Most girls trick and dream. While they swap wigs and pumps, trade skirts. They smoke cigarettes and pipe-dream nights free from the motel. Most men walk around like Chivalry is dead and they’re the ones who shot him. But one of these days, they are sure, a man, white knight or cowboy, will arrive on a big Bay horse. His pale suit shining. The other girls hope but January knows better. Knew better the day her daddy sat her down just to split the world in two. You either baiting the hook, January, he said, or you biting one. Simple as that. And he showed her just how simple the day he sucked the yellow off a pack of Lemonheads and sold them to the dope fiends on the corner. Dipped them in scale first just to get their lips numb. Bait and switch, he called it, Gets ‘em everytime. When she asked him why they always took the bait, he told her Half the world is dying to bite the hook, the other half drags the line. So let the other girls dream.
Motel life is a way station between nothing and not much, between the blade and brass pole. Any which way you turn is skin trade, so why not make the best of bad, rent a room. At least you’ll save your feet.
The thing January hates most is the tricks. They don’t know if they want to fight, fuck, or cry half the time, and it doesn’t matter which one he is, knight or cowboy, either way he’s breaking horses. The thing she likes most is maid service. How she can leave the room devastated, a tempest of bed sheets and towels, tiny liquor bottles, and the walls are sweating. Knowing it will all be cleaned, washed away when she returns. It is a glory all her own, a faith held close to the chest. Maids are the patron saints of motel life. And the rooms are lives you are reborn into every day.
FLASH GLASS: A MONTHLY PUBLICATION OF FLASH FICTION, PROSE POETRY, & MICRO ESSAYS