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The Hotel Where We Always Stayed


New Year’s fireworks ring out across the harbor, and I am alone. Reminiscing about old friends. Carlos and Saundra and Richie and Pith. The crew. The gang. The posse. Remembering how we, too, used to shine brightly at the hotel where we always stayed.


More fireworks light up the sky. Little explosions of gas that color the darkness in the places intersecting its path like Carlos. Only to be handled and released by professionals like his mom or his second ex-wife or his emotional support parrot Ernie. I liked Carlos. A showstopper, a ringleader, the main event. Wouldn’t go anywhere near him on your average Tuesday or Thursday or trash day or yesterday or even today, but boy was Carlos fun when the good times came. Handing out hundred-dollar bills to all the pretty ladies laced up in more ways than one during those nights we gathered at the hotel where we always stayed.


Then there was Saundra with her sparklers disposition. You know the pretty sizzling sort of dandies you light then hand out to everyone. Your sister, your grannie, your seven-year-old, your mother’s next fling, and everyone ohhs and ahhs at the pretty light before it fizzles out for the night. And then you light some more. So pretty, highly replaceable, easy to handle, that Saundra. I always enjoyed seeing her glide through the doors of the hotel where we always stayed.


There was also Richie. Kind of like those poppers that you throw to the ground just to hear a few bangs. Miniature, sandbag-looking things. Nothing spectacular on the outside, but full of quiet calculations waiting for the moment to actualize. It just took some shaking up, that’s all. Ole Richie, silent rambunctious Richie. The funk you didn’t see roll in Richie. Loved to see him shake up the joint at that hotel where we always stayed.


And you can’t forget Pith. Pith with his easy-going, goofy glow. Skittered around just like those ground spinner fireworks. You know the ones you light on the driveway’s concrete slab, giving it space to flicker, spin, and skid around. Laid-back, light-hearted Pith. Everything is honky dory Pith. Never gave anyone trouble, always went with the flow, smiley Pith. He always showed up right on time at that hotel where we always stayed.


And me? I was the smoke bomb. Hissing, conspicuous colored gas slipping through the air. Brightly hued. Enduring. Floating free. Distinctive. Sulfur-scented smoke silently wafting around that hotel where we always stayed.


The finale has started, colorful lights blazing the sky, and I’m reminded that we, too, are in the final phase of life. Scattered about the world now, we’re no longer loud nor sparkly nor high flying nor colorful like before. Our hoorah has fizzled, our colors are muted, our memories have faded, our impact is unclear. But those were fine times in the heyday of life. Schmoozing and boozing and perusing that hotel where we no longer stay.




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