“Thanks,” she says, tossing the tarnished bronze key and its unnecessarily large, plastic tag on the desk.
She’s already turning away, one arm around each kid, maneauvering them toward the motel’s streaky glass door, which lets out a warped and atonal bing-bong as she guides them all swiftly through it.
His parting gesture is a half-hearted wave, one hand barely rising from the desk as he grabs the key and spins to hang it with the others on the wall behind him. He counts all 24, swaps 11 and 12 back into proper order, counts them again. All here, for the first time in months.
Rummaging through the mess of curling paperwork in front of him, he somehow finds the remote.
Sighing, inhaling what’s likely to be his last whiff of chlorine this season, and leans back in the brown-on-tan swivel chair that at one time actually offered some support, clicking to let the cathode rays wash over him. The deep purple evening sky fades even further as his wood panelled and glass box illuminates, walls flickering in time to the dance of infomercials, sports replays, end-of-season weather reports, forgotten B-movies, and 1-900 adverts for lonely, lonely singles.
He reaches the last of them, glances at the Goodyear Tires promotional calendar tacked to his right, sighs again—even louder this time, for the benefit of no one—and begins the run anew.
Channel 01. Channel 02. Channel 03. Channel 04.
Behind him, an orange neon sign incessantly announces his vacancies.
Pairs well with: Free HBO.
This concludes what I suppose I’ll call “Series 1” of semioticrobotic.email. I can’t thank you enough for subscribing, and for sending such kind and constructive notes. Please don’t hesitate to write with more feedback as I begin work on “Series 2” (already in development!). When that launches, you’ll be among the first to know. In the meantime, if you think someone in your life might garner some small amount of enjoyment from this newsletter, I hope you’ll consider passing it along. See you in a few.