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Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/books/entry_id/1001683-Motel-Hell
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by Seuzz
Rated: GC · Book · Occult · #2183311
A high school student finds a grimoire that shows how to make magical disguises.
#1001683 added January 9, 2021 at 12:26pm
Restrictions: None
Motel Hell
Previously: "Narc Narc, Who's There?

It sounds like you've got off real easy—miraculously easy—and you're tempted to just let everything quietly drop.

But Chen can't be serious about "closing up shop." You're pretty certain he'll come looking for you again.

So you spend the balance of fourth period squatting out by the Agricultural Annex composing a text to Kim reporting on your conversation with Chen.

* * * * *

Caleb wants to know all about how things went with Kim, and as it's just you and him eating lunch out by the tennis courts, you fill him in.

He is shocked—shocked!—by what you have to tell him: about the bet Keith made with Carson, about your own attempt to buy weed from Chen, how Chen threatened you, and by Chen's supposed decision to stop dealing.

"He can't mean it," Caleb says. "He's been dealing since he was a freshman. God! When I think about how much money he's probably made by now— And what's the football team supposed to do when their supply dries up? Play sober? Chen's just screwing with you," he says, and gives you a knowing look. "You got off real light."

You agree.

"But you say Kim knows all about Chen, and his dealing?" Caleb continues. "Well, she'd have to. Everyone at school does." He snickers. "But she didn't tell the administration? That's interesting."

"Why is that interesting?"

Caleb gives you a puckish look, then leans in close. "Do you know what her family does for a living? How they make their money?"

You shake your head.

"They own a motel south of town." Again, he looks very knowing. "The kind of motel where you pay by the hour."

You blink. "Why would you pay by the hour and not by the night?"

Caleb looks disgusted by your naivete.

"Because you're not spending the night! Only a couple of hours, usually in the afternoon. It's a place to do things, Will," he explains with grinding patience, "that you don't want to do in your own house, because, you know, you don't want people to know what you're doing and who you're doing it with. Like your wife or husband or"—he bites down on a smile—"parents."

You feel yourself blushing all over. "Are you serious?"

"Hand to God," Caleb says, and raises a very prim palm. "It's the Donna Motor Courts, down on the south end of town. Her family owns it, and she helps run it." He snickers again.

"How do you know this?"

"Oh, come on, Will! I thought everyone knew! It's not a secret that her family owns the Donna."

"So how long have you known?"

"Long enough." He tears a dainty bite from his sandwich. "Okay, truth, it was Kendra that told me."

"Oh, yeah," you say. "Kendra."

He stops in mid-chew to frown. "What does that mean?"

"Well, Kendra. She would know, wouldn't she?" Now you lean in on him. "And I guess your tutoring sessions are going real good. Sounds like you're learning more from her than she's—"

"They're going okay," Caleb says. "And sure, we talk."

"How many have you had? Didn't you just set them up yesterday?"

Caleb's eyes dart about. "We've been texting to set them up."

"And talking too already, I guess. Do you think she likes you?"

"Likes me?" Caleb asks, and slowly starts to blush.

"Oh, come on, man. Don't tell me you wouldn't love it if she liked you."

"Well, I'm not going to try starting anything with her, Will! You know, she's up here with, like, Chelsea and the cheerleaders." He gestures with his free hand, like he's setting a figurine on a shelf high up. "And we're down here." He brushes the air near the ground. "Although," he adds, and his gaze goes distant.

"Yeah, you're thinking about it, aren't you?" You chortle.

"I'm just thinking— I don't know what I'm thinking!" He sits up very straight.

Then he starts gathering his stuff up. "Where are you going?" you ask.

"Off to think," he says. "I've got classes, you know. Real classes I can't skip. Not like the bullshit classes you take."

He stalks off, leaving you with your jaw hanging open. Caleb has given you shit before about your class schedule, but this is the first time like he's talked as though he's offended by it.

* * * * *

Kim texts you back and asks to meet you after school, and after your talk with Caleb it gives you a queer turn when she suggests that you come out to the Donna, where (she explains) she hangs out after school. You text back that you have detention with Mr. Walberg, and then have to go straight home because you're grounded.

She doesn't reply, and that seems to be the end of it.

But the next day—Thursday—just after you've settled into your desk for day four of detention, you do a hard double-take when Kim enters the classroom. She gives you a quick look as she strides over to present a note to Mr. Walberg. He adjusts his glasses, reads it, then in a rumbling voice informs you that you will be spending the balance of today's detention period with "Miss Walsh."

"Thanks for getting me out of there," you pant as you hurry along after her into the hallway.

"Cram it," she tells you. "What time do you have to be home? And where do you live? Okay, then you've got time to do an errand for me," she adds after you stutter out an answer. "You know where the Donna Motor Court is? Go straight out there after you stop at your locker. Fast as you can. Look for me in the main office."

"I don't need to stop at my locker, I've got my—"

"Yes you do," she says. "There's something in there, and you need to pick it up and bring it with you. Don't argue with me, Will. You won't like it if I decide I have to convince you."

Your heart skips several beats, and in those moments Kim swerves and takes off down another hallway. You stare after her, then dodge into the wing where your locker is, and with trembling fingers twist open the combination lock on your locker. It's full of a canvas bag you've never seen before. After blinking at it for a few seconds, you take it out and sling it over your shoulder, and shut your locker.

But it's not until you're inside your truck that you lift the flap and look inside, confirming what you half feared.

It's full of weed. Heaps of plastic baggies full of weed.

* * * * *

Kim is all dimpled smiles when you meet her a little later at her family's motel, and she squeals with delight as she introduces you to a tall, well-built man whose red hair is turning sandy and gray. "Nice to meet you, Will," Mr. Walsh says, and shakes your hand. "So are you here for a study session with Kim?"

The Donna is a tired and shabby motor court south of town, where three wings crook to form a U around the broken pavement of a courtyard. You're in the office, and Kim, like her father, is standing behind a counter. Her smile widens as you hesitate, and she answers for you.

"It's a small study party," she tells her father. "We can use Cabin Seven, can't we? Lucky Seven," she adds, and winks at you. "It'll be quieter than using the back parlor."

"Well, we're not exactly filled up," her father says, though he looks doubtful.

"Thanks," Kim says. She takes a key card from beneath the counter and, beaming, leads you outside.

"Study party?" you murmur at her.

"Shut up till we get to the room," she retorts, and you scamper after as she strides along the walk to the corner where two wings meet. "Your 'study date' will be here any minute now, and I'll send her along," she adds as she opens the door and ushers you into a musty but otherwise clean-smelling room. The walls are of whitewashed cinderblock, and there's a single bed, a small table with a chair, and a modest flatscreen TV. You're startled to see that there's an electronic scale on the table.

Kim pulls the canvas satchel off your shoulder and dumps the contents all over the bed. "Here," she says, and takes a slip of paper from her pocket. "These are the proportions you and your partner need to divide the stuff into. Divide it, bag it, and make sure you've weighed it properly. When you're done, come find me and—"

"Wait, what?" you stammer. "Who said I'm going to—?"

"I said you're going to, Prescott," Kim snaps. She jabs you in the midriff with a sharp fingernail. "Where did you find this shit? Where did you find this shit that you brought out to my family's motel? Tell me where you found this shit, fuck-for-brains!"

"My locker," you gasp. "You know!"

Her eyes flame. "Exactly. Now picture exactly what kind of a shit-storm you'll be in if there's a locker search, and they find that kind of stuff and that much of it in your locker? Because I can arrange it," she says. "I'm the student council president."

Then her tone turns sweet and syrupy. "Now then, Will," she continues as you gape, "this is a huge favor you're doing for me, and don't think I don't appreciate it. That's how come I arranged for you to have a study mate. Just do what comes natural—and what I tell you to do," she adds in a steelier undertone, "and you'll start having more fun than you've ever had in your sad, shitty little life."

With a hard, bright grin, she exits and pulls the door shut behind her.

You're still standing by the bed, in shock, some minutes later when there's a knock at the door. Numbly, you open it. There's a girl there, about your age.

Her eyes pop when she sees you. "Oh wow," she gurgles appreciatively, and puts her arms around you. "Kim was right. You'll do just fine!"

Next: "Room Services

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