At the Days Inn Near Eastland–Story # 7

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I was standing in the express lane at HEB one day and I heard a phone ringing, a loud sigh, and the woman in front of me whispered “Good grief.”

I didn’t want to eavesdrop, but there’s not much privacy in the 15 items or less line at the grocery store.

“Yes,” she said, “I bought organic red leaf lettuce and some wine. I’ll be home after I get the cake.” If she was hosting a party, she didn’t’ seem all that excited about the guest list.

“At the Days Inn Near Eastland” started with that scene and part of that line. Admittedly, my first thought when someone silently curses about being tethered to their phone is not sympathy. If you don’t want to be available 24/7, leave the phone at home I say.

But what would happen, I wondered, if that ringing cell phone sent you over the edge? What really interested me, though, was the specificity of her answer above. Why organic red leaf lettuce? What kind of wine? Cake? Who is calling her with such a question and why is she so annoyed with the phone call?

More importantly, where was she headed after HEB and what would happen if she decided to drive around for a little while before going home.

In my head, what happens is she ends up naked in a motel room with a McDonald’s bag, an cake box, and an empty bottle of wine.

At the Days Inn Near Eastland

When Jill woke up with a McDonald’s bag, a cake box, and an empty bottle of wine next to her, she knew something was wrong. Even more troubling were the scratchy, over-washed hotel sheets rubbing against her naked body. She hadn’t slept nude since she was 12, and even then she had woken up in the middle of the night to get dressed. Lying there on this morning, Jill tried to imagine an illicit chance encounter: a bottle of wine, her naked body, and a muscle bound younger man tending to her every need, but Jill didn’t feel any post-coital relaxation. Then again, she couldn’t
feel anything except a burning in her head, a dry mouth, and something sticky on her lips. I’m the kind of girl who likes to swallow, Jill laughed as she licked the remnants of her culinary orgy off her lips.

She slipped back into a dream about Monte Jones, her high school boyfriend. Monte had been Mr. Everything back in the day. Starting quarterback, straight-A student, and against all stereotypes, a genuinely nice guy. He was also the only real fun she had as a teen living with her Aunt, Uncle, and their five children.

When her cell phone vibrated, she opened her eyes and the world around her started spinning a half beat off from her stomach, a little like listening to Nine Inch Nails do Beethoven. As she rushed into the bathroom, Jill knew she would survive the headache, but she kind of hoped death would find her soon so her stomach would stop squirming. The phone was still making noise after rinsed her mouth.

(If you want to know how Jill got from the checkout line at HEB to the Days Inn near Eastland, click on the image above.)

 

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About John Wegner
John Wegner is a Professor of English where he also serves as the Dean of the Freshman College. He and Lana, his wife, have been married over 25 years. They are the parents of two great sons who (so far) haven't ever needed bail money.

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