In the cactus wind of Southern California, a distance of two hundred miles from the capital of cinema as I choose to call it, is the town of Desert D’Or. There I went from the Air Force to look for a good time. Some time ago.
Almost everybody I knew in Desert D’Or had had an unusual career, and it was the same for me. I grew up in a home for orphans. Still intact at the age of twenty-three, wearing my flying wings and a First Lieutenant’s uniform, I arrived at the resort with fourteen thousand dollars, a sum I picked up via a poker game in a Tokyo hotel room while waiting with other fliers for our plane home. The curiosity is that I was never a gambler, I did not even like the game, but I had nothing to lose that night, and maybe for such a reason I accepted the luck of my cards. Let me leave it at that. I came out of the Air Force with no place to go, no family to visit, and I wandered down to Desert D’Or.
–by Norman Mailer