||[Jun. 20th, 2006|01:03 am]
Could be Any Random Stranger|
"Trailer for sale or rent..."
Billy flicked off the radio but the song continued playing in his head as he parked the Falcon. He tugged the duffel bag out of the back seat and slung it over his shoulder. The peeling paint on the door was almost same vague grayish tan as the car and the key jammed in the lock, reminding him to one of these days get the trunk fixed, but the spare fit behind the passenger seat and he couldn't think of anything in there important enough to pay for someone to fix it.
"Room to let fifty-cent..."
He’d seen the sun bleached motel sign and pulled off the highway, remembering the sweet taste of fried clams and 39 flavors of ice-cream--raspberry, peppermint, licorice--but it wasn’t 1965 anymore and Room 7 cost him 29 dollars, nearly all the money he had.
"No phone, no pool, no pets..."
There was a pool, empty except for a few inches of slimy green water at the deep end, and the room smelled of stale cigarettes and Lysol. The bed sagged when he threw himself on it. Billy and Howard Johnson had both seen better times.
"Ain’t got no cigarettes..."
But Billy had cigarettes, a soft pack of unfiltered Camels in the pocket of his second-hand plaid polyester shirt. He lit one, sucked the smoke deep into his lungs, felt the rush and smiled. Fuck that Surgeon General an' the recommendation he rode in on.
The bed had Magic Fingers. He still had a few quarters but the ripe smell a ham sandwich someone had left in the trash reminded him that he'd missed lunch today. Four hours and two hundred miles ago, at the Hob-Nob back in Coeur d’Alene, he’d been sitting at the counter all set to chomp into a Philly cheese-steak double onion and that damned buzz had hit. The outraged bellows of the waitress had followed him as he beat it out the back but he knew better than to stick around. She’d been flirting hard and he'd been horny but he hadn't lived for fifty years (Or maybe it was only thirty-seven--did you count from when you were born or when you died?), without learning a thing or two. And the thing was--when the buzz hits, hit the road.
No way was he going to risk his neck or suck up to some pouf who thought they were better than him because they could do things with a sword. Fancy prancer, jabbering about how things were in the really old days, making him want to puke. He'd gone to a hotel with one of them once, a dutchlander, like his grammaw, with scars on his face, yapping about some game—-and what a pretty boy Billy was--how he had to learn to defend himself. Heidelberg. Shmeidelerg. Hell, he had been in more danger from that prancy boy than from some stranger—-you could die of boredom. So he let the guy do him and stayed around long enough to learn that the buzz meant one of them was close, where he kept his money, and that if he was real careful, he could, maybe, live forever. Billy wasn't sure how long forever was, but he liked the sound of it. You could drink a lot of beer, smoke a lot of weed and fuck a lot of women in forever.
Billy grinned. He knew he wasn’t the brightest peach in the basket. He had a temper. He didn’t take no crap off nobody. But he'd had a lotta time to think about it and he was a practical guy. He was going to need money, soon.
"A man of means, by no means..."
Billy sat up, unzipped his duffel and removed the long case that held his pool cue and the dutchlander’s sword. He'd passed the Cue Club on the way in. A few beers, a few bets, maybe he could talk some twat into comin' back to the room. If not, and the TV worked, there was Leno. Leno was no Johnny Carson. But, Hell, Johnny Carson was no Jack Paar.
"King of the road..."