chapter 5


 -   -   -   - – - - – - –the hotel -- - - – -  -   - - - –  -  -  -  -     -


Now geo does have  2 11 thousand miles on it. and no, i havent exacly been religious about the maintenance.

still. i love that car. i guess for me love has always been more of an emotion than an action. i suspect that was a problem for my car. maybe also for my life.

get in. sit down.

put the key in the ignition.

turn it...

nothing happend.

well, one thing happend.

the check engine light came on.

i dont know much about cars. maybe
somethin to do with almost runnin outa gas. or gettin bad gas, it
wouldnt suprize me at that getto chevron. or what if the timing belt
broke? i was way overdue on that, thats spose to fuck your shit up,
right? anybody ever had one break?


dont think


turn the key


So this is what its like to breakdown. guess id never done that before. atleast geo was considerate enough to wait til we got to the hotel.

the first move [ aka the easiest ] was to get a room. if they had a room. but judgin from the parkinlot  i didnt have much to worry about there.

thru the plateglass window, i could see the guy at the front desk
smirking to himself, like hed just watchd some dum ass do somethin
stupid for like the five hundreth time. but there was nobody else in
the lobby, not even a t-v. that smirk was permanent.

you can do this.

walk in confident.

stick to the facts.

say as little as possibl, actualy


This was not a normal motel lobby. not at all.

about ninety percent of the available wall space was coverd in graffiti and stickers, it lookd like a bathroom in a rock club. this is where, im sure, i first saw—

tea bag a bo-bo


[ and ]

muggles go wait in the car




and a buncha the other greatest hits, tho i didnt process em at the time beyond a wiff of confusion and a little unease.

the lobby featured two pieces of furniture: a
tweedy old armchair that was duck taped to the floor, and a vending
machine. the old kind, where you hav to pull a lever. your choices are
altoids, condoms, p-b-r, and organic tampons.  it smelld like an ashtray
because there was an ashtray, velcroed to the arm of the chair, with a
laminated note taped on, “

hotel not responsible for ashtray maintenance

and dont leme forget hotel guys t-shirt. there was a picture of the roadrunner, laid out on a platter, wile e. coyote had a knife and was in the midst of carvin him up like a thanksgivin turkey, each of em had a plate. underneath, it said—

from each, acordinta bility

to each acordinta need!

hotel guy lookd up as i was readin his shirt. his face said Look at this asshole comin in here thinkin hes gona get a room.

do you have any

Hello and good eve ning, sir. welcome to the hotel.

[ good eve ning? ]

hi. do you have any rooms available?

for which dates?

for today.

you mean tonight.

yeah. tonight.

he lookd at his watch.

checkouts at noon.


thats in two an a half hours.

oh sorry— i need it for tonight.

then checkouts at noon.

noon, today?

thats the one.

o-k, time to rethink strategy. we are dealing with a supreme smartass here. and also a rule freak. apologize for your stupidity. be that asshole, just be apologetic about it.

im sorry, ive been on the road allnight. i havent slept since yesterday.

join the club.

i bet you get use to it, but im not use to it at all. if i dont get enough

sleep i cant concentrate, i get confused real easy, im havin a hard time just
talkin to you now

what are you saying?


because it sounds like your trying to convince me your insane.

i just cant figure out how it would be to your advantage for me

to think that.

no— im tryin to explain. . .

[ deep breath ]

what i want, is to get a room, and sleep forlike ten hours.

i understand that. what im trying to tell you is the computer switches

over at noon. if you want a room before noon, its 49 dollars. if you

want a room after noon, its 49 dollars.

what if i want both?

you want me to add 49 and 49 for you?

i stormd out.

or tried to.

[ you actualy have to pull pull to exit the lobby, not push ]

jumpd in the geo.

slamd the door.

turnd the key—

[ click ]

oh right. my car broke down.

id momentarily forgotten.

geo didnt forget tho.

The thing to do was get it outa the way before i gave hotel guy the

i put it in neutral.

opend the driver side door.

got out and pushd

the geo

it moved forward a foot or two.

i dug in. as much as you can dig in when you weigh
a buckforty and your wearin flipflops.

eventialy i got some momentum. about the speed of
an old man walking, but atleast it was progress.

guess the pavement sloped down here, sloped down here, sloped down here,

i didnt notice rightaway,

but all of a sudden geo was rollin

and i wasnt pushin it.

rollin prety fast.

and headin for a giant holly bush.

i jumpd in

hit the brakes—

problem is the brakes dont work as well when the engines not on.
i mean they workd. just not fast enough to keep me from runnin into
that bush.

door scrapin open, hotel guy standin there.

what, may i ask, are you doing?

[ he didnt actualy say may i ask, but he mightaswell have ]

sorry, my car wouldnt start.

so you pushd it into a bush?

[ you know those people who are so good at bein a smartass
you almost hafta forgiv em? ]

i was tryin to get it outa the way.

mission acomplishd.

actually, d you think. . .

[ i couldnt ask him— could i? ]

turns out i didnt have to.

yeahsure. im bigger’n you, ill push you steer.

and he hoppd to it like an amish at a barnraising yall, im not kiddin, he climbd inside that hollybush and started pushin. and he didnt stop til the geo was in the parkinlot. not just in the lot, but in a legal parking space. he was not willing to compromise on that.

By the end of it, i felt like shaking his hand.

thank you so much, i realy apreciate it. . .

david. but you can call me hotel nazi. evrybody else does.

then my dads genes raisd up and i askd him what he thought might be wrong with my car. he lissend to my story. he even got in and tried to start it himself.

couldbe your battery. or your alternator.

would that make it cutoff tho?

no problynot.

what else could it be?

well the transmission— your checkengine light

didnt come on, did it?



what? you think it could be the transmission?

well im not a car expert whatchacallit— a mecanic.

is the transmission expensiv?

[ askin a motelclerk to estimate an auto repair—

my dad would be proud ]

depends on whatcha mean by expensiv.
more than your cars worth i bet. dollarwise i mean. i dont know if you
have an emotional attachment,


we were comrades by the end. he even recomended a mechanic— a guy named C Fouls. he wrote it for me on the back of a super 9 bisness card.

C. Fouls: sober mechanic. 7 0 6. 3 5 3. 2 6 5 6

hes the best in town, when hes sober. and i happen

to know hes sober rightnow.

thanks man. ill giv im a call, as soon as i get settled. . .

[ i could just ask, couldnt i? the worst he could say was no ]

please dont ask.

ask what?

if i gave a free room to evry poor schmuck whose car broke down

in my parkinlot. . .

do a lota peoples cars breakdown here?

welcome to athens.


may i make a suggestion?

. . . sure.

why dontcha go downtown? its an easy walk, take ya ten

minutes. just stay on odd street, youll run right into it.

whats downtown?

evrything. altho at this hour  probly just bars. which in some

peoples opinion is evrything.

you dont happen to know of a place called bluesky?

sure do.

so it reopend?

never closed, far as i know. and i think i woulda heard.

i thought it closed in like 1999.

oh right ...

[ he seemd to realize something then—

altho i couldnt say what it was ]

...the one over there did close.

over where? were there two of em?

in a manner of speaking.

whado you mean?

i mean there were two, and now theres one.

is it near here?

as the crow flies. but theres no way youd find it on your own. youll need somebody to show it to you. which i would be happy to do myself— if i wasnt otherwise ocupied.

i could try to find it.

id just get you lost, trust me. especialy if, as you say,

your ‘easily confused.’

you could atleast give me directions.

realy, guy— just go downtown, get a couple drinks, relax. itll be noon before you know it. probly a lot later than that if its your firstime downtown. now if youll excuse me i have to get this.

but the phone wasnt ringing.

hotelnazi dared me to call him on it.