You are on your way to a wedding. Some distant cousin you haven’t seen in fifteen years. On the list of things you’d rather do, “drown” only narrowly outranks “get eaten by bears.”
The reception is three states away. That would normally merit flying, but you’re not gonna blow 400 bucks on plane tickets just to blow another 150 bucks on people you’ll never see again.
So, you drive. Your only company is Delilah from 106.7 Lite fm. She’s not as much fun when it isn’t Christmastime.
Many hours later, you approach unconsciousness. The party isn’t until late tomorrow, so it’s safe to call it a night.
Poorly prepared as ever, you simply stop at the first hotel that doesn’t look like a place you’ll die in. This one seems okay.
At this hour, it’s safe to assume that the guy working the front desk is also the owner. Without provocation, he brags about the amenities, including free Wi-Fi, a game room, and all the ice your grody sink will fit.
You ask about room service. “The kitchen is closed,” the weirdo says, even though you’re positive that this motel doesn’t offer room service no matter how much daylight there is.
Whatever. You give him your credit card. He spends ten minutes processing your reservation, using phone calls and legal pads but absolutely no card swipers.
Your room is… well, it’s not so bad. There are two beds, so later you’ll be able to do that mutant hotel version of pole vaulting. And you know the room’s clean, because it absolutely reeks of Pine-Sol.
You were hoping for a little more “cheap hotel charm,” though. At least there are framed paintings of dinosaurs. You try to Instagram them, but the stupid glass panels give off too much glare.
With your last gasps of lucidity, you go exploring.
So this is the “game room,” huh? An unfurnished storage area filled with potential lawsuits and probably rats. A+.
The arcade features just one game: Final Fight, which is plugged into a faraway wall with the help of two extension cords. You hear their business ends crackle, as if to whisper warnings.
(W-A-S-D to move. K to jump. J and L to punch/kick. From Classic Games Arcade!)
You play the game. It’s okay. Sort of like Double Dragon, but without the gratuitous “girl gets punched in the stomach” opening scene.
With two lives remaining, you drop out early. Final Fight is fun, but it’s just too spooky in here. Really, some dude could come in and stab you, and there’s absolutely no way he’d ever get caught.
You feel like Dora Mae from Carnivale, believing that if you die here, your spirit will remain here. There are better places to be a ghost.
There’s no room service and it’s too late to order a pizza. Your last resort is the motel’s snack machine. Someone else got there first, and man, he is being meticulous.
Minutes turn into hours. It gets to the point where you completely memorize his silhouette. You liken it to a collins glass with a cherry on top. Fuck this.
Finally, it’s your turn. The bill slot is predictably out of order, so it’s a good thing you have those leftover Final Fight quarters.
It occurs to you that no matter what you pick, tonight’s dinner will be ridiculous.
Back in the room, you feast on Little Debbie Nutty Bars and knockoff Handi-Snacks.
To wash it all down, you got a bottle of mixed berry Veryfine. Holy shit, they still make Veryfine? You wonder if Veryfine exists outside the confines of vending machines at cheap hotels. It probably doesn’t.
The promised Wi-Fi is dud, so you’re forced to make do with whatever was already loaded on your Kindle app. You make it exactly five words into Life in a Medieval Castle — those of course being the title of the book.
After settling into bed, you flip through the channels. Only 4 out of 57 work.
Channel 3: Informercial for an extreme exercise plan. You feel guilty watching this after eating a Nutty Bar.
Channel 12: Informercial for a juicer. You feel guilty watching this after eating a Nutty bar.
Channel 17: Chatty old men sitting at a table that has an inbuilt LED stock ticker.
Channel 38: Grave of the Vampire.
This isn’t a hard decision.
You barely pay attention to the film, only absorbing enough to know that it’s A) about vampires and B) badly colorized.
You hit the lights and close your eyes, leaving only the TV on. Screams and clunks hint at what you’re missing. You’re kind of freaked out, but you like being kind of freaked out.
You wake up early the next morning. An itchy thigh suggests bugs of the bed variety. Your leftover Veryfine looks more stale than it should after just one night.
Yeah… it’s time to go.
You wanted to visit the brochure stand on the way out. You love hotel brochure stands, filled with pitches for quaint local attractions that you’ll never visit. Unfortunately, the same prick that made you wait twenty minutes for fake Handi-Snacks has christened “brochure browsing” as his new favorite hobby.
This time, you throw in the towel immediately. Mental middle fingers abound.
As you continue driving to the stupid wedding, you reflect on your experiences at Dino Drac Motel.
Your eyes are as red as the bites on your thigh, and you’re probably six pounds heavier. Despite these things, you had so much fun. Adventure knows a billion forms, and many of them are mundane.
Deep down, you know that your weekend has already peaked.
You wish you could do things like this more often. You suppose there’s nothing stopping you, but who spends $100 on bug bites and Veryfine unless they have to?
Oh well. Maybe the newlyweds will consummate in a big way during their honeymoon. Maybe you can come back on your way to the dumbass baptism.