The Best Punch I Ever Threw: Part 7

Posted: March 9, 2011 in Nonfiction

Mike and I drove through the little town on our way to the hotel. It looked like it had been asleep for months. Like it had been hibernating since the first snow. No windows glowed, or looked like they could. The street lamps were out. Even neon lights and gas station marquees were off. Lights I didn’t know could even go out. The moon reflected on the snow. It had a sterile essence like track lighting in an industrial freezer. I swear I heard a preternatural hum. It ruined what could have been serene and turned it into something sinister.

Our hotel was set apart from the town. It alone gave off any light. but it gave off a lot of light. Each window was lit. They were few, and they were spaced awkwardly. There was only a loose symmetry, which gave off the image was of crooked and angry jack-o-lantern.

The eyes and staggered teeth danced with sillohuettes of fat people engaged in various acts of sexual congress. Most had the curtains drawn, but the fabric was thin and ratty. Vaguely indecent acts flickered like obscene shadow puppets. Muted Kabuki Theater. The windows that weren’t shut off from the world were still dingy and dim, and glowed with the same ugly light. The grime on their panes bounced light back against the white walls that had been stained to a Smoker’s Teeth Yellow. People danced or drank, and communicated in wild sweeping gestures. The drunken, jerky movements made them seem like puppets too. This entire institution had a twisted carnival feel.

Mike and I pulled in and parked. We trekked determinedly passed the windows. Intent on settling into our nook of this funhouse as unnoticed as we possibly could.

We got in and congratulated ourselves on getting through this town with grins and hides intact. Mike laughed and said we’d be doing these rooms forever, that years from now we’d meet up again in some murderous brothel in the middle of The Badlands and joke about this show.

We got ready for bed. I put on sweats and a long thermal. I still didn’t want exposed skin touching anything in this place. I wasn’t drunk anymore. But my head still seemed a little smoky. I don’t know if it set me at a disadvantage or not. I was more paranoid, but I was also just more okay with it. If Mike was the control group, I was certainly coming out ahead. He was a wreck, but I’m not sure he’s a fair comparison of how normal folks would act. Mike gets scarred when girls at the GAP get aggressive. 

We settled in and started watching T.V. Mike put on Robot Chicken. I realized I was probably still high because it wasn’t just funny, it made perfect sense. We could hear the neighbors in both rooms around us, and if we listened closely, we could even hear beyond that, into other rooms down the line.

Like subway cars, we got the vibrations from places we couldn’t see. It seemed to calm Mike. “Are you listening to that couple fucking?” Mike asked motioning to the wall behind the TV. “No, I was listening to this couple fight.” I said pointing my thumb behind me. Mike put his ear up to both walls. “This one’s better,” he said, choosing the one he’d been listening to first. “They’re fighting a little bit too.”

I’m always wired, after a show, and tend to stay up even when I’m tired. Mike and I chatted a bit, but mostly just waited for the adrenaline to pass.

We got comfy, calmed down. The night had been good. Long, but good. Now we were just going to sleep through the rest of our time here, and leave in the afternoon.

Then a stranger pounded on our door.

I’m going to leave off here because I’m beat. I know it’s a short post. And it’s almost more of just a rough draft. There are probably spelling errors, and I know the grammar’s off. I’ll go through and punch it up again I’m sure. I had a show tonight, and I’m writing this with the sun up. But I want to muscle through this story, so I won’t stop. This last bit is important, and I tell some more tomorrow.


  1. Hillary says:

    Been checking back for a couple days. When are you posting more??

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