I like reading as well as I do writing. Occasionally if I can’t find a book I want at a bookstore I’ll buy a used copy on e-bay for $1 plus shipping. About a year and a half ago I bought an old Stephen King book that way. About halfway through the book I found a motel room ticket stub between the pages. Immediately the ticket held a sort of fascinating mystery for me. Who did the book belong to before me? Why did they go to the Flamingo Motel? Were they hiding from the police in a seedy, Norman Bates run, dive after a bank robbery? Did the book belong to one of an illicit pair of lovers sneaking away to the motel to consummate their passion? Was there a private detective, hired by a suspicious spouse, documenting their movements from the shadows? Did the book come from just an ordinary person with no extraordinary story who just brought the book along as a good way to pass the time at a sunny, vacation beach? And if so, was it a clothing optional beach? Could the motel room ticket stub that now serves as my bookmark be a desperately sought after piece of evidence in a murder investigation, proving the presence of the accused on the night in question? And did the murderer pay $45/NIGHT for 1 BED as the ticket says, or did he only have to pay ($22/Night Off Season)? Did he or she perhaps spring for the two beds at $50 per night during peak season? One bed for him and one for his victim? Or perhaps did this ticket find it’s way to me through some sort of karmic destiny, and will it lead me to find my purpose in life? I think I may use some of the numbers on the ticket, the prices, the room number and the phone number, to play the lottery. If it was karma or fate that brought this mysterious 1 inch wide by 4 inches long piece of almost paper-thin cardboard to me, then I think the lottery might be a good idea. Unless of course the numbers turn out to be unlucky for me like they did for Hurley on LOST. Sadly, as in so many things in life, my curiosity drove me to a foolish course of action already. After about 18 months of owning this book and the ticket that held such fascination for me, I did a reverse phone number look-up. I’ve discovered that the Flamingo Motel is not in some exotic locale such as Las Vegas, Rio, or Casablanca. The Flamingo Motel is in Mackinaw City, Michigan. I’m sad because now part of the mystery of the ticket is gone for me. I still believe that someday I’ll have to take a vacation to room 155 of the Flamingo Motel in Mackinaw City, Michigan. To pass the time I suppose I’ll bring an old Stephen King book with a ticket stub for a bookmark. Then maybe I’ll sell it on e-bay when I’m done.
Self-proclaimed grand poobah of leisure and author of humorous suspense novels The Sneaker Tree & White Picket Prisons, the humor essay book Fifty Shades of Phil and the long running blog The Phil Factor. thephilfactor.com
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