THE CLEARWATER INN
Amenities: Handbell replica; undeliverable-mail bin; Women’s Room. Menu: Cold Egg Broth; Chicken Frankfurter; Spaghetti with “Mega” Sauce; Lucky Strudel. Nearby Attractions: Area famous for apple-butter; Colony for the Feeble-Minded at nearby Ebensburg.
Review: Checked in after regaining consciousness on access road, north end of soybean field. After nap, looked out window at scenery (pictured). Noted trail of bread-crumbs in upper hallway. Drank nine crème de menthes. Employed a handkerchief to conceal my hair.
Amenities: Volleyball net; on-site parking; World Wide Web booth; infirmary. Menu: Placemat Platter; Fresh Fruit Combination; Hong Kong Crab Taco. Nearby Attractions: Concrete bridge between two fields; photograph of Olympic Village.
Review: Atmosphere of deep, almost permanent Christmas. On waking, tested new idea of making anything I didn’t like go away just by pointing at it. Felt like someone kept yelling at me to “shut up,” though I hadn’t said anything. Checked out; lodged a complaint; reconsidered; checked back in. Wondered what any of these people had to do with me.
THE MAYLOCK HOTEL
Amenities: 5% discount for blind guests; “Cotter Cola” available in lounge; anti-terror policy. Menu: Six-Item Salad; Clam Broulée; “Father’s Pride” Walnut Cake; Hot Ham Soup. Nearby Attractions: Child Abuse Prevention Center; pontoon ride.
Review: Noticed a smell which reminded me of something. Returned to room and used hands to form representations of church, steeple, all of the people, etc. Racked by a fit of jealous hope. Passed a stone.
WINTHROP ESTATES COURTYARD
Amenities: Wake-up call; service elevator; “Nullification Thursdays”; all rooms feature partial privacy. Menu: Cascade of Lentils; Austrian Fish Pie; “Grab Bag” Sandwich; Candied Wedding Wreath. Nearby Attractions: Soiled handpuppet locked in attic cupboard.
Review: Quarantine in effect throughout district. Room key almost impossibly tiny. Sense that history must have ended by now. Dreamed the hotel was on fire; awoke weeping softly; took brunch in room.
Amenities: Information pamphlet; disposable checkers; weather-proof hallway; United States Postal Service. Menu: Broiled Loin (served w/ french fries); Basket of Assorted Cupcakes; Foie Gras “Candle” with Hazelnuts; Elvis Wrap. Nearby Attractions: Thousands of people struggling to get into a room; picnic area for families; ongoing murder investigation.
Review: Voices issuing from vents in bathroom. Desiccated bridal bouquet mounted under glass bell. Shameful tableaux from my own childhood displayed on wall at several points during night. Evident nursemaid traipsed in by moonlight and deposited either a pill, a clove, or a very small seashell in my bedside dish. May have been a hospital—unclear—but had difficulty checking out. Left via window over back stairs. Immediately lost.
DUTCH HAUS MOTOR COURT Amenities: Facial soap; “American” landscape; strange funereal structure in vacant lot behind building. Menu: String Beef; “Governour” Platter; Twice-Fried Fish Salad; Roast Turkey “Headache” with Pearl Onions. Attractions: Railroad-themed pantomime at community center; automatic bake sale; vinegar tasting.
Review: Began series of planned improvements to fence on perimeter of hotel property. Within minutes management informed—tools confiscated; work dismantled; matter pending. Remained in bed several days with recurring case of Saint Zachary’s disease. Obliged to use pepper-spray on at least two “guests.” In response to his query, informed proprietor that I planned to check out “sometime.”
MARYVALE GUEST SUITES
Amenities: Legal interview; the Gifts of Laughter and Song; photocopy entitled “How What Seems to Have Happened Can, Despite All Else, Actually Have Happened.” Menu: Bistro Ball; Creamed Crawdad Cup; “Have You a Minute?” Dumplings; Four-Alarm Bread. Nearby Attractions: Place to which no child is ever bidden go; sand factory.
Review: So-called basket monkey ran screaming and shitting through my quarters. Everything I’ve ever loved has been taken away from me. This is not a joke. Oh dear God this is not a joke.
WREN CREST LODGE Amenities: Phalanx of mute observers; storage area beneath bed; drain gasket; electronic warning bell. Menu: Shrimp Stub with Coriander; Elk and Portobello “Handkerchief”; Collar of Ham; Lettuce Chips. Nearby Attractions: The Mummy’s Castle; historical monument; Pot o’ Gold; rock climbing.
Review: Premonition that I would come back to this place to die. Woken by sound of myself volubly imploring an immanent presence. Veritable hurricane of acorns and other debris. Spotted youngish omphalopagous ambling up from the shed. Help me. Oh please for the sweet love of Christ help me. Earwig on window sill noted.