The ride had been long and uncomfortable. They shook off the chill as they stepped off their motorcycle and removed their helmets. Grabbing their cigarettes, Jeff said to Sarah “Damn, did you see those bridges on that highway?”
“Oh, my God! I’m so glad we didn’t need to get on any of those to get here. Those are crazy high! But there are so many cars here. Damn!”
“At least we made it before the storm got here.”
“Yeah, that wind scared the shit out of me. I’m so stiff from hanging on to you and not moving. I am starved.” Sarah began looking on her phone for a place to call for delivery pizza. She found a number and began to dial it as Jeff was checking in.
“Hello.” A deep voice said confusing Sarah.
“Ummm, yes, are you guys open?”
“We’re closed.” and he hung up on Sarah.
“That was odd.”
“What was?” Jeff looked at her as they walked to their room.
“Well, it just seemed weird. I mean, he didn’t answer the phone with the name of the place.” Sarah was undoing her skull cap and placed it on the coffee table.
“Just try another place.”
“It’s midnight and I don’t think anyone is open.”
“Go ask Depak.”
“Yeah, he should know of something. Good idea. I’ll be right back.”
“You leaving your phone?”
“Yeah, I’m just runnin’ to the front desk.”
“Depak, I hate to bother you and I know it’s late but we were wondering if there was anywhere around here that delivered this late.”
“I’m afraid there aren’t any. We have a vending machine down the hall but I would be more than happy to share my supper with the two of you. It’s a little spicy but very delicious.”
“Oh, that is such a sweet offer, Depak. I really appreciate the gesture but unfortunately, Jeff and I can’t eat spicy foods. I have a few too many ulcers and Jeff is capsaicin intolerant.”
“There’s an Ihop that’s right around the corner from here.”
“We don’t have any rain gear and are so beat from the ride. I’m sure we’ll enjoy raiding the vending machine.”
“We have chicken and tuna salad packets in there that are quite nice. You might like them.”
“Sounds good, Depak. Thanks for the help. I really appreciate it.” Sarah went back to the room to inform Jeff of their predicament.
“Well, I guess we’re dining Chez Motel 6.” Jeff laughed as he perused through his pockets and wallet for sufficient change and ones to retrieve dinner from the vending machines. “Oh, your phone was ringing off the hook while you were out. You might want to check and see who it is that just has to get a hold of you.”
“I’ll check it when we get back. I need food. I’m really hungry. Glad I ate all of that sub at the truck stop this afternoon. I was so sure I wasn’t going to finish it all but I’m so grateful you made me eat those last two bites. Otherwise I would be such a bitch right now.”
The vending machines were covered with dust. A cockroach scattered from underneath the pop machine and ran across the top of Jeff’s black leather boot. “Well, at least it didn’t come from the food machine.” Jeff said while removing the creases from a dollar bill with his hands.
“Don’t kid yourself. If there’s one from that machine, there are thousands and they hang out in both of these machines.”
“Oh, I know but this is our only choice. So we just have to find something we can live with.”
“I hope we live after this.” They both laughed and began to think about what they could pick to eat that would be least likely to make them sick or worse kill them.
“There’s the chicken and tuna salads Depak told me about. They look fairly benign. The only thing is whether we would prefer death by chicken or chicken of the sea.”
“I don’t want to end up drowning in the shits. I’m going with bockle, bockle, bockle bock.”
“Great impression, Carrot Top! Chicken sounds good to me, too.”
They got their meals, a couple of drinks and headed back. They could hear Sarah’s phone ringing as they were coming in the room. She ran to answer it.
“Who is this?” a deep voice asked from the other end.
“Who are you trying to call?”
“No. Who is this?”
“I’m sorry. You must have the wrong number, sir.”
“Why you calling me this late?”
“I believe you have the wrong number. You called me.”
“No. You called me this late and I want to know who you are.”
“Just hang up Sarah. Whoever it is, they are obviously messed up.”
She ended the call. “God damn, that was fucked up. What the hell?”
“What was the number?” Jeff said as he opened his chicken salad.
“It was 214-123-4567. My phone shows it’s the pizza place I called earlier.”
“You must have pissed somebody off there by calling while they were trying to clean up and go home. I’m sure he’s had his fun with you and will let it go.”
“That’s crazy. But whatever I just won’t answer it if he calls again.”
“I’ll answer it if he calls again. That should stop it.”
After eating their gourmet vending machine treats, they turned out the lights and fell asleep. Sarah’s phone began to ring. Jeff reached over Sarah and answered her phone. “Hello.”
“Who is this?” the thick, deep voice questioned Jeff.
“I don’t know. Who are you?”
“Why did you call me so late?”
“I don’t know. Who are you?”
“You want to fuck with me? All right, tell Sarah I’m coming for her.”
“How do you know her?”
“I’ll know her inside and out when I’m done with this.”
“What? Who are you?”
“You’ll know. You’ll know me.”
“If you want to keep calling we can just take this to the police.”
“That guy again?”
“Yeah, but he shouldn’t call anymore. If he does we will call the cops. I’m going outside. I need a smoke.”
“I’ll go with. I need one too. I just don’t get why people would do shit like that.”
They stepped out of there room into the hallway and walked toward the exit by their room. The glass door was propped open by an empty beer bottle. There was a thin balding guy sitting on the concrete by the landscaping bushes. All of his worldly possessions were contained in three plastic bags hidden discreetly at the base of the bush farthest from the door. He was shaking as he was intently focused on the cracked screen of his cell phone. The track marks were visible on his arms, ankles, and legs. The scars and sores made Sarah cringe with discomfort. She was not bothered by the junky’s presence, merely saddened by it. Her heart filled with empathy for the crumpled stranger struggling to maintain an existence.
They got their nicotine fix and returned to their room. Only to find Sarah’s phone ringing, again.
“Oh, God, not again! What’s this guys problem?” Sarah threw herself on the bed. “Just let it go. Don’t answer it.”
“So, you’ve decided to make us call the cops?” Jeff held the phone in his hands tightly. There was no reply and the call ended. “See, I told you it would be over and done with. He’s probably drunk, looking to get off by scaring the shit out of us.”
“I’m tired. I’m turning my phone off. So we can get some sleep.”
Jeff turned out the lights and they fell asleep curled up together. The sounds of rain on the window were interspersed with cracks of thunder. They were jolted awake by a loud banging on the door. Bam, Bam, Bam, crack, the door to their room was being forced hard against the latch that was supposed to hold the door closed in situations like these.
“Shit! Grab your stuff!” Jeff yelled.
“What? What’s happening?” Sarah began to tremble as she jumped into the jeans she was wearing earlier.
“Someone’s trying to break in! We have to go! Now!”
Jeff went to the window, opened it and popped the screen out. He grabbed their pack, reached in and pulled out his gun. The rain was coming down hard into the room. A large black gloved hand was reaching up towards the safety lock that was preventing his entrance to the room. Jeff pointed the gun towards the gloved stranger behind the door. He reached backward to Sarah handing their bag over to her and motioned her out the window.
Sarah was terrified. This was really happening. She scooted the chair from the table to the window. The sill was slick with water. The rain hitting her in the face made it difficult for her to make out what was on the other side of the open window. She put one foot on the sill. Her biker boot slid on the metal casing of the window and was caught hard by the heel of it. She let out a scream.
“Shhhh! Go! I’m right behind you!” Jeff held his gun stiffly concentrated on the beating door and the danger hidden on the other side. He looked back at Sarah, only briefly to ensure her safety. Kapow! The door began to shatter where the lock was attached. Sarah flew to the outside of the motel. “Get down! Stay down!” Jeff made his way backing to the open window. He could tell how close he was by the intensity of the rain on him. Keeping the gun pointed at the pounding wood, he moved stealthily out the window.
Crack, Bam, Bam, Kabam, Crackle. The door began to splinter as the latch separated from the door and wall. Kablam, the door revealed the silhouette of a large dark figure. A lightning strike highlighted the barrel of a nine millimeter handgun in the intruders hands. The thunder that followed hid the sound of the shot fired out of the gun at Jeff and Sarah. The bullet cut through the air conditioning unit and sheet rock to whiz by Sarah’s hand. She let out a wail. Frightened by the heat of the projectile and not knowing what was happening.
“Did it hit you?” Jeff pulled her towards the corner of the motel where there was a hole in the fencing. They both fled towards where they parked the bike.
“No. I don’t think so. It was hot and I’m scared. We’ve got to get out of here.”
“I know. Did you grab your phone? I’ve got mine.”
“Yeah, it’s in my pocket.”
They ran towards the bike and jumped on. Sarah clung tightly to their bag and Jeff. They took off away from the motel. The rain pelted them. Slicing through their clothes and skin. The wind pushed the bike sideways. Threatening with every gust to fling them off into oblivion and pain. Jeff expertly avoided letting the wind rip them from the road or worse yet the bike. Sarah clung so tightly to Jeff that she could feel her shoulder and leg muscles ache from the tension. She dared not to move, though. Her mind raced. She began to shake. She could no longer keep her legs still. Her knees bounced feverishly, causing her calves to cramp. When they had gotten a few blocks away and were certain that they had lost the unidentified lunatic, they sought shelter at an Ihop next to a strip club.
To Be Continued . . .