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(Audio video version is below – just click to play and listen)
Can you survive?
“White man came, across the sea! He brought us pain, and misery!” you screech, nowhere near the same pitch as Mr. Dickinson’s coming out of your speakers.
You begin to wonder who the hell still listens to radio these days. Thanks to the little smart phone attachment kit your girlfriend gave you for Christmas a couple years back, radio has just become essentially extinct. You now have access to almost 10,000 mp3’s thanks to 3G. All the songs you would ever need. Of course, your musical tastes come and go in spurts and you really only listen to about ten of the songs for a given amount of time.
Every night you listen to the same three songs on your way to work. The timing of those songs last the exact time it takes you to drive from your home to the ‘Pine Woods Motor Inn’ where you work. The Iron Maiden classic ends as you are putting your vehicle in park next to the front office.
“Run to the hills! Run for your lives!” you whisper to yourself as you dread another shift in this mind numbing abyss.
You’re almost there as you can see the neon vacancy sign in the distance on the side of the highway.
“Just one summer” you remember telling yourself.
Almost two years later, you’re making the same drive, to the same job at 10:50 pm, listening to the same songs. It’s really not that bad though. The job is as easy as staying at home. No one really stops by to spend a night, as the big city is just an hour and forty-five minutes away. Your girlfriend, Sarah, is actually spending the night in the city tonight celebrating her friend’s birthday.
Working the graveyard shift starting at 11:00 pm, you really don’t see anyone until around 8:00am. That’s when Mr. Burrows, the owner, comes in. Mr. Burrows is actually a decent boss. He doesn’t really care what you do during the night. Watch TV, surf the Internet and even sleep. Just like being at home and getting paid for it!
As you are pulling into the parking lot, you notice a car parked in front of room 16 near the back. There are 24 rooms at the Pine Woods Motor Inn, kind of in a “U” shape, facing the highway.
“Well look at that! Someone actually checked in to this dump today.” you exclaim with surprise.
It’s not that uncommon, being a Friday night, but it’s still a rare thing as it happens only around once a month or so. You were looking forward to a quiet night; being only the other two rooms rented are contractors who have been staying there for the past two months. You never hear anything from them, as they’re usually early to bed, early to rise.
Hopefully these new tenants won’t be any hassle and you won’t even notice them.
“….RUN FOR YOUR…..LIVES!” the high pitched wail on the speakers fades out.
You put the car in park and make your way into the front office. The front office is a combination of three glass walls giving you a clear view of the highway and everything going on in the parking lot. You can see Jack smiling at you from behind the front desk as you approach the door.
“You’re in for a fun one tonight!” Jack says to you as soon as you crack the door.
“Whatever! I could use some excitement around this place anyway. So what’s up?” you reply.
“Three walk ins. Came about an hour ago. Put’em in room 16 away from the regulars” Jack replied.
Jack was a cool fucker, for being a generation older than you. He’s always a good laugh and is down to Earth. He’s been working the same job as you for almost ten years now. Jack greets you every day at work with some smart-ass comment and a grin on his face.
“Oh well, that’s good. Sure they’ll be fine. How much trouble could they really be anyway”, you ask.
“Dunno, they looked about sixteen years old and asked me if there were stocked mini-bars with booze in the room. Also asked if there were any whores in town here too.” Jack adds.
“Get the fuck out of here!” you exclaim.
Jack gives you that grin.
“No, just three out-of-towners, probably city folk. Only saw the one that came into the office. He looked pretty fuckin’ stressed, but not out of the norm. Got a glimpse of them when they were going in the room. One of them looked like he was sick or something. Had a blanket around’im. Sure they’ll be fine. Just keep an eye out and watch for visitors!”
“Ya, alrighty. Anything else?” you ask.
“Ya, one more thing. Mr. B. can’t make it in early tomorrow so you’ll have to stick around until check out or at least until room 16 checks out.” Jack says.
“Are you shittin’ with me again?” you ask.
“Nope, sorry dude. Something came up. Mr. B. said you’ll get time-and-a-half for however long you gotta stay. Just remember you can split once that room checks out anyway.” Jack adds.
“Fuck it! Guess I’ll get some sleep tonight then, if I gotta stick around in the morning.” you say dejectedly.
You know Suzy, the maid, will be in around 9am. She comes in two days per week, one of them being Saturdays. It’s always fun flirting around with her in a harmless way, when you do get to see her. Plus, you could just pawn off the responsibility on her and split in the morning, if that room doesn’t check out early enough.
“Have a good one Jack.” you yell out as Jack is exiting the door.
He gives you the familiar one finger salute goodbye as he’s walking past the front window.
You go through your regular routines at the start of your shift. Count your float, check the registrations and tidy up the office. It’s almost midnight now. Almost time to get some sleep. Usually you wait until around 1am before you call it the night. Just in case someone decides to come in or makes a call.
You decide that you can either catch a bit of TV before crashing, check your email and a bit of web browsing, or do a walk around before hitting the sack.
Doing a walk around only takes about 10 minutes, but looks good on the motel and Mr. Burrows encourages that kinda thing, even though it’s not enforced.
You pause a second and think about what you feel like doing.