Hotel California

The waves lapped gently at the brown weathered cliff and the greenery swayed gently in the wind. Fluffy cumulus clouds gathered on the horizon promising to dampen a bright summer's afternoon. On the cliff stood a house or rather a hotel. It was old, slightly Victorian, with peaked roofs decorated with faded pinks and blues. The once polished white deck was grungy and smeared with dirt. Trash littered the corners and peeked out from under the veranda. A solitude mouse snuck out of its hiding place from under an upturned bucket and scurried toward a pile of junk. It dug through the wads of indiscernible objects, broken, oily, and rusted with age searching for one small edible scrap. The wind picked up whipping around the house in an audible whoosh. The mouse stopped its digging and lifted it nose to the wind. It sniffed, its pink nose wriggling back and forth, ears alert, prepared to run. Breaking the silence, a car rounded the bend in a hill nestled next to the hotel. The building seemed to stiffen, the rigid floorboards creaking in excitement. The mouse squeaked, scuttling back to the safety of the bucket. The car without a hesitation in its course continued down the road, engine roaring, leaving a trail of dust in its wake. The creaking of the house subsided relaxing into a sigh, as the wind caressed its contours. The yellowed drapes fluttered behind the broken stained windows almost in a gesture of longing, pleading, beckoning for the car to return. The wind whistled through the holes in the walls and the hotel creaked again as if shifting position, the empty windows facing the road, watching and waiting.

Nick had not counted on the sheer stupidity of his decision. Exactly what in the world had inspired him to pack up the few of his belongings, leave his cramped apartment and travel to this god forsaken town? Had he thought it would be dreamy, an adventure, thought provoking? Well if it was any of those three, it certainly was not the one requiring much brain capacity. "What an idiot," he thought grumpily sipping a cup of watery coffee. After the long and tiring train ride across the country, Nick was all but broke and had barely any money to pay for the meager meal he had purchased at the diner in which he was now sitting in. "And they call this the best restaurant in California!" Nick snorted and took another sip of his coffee, grimacing at its acrid taste. Though the manager proudly proclaimed to each customer that the diner had been built just last year and was already thriving, it looked more like a poor excuse of a dumpster. The white tiled floors were brown and slick with grease. The tables and chairs were equally greasy and smelled disgustingly of rancid pork. "What do they do, scrub down the tables with pig fat?" thought Nick as he inhaled deeply and grimaced again. "God, this place stinks." The air was thick with smoke from cigars and cigarettes that hung out of about all the waiter's mouths as well as the customers, who looked as cheep and trashy as the diner itself. Nick attempting to escape the nauseous fumes had retreated to the bathroom only to find the mixed smell of detergent, bodily wastes, and sickly sweet air freshener stinging his nose and blanketing his lungs in an all but suffocating effect. If the diner was a disaster, the bathroom was even worse. "Might as well just pee on the walls," thought Nick as he quickly ducked out of the bathroom chocking and gasping for air.

"Yes, definitely an idiot." He looked around at the other customers, the women dressed in brightly colored spandex pants or in unbelievably short skirts that showed much more than Nick wanted to see. Their hair was fluffed and done up in amazing layers that towered above their heads, most likely held up with fifty cans of hair spray, though some looked like they had used axel grease or if particularly creative, superglue. Their faces were heavily make-upped, making them look more like dolls than human beings. The men were not much better, fat potbellied drunks who looked like they'd attempted to shave using a cleaver. They grabbed at the women lustfully and laughed too loudly at curses and crude remarks. Nick shook his head and set down his cup placing a couple dollar bills beside it. He got up to leave walking rapidly toward the door. A form bumped into him and he looked down into the heavily make-uped and lipstick smeared face of one of the women, clearly drunk and out for the kill. "Come on baby, let's do it right now." Nick's lip curled in disgust as he backed away from the swaying woman. She was around thirty and already showed the hard lines of fast aging due to too much drinking and smoking. Her eyes held no intelligence, just a hungry desire that glinted mischievously as she reached to entwine her arm around his. "Come on cupcake, you know you know I'm attractive, it'll be fun." Nick wrenched himself from her grip and shoved her roughly to the side. She stumbled and fell into one of the cracked plastic chairs. Without a backward glance, Nick sprinted towards the door, wrenching it open and diving out before the woman attempted to pursue him again. He looked around helplessly and saw that the street was completely devoid of a bus stop. "Don't they have any public transportation in this place?!" Nick yelled in exasperation to the dark sky. In his previous home in New York all he had had to do was take the subway to get to his destination or if it the streets were moderately clear, walk, but not in this place. It seemed as though this town was back in the Stone Age and invention of a public transportation system had not yet come to be. Nick sighed. "I guess I'll have to walk." He started down the unpaved road, not knowing where it led, but hoping that it was to some higher form of civilization.