I don't get it. Is today's society that joyless? What happened to the days when a man and a woman, or even better, a woman and a woman, came to a small motel in a tiny town off the interstate, requested an room with an hourly rate, signed in under obviously fake names, paid cash, and enjoyed some possibly illicit but vigorous and consensual sex? Please don't tell me that all ended in the '70s. Please tell me there are still swingers out there who love life and aren't afraid to have a little fun once in a while. Please. Because things have not been going the way I'd planned since I installed this new two-way mirror. Not at all.
As a motel manager, you see a lot of things. But 11 suicides in six months? It's getting to the point where I'm too freaked out to unzip my pants. Don't these people know they're being watched? What, the mirror built into the wall—built into the wall, not hanging off it—opposite the bed is just there to make sure they can check out their teeth at any hour, day or night? I didn't go through all this trouble to watch you shed this mortal coil with a 12-gauge shotgun.
I'll tell you what I think: People need to cut this heavy-handed crap and get over themselves. If only they could join me in the broom closet adjoining their room and look at themselves, maybe they'd acquire some much-needed perspective about their place in this world. And maybe they'd start using motels for what they're meant for: ménage-à-trois, raging cocaine parties, and full-body lube jobs, with all the perks, given by a Laotian teenager.
And, by the way, are women business travelers now too jaded to take long, private baths in our surprisingly roomy tubs, slowly dry themselves with downy soft towels, and then retire to their comfortable queen-size beds to pleasure themselves gently? No, it's all "I can't live like this" scrawled on our complimentary stationery, and the bathtub becomes a catch-all basin for the gore that ribbons out of their slashed wrists. These gals don't even bother to undress—they're that far gone.
I guess I should be thankful that there's only been one double-suicide. Though, actually, that was one of the few highlights. They were very young, and that girl was stacked like a Penthouse Pet. I thought my luck had finally turned around when they stripped down completely. I was feeling okay when they downed those pills, took each other's hands, and lay down on the bed. It's silly, but even after the shaking and vomiting began, I was still kind of holding out hope. But when it became clear that the beast with two backs wasn't going to be putting in an appearance, I quietly walked back to the front desk and called 911.
Which reminds me, I should probably let someone else discover the bodies once in a while.
And another thing, I'm sorry I ever got Tami involved in all this. She's a real pest sometimes, but she has a steady enough clientele, which is a lifesaver on slow nights, and it's better than having her cadging free drinks at the bar and scaring off respectable customers. But, Christ, the guy did say he was tired of being alone. Harmless enough, right? So I gave her a key and got situated. Next thing I know, his brains all over her little pink get-up. Thanks for the memories, pal.
What kind of life is this, anyway? Huddled like a rat among the buckets and brooms and ammonia bottles, only to be robbed of the dignity of a decent climax because Mr. and Mrs. Woe-Is-Me had to off themselves in my "honeymoon" suite.
You can call me a hopeless romantic, but I'd like to think I have the heart—and stomach—to keep following my dream. But as much as it pains me to say it the truth is, I've got half a mind to quit spying on my guests altogether and just head on down to that strip club out by the sporting-goods store. That place is a real breath of fresh air.