards to 11:00pm. A wave of silence washes outwards, muting all sound; conversation, music, the rattle of money, someone crying, someone singing, someone’s sickly cough, the cry of a croupier, and then further out, engines, gunshots, the sigh of an old man remembering. Silence. 60 seconds.
Then it fades back in, first out here on the edges, the opening lines of the city orchestra plucked by the frail fingers of the fringes, then growing, swelling, picking up volume, heading back to the centre, until the full roar of Vegas is recalled.
People go on about their business.
In the city, fortunes spin, tumble, flash past and drop. Stakes raised. Lives razed. The absence of noise barely noted in the onslaught of every day acoustics. Only a few even remember now, why it tolls, but they aren’t here in the heat and fever of the city. To most it’s just another show; The 60 seconds of silence.
But some still do. ‘Old, grey eared fools’ as they’re called. In the lonely unwashed fringes of the city they come and gather by the last real tree in the state. Hoping to see one last Cherry appear. A fruit, bright and beautiful. And though no one remembers the taste anymore, they bring pictures, or draw a Cherry in the dust. If you look closely you may even find a faded X here and there. The tree of course does not bare fruit. But they gather still, to remember.
For those 60 seconds they can sit in absolute silence and let their thoughts drift back, to that evening when Rylan, the Blossom of Nevada, lit by a single spotlight, on the final night of his 6000 day run at the Bellagio, in front of the gathered thousands, sang out, one last single pure note, held for 60 seconds, before dissipating, into a shimmer of glitter and fake cherrry blossom.
It was said to be a performance so beautiful, a final note so distinct and pure and absolute, that no other sound would ever recapture the beauty. Of his evaporation, some claimed Nevana, others PR, but the great minds of Vegas did not miss a beat and set to work creating the scientific marvel that is the silence clock tower; to honour a moment that could never be recreated.
Of course never is a dirty word in Vegas and honour, just a fallacy. Eventually the 60 seconds of silence became the attraction itself. Then a nuisance. Then it was another unnoticed part of the daily routine. A pause in the synthetic symphony, nothing more.
But, still these many years later, when others have forgotten why the silence sings, and though those that do have been discarded to the small edges; too poor to retire to the coast, to tired of the flash of the lights and the dance of fate, they meet here. A quiet little suburb. Nothing special. With a small garden. Near where a young man from England once came. They sit, in the muted bliss, under the original Cherry tree that inspired his hit song ‘You can be my Cherry and I’ll be your tree’ and remember that moment that changed the face of music.