Gravel crunches as I pull into an almost empty parking lot
Cut the engine, watch it shudder a weak protest
Slump back in the torn leather seat
And light a cigarette
Eyes jumping to and from the few scattered cars
Like an old detective film
Make sure the coast is clear

Office door creaks open just enough for me to slip through
See a lonesome burning smoke in a overflowing ashtray
Call out a “Hello” in a shaky voice
Then stammer an “Is anyone there?”
He lumbers out, another cigarette stuck in his unshaven face
Caters to my demands, passes a worn silver key
The door shuts itself on the way out

Unlock room 23 and make a beeline to the mini bar
Drink a fifth of Gin and stare at the peeling paint on the ceiling
Breath in deep and try to subdue qualms
Misgivings are unattractive
Though more faithful for certain
Drain the remaining 1/4 and toss the bottle at the trash
And duck out for a six-pack of Bud from the corner store

The knock is soft and drawn out, almost ghost-like
Before the door opens and she enters
Unsure steps and uncertain smile
Watch her clumsily undress behind a curtain of blue smoke
Fumble nervously with your keys
Take one last swig of beer
Then hold her like you would a dying child

Wake hungover the next morning
Wearing nothing but a tee-shirt and a headache
Blindly reach out to the bedside drawers
In search of the remains of last nights crumpled soft pack
Strike a match and light
Focus gets shifted to the fire fly like ember
Meekly smile and turn over to find her gone

Office door is stuck tight
Spit out a string of expletives while banging on the smudged glass
Stubbly smile soon appears behind
Eagerly ushers me in, exclaiming that he saw
A pretty young thing leaving earlier on
He bums a cigarette and raises his grubby hand in hope of a high-five
I leave him hanging

Damn New Yorker has trouble starting
Splutters and then purrs
Under a murky grey impressionist sky
Press last limp excuse for a cigarette against a solemn mouth
Bid farewell to a road-side motel
That rings a little close to home
Gravel crunches as I pull out of an almost empty parking lot


by Benjamin Blake

Benjamin Blake was born in the July of 1985, in the small town of Eltham, New Zealand. His fiction and verse have appeared in numerous journals and magazines including, The Los Angeles Review of Los Angeles, Morpheus Tales, Black Petals and Danse Macabre. He was a contributor to the 2012 anthology, A Feast of Frights from the Horror Zine. He is the author of the poetry and prose collections, A Prayer for Late October, Southpaw Nights, and Reciting Shakespeare with the Dead. He currently lives in a cabin, somewhere in the New Zealand countryside.


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