For the last fifteen or so years I've been living with a bunch of dead guys at a motel in West Texas. Like the characters in my stories, I'd really like to move on, see the world, go places. But I'm just like them. Anchored by love, worn down by circumstances and fascinated by how much there really is underneath it all. So I keep writing their stories and tell myself that someday, when I've got this all out of my system, I'll write deep, meaningful literature about... something else. In the meantime, this is a place for the short attention spanned. I'm making a commitment to keep it small here. Flash fiction and scenes from the life inspired by, The Bella Vista Motel.
Clark Mannish was pacing around in the lobby bellowing, "Hello? Anybody here?" when Romeo stepped out of the hallway to greet him, mere moments after he had banged on the desk bell. The guy was a mess, as guys always are after untold days on the road in varying states of shamed anxiety, or angry resentment, or depressed resolve, or some combination of all that and more for having been exiled from New York City. Romeo wasn't yet privy to what Mannish had done to earn himself a stint at the Bella Vista, but sooner or later, as he always did, he'd find out. Mannish was god damned enormous and that annoyed Romeo right off the bat. Romeo was a respectable six feet tall with a fine muscular build, but this guy stood a whole head taller than him and though not exactly fat, somehow seemed to overfill the space he occupied in a way that made you want to step back and give him more room. Mannish scratched his fingers through beard stubble that would have made a scrub brush look soft, and continued up the side of his head to rake his disheveled mop of black hair as he said without pause, "Oh, good, glad somebody's on the night shift here, you got a room ready for me, sure you do, Mr. G said I'd be expected, listen, I'm starving, have a couple of sandwiches sent to my room and I'll need my suitcases out of the car right away... say, aren't you Romeo... sure you are, I remember you used to be something of a big shot a while back," he giggled in that way that set Romeo's teeth on edge, "how do you like that, well, we're all in the same boat now."
Madge lay in Romeo's arms, sleeping in her soft way, as light as a doll against his chest. He felt his body begin to settle against the mattress, the tension of the day loosening its grip on his muscles, his jaw unclenching, his mind giving way to allowing the sounds of crickets, night birds, the soft click and whir of the oscillating fan, and his own steady heartbeat to blend together and fade out into beautiful, blank sleep. The jolt that went through his head when the front desk bell rang––unreasonably clear and as loud as if it had been on his bedside nightstand instead of all the way out in the lobby––was like a cramp in a cold muscle. He glanced at the alarm clock as he slid quietly out of bed, 4 o'clock in the god damn morning. He pulled on pants and a shirt on his way to the lobby and wondered, as he had many times before, if he could get away with just shooting every inconsiderate bastard who showed up after midnight, sending them straight to the incinerator and telling Mr. G, "Hey, I don't know where so-and-so could be, must of bugged out and kept on driving right over the border into Mexico." But he knew that would never do as he shuffled down the hall in his slippers to check in that giggling ass, Mannish, because after all, even if he could successfully lie to Mr. G, having to dispose of all those cars would be a real headache.