Some Dance to Forget (Part 1)

I've been skimming through online writing prompts and browsing amazon for books which will make me want to write books, but thus far nothing has really sparked any creativity in me. So currently I am instead writing about whatever random thing that gives me that nudge to put words on paper. Sometimes someone else's already well-crafted words grip me in a way that I want to write more about them. Most often, for me, this happens with song lyrics. And for whatever reason the most "further-writing-inspiring"  song has always been the same. Hotel California, by the Eagles. Every time I hear the iconic rock song, warning again a seemingly luxurious life of easy money, easy women and an excess of drugs and alcohol, something about the fantastical lyrics and carefully-worded descriptions (view full lyrics here) have always made me think "that would make for a great story..."

So here goes. A short story, in parts, inspired by just that:

I looked up at the map glowing off the GPS mounted to the window of my rental car. There weren’t a lot of landmarks, or really anything at all for that matter, showing up on the screen. My search for nearby lodging had retrieved one lone result, so I was headed down the dark desert highway in its direction.

I rubbed my dimming eyes; the day had been seemingly extra in length and monotonously boring. Initially, I had welcomed the idea of going to the conference, located in a place with a fantastical name like Truth or Consequences- it befuddled me that anyone had ever been granted to power to actually name a town something like that- thinking it would be refreshing to get away from the norm for a few days. Everyone else had booked lodging in the resort town near the conference center and were probably then at the bar having the refreshing time I had hoped for.  But unlike them, I had forgotten to make a reservation in advance, and after several failed attempts at finding an empty room I ventured to the outskirts of the city to find a stop for the night, quite unrefreshed.

I looked at the map again; 0.3 miles to my destination. Up ahead in the distance a lone neon sign shimmered on the backdrop of night. Hotel California. Peculiar name for a hotel in the middle-of –nowhere New Mexico, I thought. The “o” and the “t” in the sign were burnt out, and what remained was flickering with threat of being the same. The building was large, stucco- faced in the typical mission style, but poorly-maintained. My hotel definitely looked more fitting of a motel status title, but I was done giving any preference regarding where I would be laying my head for the weekend.

I pulled into the poorly lit, near-empty parking lot and took my duffle from the trunk. I entered the lobby, and followed the slightly hypnotic rug to the front desk. A young receptionist with dark hair and excessive eyeliner looked up from the magazine she was thumbing through. Tiffany, her name tag read.

“Reservation, sir?”

“No, but it looks like you probably have some rooms available? Please say you do.”

“Oh plenty of room” she said. “I’ll put you in room 6, on the first floor.”

Behind her eyeliner were bright eyes which felt too large for her petite face. I caught myself staring, tried to think of Miriam instead, and failed. What she didn’t know couldn’t hurt her. My wedding ring, which had been stashed in my pocket for the day, felt suddenly heavy.

“Breakfast is served between 7 and 9, but the bar is open from 10 am on. All the dining and recreational facilities are down that hall there.” She gestured with a hand tipped in red lacquer. “We have a game room where we hold card games, and there is also billiards if you like. The pool is out back. In the evenings we host local musicians and a lot of the town comes out to dance and be entertained. There is little else around, as you might have noticed.”

I nodded. She rambled on about laundry, TV channels, and room policies, but I failed to absorb any sound as I watched her mouth move. I was brought back to attention as she slid an antiquated-looking key over the counter to me.

 “…you can check out any time you’d like.”

Again, I gave a nod. She pointed down the corridor to the left, “Welcome to the Hotel California. Please enjoy your stay.”

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