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"The Passion of Sheepdogs," by John Haggerty

Rachel, oh Rachel! Mistress of my heart, irradiated queen of the desert, alien oasis, black-budget fever dream, ghost town of the future, sheepdog disco, heart of America. Shelter me in your double-wides, ll my ventricles with Alien Burgers, stun me with alcohol, swaddle me in the lights of your brilliant night sky.

One Day and One Night in Laughlin, Nevada

* Claire Skinner *

Driving from Las Vegas at night, the first glimpse is from Spirit Mountain, almost five thousand feet above Laughlin. Darkness below, darkness above, and at the very center: a line of light—red, white, turquoise, yellow, pink. Casinos. The blaze of them all the more startling because for an hour we’ve been driving through nothingness. Or what appears to be nothingness: the dark desert mountains and the dark desert valleys with the occasional blip of civilization (signs for Girls! Girls! Girls! Steak & Eggs only 5.99! Endless Slots!), then–blink, blink–gone.