Motel Room on Highway 66

It was over. The shootout, that is, involving outlaws, Pendleton Agents, oh God, modern day FBI, black ops, everybody whose anybody really, and it all happened right outside his motel window. Bullet holes everywhere including through the two cup coffee maker. All he could recall was pop pop pop, and Gideon's Bible flying up in slow motion. There was so little difference these days between movies and real life that even while you were combing your hair you felt like someone was filming a commercial. The good book had taken one righteous hit though, straight through Genesis, Leviticus, and Deuteronomy. But it was the only thing he had to finger in the aftermath even though it sagged with a fractured spine and soaked in blood. The Bible appeared, as one might say, spent. But he grabbed it none the same, around the time his window was being shot out, and crawled into the tub, although he didn't remember doing that. Now that it was morning, he figured he'd slip it into his duffle bag, as a sort of curio with its bullet holes and so forth. The Gideon people had counted on a certain number of them being removed from rooms anyway, he rationalized.

Johnny Jupes studied the blood pooling near the drain plug and couldn't really gauge what percentage of his total so called "blood volume" this represented. He didn't feel dizzy and there seemed to be an entrance wound and exit wound for each bullet.  He was even a little bit hungry. Johnny wasn't sure if that was a good thing or a bad thing but lay there, one hand draped over the side of the tub, and took stock of it all. Someone once told him: "Always get in the tub if there's a tornado coming." So that's what he did, but in this instance, there'd been a shoot out, not a tornado. Close enough.

They'd all left, rode off on their horses, or drove away, or hitchhiked, leaving one big pile of glass shards mixed with ice from the ice machine and the TV remote control laying on top of it all like the cherry on a jubilee. The bedspread was in what you might call in disarray with its plastic mattress cover showing.

"In other words, this was an extreme situation," Johnny mumbled.  "There is no need to explicitly mention the term existential. . .no need. 'Show, don't tell., Johnny,'  mama had always used to say." He moaned and shifted. His bullet holes were getting sore but the acoustics in the bathroom were such that his sentences resonated and therefore, increased their ironic potential.

"There had been no promise of. . . "

He stopped talking as he couldn't even recall what had been promised, only that there had been some promise or other. The room door had been blown off its hinges by the stick of dynamite the Pinkerton brought over in his back pocket so Jupes could see the parking lot with the morning sun so bright and clear that he had to squint. Birds were tweeting somewhere out back by the dumpster and there was frost glistening off the hubcaps of the Chevy pick up that'd been turned on its side when the mangy dogs of hell had come a runnin' in. In general, people appeared to be starting their day and going to work. He noticed the diner across the highway was in full swing and he remembered the jelly donut under its glass dome at the counter he had his eye on the night before. Johnny Jupes wondered if it was still available.

"I don't care if it's stale or not." And as soon as he said it, he knew that was a belligerent thing to throw out there. 

As he watched the commuter traffic pass from the vantage of his bathtub, he thought it slightly odd that no one had stopped to view the carnage in the parking lot, the overturned vehicles, charred humvees and RPG craters.

"No fire trucks or po-lice either."

It was as if Johnny Jupes was the only one staying there and such things were to be expected. He supposed there was a possibility, however remote, that everything he was seeing somehow . . . resided in that head of his.