Anyway, back to our literary part of the general discussion. Charon's gone, World War II is over, The Great War is now called World War I and the Fifth Great Maelstrom is raging harder than anything we've ever seen before. Pretty picture, huh? And you wonder why the Gaunts all chuckle when they hear that the Baby Boom was going on at that time. We'd had two booms, they weren't babies, and boy could they kick up a fuss and scream.

The Spectre problem got real bad at that time. They were erupting everywhere, and there wasn't a day that went by that the Legions weren't routing them out of their territories. But, of course, this might be Maelstrom but the old problems are still there - the Grim hate the Skeletal hate the Iron hate the Silent and no one's crazy about the
Paupers or the Penitents. If you chased a Shade out of your area into someone else's they were not happy, and you'd have been as likely to get attacked as the Shade. Needless to say this did not help.

But, after a while the Spectres got so bad that the Legions were actually considering banding some of their units into cooperative groups just to deal with the problem. It takes a special breed of Wraith to suit up and go out to actually hunt for Spectres, though, so they started recruiting Legionnaires for a special order. Each man got one whole
Obolus a month, and they started out with ten men, and that's how Las Vegas got its own special order of Doomslayers - The Ten. You'll see them around all the time if you're dumb enough to go out into the deserts.

Anyway, back to the Skinlands: after the shooting was over a lot of the personnel assigned to the Air Force base came back to civilian life, and decided to stay in Las Vegas. That base was deactivated in 1947. The BMI plant was closed down before then, but they reactivated it in 1947 with a bunch of peacetime purposes in mind. That brought a
lot of post-war industry, which is always a good thing.

But we're talking crime and punishment, aren't we? The Golden Nugget opened up in 1946. And, on December 26th, 1946, The Flamingo opened its doors to a giant pink neon sign, pink flamingos in the lawn, and a very shitty reception which all but closed the doors on Bugsy Siegel's life.

Remember all that jawing I did about the Mob? Well, in 1943 Siegel was sent out here by Meyer Lansky and Frank Costello - no relation to Lou, I hope, or was it Bud? - to start putting some money down and getting the real show on the road. None of this running numbers shit, anymore. Lansky wanted to see some huge dollar signs dancing in
the streets of Las Vegas, and it was Siegel's job to get it.

He had Lansky and Costello's Havana money, and he came up with a great idea to spend it - he'd build a casino with a touch of class, as opposed to the dives they had before then. It would be what he'd called "a carpet joint," based on the resort hotels of Miami: a place to gamble in a plush, borderline-snooty setting with pretty dancing girls, prettier cocktail waitresses, plenty of good food, and big-name entertainment. And that was The Flamingo: the first world-class Vegas resort the Mafia ever built from the ground up.

But, come December 26, it was a fiasco. It rained like a sonofabitch, which ruined opening night, and seemed to cause a whole run of bad luck for Bugsy. The guys back home were getting antsy for some payback and he couldn't give it up because he couldn't get it. Come to find out his girlfriend, Virginia Hill had apparently learned something from Lansky - how to skim money off the top. But she wasn't as good at it, and after she'd been been tucking away money meant for construction for too long it couldn't escape the East Coast's notice. Finally, they'd had enough, and one June night in 1947 some of Bugsy's friends came to call at Virgina's place in Beverly Hills.

I heard that one of his eyes did a nice, graceful arc all the way across the living room after they pumped five bullets into him. Can't beat a .30-.30 carbine for that kind of work. They didn't do anything to Virginia, but they did tell her to get stuffed and consider her room at The Flamingo a lost cause. After that, the New York contingent closed in on the hotel and picked up from where Bugsy had left it, and the bad luck streak seemed to end there. Money started rolling in and the high-rollers all started coming in to enjoy the party.

Pity Bugsy didn't live to see his dream become a reality, but you know, that's fate. You make your life punching other people's clocks and then one day your own's gonna get punched: it's that simple.

1949 came around, and about a half a mile up the way from The Flamingo was seeing some new development. One of the Havana connections by the name of Wilbur Clark decided he wanted a piece of the action in Las Vegas, too, and started working on something called the Desert Inn. Things were pretty lousy for him. He kept having these
money problems that kept construction from being completed. Then in came the Cleveland contingency: Moe Dalitz and the Mayfield Road Gang appeared and showed Mr. Clark the way out of town so they could take over the operation. After that, things went more or less on schedule and the Desert Inn opened up in 1950, right along with The Thunderbird. So by this point, the Cleveland and New York Mafia all had stakes in Las Vegas, and there wasn't really anything that anyone could do about it.

On the more martial side of things, the Las Vegas Army Air Field reopened as a fighter pilot school in 1949. They renamed it "Nellis" after some guy who got aced in the War. And then in '51, about sixty-five miles Northwest of here, they started lighting up atomic bombs in the Nevada Test Site out in the desert. There were about forty-five
tests in the next four and a half years, one right after the other, but no one in town really seemed to give a damn. The wheels kept spinning and the money kept coming in and lots of really awful, US Government-produced propaganda shorts were telling us that the bomb was our friend.

You ever have to "duck and cover?" No? Okay, that was after my time and before yours, then.

From our perspective on this side, however, we were shit scared. Every time they light one of those firecrackers the nihils would all open wide and start sending Spectres out to play, so The Ten really came into their own after that time. The good news was we got a lot of business at the forges, with all the Spectres they were catching. The bad news was that there were a lot more who did their damage and then disappeared before they could be caught. If there was one thing that made up for it, the Quick population had increased by a huge leap and a bound. In 1940 it was around 8,500? Come 1950 it was at... drum roll please... 24,624, give or take a dead messenger in a shallow grave.