There are places in this world where hotels close. I'll say it again. there are places in this world where hotels, businesses that exist to provide outsiders with a place to spend the night, close, for the night. Not in Rawanda, not in some socialist nightmare, but right here, in the supposed heart of civilization, the cradle of decency.
In Rushville, the Nebraskaland Inn (we would be avenged) , closed at 10 PM. My grandparents go to bed at 10:30, nothing at the Antlers either. they watch the news first. They have lived their entire lives post-Edison and they are not Neanderthals beholden to the sun to tell them when to go to bed. I realize that the joints in Rushville and Gordon or more like "dives" than proper motels, filled with natives who made it off the Rez, but not really, single mothers banished from polite society, methamphetamine enthusiasts, living there semi-permanently. But still, they had "Inn" and "Motel" on the sign, and were still theoretically there to provide travelers with a bed for the night. surely they can hire one of the tweakers to watch TV and leave the door open at night; and handle money and confirm identity's and rob them blind.
We drove on to Gordon, it was much the same, nothing at the Western Sands, (shouldn't that be Eastern Sands?) or the Jefco. I believe it was the Hacienda where someone finally answered the lobby door.
An older man, not really old, but toward the end of middle age, came to the door in his boxer shorts, let us in, and walked behind the desk. I apologized for waking him up. He said it was nothing, that he had just gone to bed and hadn't really fallen asleep yet.
"We're from the city," I said "We're not really used to this whole hotel closing business"
"Heh, heh, yeah, there isn't much out here"
I spoke to him in a humorous tone of voice. He had waken up for us, and I didn't want to offend him. But I wasn't joking. We weren't used to hotels closing, had never heard of such a thing, and there is absolutely no fucking reason why we should have. This town was on a federal highway. Drive east out of Gordon and you'll be in downtown Chicago in eighteen hours. We were within minutes of trying to sleep in the clown car. It burns me. These people have electricity, they have plumbing. I'm sure there's at least three or four of them who know how to read. There is absolutely no fucking excuse for this. It burns me, is all
Paul had come in with me. I told the guy that it was a room for two. He gave no sign of distress. I'm sure he's had this sort of situation before. He knew to keep his mouth shut. Just pay your bill and I won't ask any questions cowboy.
The room was a shitty old-style tourist cabin. It was hidden around the corner from the lobby, which made it easy for our human contraband to get in. It had a single bed by the door, the TV strategically arranged so that you could almost see it in every corner of the room. The heat/AC was in the bathroom, which is ridiculously inefficient, really just asinine, but anyway.
Me, Paul, and Dan started drinking our Hurricanes. Becky said she would drink hers in the morning. Not quite, but she would drink more than we did the next night. Outstanding.
The flat acidity was obvious even after the first relatively cold sip. The taste of surrender,hopelessness, going away to prison party, I like to have a drink on my Burger King lunchbreak. It's inconceivable how anyone can drink these things regularly and not give themselves a perforated ulcer after three months.
I drank mine quickly. It had been a long day, and I lack discipline on these matters. A straight line and a goal. The effects came on even more quickly than they usually do when one garden-hoses malt liquor. I began to feel, rather light, and, open to suggestion.
Dan was unable to tolerate his. This would change, by and by, but right now he just couldn't hack it. So I asked if I could finish his. He snarked at the sight of me. I don't see why, I would be perfectly fine with two. Clear-eyed, reasonable, focused.
Minor hot flashes; swooping, jagged dart thoughts. Who wants to dance? Who wants to scratch Dadaist nonsense poetry out of the wallpaper with a knife? I grabbed the video-camera and danced with it. I saw myself in the mirror. I was gorgeous. I pointed the camera at myself and held it. Everyone thought that this was hilarious beyond words. I was the only one who was truly drunk, but, yeah. My eye looking into the eye filming the eye leading back to my eye. It's high school drama club funny. There's less sophisticated forms of humor out there.
Becky grabbed her camera and filmed me filming myself. Dan grabbed his and filmed Becky filming..... I turned around and we were all filming each other. It was cyborg porn, Orwell meets Nifty.org.
Things wound down from there, a time of ciggerette smoking and unspoken regret. Our focus turned toward the TV. I don't believe any one of us has cable. We can't morally afford it. We're smarter than you. It's how we butter our bread.
But we were on vacation. So we watched TV.
You might have heard of Peter Poppov. He's the televangelist with the miracle water that you can buy in a transparent mustard paket for twenty dollars. It's touched by Jesus himself after some haggling with Poppov. It cures the cancer of crying African girl's mothers. It will make your son-in-law stop doing coke. It has it's own choir and it's own ministry. Yet somehow, something about all this strikes me as funny. I know I'm supposed to believe anything I hear from someone who loves Jesus. But Popov is a blatantly Soviet name, and his accent sounds like an anagram of various socialist tongues. A little Romanian, a little Argentinian, a little French. I just can't bring myself to trust someone of unknown swarthy extraction.
I'd like to talk to you about that certain part of the male anatomy.