We pull over into the first Motel we see in
Our rooms were located on the far side of the motel, detached from the main block and were comfortable clean and ordinary and we were happy to find them this way. After unpacking my brother and I left in search of food leaving my wife and mother in the room to settle in. Instead of backtracking on the Charleston road we decided to dive on further into the darkness of St Albans on route 60 and on a five mile drive found nothing open, but a long scattered line of neon-lit ‘Gentleman’s Clubs’, Adult Video stores and a biker bar which advertised it’s latest act on the roadside verge outside, simply as ‘Toothless Ruth’. All these dubious establishments had beat up cars and trucks parked untidily outside, all with their front wheels turned tightly inwards, as though they had swung in off the main road and parked in a hurry. There was not a soul to be seen anywhere. After driving some distance deeper into the dense forest darkness we rounded a corner and slowed down to take a closer look at what was called the ‘Playboy Motel’ which was a clap trap two story place, lit with buzzing neon, with a balcony which ran it’s length between the floors where bulging MILF’s in lingerie leaned over languidly blowing smoke into the insect infected night. On the ground floor the main entrance was guarded by a heavy man in a dark suit sitting in a chair, who surveyed the road like a machine and clocked us as we passed with hooded eyebrows. The place looked busy and I was instantly put in mind of ‘Ben’s Place’ from the David Lynch movie classic Blue Velvet. My brother and I looked at one another smiling in disbelief. “Where in god’s name are we?” he said.
After another stretch of darkness we eventually saw that unmistakable sign for McDonalds ahead of us, high up on a long pole above the tree line, ‘The Golden Arches’ as I have heard them referred to here with hideous affection. As we turned left into the shadowy strip mall where the ‘restaurant’ was located, I noticed that to our right, sitting on the river bank was some kind of military monument in the form a great cruse missile on a large stone plinth. It stood against the clear star filled night sky like some great erect penis, with its swollen bulbous war-head. This was a grotesquely fitting sight to behold after the drive we had just taken and the sights we had seen along the way.