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The Right Hotel

It’s hard to find the right hotel when you really need it. Nice hotels are easier. Lots of hotels are nice. Centrally located. Close to bars and restaurants. Modern. Renovated. No-smoking. Some even overlook a pool. That’s all nice. But it’s not right. When you’re looking for the right hotel you’re too flustered to figure out the right combination of search words to plug in that translate to remote. Key pad entry. Private balcony. Quiet. Leave me the fuck alone. Mid century. Renovated like maybe Joan Crawford cut herself there once.

It takes a nice chunk of time to find the right hotel. Hair still wet from a hasty shower. Pulse racing like you’re running from the police. You’re not running from the police. You’re just trying to get out of the house before someone stops you.

You pull the suitcase down from the closet. The one your parents gave you when you graduated high school. You throw in two t-shirts, forgetting to pack an extra to sleep in (you’ll regret that later. Sleeping in a bra in a hotel bed feels weird), your slippers, pajama pants, a book about a guy who murdered his girlfriend, cut up her body, and stuffed her parts in various pots and pans that he then placed in and on the stove, and some underwear and socks. Oh, and conditioner that you didn’t need to pack because, as it turns out, the right hotel has Aveda products. Two identical sets of shampoo and conditioner that smell like an overheated garden. Your Uber car pulls up outside too soon and you fumble with the suitcase and tote bag filled with boxed wine and one plastic cup. The driver pops the trunk for you and you take too long to get everything in and then accidentally slam the trunk. You can tell, that she can tell, that you’re “going through something.”

The car drops you off at the wrong right hotel. The right hotel is one of a few different kinds of hotels owned by the same company in the French Quarter. The one you try to check in to is not the right one. The lady behind the desk directs you to the right one and you walk there in the way too hot spring sun, pulling your suitcase behind you. When you get to the right hotel a man with a gold tooth checks you in and while he does so you stare at the picture of Marie Laveau hanging on the wall behind him. “Oh. you have the main suite! I just made that one up. It’s a very nice room,” he says while handing over three plastic room keys with the logo for a fish restaurant on them. You look at the Marie Laveau picture again and realize that you forgot to Google if the right hotel was haunted. You normally Google stuff like that. You start to ask “is this hotel hau…” but the guy cuts you off by telling you where to turn once you reach the top of the stairs to get to your room. You wonder what would happen if the room *was* haunted and a ghost tried to step to you and you were like “I don’t care” to the ghost. How would a ghost react to a flippant guest? That’s funny. Right?

You go into the room and it is very nice. There’s a big mirror and two TVs. One in the sitting area and one attached to the wall near the king sized bed. The bathroom is nice. The Keurig machine is nice. The complimentary two bottles of water are nice. You sit on the couch and try to do some work before stopping that work and turning on the TV to MTV, which is a channel you always miss in this weird way. They are apparently only playing back to back re-runs of Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and Friends now, which is depressing. You never liked either of those shows and just really wanted the channel you miss a lot to be playing something comforting and nostalgic in a way that’s specific to you, but it wasn’t. You turn off the TV, collect your purse, and go out in search of a corner store to get some snacks to bring back to the room. The snacks you come back with consist of: one salami sandwich (you wanted bologna but it was the only thing on the whole deli menu they were out of), fries, one of those gross Starbucks Frappuccino bottles (you figure you might like this in the afternoon the next day), Zapps chips (Voodoo flavor), a box of Wheat Thins and a can of spray cheese, and a round ball of booze. Just like, I don’t know, some chocolate flavored round bottle of booze. Surveying these things you realize that no combination of them amount to any kind of meal for the next day. You eat your salami sandwich and half the fries on a plate fashioned out of a face towel and then go out on your private patio. Tourists are walking by and at one point a ghost tour stops directly in front of the patio. The guy giving the tour is telling a story about Marie Laveau that you can’t quite hear but you pick out that she, according to him, owned the small blue apartment that they’re standing in front of at one point in her life. You sit there and watch them, drinking some of the boxed wine you brought from home out of a plastic cup you also brought from home, and after awhile the sun goes down. You smell something sweet and turn around in the metal patio chair you’re sitting in to see a sprig of honeysuckle hanging over the railing behind you. The hanging flowers in pots lining the top of the balcony swing in the breeze. A horse-drawn carriage goes by carrying more tourists and you hide your e-cig every time you puff on it so people don’t look up and see the little battery lights ignite. E-cigarettes are so embarrassing and always remind you of Leonardo DiCaprio, who is also embarrassing with his one sad Oscar for that shitty movie he got raped by a bear in. You take a couple Instagram pictures and caption one with a quote from My Own Private Idaho.

You go inside and put your pajama pants on. At least you remembered to bring those. You Google the hotel you’re staying in and find that it *is* haunted. According to the internet a ghost lurks around the floor you’re staying on and removes doorknobs and then lays them on the carpet on the outside of the door. Numerous posts say he does this only to women who are traveling alone. I mean, that sounds about right. Yeah, that’s right.

(Previously written 3/23/17)