Tuesday Morning at the Sad Motel

(page 3 of 6)

Ben obediently got out of the car and walked across the parking lot towards the little office. The parking lot was dark and all but deserted. Ben noted only two other cars besides his own. He opened the door to the office and stepped inside. A man who looked to be about Ben's age sat behind the desk reading a paperback book. He flinched a bit when he heard the little bell that signaled the opening of the door. He looked up from his book at Ben and Ben looked back at him. He was a fairly attractive fellow with short black hair and fashionable glasses. He looked bookish, in a hip kind of way. Somewhat out of place behind the desk of a seedy old motel. They looked at each other in silence for what seemed to Ben to be an exceptional amount of time. Ben had the feeling that he had maybe met the man before. He recognized him, somehow, but had no idea from where or when. Eventually they conducted the transaction with few words. Ben paid for the room and the man behind the desk gave him the keys.

When Ben returned to the car Greta was two thirds done with her bottle of wine. She was listening to a Depeche Mode song, still looking anxious. "Didja get a room?" she asked.

"Yup," Ben said.

"What did he say?"

"What did who say?"

"The guy at the desk."

"He didn't say anything. What was he supposed to say?"

"Nothing. Shut up. Let's go drink."

Ben moved the car nearer to their room. Number 8. The room looked just a Ben imagined it would. Small and boxlike. There was a double bed and a small TV. There were small ugly little tables on either side of the bed. A tiny bathroom that faintly smelled of mold. The room itself smelled of stale beer and cigarettes. Everything was yellow and stained. The walls, the curtains, everything. Once they were inside and had closed the door the rest of the world seemed very far away.

They had a bottle of wine and the better part of a six pack left between them. Greta went into the bathroom and Ben opened the bottle of wine and poured some into two plastic cups he found on one of the bedside tables. Greta came out of the bathroom, sat down on the corner of the bed and lit a cigarette. Ben handed her one of the plastic wine cups. Greta took it and told Ben to play some music. Ben pressed play on the tape player and Depeche Mode came on. "Not that, Greta said immediately, this!" She took a Smiths tape from her purse and tossed it at Ben. He took out Depeche Mode and put in the Smiths. Greta sat on the bed drinking, smoking and mouthing the words to Smiths songs. She seemed to be looking at something Ben couldn't see. Ben sat in a chair by the tape player. He drank wine and looked at Greta looking at whatever invisible thing she was looking at.

Time passed in this way for some time. Or no time passed at all. It was hard to tell. Time ceased to exist in the sad little room, and Ben liked it that way. There was just him and Greta and wine and music and cigarette smoke drifting about. It was a dingy magic, perfect in its own way. Greta looked sad and lonely and beautiful, oblivious to everything other than whatever it was going on inside her head. She certainly wasn't paying any attention to Ben, but he didn't mind too much. Things were fine the way they were.

Tuesday Morning at the Sad Motel continues...
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About William Taylor Jr

William Taylor Jr. lives and writes in the Tenderloin neighborhood of San Francisco. His work has been published widely in journals across the globe, including The New York Quarterly, The Chiron Review, and Poesy. An Age of Monsters, his first book of fiction, was published by Epic Rites Press in 2011. To Break...read more the Heart of the Sun (Words Dance, 2016) is his latest collection of poetry. He is a Pushcart Prize nominee and was a recipient of the 2013 Acker Award. He has a great and unironic love of both The Incredible Hulk and Olivia Newton-John
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