New World Hotel (Short Story)

“Wake up! Wake up, muthafuckas!” The Asian woman next door took her fury out on the thin sheet of wall that separated our rooms – I mean our closets. 

“Wake up! Wake up!” Somewhere in the distance an alarm blared. She thinks it’s ours, I thought. On the other side, a psycho killer snored, impervious to any noise on our floor. He probably isn’t an outlaw, but this place made a great hideout. I’d hide here if my ex-girl’s body lay in a ditch because I “accidentally” knocked her out with the butt of my gun. Just saying.

Turning slightly, I looked over at Drex. One leg was propped up against the wall, while the other dangled off the edge. His chest calmly reflected a deep sleep, unaffected by the Asian woman determined to wake us up.

It was my idea to book this hotel. Drex usually makes the plans but for once he was indecisive and I wanted to get it done. New World Hotel. That it was – a whole new world. The reviews read “no roaches”, “cheap but does the trick”, “great service”. All we needed was privacy during my birthday weekend and since my home in Queens lacked that, it made perfect sense. However, the reviews failed to highlight a couple things:

Matchbox-sized bedrooms and flimsy supplies – After walking up the stairs to heaven, we approached our room breathless, anxious and hopeful completely unaware that our room was designed with two little Asian women in mind. Our furniture consisted of one large mirror, a square bed that filled the entire room and a baby nightstand. We had the option of walking in or out, never around. The toothpaste, toothbrushes, shampoo, soap and two pairs of Chinese slippers were complimentary. Only 60% of Drex’s 13 inch feet fit in the slippers. Laughing in bewilderment, we decided to make the best of it. That was before we saw the bathrooms and before Drex got electrocuted.

Communal Bathrooms – It was like freshman year all over again: walking down the hallway in a towel and shower flip flops trying to avoid any awkward encounters –  that would’ve been us if our room wasn’t so close to the bathroom. Surprisingly, the bathrooms made a good first impression but I had already decided on opening the doors and turning the faucets with my hand cupped inside my shirt, fearful of any undercover diseases. Our pact before leaving for dinner on the first night was to always shower together. It wasn’t about saving water. It had nothing to do with being adventurous and everything to do with being safe and making sure we didn’t get taken advantage of. But we realized there were other dangers amongst us once Drex attempted to turn off the light switch and got electrocuted. His legs zig-zagged in the little cloth slippers in a funny, not funny way.

We spent majority of the night at the chocolate restaurant on Union Square in Manhattan then later on journeyed to 7 Eleven for a bottle of water because apparently Chinatown closes down really early. Canal Street late at night is like a Freddy Kruger nightmare; there were potential prostitutes, drunken biddies, and cabs waiting to take advantage, all co-existing in this pungent odor that filled the streets.     

 At around 6am, the pee of death took over, forcing me to get up. By 8am, I had to go again but this time both toilets were clogged. I mean filled to the brim, hot-shit-still-bubbling, smelling-like-a-safari-on-a-sweltering-summer-day type clogged. What if I had the runs? I don’t even want to think about it.  

So here we are again. “Wake up, muthafuckas!”  I began hyperventilating because the “air condition” was timed like a house air freshener. Every time it cut off, I was paranoid it wouldn’t come back on then we would suffocate…and die.

Eventually the yelling stopped after the man buried in slumber turned off his alarm. Drex stirred dreamingly. I tried not to think about the sheets we did it on last night. This is how couples get pregnant – not by having sex on questionable sheets but by being primal and disregarding the possibilities of careless behavior. This is also how people get crabs and pubic lice. 

At the end of our trip, we informed the disheveled Asian at the front desk about their poor electricity work to which he responded, “Really? Oh, that’s no good”. Walking out of the New World Hotel we agreed that it wasn’t all that bad – minus the room size, the clogged toilets and near death experience. One thing’s for sure: Drex will be picking the next hotel.        

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