Rust In The Drain
She ran in the snow, crying in bare feet. I saw her while throwing garbage in the motel's dumpster after dark, so I could avoid the housekeeper for another day. Long dark hair hid her face, but her pain and confusion came through. She wore shorts and a sweatshirt, oblivious to the ice crunching under foot. She walked in circles then dropped to her knees, sobbing, laughing, coughing. I began to approach her when a man's voice yelled from the balcony.
"Bitch! Get back in here! Don't make me mad!"
He wore a Harley t-shirt, short hair spiked. He held a small camera in his left hand, using it to emphasize his impatience.
The woman got up, brushed the hair from her face. She looked young, 18-19 tops. Baby fat cheeks red from frozen tears. She looked at me and smiled. I stood in the icy parking lot under a dim light. For a moment there was frigid silence, then her redneck boyfriend started yelling again.
"Kelly! What the fuck did I just say? Get your fat ass up here!"
Her shoulders hunched as she trudged back upstairs. The guy filmed her all the way, laughing about how getting fucked in the ass wasn't so bad. She had to relax and play to the camera. She entered their room and he slammed the door behind them. He yelled some more, then it was quiet.
This was my last night in this dive, and so far I'd been left alone. People came and went during the day, battered rusty cars and mud-caked pick ups sporadically parked through the lot. This is a place for the poor and ignored. There is relative freedom in this world, so long as the cops aren't called. But there's sadness and resignation as well.
I went back in, smoked more weed, poured another chilled vodka. The heat worked pretty well, countering the drafts and cracks that brought in subzero air. I'd planned to jerk off, but that girl's face stuck with me. Poor kid. What a shitty life she must be living. Usually I can get past such distractions and tend to business, but not now. So I watched an early sound picture on TCM, where men in tuxes drank cocktails while women in gowns smoked long cigarettes and cackled at their antics. Somewhere else bodies burned, but here the heat made the numbness bearable.