Here comes the knock on the door, Jimmy Smith, but you don’t respond, do you?
“Get me my money and get out.” It’s the manager, Jimmy Smith. But you’re still under the white sheets, and you don’t even move.
The manager slams the door.
Your head lifts and looks out from under the white sheets, making sure he’s gone, then your head drops back onto the pillow, waiting for a few moments, gathering strength enough to get the whole body up.
“One, two, three . . .” You lift yourself, Jimmy Smith, in an imitation of push-ups, and twist that bony torso around until your legs are hanging over the edge of the bed and your feet are about to touch the ground.
You sit there, naked except for a dirty white tank top, grey against the clean white motel sheets.
Did you notice a kind of silence emanating from the motel this morning, Jimmy Smith?
Yes, it was enough to make anyone sleep late.
Saturday night you were drinking, sitting alone in the warmth of this smoky room, while outside the temperature hit an all time low for this time of year, and people turned to the nearest stranger for comfort.
But you couldn’t find a stranger, could you Jimmy Smith?
You must have thought about the other guests, and what they were doing to avoid the cold. Maybe you hadn’t met any of them, you hadn’t been here long enough, and it’s not the sort of place where you get to know the other guests.
A man and a woman checked into the room next to yours late that night, didn’t they Jimmy Smith? You were about to go to sleep when you heard voices outside your door.
You knew the story straight away, the laughing, the fumbling with keys, the kissing each other with alcohol breath and passion. But all that desire evaporated, as quick as spilt whisky, once the door opened and the man dumped the woman.
“No,” she said, and you listened. “Don’t do this.”
“Can’t you understand a simple goodbye?”
“But I love you.”
“Go back to your husband. He loves you.”
The door slammed and the woman started to cry. Then the woman started to hammer on the door. And the hammering kept on going until the door opened.
You pick up the pair of jeans on the floor, Jimmy Smith, and wonder what happened in there last night. It’s none of your business, but you still think about it, don’t you?
The man was in love with the woman, and she was in love with him. But she was married, had a career, and couldn’t bring herself to leave that comfort for this man and their late night rendezvous. Things would be the same if they were together anyway. There’d be no more motels, just a different suburb in a different town.
He knew she was never going to leave her husband. She was using him. So he decided this would be the last time. He took her out to an expensive restaurant and got her drunk and then he brought her back here with the intention of humiliating her, playing with her the same way she’d played with him, getting her all wet and ready to go and then slamming the door in her pretty face.
But she was persistent. She really did love him. She was confused. She loved him and she loved her husband. She didn’t understand why she couldn’t have both. And he heard that confusion, as she hammered on the door, the bluest beat he’d ever heard, because he loved her too, his lost little girl waiting out there, waiting for him to make everything alright.
His pride needed to believe that she loved him more than she loved her husband, that she’d run away with him when they’d saved up enough money. So he let her in like he always did and they made love like they always did. But in that fog after coming he realized again nothing was going to change. She’d sober up in the morning and go back to her husband. He’d take a drink in the morning and go back to work.
He saw her lying there next to him in the flickering television light, so beautiful, the image of all that he ever wanted, and he strangled her. He killed her right there in the room next door to you, Jimmy Smith.
Then he left in a panic, left her lying there, lying dead in there, his hand marks around her throat, his semen bathing inside her cunt. She grabbed at her last breath through a bushfire fog in this motel.
That’s why all the rooms are so quiet this morning, isn’t it Jimmy Smith?
Her lungs have drawn all the life out of the place.
So remove the leather belt from the waist of those jeans and hold it gently in your hands, running thin fingers along the smooth surface.
You feel sorry for the woman in the room next door, don’t you, Jimmy Smith?
Your hands are dirty and your nails are long but your cock is half erect from waking and it grows fully erect responding to the texture of the leather belt.
If you had a drill you could drill a hole in the wall and look at her.
Flick cigarette butts at the bitch.
Burn down the Rainbow Motel.
You thread the strap through the buckle and put the belt around your neck, holding it tight in your left hand as you rest back on the bed, leaning on your elbow.
You take your cock in your right hand and start to stroke it, first slowly then gradually faster.
It doesn’t take long before that face of yours is swollen and the eyes are watering.
You brace yourself, tightening the belt, eyes rolling back in your head, your body a gaunt convolution, as semen spurts onto the white motel sheets.
After loosening the belt you are on the white sheets panting, Jimmy Smith.
When you recover, you get up and pull on the jeans that have fallen back onto the carpeted floor. You take off the belt hanging limp around your neck, thread it around your waist, tighten the buckle, and walk over to the bathroom.
You look through the mould on the mirror, feeling for marks on your neck with one hand, for marks that can’t be seen, for incipient belt buckle marks, as you turn on the cold water tap.
Cool liquid runs through a few fingers. The hands make a cup, full and overflowing with water. You bring the cupped handful of water up to meet the face as it stoops to meet the handful of cupped water.
Splash that face awake, Jimmy Smith.
Run wet hands through the hair to flatten it as best you can.
Satisfied? Wipe the droplets of excess water from that face with a clean white motel towel. Turn off the tap and wonder who needs a shave.
There isn’t much in the room for you to pack, is there Jimmy Smith? Just one suitcase on the floor and a laptop computer on the table. Empty packets of Marlboro, an empty bottle of Johnnie Walker Scotch.
Put on the T-shirt that hangs across the chair, then the sweatshirt. Pick up the mushroom boots next to the suitcase and sit on the chair.
You look as if you don’t know what to do now, Jimmy Smith. Let me explain.
Check the empty cigarette packs to make sure there’s none left. When you’re convinced there’s none left, pull the damp socks from the mushroom boots and put one on each foot. After you’ve tied off the laces, close the computer, walk over and open the door, take the key from the pocket in your jeans and let it slide onto the table.
Pick up the computer in your right hand and the suitcase in your left, walk out the door without closing it, pass the manager in his booth, don’t say goodbye as he cracks a fresh nut, don’t clap at the hole-in-one on the sports cable television screen or the wailing karaoke love songs from Vietnam, don’t even mention the dead woman in the room next to yours. Once outside the Rainbow Motel, you can fade into the grey afternoon.