Blinding rain smacks the wind shield. You’ve been driving all night with a body in the trunk, cheap nicotine and bad coffee in your system. You imagine clean sheets and a soft pillow, your aching body drifting away on a cloud of sleep. Then you’re suddenly awake, still at the wheel, the right hand tyres peppering the duco with road edge gravel. It’s time to pull over and get some sleep anyway it comes. Diamond lights ahead through the deluge. Weeping neon letters spell out a word, MOTEL. Amazing Grace crackles through the static. You pull in. It’s 3 am. The concierge staggers out in a coffee-stained singlet, gut like a sagging rotten fruit, sopping camel butt in his teeth and a cough like a razor. He hands you a key. Last room on the left, by the industrial bin. There’s no bible by the bed. First time in your life you feel kind of alone without it. You take a shower. The water’s rust coloured and cold. The pipes shudder and clang like angry prisoners in the basement. You hammer out a few fever dreams on blood stained sheets all bunched up on a straw-filled cot. Is this how the dead sleep? Through paper thin walls you hear the beating heart and the muted sobs of someone else’s tragedy. You picture the bloodied knife in his hands, someone’s forgotten daughter bleeding out their last on the cold bathroom tiles and wish you’d never left home to begin with. But then, there’s the body in the trunk…


Bad Motel is a place in my head, a place of dark beauty and underground rot. A place I like to pull into and experiment with. Words, lyrics, spirits from an uncorked bottle, the passing shape of smoke back-lit against a faded night time curtain. The rates are cheap. In fact, it’s free to stay a while. Check in with the concierge. He likes to know who’s occupying the rooms. Bukowski stayed once, in a dream. Leave your license number and a stain on the carpet. I’ll get back to you.

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