Trigger warning: Depicted in this fictional work, strong language, drug use, sexual situations, suicidal ideations, and murder.
I walked over to my Uber driver. It was a short stocky man. I couldn’t quite place the origin of accent and I was too shy to ask. But I liked the sound of his voice nonetheless. The motel was old and imposing. I looked at the bars on the windows, and then at some graffiti reading “Death to Pigs” in oversized sloppy red letters. I wondered just what I was getting myself into.
“Miss, do you need any help?” I heard the mysterious and sexy voice call. I didn’t respond. I Couldn’t take my eyes off of that blood-colored artwork. The voice called louder. I jumped as he tapped me on the shoulder gently. “Are you okay? do you need help with your bags?”
“No, no, I’m good.” A total lie. “Thanks for the Uber,” I said.
I smiled and threw my duffle bag up over my shoulder. My shoes made a wet slippery sound, as I made my way into the motel. I didn’t want to slip and fall and land on the disgusting floor. I should have gotten shoes with a decent tread on the bottom, I thought.
I tried to hang my bag over the handle of my walker, the weight of 3 months worth of clothing and a collection of tiny shampoo bottles, being too much for my shoulders. I checked myself in knowing that the contents of the duffle bag would prove of no use to me. I tried not to look at the floor as I pressed my weight into the concierge desk and pulled out my ID.
“Okay, There Miss, you ’ll be staying in room 321.” The clerk’s voice was happy.
The look in the man’s grey eyes seemed to say that he wanted to call in sick today but he had to be behind that desk because he needed the money.
I was quite surprised when he hastily handed me a skeleton key, there was a little piece of orange paper on the back with the numbers 321 written on it.
“Does the elevator work?” This place was giving me really bad vibes. I put the key on the sleeve of my sweatshirt, making sure to ball up my fist before placing it on the Walker. Next thing I knew Jack from The Shining would show up hack me to death of my sleep.
The desk clerk nodded, “We got a pop machine and one that sells pretzels and such.”
“Okay,” I faked a smile.
The walls in the elevator were a sick yellow color. The door to the contraption creaked loudly as if they hadn’t been used in a long time and there was a questionable pile of unrecognizable sludge in the corner of the elevator.
My lunch jumped into my throat.
There was a moment when I thought about calling this whole thing off. I knew I was worth more than some shitty motel. This is not the way I pictured this evening turning out. I muttered some cuss words under my breath. At that moment it seems as if my life were one big cosmic joke and I began to sob and ask God why he had it out for me and did He understand what was about to happen? My voice was squeaky as if all of the air in my body had been sucked out.
I sat down on the faded green and red carpet which was spotted with misshapen coppery designs.
My new black leggings were going to get so dirty, sitting on this nasty carpet. I really didn’t want the motel staff to find me all dirty and gross.
I took my Android out of my pocket, looked at it for a minute, and put it back in my pocket as a tear gathered in the corner of my eye. I wondered if I could make the call.
I took a deep breath and turned the old-fashioned key in it’s matching lock.
The metal bed with the black bed frame gave me chills. I was taken back to the abandoned mental hospital that my best friend, Sam, had taken me to years before this. Years before college. Years before losing my mind and everything that I had once loved.
Lilly and I were struck by how incredibly dirty the old hospital was. Everything was clinical and white, but stained yellow with time and the absence of human intervention. The room I was standing and now, however, was a cheery shade of bubblegum pink. The carpets were pink. I sat down on the bed taking out my duffle. I opened it up and took out My brand new bottle of Zoloft.
There was a knock at the door, I set the bottle down, on the bedside table.
“Yes?” I said trying to hide the obvious anger that I felt at being disturbed. I open the door a little bit.
A tall man in a faded pair of bib overalls in a white T-shirt stained with blood approached me.
“So, how are you liking your room, Brooke?” the man asked. His smile seemed genuine to me.
“What… how do you know my name? Who the hell are you?” My words flew out of my mouth like bullets fly out of the gun of the latest mass shooter.
“Don’t be alarmed honey,” said the man. “We own this place. Well, that is to say, my wife does. I work at the slaughterhouse not too far from here. People don’t think it’s a good important job, but it’s because of me, and others like me that you get to enjoy McDonald’s,” he laughed.
My stomach turned. I had had an egg McMuffin and orange juice for breakfast.
“My wife owns this place,” he said. “It was my idea to make the decor all pink. You know what they say about pink and slaughterhouse workers don’t you?” he asked me this question as if it were something kindergarteners were taught.
I shook my head.
“My foreman makes all the workers wear pink because it is a color that is very much associated with love, and warmth. It makes the job easier if you always feel like you’re getting a hug even if it’s just from your T-shirt.
Then he closed the door was gone again.
I wasn’t sure how to respond to that information so I took my phone out of my pocket and dialed the first number that came to mind.
“ Lilly, I need you to come pick me up,” I said. “Cooper’s Motel off 81. I’ll be waiting in the lobby.” My voice was calm even though I was screaming on the inside.
“Honey, I’ll be there when I can but no one is here to watch the little one, and George has had a cold. I can’t bring them out in this rain. But I’ll be there as soon as I can.”
“Fuck this,” I said to the empty room. There was no turning back now.
I went into the dimly-lit bathroom. The tub was full of rust and grime that was probably as old as the motel itself. I began to empty $50 worth of travel-size shampoo and body wash into the bathtub. The smell filled my nose and reminded me of warm bubble baths. I began to cry at the thought of never again being able to enjoy one of life’s simple pleasures. I had to make my family think I’d been here awhile.
I let the warm water caress my hands. It was comforting for a little while. I opened my duffle bag got out my small backpack. As I made my way down the hall to the soda machine, I saw the man standing in the hallway again. I didn’t want to tell him that if it wasn’t for the soda machine I wouldn’t be able to see him standing there and I would have run right into him and his nasty blood-stained shirt.
I wound up with 6 bottles of soda. I decided I’d start with Dr. Pepper because that was always my favorite I cracked it open before I even got into the room again.
The first bottle was half gone. Then I sat down on the bed and cracked open the bottle of prescription drugs.
I got comfortable on the bed. I wanted to get under the blankets but I wasn’t sure if I should. This was the kind of place that made you think of junkies swapping dirty needles, and married men taking advantage, desperate women, who would gladly trade them a lackluster blow job, for 20 bucks in hopes of quitting their addiction for a little while longer.
I decided it didn’t really matter anymore. It was raining. I arranged the pillows in a way that would be comfortable. I noticed a bottle of Jack Daniels on the dusty air conditioner. Strangely enough, the first thing that came to my mind was “ I haven’t had a drink in 5 months, and it would make the situation a lot worse for my mother if the toxicology report said that I’d been drinking.” After a second of analyzing that option, I realized someone had to have come in here and placed the bottle there. Who would leave an open bottle of whiskey lying around? I went to lock the door again.
This was getting weird. Iin a way, I was afraid some crazy guy in a blood-stain shirt would show up do unspeakable things to my earthly remains. But that was just it. That was what was left of me; not what I am and wherever I ended up. I wouldn’t actually care. I got myself comfortable on the bed and got back to the task at hand. I opened the bottle of Dr.Pepper, and opened the bottle of pills again. Just as I was about to pop the first one into my mouth, a very loud and vicious knocking started at the door. I opened it I was ready to tell whoever it was to leave me the hell alone.
It was my best friend. “I know when you’re lying to me. What’s wrong?” she asked me frantically. I didn’t say anything. She looked behind me and saw what was sitting on the nightstand.
“Oh my God, you were going to do it weren’t you?” Then she slapped me.
“You have a choice: either I’m getting you out of here or the policeman will come and get you out. You choose.” I nodded and left the room. As we waited for the police paramedics to show up in the lobby.
Quietly I told my best friend about the man with the strange demeanor and his blood-stain shirt.
The man at the desk looked at me quizzically. “Who, Randy? His wife used to own this place back in the eighties. He worked at the local slaughterhouse. One day he came home from work late and he found his wife under another guy in room 321. He was a sweet guy by all accounts but the anger overtook him and he stabbed them both to death with his butchering tools. Rumor has it that he actually cut off the guy’s …” the man went silent and he cringed. before finishing the sentence.
The man cleared his throat then continued. “Either Randy couldn’t take the guilt or he didn’t want to go to jail. Either way, he ended up shooting himself in the same room. He’s been trying to make amends I think from the other side by trying to stop other guests from doing the same thing. Every time we have a guest here that wants to end their lives or harm someone else they see Randy. He’s a resident guardian angel I guess.