Sunday, July 4, 1999 | 9:31 a.m.
John Katsilometes' column appears Tuesdays and Sundays. Reach him at 259-2327 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
In the beginning young Danny was wowed by the sexy, flashy Rio Rita. Sure, everyone knew he was on the rebound, ripe for plucking after a meteoric fling with his first flame, the towering Strata Sphere.
All along, young Danny's friends felt he was better than his first lady friend. They knew it wouldn't last, and Danny knew it, too. Oh, she was fine on the surface, pretty in a freakish sort of way. She was a character, superficially charming, and visitors found her a hoot.
But young Danny, a starry-eyed three-slash entertainer (singer/dancer/comic/impressionist) craved depth. He longed for goose bumps, passion and a lasting commitment. Suite-heart Rio could provide all of that and more -- she was known to entertain free-spending, free-wheeling friends who might help make young Danny famous.
They seemed perfect in the beginning. Young Danny was the hard-working, funny, eager-to-please man of the house. Rio Rita was the expensively attired, upward-moving, financially shrewd power broker.
Rio Rita once traveled in unassuming local social circles. But she always had more grandiose plans -- for her and her new mate.
Young Danny and Rio Rita were soon surrounded by a jet-setting crowd. He put on quite a show, regaling guests with dead-on impersonations, a stunning vocal range and dance steps befitting a twentysomething John Travolta. Young Danny was good, no question.
But Rio Rita saw more than ability in young Danny. Like a cartoon character, her eyes spun into dollar signs as she watched him sing and swing. She made improvements on the house, more than doubling the size of the lavish mansion and decorating it with the most dazzling furnishings.
Rio Rita then stood tall -- tall enough to look Danny's ex straight in the eye -- and made certain everyone in town took notice. To help sustain this status, she placed an inflated price tag on young Danny's talent.
Not that he cared about the cash. Young Danny said he was fine with his usual weekly stipend and rejected Rio Rita's offers of a heavier allowance. But young Danny noticed he was running in an exclusive crowd, and once even took off against Rio Rita's wishes to spend New Year's Eve on Fremont Street with old friends she had long ignored.
Rio Rita, in turn, kept company with Whitney Houston, cursing young Danny under her breath.
By then the relationship's strain was palpably evident. The two rarely spoke. When they did, they wound up in a snit. Young Danny, dismayed at Rio Rita's indelicate greed, couldn't wait to leave her.
Rio Rita, unapologetic about her materialism, in effect told young Danny, "I'll find another."
Now Danny is being courted by an even more luxurious, distinguished lady, an occupant of the Strip, even. He's long dreamed of residing on the heart of Las Vegas Boulevard and living in wedded bliss. A Mirage marriage is in the offing, his pals predict.
Young Danny can thus become part of the family of influential resort tycoon Steve Wynn -- the Las Vegas answer to Walt Disney -- and watch his career soar to unseen heights.
And Rio Rita, unconcerned about her reputation as a greed-diseased witch, will certainly wed again. She'll find an attractive, talented beau. She's rich, beautiful and wants for nothing.
This marriage is ending, but fret not. Both partners got theirs.