Not that you could tell from the overcast sky, but it was nearing dawn. Personally, I could have gone another day or two without rest, but Sadie looked to be at the point of exhaustion. Apparently her little nap in the car wasn’t enough to recharge her batteries. I thought it was best to call it a night and let the storms roll through before heading on. Sadie took one look at our stop and immediately started giggling. She called the place a “No-tell Motel.”
“A what?” I asked, having never heard the expression.
“You know! A No-tell Motel! The kind of place that you sneak off with a hooker to smoke a li’l crack cocaine and get you a little tail, all at the affordable price of just twenty nine ninety five! Whatcha wanna bet they have hourly rates in this place?”
It was certainly no Alabama Star, but if offered up all the amenities we were looking for: a nice soft bed and a good hot shower. It wasn’t a palace, but it would have to do. Although I have to admit I had second thoughts when I saw it clearly posted on a sign “Yes! We do offer hourly rates!”
The place wasn’t very much to look at. It was a single story establishment laid out in an “L” design. The office was a separate building resembling a large guard shack. Every window and door of the office had security bars on them. The place was a small fortress. It didn’t make me feel very at ease about my choice of rest stops but it was either here or sleeping in the car.
I entered the heavily fortified shack and was greeted by a man with little sense and fewer teeth. I was asked for how many hours I would like to rent the room and when I said for the entire day, the man looked absolutely shocked.
I signed the register and checked us in as Mr. and Mrs. Nicholas Watson. Exchanging a minimal fee I was give the key to room twenty-three, down at the end of the building. As I headed back to the car, the man give me a tip of his hat and said, “You ‘newlyweds’ have fun now, y’here?” before letting out a hearty laugh. The only thing that could have possibly made him creepier would have been the sound of banjos softly being strummed in the background as he spoke. I don’t know if the Texas Chainsaw Massacre family had any Alabama cousins, but I strongly suspected I had found one. I made a mental note to barricade the door to our room before exiting the office and walked back to the car.
Sliding into the driver’s seat, I tossed Sadie the door key. She proudly held it up and jingled the key. “Honey, we’re home!”
Sadie was the first out the car, bursting out like a rocket with Magic hot on her heels. She fumbled with the key for a moment, but finally the door swung open. Sadie took one step inside and froze dead in her tracks. “Oh… my… fucking… God!” It looks like the 1970s vomited whatever was left of itself up in here! Is this the carpet from The Shining? I swear to God, if there are a pair of creepy twins in the bathroom I am sooooo out of here!”
I have to admit. Sadie was right. The hotel room looked like something out of a 70s drive-in movie. The patterns on the carpet zigged and zagged wildly and made you feel like you were walking through a carnival fun-house. The colors, bright and vivid reds and oranges mixed with brown and blacks, were enough to give a blind man a headache. Alas, it was a mess, but for the next few hours it would be our “home sweet home.”
Sadie turned to me, smiling playfully. “I think I’m going to sleep in the car.”
I caught her by the arm as she tried to walk out and gave her a little tug back into the room. “Come on, Sadie! It’s definitely… intense, but that doesn’t mean it won’t serve its purpose.”
Sadie giggled. “It’s so sad! This room will actually look better with the lights off.” She snickered and plunged onto the first of two beds. She landed with a thud, barely bouncing at all. She grimaced and started laughing through the pain. “Oh dear sweet God! That actually hurt!”
Sadie assured me she was fine, though her stooped over walk suggested otherwise, and headed for the bathroom. She finally straightened up and swayed her hips playfully as she went. “I call dibs on the shower!” she screamed, hopping and skipping the last few steps before slamming the door behind her. Even with the door shut, I could hear her giggling.
She shouted out, “Nicholas, sweetie!” If I’ve learned anything in four centuries of living, it’s the fact that if a woman calls you ‘sweetie,’ there is more than likely a favor about to be asked of you.
“Would you bring my bags in from the car?” And there it was—not that I minded doing it, but there it was. Just as I was headed out the door, I heard her add, “And if you see Norman Bates out there, tell him we’re going to need more towels!”
Just to tease her, I replied, “Yes, mother!”
As I shut the door behind me, I heard her scream, “That shit’s not even remotely funny, Nicholas!” Personally, I had to disagree. I was laughing all the way to the car.