People don’t usually enjoy staying in hotels, like those with families, or pets, or lives. They tend to find them inconvenient and utilitarian. I love hotels.
I love the bleach-stiff towels that make your fingers itch. I love stacking the limp pillows four high. I love the odd, wood-brass hangers. I can never figure them out.
Whenever I get to the room I fling open the heavy curtains and gaze out on the people below, knocking on the window if I’m low enough and waving like a fool if anyone looks up. Some wave back, not many. I imagine where they’re going.
Sometimes I moon them.
I turn down the air conditioning, take off my pants, and turn on the lights. I sit on the toilet and read every page in every tabbed section of the giant, leather-bound binder. I check the amenities portion to find out if they have a pool. I would never use the pool, but I like to know if they have one. Often times I’ll pause on that floor to smell the chlorine.
I memorize evacuation plans in case of a fire.
“Remain calm. Do not steal bathrobes.”
I look for the mini-bar. Not many hotels have them these days. Why have they replaced mini-bars with a safe? Tiny bottles of Jack Daniels can also provide security.
I look for the ice machine, and the ice bucket. I never need ice, but like to be prepared. Why do people need so much ice in hotel rooms? Especially when there are no more tiny bottles of Jack Daniels. Men roam the halls looking for the machine.
“Girlfriend needs ice, man. You know where it is?”
“Why, did you just remove her kidney?”
I test the phone for some reason, and then punch the button for the front desk, calling to make sure I don’t have any messages pending.
I ask that if anyone calls they should tell the person, “Chocolate muffin.” I say that they will know what it means. I add that if Frank calls they should tell him that, “We’re even now.” Then I chuckle menacingly and hang up.
I think about who slept in the room before me, sometimes finding clues under the bed like an orphaned sock or a crinkly, semi-wet business card.
Justin Rothman. Pharmaceutical Sales Rep. East Coast Division. Georgia.
There are pennies discarded on the table. Justin’s pennies. I scoop them up and hide them throughout the room in odd places – underneath the toilet seat, inside pillow cases, pressed into soap.
I try on the shower cap. It’s a compulsion.
After I program the television to Spanish, I pop out the batteries from the remote control and slide one into the shampoo bottle, and one into the conditioner bottle. I write a disturbing To-Do List on the hotel stationary, listing only one activity.
“Make sure to change sheets when done.”
I don’t cross it off.
I take a shower, long and hot, with the shower cap. After all, the shampoo has a battery in it. When I’m done I finger a message onto the fogged mirror, hoping the words will appear after the next hot shower and scare someone into believing it’s a communication from the beyond.
“Too much porn” – Grandma.
I always leave at first light, and set the alarm clock for thirty minutes past whenever check-in time is that day. I select a classical music station, and turn the volume up high. There is something about very loud classical music that is very psychotic – like what a crazy person might listen to while scribbling in their cell.
I want to trick the next guest into thinking a crazy person has stayed here.