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Earl’s Roadside Motel

Earl’s Roadside Motel

A short story by Adam Scheinberg
Written over a period from Fall 1993 to Spring 1998
Revised May, 2003

© 1998, 2003 Seth Adam Scheinberg
If I could be any being, living deceased, or fictional, for a day, I would undoubtedly be
Mickey Mouse. There is no one who doesn’t like Mickey Mouse. Mickey must hug more people
than anyone else. Each day, thousands of young kids make their sojourn to Florida or California
(or the more recent Eurodisney in France) to bestow a hug upon this rodent they’ve never met
before. Disney seems to attract more visitors than does Mecca. To have the world
unconditionally love you is my technical definition of paradise. Only Mickey Mouse commands
this seemingly unattainable respect. I mean, think about it. You know anyone who, for some
reason, doesn’t like Mickey Mouse? In addition, being Mickey Mouse for a day would give me the
opportunity to see Disney World in detail. My last visit was abruptly ended by a rather untimely
thundershower. The vacation was salvaged, if one uses that word lightly, by Earl’s Roadside
Motel. They had a few video games. Frogger is actually a pretty cool game. It’s like, you cross
the road, but wait!, there’s still a river to get across! Earl wouldn’t buy Frogger. Actually, I can’t
say that, I never met Earl. I don’t even know if Earl exists. That would be cool if he did,
though, because then I could call and request Frogger. Earl did have Donkey Kong. To my
dismay, the power was lost when I completed the fifteenth level. Not to worry, after all, Donkey
Kong only has three levels that just keep repeating. It’s not like I didn’t know what was coming
up or anything. I could have told you, “Hey, after this, it’s going to go back to the first level.” I
mean, they could have put in a little more effort than that. I did notice, however, before the
power went out that Mario is the main guy in Donkey Kong. I hadn’t realized that he was the
star of anything before Super Mario Brothers. That’s another great game. Earl neglected to
purchase this classic as well. In fact, Earl had, rather unwisely, in my opinion, invested in Pong,
a first generation video game technological effort. Pong would only swallow two of my quarters
before the cease of my stay, and those two only because of curiosity. I pumped most of my
money into Dig-Dug. Dig-Dug is a stupid game where you, a farmer, has to kill gophers. I don’t
even like Dig-Dug. But it is pretty cool to kill the gophers. I wonder if real farmers have gopher
problems as serious as the farmer’s in Dig-Dug. I hear they released a Dig-Dug 2. I don’t really
care. Not like I wanna get it or anything, but it would be cool to own it. It’s actually cool to own
something even if you don’t want it. Did you ever notice that? I have a few CD’s I really bought
just to own. For instance, AC/DC’s Back in Black. It’s got You Shook me All Night Long, and it’s
got Hell’s Bells, and Back in Black. It’s a decent CD. I couldn’t get rid of it. But I never really
use it. In fact, if someone removed it from my CD rack, I probably wouldn’t even notice for a
few weeks. Or maybe months. It’s hard to tell with stuff like that. Estimation was never a
strong point of mine. Not to put it down or anything. It’s certainly handy under the proper
conditions, however, I refrain from usage of estimation whenever possible. I once estimated
how many jellybeans were in a large jar. I was way off. The winner got the jar. I would’ve
rather had the jellybeans, but the winner wanted the jar. Steven Husk. He was one of those
kids who had an accident in school in, like, second grade. I wonder if he’ll ever outlive that one.
I bet not. The bellboy at Earl’s, Chuck, who I befriended as a result of my imprisonment in the
Chateau d’Earl (as I dubbed it after day three), looked a lot like that kid. Chuck, however,
indicated, rather forcefully, that he did not have an accident in school, to avoid any or all
confusion. I clarified that I had not suspected otherwise, but was temporarily mesmerized by his
near splitting image resemblance to Steven Husk, the kid who won the jar. I wonder what the
teacher did with all those jellybeans. I hope she didn’t throw them away because that would be
a waste. I’m not implying that I still want them, not that I would refuse them if someone
offered, but I am just curious, and it ends at that. The thought that Steven Husk consciously
chose the jar over the jellybeans has disturbed me since second grade. I mean, who wants a
jar!? What could a second grader possibly do with a jar? And is there a better reward than
jellybeans to a naïve second grader? Okay, enough about that. I think Steven Husk quit school
after graduation to join his father’s business. Mr. Husk works as a shoeshine, and permit me to
say he is the finest I’ve ever met. He has an excellent reputation as the best in town, and I can
vouch for that. I’ve had my sneakers shined more than once by this pedi-genius. In fact, Chuck,
from Earl’s, commented on how shiny my sneakers were. Imagine that. That’s not all he
commented on. He told me he was shaken by my cap, which bore an emblem of the New York
Giants baseball team, who later became the San Francisco Giants. I don’t know why they
moved, I’d be a NY Giants fan over the New York Yankees had they stayed. Oh, well. Despite
the fact that I’m a die-hard Yankees fan, I was wearing a Giants cap on that particular day, and
Chuck recalled an incident where he was assaulted by a tyrant wearing a New York Giants hat. I
apologized on behalf of the hoodlum, and we began talking about baseball and collectibles. I
have collected baseball cards since I was young, and I have always been most proud of my 1951
Bowman Willie Mays rookie card. I talked about my cards from the fifties, sixties, and seventies.
Chuck told me how he wished he had been a teen in the seventies, where the people had the
power. They had orgies and drug parties and no one thought it was strange. He said that he
didn’t necessarily want those things, but he wanted to challenge authority like that, and do what
he and his friends pleased. Perhaps, we decided, we did advance ourselves in the 1970s,
perhaps it was veiled evolution. I can’t believe this though, as the eighties and nineties have
proven to be conservatively boring. Yeah, we’ve got computers, fax machines, cell phones and
microwaves, but where, asks Chuck, are the flying cars? Where are the teleporters? Where are
the picture phones? And most importantly, where is the World Community?
Chapter 1
The laws of physics must have been challenged the morning I burnt the last two English
Muffins. Some unidentified force must have propelled the heat in the toaster to amplify itself to
unimaginable, exponential degrees just enough to create a small black layer to the underside of
the muffin. I glanced outside to confront an overcast, dismal day. I, inevitably, would roam the
reception area of Earl’s Roadside Motel once again. My stay had been drawn out to four days at
that point. I was anxiously awaiting the cease of my repose. My vacation, strikingly similar to
my first Florida expedition, had been visited by thundershowers, lightening storms, and a
tornado warning. I think we even had a tsunami watch that afternoon. I had proclaimed the
day an instant failure when I burnt the muffins. I cite the all too familiar incident when one buys
a scratch off instant lotto ticket and, before the numbers or objects are revealed, you scratch
away the section of your could-be prize and it’s $5,000. You know, pre-scratch, you have
purchased a loser. The latex is unscathed and the underlying human ESP locked away in the
85% of our brains we don’t use tells us, “Why bother scratching? There is no chance of winning.
” Yet, we do. And we lose. This is how I faced the day. I knew it was a loser due to the
absence of my golden-brown, always perfect English Muffin. I opted to discover, as I had failed
to due on my last pilgrimage, if there was actually an Earl. I approached the desk and was
cordially greeted by a sweet girl whose nametag read “sjbfuel.” She explained that her name
was Melissa, but a fellow named Chuck had not yet fixed the labelmaker. So Chuck was still a
loyal Earl’s employee. I wondered if Chuck would recall who I was. When he entered the room,
he greeted me personally and we shared a few memories and caught up.
As I was recanting a tale about a concert I had attended, an all to familiar voice
bellowed “Hey you!” Yes, it was Steven Husk, his father, and his step mother, Lucille. Of all the
places in the world, of all the crappy little motels in Florida, of all the people to run into, I run
into the boy who had an accident in second grade.
When I began to ponder whether or not the day could possibly grow worse, enter
Natalie Samsa. She was undeniably the “prettiest” girl of Millard Fillmore High. There was
certainly no coincidence of three Fillmore Firebirds arriving at Earl’s. It was the lack of my
golden brown muffins. The thought of Natalie Samsa picturing me with Steven Husk repulses
me. I decided she would undoubtedly tell all her acquaintances, the whole popular crowd, and I
would be the laughing stock of Millard Fillmore High.
Millard Fillmore is a rather tacky name for a high school. Yes, he was the thirteenth
president, I know, but why not John Fillmore, or George or Leonard Fillmore? Other US
presidents with experience in the aforementioned department are Grover Cleveland, Chester A.
Arthur, Ulysses S. Grant, and definitely Rutherford B. Hayes. Rutherford. That, I think, is the
name of the farmer in Dig-Dug!

Chapter 2
And so, I set out with Natalie, Steven, and my burnt English muffin to find Earl.
“Chuck,” I recall saying in a gravely serious tone, “take me to Earl.”
“Agreed,” began the Husk, “and do take the shortest route (pronouncing this so it
rhymes with out). Waste no time, sir, take us to Earl.”
“Impossible.” Chuck replied.
“AH-HA!” shouted the Husk, “so he is a fictional entity! Say no more, this whole
operation is a forgery! Customers, beware, you are being taken by a Wizard of Oz type scandal.
Who sits behind the comfortable curtain of Earl’s Roadside Motel?”
We glanced around. There were no customers, so we continued.
“Uh…tell the Husk to shut up,” Natalie’s angelic voice delicately whispered into my ear.
“Steven, calm down. Chuck, why is it impossible for us to visit Earl? Is he real?”
“Oh yes,” Chuck responded, “very real.”
“Living or deceased?” asked the Husk.
“Earl is, in fact, living. Earl is, in fact, living here. Earl is, in fact, living in the back room.
Earl is, in fact, there right now.” Chuck responded, cornering the Husk.
“Perhaps we might beseech thee for a personal introduction?” inquired the Husk.
“Why are you talking like a dork?” Natalie spitfired at Steven.
“I am simply sporting eighteenth century Middle English for you to dwell upon. You see,
we, that is, Chuck and us, but not you, are sophisticated enough to engage in twisting modern
language with that of our forefathers, intertwining bits and pieces of each. We dance over the
words. Communicating with character.”
“Ya’know, it’s a good thing I’m leaving tomorrow.”
“Okay, Steven, fabulous monologue,” I said, sarcastically, “Now shut up. Chuck, can we
meet Earl?”
“I’m afraid he’s sleeping. Maybe later.”
Natalie exited the room silently. “My family shall depart tonight,” the Husk offered.
‘Thank God’ I thought.
The day and night progressed into endless verbal skirmishes with the Husk and the
silence of Natalie. He clearly felt more comfortable talking here, as if he had the homefield
advantage because she didn’t have her friends with her. The Husk family left and nine o’clock.
Their car could be seen driving into what look like the cyclone part of a tornado. I cursed the
storm and returned to Natalie.
“I apologize for the Husk. He’s an asshole.”
“Yeah, he is,” she said, and left the room.
I was seated in the chair in the lobby (I say the because there is only one), facing the
desk behind which Chuck was seated. Then I fell asleep and was awakened the next morning.

Chapter 3
“Wake up.”
I opened crusty, red eyes to gaze into the angelic face of Natalie Samsa. “I thought you
were leaving,” I asked, hopefully.
“Yeah, but our damn rental car is dead! Looks like we’ll be here a few more hours.”
I said a quick silent prayer of thanks to God for this gift.
“Well, Earl’s has quite the panel of excitement, “I began, stumbling for words, “I’ll show
you around, show you the ropes, or…well, I’ll walk around the place with you and show you it.”
“’Fraid not, my dad called a cab, we’re gonna go out for breakfast.”
“Well, you shouldn’t be so hasty in your decisions!” I screamed, “you don’t even know
about all the activities taking place today.” There were none, of course.
“Like what?” she asked.
“Hmm…there’s gonna be a Dig-Dug tournament at 3, that I’m, uh….organizing, and a,
uh…Pong tournament I’m looking into, at about, uh…”
“I gotta go,” Natalie said.
“Natalie,” Natalie’s father, Gregory, shouted. Mr. Samsa was a weird looking man. He
worked as an apple importer. His office was in his own home, where it was rumored he spoke to
himself all day. His job, at least people presumed, was to import these quality apples and sell
them to grocery stores and fruit stands, etc. Either way, he made a decent living. His
disproportionate, gigantic eyes earned him the nickname “The Fly” amongst townspeople, but
those who knew him joked that it was because he buzzed around and annoyed people. I’m not
sure which I believe, both are true.
“You won’t believe this,” he started, “Because of the storm and power failure in other
places, the taxi, bus and train systems are not operational. It’s a disaster is what it is! A
disaster I say. Like the Great Flood, only not so great! Ha, ha! Anyway, it looks as though we’ll
be here a few days.”
“Damn.” I heard her mumble.
“Oh my, hello to you!” Mr. Samsa said to me, “I do recognize you! You’re from our town,
am I right or am I right? Well, I’ll undoubtedly get to know you better in the next few days.
Perhaps you could give us a little tour of this place. Is there much to do here? I can’t imagine
that there is. But who knows? Not me! What did you say you name was, again?”
“Dad!” she shouted, swatting him away, “Go to the room or something!”
“Ok, Dear, you don’t have to be hostile.”
“Go away!” she shouted.
She gave a full fledged smile, manifesting the pearliest white teeth I ever saw. “Sorry,
Well, looks like I’m stuck here.”
“Hooray. You’ll love Earl’s” lied.
“Yeah, no Dig-Dug or whatever, though.”
After a brief eternity of silence, Natalie agreed to take an admittedly superficial tour of
Earl’s Roadside Motel. I was ill prepared to take on such a task. I took her to the West Wing,
not to be confused with the lobby, which were the only two parts of Earl’s. I noticed her family’s
door was right next to mine.
After the two minute tour was completed, I decided it was time for a refresher, for me,
at least. We headed to the West Wing Video Lounge.
I wondered why it was called the “West Wing Video Lounge.” After all, that implies that
there was an East Wing Video Lounge, or North or South, for that matter, though there was not.
In truth, there wasn’t even an East, North, or South Wing, let alone Video Lounges there.
Then I wondered why it was a Video Lounge, when there were no seats in the room,
only video games.
If you think about it, we spend the better part of our lives sitting down, or lying down.
All through school, every night, during meals, at movies and sporting events, we usually sit or lay
down. How unique and ironic that we play video games, long misunderstood to be fun,
standing.
As we entered the lounge, I noticed that Natalie’s beautiful face had gone from an
upturned majestic smile to an almost angry frown. It seemed to arouse me at first. Then I
noticed that a man was actually pumping quarter after quarter into Pong!
“Why! Tell me why Pong!” I thundered.
“Goodness,” began the man, whose face revealed him to be a senior citizen. He looked
a portly five foot eleven, but my estimation, you’ll recall I mentioned, isn’t great. He had a
whitish-gray beard and mustache. There were numerous crumbs of what appeared to be
Pepperidge Farm Mint Milano cookies nestled deep within his whiskers and his thin fluffy gray
mane worked its way to his collar and met an uneven demise. His fat stomach bulged against
his grungy blue jean overalls, and his plaid flannel shirt was torn in more than one place. He
wore a mesh hat that might have been white in a past life, and his old crooked teeth bore the
stains of years of mistreatment, chemically and physically. His croaking voice took me by
surprise, as he seemed the quintessential bum. He looked like an unemployed Santa Claus.
“You scared me!” he squeaked.
“You! Man! Remove yourself from the premises! The West Wing Video Lounge is for
Earl’s patrons only! Now, kind sir, are you a patron!?”
“No, sir, I suppose not,” he chortled, “I am Earl.”

Chapter 4
My first impression had not been what I had hoped for. Earl was not the sharp
corporate man I had expected. He did not have the intimidating stature, nor the sophistication,
to own any motel, regardless of quality.
“I’m very sorry,” I apologized, “you just….”
“Aw, there’s no need for such talkin’” Earl responded, with an twangy accent as thick as
his beard.
“You own this fine establishment?” I questioned, not sure why I had called it “fine.”
“Yessir. I dedicated my life to it.”
“No kidding. Well, you see, after I received my PhD, I felt, what’s the word? …
Unfulfilled. So I decided to open up the Roadside. A simple dwellin’ to make folks happy.
Provide them with a place to stay during a break in a journey. I could relax and be happy. I
reckoned this’d do the trick. That was about 35 years ago.”
“Well, I think that’s cool. I’m Natalie.” She added, extending her hand.
Earl planted a saliva enriched kiss on her hand. “Thank’ya little Missy. Say, why don’t
you and yur little buddy come fur some tea in the ‘zecutive lounge?” It seemed I had been
addressed as “yur little buddy.”
“Sir, if I may be so bold as to inquire, why did you purchase Dig-Dug?”
“You’re talking like the Husk!” Natalie whispered to me.
“It’s a classic, boy. (Now I was “boy.”) You see, Dig-Dug, Pong, and Donkey Kong are
my three favorites.”
“Sir, Frogger is a classic.”
“Hay pal, (now I was “pal”) I bought my three favorites. When you grow up and have
your own Roadside you can buy Frogger.”
“I might.” I refuted.
We entered the “’zecutive lounge.” It was no more a lounge than the West Wing Video
Lounge, but it did have two seats and a barstool. I really love sitting in barstools. I mean, sure,
it sucks that they don’t have backs, but they’re so high you get this artificial feeling of power.
It’s great.
However, a gun gives you power, too. I am 100% for a total ban on handguns.
Handguns are just plain dangerous. They really, when you cut to the chase, can only kill people.
That is dangerous. But hey, SCUBA diving is dangerous. I once went SCUBA diving off the coast
of the tropical island, Tortola. My friends called it Tortilla. I would have been offended on
behalf of the Tortolans if I didn’t have a secret craving for good tortilla chips. Burritos are good,
too. Although, many burritos I’ve seen have lots of guacamole on them. What moron invented
guacamole? It has arguably the most revolting appearance of any food, but regardless, it tastes
like the gunk one might peel of the bottom of one’s shoe. No, I have never tasted the gunk one
might peel off the bottom of one’s shoe! I assumed! So sue me!
I would have sat on the barstool if Natalie hadn’t taken it first. I sat in a ripped up fabric
chair that, no doubt, must have had the blood sweat and tears of a hundred other clients of
Earl’s unlucky enough to be visited by the same torture I was then experiencing. I chose that
chair over a black vinyl number that had a stained area that conspicuously resembled a pee
stain. I, under some of the most extreme circumstances in history, considered myself lucky to
be in the fabric chair as opposed.
“So, Earl, may I call you Earl?” I asked.
“Sure can.” He responded.
“Do ya like this place?” Natalie asked.
“Sure do.”
“Do you have any other ‘Roadsides?’” I asked, sporting his jargon.
“Sure don’t.” He replied.
I shivered. I have always hated the phrase ‘sure don’t.” It sounds so…uneducated and
primitive. So ridiculously southern twang white trash trailer park. Not to make any
generalizations or anything. Once my father and I were doing a tour looking for colleges and we
stopped at this record store because I wanted a CD. I asked the guy for assistance and he
helped me, and as an afterthought I asked him to see the list of new and forthcoming release
dates to which he happily presented me with a clipboard full of dates and press releases and
other goodies. I saw a CD that I wanted, and upon asking him if they had it he responded,
“Sure don’t.” I wanted to kill the poor bastard. I don’t often think about killing people, though.
Once I read a book that said if you do often think about killing people it might be wise to get
help. Either way, the book was pretty uninteresting as the reading was particularly coarse and
dull. Hah-hah. That sounds like sandpaper. Not to offend sandpaper. My friend Enberto’s
father was a door-to-door sandpaper salesman. He sold almost every thickness known to man.
So varied was his repertoire that one thickness actually looked like rocks taped to construction
paper. Even if it was, he could have sold it. Enberto’s dad was a rich man if ever there was
one. He was what they call, “persuasive.” By the time he ended his little spiel, you were
convinced that sandpaper was vital to your existence and without it you might crunch up into the
fetal position and wither away into ashes. I began buying from Enberto’s dad when I was seven.
At eight I had a subscription plan. By nine, I was a junkie, hooked. When I was seven I would
sand my bedframe, and occasionally underneath my desk. At eight, I sanded the grandfather
clock left to us by my great uncle, a grammatical diction mystery within itself. By nine I had
sanded the living room floor three times over. By ten, I had sanded the exterior of our house, a
little here, a little there. And no one thought it was odd because everyone bought from
Enberto’s dad. I checked into SA (Sanders Anonymous) at eleven, cured by twelve. Haven’t
spoken to Enberto since then. A common expression around town is “…but I bet Enberto’s dad
could sell it.”
Earl poured us each a little cup of tea. The cups, round and white, were maybe two
inches tall, they were thick and seemed to be porcelain. In fact, they looked like those found in
Chinese, or, rather, Asian restaurants nationwide. I love eating Asian food. I love immersing
myself in a cultural experience like that. Asians and Americans evolved for eons with minimal
influence on each other, and as a result, we have entirely different cultures. We use different
spices, we write with different letters or symbols. We have much different customs. I would like
to visit Asia.
I sipped from the teacup, and the putrid taste of muddy water impaled the sensitive
glands of my oral passage. Before I could think, all courtesy aside, I opened my mouth and
exhaled the longest stream of vomit I’ve ever seen, let alone produced. It projected across the
“’zecutive lounge” and splattered all over Earl’s overalls and sufficiently speckled Natalie’s Doctor
Martin shoes.
“Yuk!” Natalie gagged.
“Oh my, was it the tea?” Earl wondered aloud.
“I am, I apolog…I am so, so sorry.”
“Well,”
“Sir, it was the tea. I must be frank with you. The tea is quite revolting.”
“S’okay, some people just don’t enjoy delicacies.”
“Delicacy? What a delicacy?” I asked.
“The tea, young man (now I was young man), is a delicacy. It is an old Chinese recipe.
True Chinese tea, with a twist.”
“A twist? What’s in it?” asked beautiful Natalie, with a hint of naïve innocence.
“Oh, a hint of seaweed, a hint of aged whale skin, some rare plants and such.”
“Seaweed? Whale skin?” Natalie echoed in a half-voice.
“Seaweed, whale skin.” Earl confirmed.
With that, Natalie joined me in the delicate art of projectile vomiting. Her stream rivaled
mine, and it shot with such force that it knocked over my teacup. Tea spilled everywhere.
It was, by far, the most revolting scene ever captured in memory. The ground was
flowing like a river with a mixture of vomit and Earl’s tea. Earl paged the maid (I say the
because there is only one) to see us to our rooms and to clean the ‘zecutive lounge.

Chapter 5
The next morning, I woke up. I usually do that before anything else, it keeps me on my
feet. Well, truly, my legs keep me on my feet, but that’s another story (author’s note: no, really,
it’s another story, see Knees, Cysts, and Legs: One Man’s Struggle, by Rover Alexander.)
Anyway, I stumbled over to the window, and, amazingly, confronted the brightest sun I
had ever seen. I opened the window, and a tropical breeze blew in my face. The news
indicated the power was still out everywhere, but thanks to Earl’s generator, we were in the
clear. I ran into the bathroom, took a quick shower, dressed, had two immaculately golden
brown English Muffins, and knocked on Natalie’s door.
“Go away!” she shouted through the door.
“Why?”
“I cannot ever face the world again.”
“Natalie,” I began, “yesterday’s spectacle was indeed embarrassing, but it’s no reason to
lock yourself up like a hermit.”
“We’ll be the laughing stock of the motel.” She responded.
“You must be kidding,” I said, “we’re the only people in the motel.”
“Still.”
I sighed. I could hear the endless buzzing of Mr. Samsa through the thick door. In his
random mumblings, he was attempting to convince Mrs. Samsa that travel at light speed is
fundamentally implausible. It was a stream of consciousness type monologue. I hate stream of
consciousness. It’s very hard to follow.
The door opened and Natalie stepped out, wearing a tight peach bikini with little yellow,
pink, and orange objects on it. I thought I would faint.
“You look good.” I said.
“Thanks, I guess, I feel nasty.”
“Uh…you look good.”
We concurred that a day in the sun would do us both some good, so we headed out to
find the pool. The trip was abruptly ended when we ran into Earl in the main lobby.
“Hello, kids, how are yas?”
“Hey Earl,” Natalie sounded, as if she and Earl were longtime companions.
“Where’re you two kids headed?” he asked. His tone was like that of a mall Santa Claus
asking a child what they want for Christmas. Mall Santas are not very convincing. I once sat in
a mall Santa’s lap, and instantly I knew it wasn’t Santa. “Who the hell are you?” I remember
demanding to know. “Well, son, I’m Santa Claus from the North Pole.” My vision of Santa was
ruined henceforth, and I’ve since converted to Buddhism, which is funny because I wasn’t
Christian to begin with. The main reason for the conversion was because I like to rub Buddha’s
belly, and, in addition, I have a good luck charm that is Buddha. I’ve always thought it was
pretty cool.
“We’re looking for the pool we’ve heard so much about, Earl.” Natalie responded.
“It’s down the West Wing, past the Video Lounge.”
I rolled my eyes and Natalie said, “Thanks, Earl, c’mon let’s go.”
We headed down the West Wing, past all four rooms, and went out the exit. To my
surprise, Earl’s Roadside Motel had the finest swimming facilities I’d ever seen. An Olympic-, no,
bigger, sized pool filled with clear blue water reflected the sun and heat. There were, maybe,
four other people by the pool. One was Chuck, another looked to be “sjbfuel,” or Melissa.
Natalie and I took two chairs. We spread our towels across them and mounted our
tanning vehicles. The breeze was cool, the heat was strong, the sun, in all its glory, was
broasting the patrons of Earl’s a nice medium rare. While staring at Natalie, I fell into a deep
slumber.
I awoke three hours later, and I felt extremely sunburnt. I looked over to Natalie’s
chair, and she was gone.
Going inside, I stepped on one of those rocks that’s real sharp and it, like, hurts to walk
on it for awhile.
So I limped over to my room and showered. When dinner around Natalie asked me to
join her for a meal in the dining room, if you could call the ten by ten foot room a dining room.
“Do you mean a date?” I asked, excitedly.
“No,” she said.
“Oh, ok, sure.”
We ate.
Before long, we found ourselves sitting on a pool bench staring into the sky. We had
had an excellent dinner. I had made her laugh, and she told me stories that her grandparents
used to tell her. We ever got Earl to give us a bottle of wine, and we got Chuck to cook us a
great meal. I had a terrific time, and honestly felt like we were perfect together. Though she
opened up to me, I could sense her hesitation. On the pool bench, the was a long silent pause.
“I’m leaving tomorrow.” She said.
“That sucks,” I said.
“Does it? I’m not sure. But it looks like everything will be okay, someone came and fixed
our car. Power’s back on everywhere. So I’ll be leaving tomorrow.”
“Whether it means anything or not, I really had a great time with you,” I said, awaiting
her reaction.
“Me, too,” she said, “I don’t know why I was never closer to you at school.”
I looked over, half expecting a kiss, when all of a sudden…
“Hey kids! How are yas?” bellowed the fat, gray-haired man.
“Earl, come join us,” Natalie said.
“Nah, I don’t want to bother you. Look, I just heard from your father that you’re leaving
in the morning, Nat. And, you, afternoon, fella.” He reported. (Now I was fella.)
Was it true?! Had my time been up? Was this the last night I would be here in Earl’s
Roadside Motel? I felt much more ambivalent about this development than I had anticipated.
“Listen, kids, I just wanted to wish you luck in the future and tell you that I ordered
Frogger.”
“Wise choice!” I said.
“You should come back and visit me, or at least send me your prom picture or
something.”
“We’re not a couple,” Natalie said, a bit too emphatically for my taste.
“You’re kidding me!” the fat man shouted, “In that case, you should be! You make one
helluva couple, between sunbathing, vomiting, and dinner dates. You two are perfect together.”
“Maybe…” I began.
She interrupted, blushing, “I’m getting tired, let’s continue this some other night, okay?”
“You mean, go out…again?” I asked.
“Yeah.” She smiled and kissed me on the cheek.
I smiled back, “What are you doing until school starts?”
“We’re headed to Disney World.”
“Aren’t you a little old for that?” I asked, half trying to seem cool.
“No way,” she said, “I love Disney. I’m even gonna hug all the characters!”
And that is why, if I could be any being, living, deceased, or fictional, for a day, I would,
undoubtedly, be Mickey Mouse.
Earl’s Roadside Motel
a short story by Seth Adam Scheinberg
Author’s Note: This is by no means an accurate measure of my writing ability. Not this
note, but the attached story. It was purely intended as entertainment for myself, and I chose to
let you in on the joke. While I am capable of masterpiece level originality, I continue to
challenge myself to keep it a secret.