Desperation at Sunshine Motel: A Short Story

What follows is a story I originally wrote for a Creative Writing course my Freshman year in college.  I had to retool the ending several times because I could not decide what should happen with the main character.  This paper recieved an “A” and really was my impetus to becoming a writer.  I hope you enjoy..

Craig sat on the edge of the motel room bed, contemplating life, with a beer bottle in one hand and a joint in the other. After all this very motel room is where his troubles began. Staring at the yellowish walls he thought that maybe he should burn it all down, as sort of an absolution, a purification of sorts. No, that wouldn’t work, it couldn’t work, after all his problems weren’t symbolic, they were very real and very devastating.

He was young and in love, his girlfriend, Claire came with him to this motel to consummate their relationship. They had been dating for almost seven months and not gone past fondling each other in the backseat of his ’73 Buick Skylark. Even though the room smelled of sulfur (probably from the busted toilet) and the sex was clumsy for it was the first time for both of them it was very special. Afterwards they talked for hours about lots of things; marriage, children and their paths after high school.

A few days later Craig could tell something was wrong, Claire was not returning his calls and had not been to work, the local Dairy Queen, since that night. Maybe it was the sex he thought, but they had discussed it and they both agreed that they were ready. By the way she was the one who brought it up in the first place. She was always the one who made the first moves, at least physically. Claire kissed him on their first date, and had him making out with her by their third. Craig was always the one that took care of the emotional issues, he told her that he was in love with her two weeks after they met. He could not handle the fact that something as trivial as sex could break them apart.  It was not until a few days later that he found out the truth.

“A father, a father. no fucking way I can be a father”.  Craig recoiled from the news that Claire was pregnant with his baby. After all he was only 17 years old and he only had sex with her once. Craig was convinced that she was mistaken, that her period was just late. The pregnancy test put all that talk to rest. It sill did not seem possible to him, they had used protection; she was on the pill and he wore a rubber. Weeks later he was still adamant that is was not possible and Claire put up with his doubts and questions.  That was until  he said that it must not be his and that she must have been as he put it “screwing someone else”.

These things don’t happen to people like him Craig thought. They happened to people like Rick Charles, the captain of the football team, he must have slept with half of the cheer-leading squad. Promiscuity was this guy’s middle name, and he had no kids to speak of. What had Craig done to deserve any of this? Well he knew exactly what he had done. It was all her fault, he thought, she wanted to do it. Why she practically begged for it.

He had successfully convinced himself of something throughout all this, that he was the victim, that it was all some kind of sick joke played on him. When he realized that was bullshit, he hit rock bottom. That is what brought him to this dark, damp motel room. Was he looking for an absolution or just some brief respite from all the pain? Craig didn’t know what he expected to find out by coming to the motel, to the scene of the crime.

He sat in the dark on the same bed where he became a father. The responsibility that came along with being a father, a teenage father at that was not something that he could deal with. Maybe that is why he brought the revolver along with him. Suicide would be an easy escape, a quick solution to all of his problems. Already drunk and high, he probably wouldn’t even feel it. That way he would not have to deal with the pregnancy or tell his parents. Yeah, that was the easiest path. He probably wouldn’t even be missed, who cared about him any ways?  Certainly not Claire.

He raised the gun to his temple and pressed it hard to his flesh. Sobbing and half-laughing he put it back on his lap and took another swig of his beer. He stared intently at the bare yellowed walls and cried “All of this over some girl”. Unfortunately she wasn’t just “some girl”, she was his first love. Once again he picked up the gun this time placed the long, black cold barrel into his mouth and began to slowly squeeze the trigger.

The loud sound of a gunshot broke through the eerie silence of that cold New Jersey night. The Sunshine Motel was buzzing with action as panicked hookers, hobos, travelers and penny-pinching vacationers streamed from their rooms to see what had happened but no one could place where the shot came from. Craig slowly strolled out of the room amazed at the commotion he had caused by dropping the gun on the floor. He now knew what he had to do, he had to be a father to his child and a husband or at least a better boyfriend, for now. As he neared the parking lot of the motel a smile flashed across his face, he was going to be a father, he had to start thinking of names.

Maybe it was the slippery roads, the alcohol in his system or the tears of joy that welled up in his eyes but something made Craig swerve across two lanes of busy traffic and slam his car into a great big oak tree. The crash killed him instantly. Claire. who in her second month of pregnancy and beginning to show, stood at the foot of his grave. She moved closer to the headstone, careful to not step over his final resting place and placed a single white rose on the stone. She knelt down slowly unaware of what transpired at the motel that night and despite the fact that her last memory of Craig was a terrible one she couldn’t help but cry for her lost love.

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