They called it a hotel but it screamed motel to me. The furnishings were dated, but clean. We had a second floor room overlooking the parking lot. And when I say overlooking I mean through an enormous picture window. Our room was really more of a small apartment. We had a sitting area with a small TV, on one of those 70’s style TV carts with the wheels. I wondered briefly if it might be black and white. There was a kitchenette with that fantastic white speckled Formica sporting chrome edges. On the other side of that wall there was the bed with a chenille coverlet and a small bureau.
The red slip-covered sofa was saggy and surprisingly comfortable. The slipcover even smelled freshly washed. This, of course, pleased me.
We had just come in from being out… possibly to dinner… and we left the lights off as we came in. There was a sultry ambient light streaming in the giant window from the street lights across the parking lot. It only added to the already garish, somewhat surreal atmosphere.
In that light, settled into our cheesy surroundings I found myself feeling a bit amorous… in a pulp novel sort of way. After all these years my sultry wife knows in a glance where my mind is. She shot me back a look that was devilish and playful. In a place like this, really there are only two ways to feel; the first being mildly grossed out, or this fictional, seedy sexiness in a grungy, slumming sorta way.
We settled onto the couch, bathed in that pale yellow light from the night life outside, kissing and fondling like teenagers.
My steamy wife lifts her head throwing her hair back and mentions, almost in passing, that the fire flares out the window were so romantic… casting a red color, intensifying our passion.
I sat bolt upright. That passion sloughing off like rain water.
Fire flares? Out the window? Huh?!
We both stood slowly, and approached the large window tentatively. In the distance we saw red flaring, bright flames shooting skyward. Not fire though, more like explosions.
Then in the distance, tiny lights approaching through the night sky. It took a minute before we realized they were planes, and then another moment to understand they were fighter planes. Some of them prop jobs– like from the Big War. I am not sure why this didn’t surprise me, this coalescing of era’s, but we were under attack and didn’t really have time to ponder such trivialities.
We hit the floor prone as the planes flew over our hotel. Fearing the unseen pilots would notice us in that giant window and open fire. I imagined them to have those machine guns mounted under the wings like I had seen in the movies.
After they passed we knew we needed to spring to action. Our eyes met briefly – the look so different than the one we just shared moments before. I told my frightened wife that we should grab our bags, packing quickly and most likely having to leave behind many of our belongings. In my minds eye I saw our green luggage in the closet and items strewn around the bed and in the bathroom. I started to try to think about what was where and what to grab – our belongings from home kept mixing with these thoughts and I had to keep correcting my inner eye to remind myself we were not home – but we sure needed to get there.
With all this noise going on in my own head it took a moment to register the next sound.
The slow, heavy sound of tires on sand. A sort of grating, crunching noise – but it seemed bigger than tires. My shaky wife and I went to the smaller side window only to see, in disbelief, a tank pulling into the far parking lot with a soldier walking beside it easily able to keep up to its slow pace. It turned its great treads on a dime and stopped as if to park in a parking space, though it took up most of a row.
Forget the bags – we had to go …now.
We made our way down the darkened back stairs and snuck out the side door to the car. Running off on foot didn’t occur to me. In retrospect, I am not sure why.
With all the clamor outside I wasn’t too worried about the sound of the car, it was the lights that I feared would give us away. My little green convertible has daytime running lights; these come on as soon as the emergency brake is released. I reasoned we could simply drive with the brake pulled slightly – one problem solved. Then I remembered the brake lights. Perhaps I should just smash them, but my cautious self got the better of me –so I opened the trunk to pull the bulbs. The trunk light went on, but it seemed dim enough not to cause a stir. I was wrestling with the light covers when…
when… I woke up.
Ok.. who the hell dreams like this?