I’ve about lost count of the number of hours I’ve spent watching that flickering “Room to rent” sign flickering on and off outside of my tiny office. Up until a couple of years ago, this was a thriving little business, but since my wife died a few years back, things have taken a turn for the worse. What with that happening, and the price of petrol nowadays, people just don’t travel far unless they really have to. Of course the weekends afford me an increase in custom, young unmarried couples, and married couples with different partners now make up the bulk of my income. It’s funny how they all use false identities. The Smiths and Joneses I’ve had staying here would fill a book. Single women usually use their maiden names. They are usually getting over a broken marriage or a separation from their husbands or boyfriends.
I used to be scrupulous at one time in regard to the legal standing of my guests, but now, now I just take the money and glad to have the opportunity to do so, believe me. The motel takes a lot of looking after, and refurbishing any shortcomings usually costs more than I can afford, therefore I do all my own maintenance whenever I can. I just have to keep the bills down. I somehow manage to scrape through month-to-month. There is little chance of my selling the place as it stands. It needs a lot of money to be spent on it to bring it up to commercially acceptable standards, money which I just don’t
have! Looking back, I should have sold after my wife died, but I was too depressed, and the comfort that the guests presence brought me saved me from committing suicide. I guess you could say that they kept me sane. I’ve gotten to be quite good at analysing people just by studying their rooms after they check-out.
Mornings at check-out time, with my pail and vacuum cleaner, I find what they’ve left behind in every tell-tale room.
The sheets show their sleepless struggles, the empty glasses their fears, the filled ashtrays the hours passed, the pillow their tears.
Yes, it’s a boring, routine living, but at least it keeps a roof over my head, and some food in my belly.