I continued to be surprised by the "suite" when I found it had its very own well appointed bathroom. I found everything I thought of looking for.... Larry, Daryl, and Daryl could not have known how to stocked it. They would probably be considered lucky to simply find a bathroom. Knowing how to use one in an appropriate manner was still an unknown. I don't mean to be snooty, but come on guys.... facts are facts.
Even though I didn't have any fresh clothes to change into it did not stop me from lingering in the shower. It felt wonderful. I tried to wash all the fear and tiredness off of me and let it all just drain away.
A dusting of powder on the inside of my clothes followed by some thumping to knock off the loose stuff helped to freshen them. It was as good as it could get, considering the circumstances.
Now I was really hungry. I grabbed the dinner voucher and went downstairs. The lobby was once again empty. A small lamp was sitting on the counter and had been left on to dimly light the room. I stepped outside. A wooden walkway with a bannister on the river side went between the motel and the bar. Small golden lights had been strung along the railing to help a person find their way. If the motel and brothers weren't so creepy it would have been a romantic touch.
I hesitated at the door to the grill. Oh please please let it be at least semi normal... PLEASE. Muffled music could be heard. I pulled my sleeve down far enough to cover my hand. I wanted to keep from touching the door knob as I opened it and stepped inside. I stood there for a moment looking around and trying to get my bearings.
"Hey... close the door. You're letting the skeeters in!" someone called out. I close it quickly. I tend to follow orders when I'm the new kid on the block. Well, at least until I have a chance to scope things out. Besides, I didn't want to let skeeters in, either.
I walked quickly to the end of the bar and sat down. Things looked okay. I guess. Just a few hairy guys sitting around. A couple of them were playing pool. A guitar twanged from the juke box. Willie Nelson, I think.
Inhale... exhale. All will be fine.
A burly guy in a sleeveless plaid shirt was behind the bar. I felt like asking if he was Larry the Cable Guy, but thought better of it.
"I've got this voucher for...."
Before I could finish the bartender pointed to the wall. "Thar's the menu... take your pick."
Most of it sounded like deep country vittles... skunk tail soup, frog leg appetizers, grits and gravy. I spotted something familar.
"I'll have the burger and fries, please. Well done... everything on it. Is your beer cold?"
"You betcha. Whadda think we are... hillbillies?" He laughed at his own joke. Or else he was laughing at me. I wasn't sure. I faked a smile as though I knew.
"I'll start off with a glass of beer while the burger's being fixed."
He was already at the tap with a large mason jar. Not a 'real' mason jar, but one of those glasses made to look like a jar. It had handle. That's what tipped me off, you know, that it wasn't a 'real' mason jar. I'm fast if nothing else. He half-assed slid it down the counter to me and then disappeared behind the register.
The grill must be back there I thought to myself as I took my first gulp. And I do mean GULP. That beer was so good I could have drank it all at once, but I remembered to pace myself. Half of it the first drink and the rest on the second. Man, did that hit the spot or what. You know the spot. The spot where it hits on a completely empty stomach. I felt a little lightheaded for a moment.
I casually glanced around. No one was paying any attention to me. I must be getting old because I prefer it that way... don't pay me no never mind, boys. Two yawns forced their way out of me. This was going to be a dine and dash night, for sure. Another yawn came up just for punctuation.
It didn't take long for the burger to come. It was as good as any I've had in the city. I ate quickly, mainly because I was STARVING! I topped off the meal with my second drink... another beer. Its all I could handle. Besides, I didn't see Long Island Ice Tea on the menu.
I searched my pockets for any loose change and flopped some coins on the counter for a tip. I didn't count them. I didn't want to feel bad about being so cheap. I wasn't cheap. I was just broke.
I left and got back to my room without incident. (That means I didn't stumble over into the river.) Oh that bed looked like one of heaven's clouds. I closed the doors to the balcony but left the windows open a crack. Since the windows didn't have any shades I turned off the light, got out of my boots and jeans and climbed into bed. I was asleep immediately.
I became aware at some level that I was dreaming. Weird, too. I tried to tie a yellow ribbon on a tree, then it turned into police crime scene tape. A purple rat tried to make friends with me as a zebra blew his warm breath on my face. It smelled of dry hay. Then I seemed to be watching myself watching myself dream. That's not a mistake. What I mean is that I seemed to be three different parts of myself. I felt my physical self turn over and the river breeze cooled my face.
Scene fades to darkness.