Heart-Hit Hotel This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   I'm not exactly sure when it started. It just kind of happened. I'm generally not one of those spontaneous, spur of the moment types. I wouldn't bungee jump without the elastic cord or plan a coup to overthrow Dick Clark as American Bandstand emcee (that would be impossible anyway). Don't get me wrong though. I'm no limp vegetable, no potato spudding extra eyes everywhere.

Actually, no part of me saw this phenomenon coming - natural although unexpected. Entropy, Chaos Theory, the Big Bang. Her big bang and that's how it all began. In a random shooting, she shot point blank into my heart, nuzzling into my life's blood like a wildcat cleaning her young - tongue, teeth and snarls. The bullet lodged deep, and with its explosion, sprinkled her sweet gunpowder throughout my insides. Causing no pain and no apparent threat to my health, I never removed the bullet of the bang. I allowed it to grow onto my heart, not as a malignant tumor but more like a beauty mark. She became part of me. Then, involuntarily on my part, she nailed me to the table and performed the operation her inexperienced-self. I was the impatient patient demanding a full prognosis as to why the beauty mark needed to be amputated. All I received was a dial tone and a different operator warning me to hang up and try again later. Now I sport an internal scar that I can't even boast about.

I can only tell you how it all started. She blasted into my life straight through the back door. No knock. No hello. Like an old neighbor who needs to borrow a cup of sugar for some special recipe then never returns it. That's exactly what she did. She must have targeted the vacancy sign right on my heart and decided to set camp awhile, borrow some sugar, and discharge herself without paying the tab. Incredible!

Hey, I never went into withdrawal. I posted that vacancy sign back up. With neon lights this time. I got billboards flowing all through my veins advertising the heart. Of course, she could possibly catch one and decide to give it another shot. Why shouldn't she? My heart wasn't that bad. I mean it wasn't the Waldorf Astoria in terms of luxuries, but stable, trustworthy, like Holiday Inn. You know, just when you think you're lost and have nowhere to crash, turn your head and there my heart is. Or was, at least. I gave her the best chamber in the place.

I gave her the whole motel in fact. That's more than I can say for previous occupants. I've had more than a few rooming in my heart at the same time. Just keep the pulse at a steady rate and business is beating like eggbeaters. I call in their rooms to check up on 'em and make sure they're happy and all, going with the flow. The customer comes first idea is a complete lie. You just gotta make 'em think that they do when they stay at the heart.

But this girl came first above all. She got greedy though, started pumping the heart dry. She didn't want any other guests staying there while she was. Said they were clotting up the place. She wanted to occupy the whole place. Took all the keys and hid them from me. Kind of ruined my business connections. I'd be bankrupt if it weren't for her, my only paying guest at that point. Hey, but one guest was better than none, right? Sure, I know, I could've bypassed her out for interfering with my business and kept the others instead, the more the merrier right?

Wronggo! It sounds lame but the other guests became a nuisance. They'd keep nagging for special room service at the most inopportune moments - things never included with the package deal. And when they didn't get what they ordered they'd complain even more, that I didn't treat them as honored guests of the heart anymore. I suppose I didn't. Too busy with her - the only guest who actually paid on time. So sooner or later, a few decided to pump themselves out of the heart. They became jealous of her because she was beginning to receive the staff's constant attention. I really didn't mind though. I mean this girl was so rich she'd pay more than all the guests combined. Who could've blamed the staff? That big bang just attacked the heart. So, when she did ask for the keys to the last two guests, who would even then only occasionally visit, it was a done deed. I mean, she did ask. And she said that they would have been dangerous to the business as a working organ. You know how it goes, the customer is al-ways right. n


This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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