An old motel sign with a young, long-haired, beautiful woman standing to the right of it

Photo by Giorgio Trovato

Vacaville appeared in the distance. Jarette looked off to his left and saw the Alamo Inn. A motel just off the highway. There, he once stayed with his girlfriend Chandra. Sucking, screwing, fighting, and crawling through the mire.

She had gone down on a woman right in front of him at a party in the City. But he was not into cuckolding or polyamory. It felt like a violation. She cheated on him publicly. In front of an audience. Under the spotlight.

Her tiny body and multi-colored hair tossed in the air as she writhed all over a butch lesbian. Head shaved. Sleeves cut off. It was all too cliche.

To get revenge, he had gone on a sex bender, sleeping with three different women over a three-day weekend. Two milky-skinned redheads and a Chola girl with jet black hair. One at home, one in a hotel, and one at her apartment. It didn’t matter if Chandra found out. Revenge-fucking was good sex. Almost violent. Immediate. Hungry. Animalistic.

Afterward, he felt terrible. Not about the sex. About the lack of trust that now existed and the fact that he knew it was over with Chandra. His naivete and drama were palpable. Still, they thought they could rekindle their broken, young relationship and they drove out to Vacaville to talk it out.

______________________

Now, he settled his head on the pillow and took a long swig from the bottle of cheap vodka he’d purchased from the gas station on the corner. 3-Star Vodka. Five dollars in a brown paper bag with the receipt still stapled on the side.

Jarette’s head swirled with ghosts. Corpses and haunting wisps of memories. Chandra sat in the corner of the room whispering to him, “You know you did this to me. My husband and I were happy and now I’m dead.”

The fucking and salivating of his 20s was an animalistic nightmare as he lay in this bare motel room ruminating.

______________________

“Why are we here? This place is ancient and sad,” she asked with a loosely wicked question followed by a sternly innocent statement.

“Because I want us to talk,” Jarette had replied.

Her coquettishness was annoying when she said, “OK, but I’m sure you want a drink.”

“Definitely. Let’s get one,” he said. “Not that you don’t want one, too.”

They wandered across the desolate expanse of semi-trucks and delivery vehicles. There were parked in haphazard rows off the freeway. The cars buzzed by like gnats gnawing at their open wounds.

“Seriously. What the fuck are we doing here, Jarette?” she clawed.

“I want us…to figure out us.”

“Because we’re broken?”

“Because I want to fix what’s broken.”

A young woman's legs in black stockings with back boots, the hem of a red dress, and a hand with dark painted fingernails

Photo by Jan Szwagrzyk

Her heels clomped and her hips swayed. She looked like a hipster, a hooker, and a feminist all in one and he felt her hating him and loving him and wanting to leave him and stay with him and study him all at once.

“You know, I hated college,” he said.

“I know.”

“That’s why this is stupid.”

“I know,” she said and continued to walk toward the highway bar.

“You going away to graduate school isn’t going to improve your standing in life. You desire to be accepted. The hierarchy and the patriarchy and the archery and the starched shirts. Fuck me, man.”

She pried open the door. It squealed open with leathery nastiness.

“You’re a beautiful asshole. So young and tough. My baby,” she said with her beckoning toddler voice. Luring him in. Teasing with ease.

It was pleasantly dark inside. A long bar with hair spray and loss balanced out by yearning misogyny and sweaty cock denim. Youth were not allowed here but permitted.

“Two Coronas and two shots of well tequila,” Jarette said.

______________________

His mind swirled around the second and third pulls off the bottle of rot gut vodka as he played through that day.

He thought, a million years ago I would have written a song about this memory. But now, I just drink.

He turned on the TV with the remote and drifted. Three people sitting in chairs on a stage with bad carpeting. One big-breasted, one missing an eye, and another angry, ready to pounce. Violence insisted.

______________________

“At least we’re not like this.”

“We are like this.”

“You know I love you.”

“Is that why you fucked her?”

______________________

It was so clear still. That night. The party. An Andy Warhol-styled flashback of bullshit. But no Factory. No fame. Just San Francisco poly-whatever. He felt it now and thought he was still justified. But old. White and middle-aged and old. He was one of those guys that Millennials complained about. He was the expiration date on the box that sat too long.

Then and now it hurt and sizzled and didn’t and meandered. The obsessions needed to stop. The continuous revolutions were abusive. He was in an abusive relationship with himself.

In his mind, he would find a place where he could send a postcard. But the postcard was burned at the edges and he had nowhere to send it.

He would sleep it off and continue east. Across the desert to somewhere pure. Believable. Less California. Less and less like this.

A lone desert highway

Photo by Jeremy Bezanger

If you missed it, click to read part 1 of Tedium — Waiting for the Cat in the Hat to Show Up or

click to read part 2 of Tedium – A Plastic Soldier After an Imaginary War.