Monday, August 15, 2005

Las Vegas, 2004: 34th Annual Wargamers Convention, and 72nd Annual Clinical Psychologists Convention & Pharmaceutical Field Trials.

Dr Pico surveyed the casino floor with a critical eye. He was here as part of the panel for the keynote debate, Anti-depressants: Too Much of a good thing or the More the Merrier? Pico hated Vegas, but was pleased that the Pharmaceutical Field trials were to be held after the debate this year, rather then repeat the debacle that marked last year's convention.

A lovely little warLooking around the gaming room, he was having trouble placing the crowd. Sure, they were bound to be conventioners of some sort, but this lot were particularly geeky... but they did not look like computer geeks. Then, catching sight of one fellow, who looked to his eye, uncannily like the English comedian Hugh Laurie, the penny dropped... emblazoned on the man's t-shirt were the words "Wargamers do it with models".

Mystery solved, Pico turned to leave the geeks to it, and found himself eye to eye with just about the last person he wanted to see on Earth.

"Preacherman..." he said resignedly.

"Dr Pico! What a pleasant surprise!" said the gaunt man, who was looking relaxed, wearing a powder blue jacket & sporting a trilby hat, cocked at a jaunty angle. "What brings you to Vegas?"

"The eternal dedication to solving the ills, both imagined & physiological, of my patients."

"And the post-convention drug trials?" noted the preacher archly, "I don't suppose you can get me in this year?" he added, hopefully.

"It's invitation only sorry", said Pico

"Oh well then, back to Plan A, which is to make enough money at roulette & spend the next 3 days at the Chcken Ranch."

The two men regarded each other for a few seconds. They were interrupted by an unexpectedly familiar accent,

"Hey, mate! You're that guy from Lambton Quay, aren't you?"

They turned to look at the approaching Kiwi, who Pico noted, was the tall, skinny man with the T shirt that he'd noticed earlier.

"God be with you, my son", the Preacher said, slipping back into his tried & true persona as he greeted the new comer, "You're from Wellington?"

"Yup, Fidel's the name, here with the Wargaming Convention, we've got a 3 day re-enactment of the Gallipoli Invasion, it's very exciting! There's a strong ANZAC contingent here this year. But what brings you here?"

"The Lord's work takes me many places, my son, especially those places where sin & depravity require my attention" the Preacher's eyes gleamed, and his voice rose in pitch. He gripped Fidel's shoulder. "Warfare eh?" He continued, "I know a little about that... let me know if you're evr doing the tet Offensive, I was there... in a kind of unofficial capacity of course..."

"" said Fidel, nervously.

Pico interjected, "Just fascinating... I've, uh... got to go... I uh... promised... my wife... that I'd check which way the bathwater drains down the plughole & give her a call to tell her ...uh... nice seeing you Preacher, nice to meet you Fidel".

"He's my psychologist" said the Preacher.

"" replied an uncertain Fidel... "...I've ah... got to go too... we're recreating the Battle of Roarke's Drift over dinner... uh.. with the salt & pepper shakers... and I uh... have to go practise... my uh... short range spear throwing... with ah... the toothpicks... bye!"