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Funny Stories by Dick Oakes, Jr.

January 21, 2015 Leave a comment Go to comments
Dick Oakes, Jr.

Dick Oakes, Jr.

It was evening. Some guy pressed a booklet into my hand. “This booklet is your assurance of quality, comfort, safety, cleanliness and friendly hospitality,” he said. I asked him what the hell it was to him, anyway– he tried to answer but then he vomited in his mouth a little and lurked off.

It was a side-stapled guide from the Lankville Motel Association. There was a little sign on the front with their name on it. Above, it said, “Look for Our Sign”. I skimmed through it but I didn’t figure on it mattering none.

I wandered around the spent downtown area for awhile but there was nothing going on. Then, I headed for the outskirts. After a mile or so, I saw the place up on the left.

I walked into the office. Bunch of lobby furniture done up in pea greens, saffron and flowers. There was an old paunchy man with glasses behind the counter. I couldn’t figure on any of it. I lit a cigarette and tossed the match into an ashtray.$_57

“Those ashtrays have the name of our establishment printed on them,” the man said. “It says “El Patio Motel”, did you notice?”

I coughed. It started to rain heavily. The old guy wasn’t noticing it. The rain was slamming against the front doors now but he kept his eye on the ashtray. I heard a loud boom from upstairs somewhere. None of it was figuring right but I rented a room anyway.

It was done up in pinks and oranges. There were more ashtrays– too many ashtrays, all with “El Patio Motel” printed on them. Then I noticed everything had “El Patio Motel” printed on it– the guy had really gone to town. The trashcans, the complimentary soaps, the chairs, the carpet, all had it.

I pulled the shades and got undressed. I could see the little town down the ways, twinkling sickly, like the embers of a campfire in need of being stamped out. I heard the boom again, upstairs again but I didn’t mind it none. Then, a knock came.

It was the paunchy guy. “Need any ashtrays?” he asked. He had a whole stack of them in his hand. “I think I’ll be alright,” I said. I held the door against my unclothed frame. “Well, if you need any, you can use the service telephone there on the desk. It has our name printed on it. Just dial the number seven. That’s printed on there too.” He went away.

I put the television on. There was static, then some organ music, then a picture. It was a feed of the front desk. Nobody was there and then the paunchy guy was there, organizing some hand towels. It went on like that. I couldn’t make sense of none of it. I tried some other stations but it was all the same, all just the front desk.

I got in bed and slid some lurid pamphlets purchased earlier in the day out of a brown paper bag. After awhile, I put the TV back on. I couldn’t figure on why.

This is how you picked it, Oakes, I said to myself.

The night passed.

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