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The Nevada Motel This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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“Welcome to the Nevada Motel, where we aim to impress the average low-life tourist. Here is your plastic key, sir. If you or your astoundingly obese wife have any questions, please hesitate to ask. Breakfast is served only at eight, and the food is adequate at best. I hope you enjoy your stay at our run-of-the-mill establishment. Check-out time is noon.”

I say this with a gratuitously toothy smile and point to the elevator. Mr. and Mrs. Winnipegger, high-paying guests but dim bulbs, stand befuddled in the shag-carpeted lobby. They appear struck with the realization that the Nevada Motel isn't quite the “pristine getaway” depicted in the travel pamphlets.

Indeed, the ླྀs mauve exterior needs a decent paint job, and both the second-floor water damage and rodent infestation are quite disconcerting. But the town of Popswitch, Maine, is charming: a seaside community ritualistically stuck in a “live and let live” existence.

In the course of their unnatural holiday, Mr. and Mrs. Winnipegger will both acquire third-degree sunburns and be bitten by sand fleas. Mrs. Winnipegger will suffer from a severe reaction to Red Tide shellfish, and Mr. Winnipegger will chip a tooth on our complimentary continental breakfast. Upon returning their key, however, they will smile and say they “enjoyed the vacation.”

It is a characteristically American instinct to delight in a bleak reprieve from the average. Take Joseph P. Brooks from Boston, who checks in at a quarter to three. He wears horn-rimmed glasses, a rigid tie, and a suit that's stiffer than a wooden spoon. When he demands pillow mints and softer towels, I tell him to go back to “Assachusetts.” He doesn't appreciate my comment, yet he stays two nights and thanks the maid regularly. He cares not that the maid neither makes his bed nor cleans his tub.

Joseph is akin to the Waltons, who arrive at half past five. Mr. Walton is a stocky man with a smoker's mustache and is, ironically, more feminine than his wife. I give him a good look-over: a definite tourist. His nose is a deep combination of chartreuse and magenta, but his legs are whiter than cotton swabs. He wears ྂs style aviator sunglasses and a once-white T-shirt graced with the words “Who's your daddy?” He carries a burlap sack fit for a three-month hike across the European countryside.

Mr. Walton motions to his wife, who tells me in a very deep Southern drawl that she and her “darling” are from Hill City, Alabama, and this is their first time out of state. With her weight, Mrs. Walton could capsize the Queen Elizabeth 2. She carries a flamingo-feathered suitcase that coordinates with her boots and wears one of those cheap rubber bracelets that say, “I'm on a mission from God.” When she smiles, she reveals a rouge lipstick-speckled snaggletooth.

I give my ritual “Welcome to the Nevada Motel” performance, and the Waltons avoid my gaze thereafter. They nevertheless take their plastic key and spend five days in Popswitch, living as tourists do and “getting away from it all.” However, while gallivanting in the frigid Atlantic waters, Mr. Walton loses his left pinky toe to a feisty sea crab. And while shrieking for medical help, Mrs. Walton steps forcefully into a fellow tourist's sand castle moat, shattering her ankle in 11 places.

For the five days prior, Mr. Walton disregarded his humdrum, nine-to-five life of stacking inventory at the Hill City Walmart. He no longer lived for Michelob Ultra and WWF Fridays, but relished the sweet aroma of vocational freedom. For five luminous days, he made no attempts to “stick it to the man,” for this is Mr. Walton's vacation: he is the man.

Until the unfortunate sea crab incident, Mrs. Walton comfortably strutted the beach in a rainbow-striped, g-string bikini. For 57 minutes, she was Cleopatra and Mr. Walton was Mark Anthony. In her mind, she wasn't the weight of a Burmese elephant, but was a black-and-white movie star fresh from “Breakfast at Tiffany's.”

The Waltons were overly eager to escape their mundane lives; they braved mutilating injuries and substandard motel conditions to “get away from it all,” and in the end, returned to normalcy with nauseating ease. They will remember the Nevada Motel as a symbol of the American vacation, an enticing facade and a bleak escape.

After the Walton's noontime departure, the Emerson family arrives. I greet them with, “Welcome to the Nevada Motel, where we aim to impress tourists in search of reprieve from their monotonous lives. I offer you advice: pack up, go home. Take three days to sit in your suburban backyard and bake your white, fleshy skin. Sip lemonade from a curly straw, and paint your toenails some obscene color … Just get out of Popswitch before it sucks you in.”

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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This article has 6 comments. Post your own!

thepreechyteenager said...
Sept. 20, 2010 at 6:27 am:
I second chartle.  This piece had a great, really original pplot line.  And one that a person can really take to heart, too.  Far too many people spent waaaay too much money on a medicre vacation, only achievced by hours of stressful planning.  I agree with the last bit of your story; vacation at home- it's where you are so it's where you'll find yourself!
 
thepreechyteenager replied...
Sept. 20, 2010 at 6:28 am :
By the way, if you have time, can you check out my piece, "Encounter"?
 
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chartle said...
Jan. 28, 2010 at 1:51 am:
I definitely liked the character profiles described in this article. Mr. Walton is an interesting characterization of the American male. It has become apparent that his life is not turning out the way he wanted. The only time he is really in control is when he "gets away from it all." It doesn't matter whether it was a good time or not because he was in control.
Overall, a very insightful piece and very well written.
 
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SillyMonkey7 said...
Jan. 4, 2010 at 7:37 pm:
Wow this was really good. I loved the whole flow of it and how descriptive you were with everything. For some reason this reminds me a little of the movie "The Haunted Mansion". Not cuz it's scary or anything but of how cold the manager or whatever was. Don't worry that's not a bad thing it's actually what I like the most about it..it's very unique. I've never read anything like it it's just amazing! Keep up the awesome work you're extremely tale... (more »)
 
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bex11 said...
Jan. 3, 2010 at 8:28 am:
This is really funny. Not just the descriptive writing but the whole idea of it and I enjoyed it.
 
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ncvolley123 said...
Dec. 31, 2009 at 8:40 pm:
I love the first part. 'Dim bulbs'? Totally relates to my favorite writers descriptive short stories and the ludicrous story lines that goes with them!
 
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