Jesse Jarnow

the motel party, no. 8

“Green Rocky Road” – Karen Dalton (download)

The Motel Party: no. 1, no. 2, no. 3, no. 4, no. 5, no. 6, no. 7, no. 8, no. 9, no. 10, no. 11, no. 12

Peabody’s drunken sway made sense when the party hit critical mass, symmetrically lilting to the rhythm of the bebop. He was a ripple at the center of two dozen other ripples, people who’d found their way into the motel room. There were at least five baymen, their eyes becoming more resilient as the evening grew. One, named Ricky Schmidt, lectured on the history of tailpipe design in American cars. Another pair, Corey Lagasse and Rodney Santini, led a card game at the small, lacquered table with four members of the Fire Angels, a local motorcycle club (of which Santini was also a member). They’d been in the town for nearly 40 years — a father and a son were present, the Smiths, their hairlines the same, the curvature of the younger’s back noticeably straighter. I was mildly drunk, but found myself unable to sway as gracefully as Peabody. Instead, I confined myself to one wall, and let the salon of local color circulate around me. I occasionally spotted Peabody ricocheting between conversations, though I was unable to hear any myself. I tried to move towards him.

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