John Zubonis was driving towards Mackenzie, AZ looking at the scenery. John originally wanted to stay at a hotel in Tucson but decided to go to Mackenzie. John wanted to go to Tuscon originally to get away from the house. It had been months since John ever got out of the house. He was saddened by the separation between him and Margaret. They started out fine with them communicating with each other and having a good time until the fights started to happen.
Margaret was at the computer and she looked at the amount of money John spent. She asked John what he was buying and John avoided the question. Margaret could smell the stench of alcohol and accused him of drinking.
John gave in and told her what he was up to. Margaret was furious at John that she wanted him out of the house. John was stunned but he was angry at her overreacting. John left and he wanted nothing to do with Margaret. Ever since then, drinking alcohol only made John more moody and anxious so he stopped drinking.
John shook his head to clear away his thoughts as he passed by a big poster that read: Welcome to Mackenzie, AZ. Where you will enjoy your stay with a couple of talking!
John chuckled as he officially arrived at Mackenzie.
Passing by many cars, John heard his stomach growl.
“I haven’t eaten since this morning, I should eat something,” John thought as he tried to find the nearest diner. Suddenly, John noticed another poster.
“Hopkins Diner. Next Exit.”
“There it is!” John exclaimed as he steered towards the next exit.
Stopping abruptly at a red light, John tapped his index finger on the steering wheel.
John had never been to Mackenzie but he always wanted to. His friend Adam once went there but he never talked about it ever since. John thought he must’ve forgotten or that he had a good time but there wasn’t much to talk about.
When the light turned green, John steered to the left where he drove along the highway. Approaching downhill, he saw the Hopkins Diner situated near a Holiday Inn. The diner looked very much like a vintage diner you would see back in the ’80s.
John turned right, where he entered the parking lot. John parked at the front of the diner, where he saw two young men smoking and talking to each other. Upon getting out of the car, John saw that they were looking at him.
“Hey look at that dude. The way he dresses.”
“Yeah, I know. He looks like a mama's boy.”
They snickered as John passed by them, entering the diner.
“Don’t think about it that much,” John reassured himself as he saw the hostess.
“Hello, welcome to Hopkins Diner. For one?”
“A booth or a table?”
“A booth please.”
“Okay, follow me.”
The hostess had bright golden hair and she wore dark eyeliner and had bright red lips.
When the hostess picked a booth, she placed a menu at the center of the table.
“Thank you,” John said as he sat down.
“No problem dear. Your waitress will be right with you.”
John nodded as he leaned back looking out the window beside him.
He saw cars parking and people conversing with each other. John also looked at the mountains, when he suddenly remembered his trip to San Diego. Along the way to San Diego, he passed by many mountains which made his ears plug. It always annoyed him.
When John was finishing looking outside, he saw the waitress coming towards him.
“Hello, how are you doing?” the waitress asked him as she moved her brown curly hair out of the way, which revealed her noticeable cheekbones.
“Doing good, how ‘bout you?”
“Good, good. What kind of drink would you like?”
“A Coke please.”
“Good choice. Okay, I’ll be right back with your drink.”
After the waitress left, John noticed with his peripheral vision that people were looking at him.
John looked at them back as they suddenly broke their gaze. John looked back at the menu, turning the pages over. Suddenly, John could hear them talking in hushed tones.
“What are they talking about?" John thought as he started to get irritated.
John shook his head as he continued looking over the menu.
After two minutes, the waitress came back with his drink.
“Here you go.”
When the waitress gave John his drink, he accidentally knocked it off the table.
“Oh sorry!” John apologized.
“Don’t worry we’ll get you another one,” the waitress reassured as she got out a rag to clean up the mess.
While she was doing that, John glimpsed at the people. They shook their heads when the waitress got up.
“There you go. I’ll give you another drink,” the waitress said as she went back to the kitchen.
John nodded as he leaned back, feeling uncomfortable
After 1 minute, the waitress came back with the drink.
“Here you go! Thank god, it didn’t fall,” the waitress said as John smiled.
“So, are you ready to order?”
“Oh yes. I would like the country-fried steak with a side of mashed potatoes and broccoli.”
While John was saying his order, the waitress jotted it down in her little notepad.
“Okay, great choice.”
John returned the menu to her before she grabbed it.
“Thanks. Enjoy your drink.”
John nodded, as he saw her go back into the kitchen.
John heaved a collective sigh of relief as he drank his Coke peacefully.
After John finished his dinner, he paid the check and left the waitress a generous tip. When John left the restaurant, he hopped into the car, patting his stomach.
“The food was delicious!” John thought as he started the engine.
When the car turned on, John revved the engine and drove off.
While driving, John thought about where to stay for the night. John looked beyond the town to see if there was a hotel.
Fortunately, he saw a hotel nearby.
“At least I can rest,” John thought as he drove to the hotel entrance.
After John found a vacant parking spot that wasn’t reserved, he parked the car.
“I’m so tired,” John muttered as he got out of the car, putting the strap from his messenger bag around his shoulder. Upon entering the hotel John saw the grand lobby. Located next to the lobby, there was a lounge. Inside the lounge, there were people who were dressed in formal clothing. For example, the women wore expensive dresses and had beautiful fascinators on. Likewise, the men had expensive suits and golden watches.
“That’s weird,” John thought as he walked to the front desk where he saw a woman.
“I would like to register a room for tonight,” John said as the woman behind the desk nodded. She had brunette hair with a pair of bright amber eyes. She also had rose-colored glossy lips.
She noticed John looking at her.
“Love my lips?” she asked John with a smirk on her face.
John was taken aback. “Oh no, I was just intrigued.”
“Oh, I see. Well here is your keycard. Enjoy your stay.”
John took the keycard awkwardly before he went to the elevator, pressing the up-arrow button.
While John was waiting he suddenly noticed that the lounge had a minibar.
“Maybe I should get a drink later,” John thought as he went inside the elevator.
After John pressed the second-floor button, he heard a faint hum of elevator music.
After 30 seconds, the elevator doors opened to reveal a narrow hallway. Rooms were located on each side. Trudging through the narrow hallway, John checked the room numbers while looking at the room number he reserved on the keycard. Finally, John stopped at room 132.
“Okay, here it is!”
John inserted the keycard inside the little slot, which turned from red to green. The hinges clicked before John opened the door revealing the darkened room.
After turning on the lights, John was impressed by the room.
There was a TV on a black table which had drawers at the bottom. Across it was a queen size bed with white sheets tucked in tight. John put down his messenger bag on a chair and tumbled on the bed, with the TV remote control in his hand.
After watching TV for about 30 minutes, John decided to go down to the lounge to get a drink.
John turned off the TV and left the lights on.
Upon arriving at the lounge, John went straight to the bar where he saw the bartender.
He wore a white suit and underneath it, he wore a white shirt and a white tie. He also had piercing blue eyes.
“What’ll it be?”
“Give me a cranberry spritzer”
The bartender nodded as he went to the back to fix the drink.
While the bartender was fixing the drink, John saw someone beside him sitting down.
He had a fedora on and he had a faint mustache around his upper lip.
"Hello, how are you doing?" the man asked John with his hand stretched.
"Oh I am doing fine, how about you?"
"I'm doing fine too. I just heard from a little someone that a man had an affair and to be quite frank you fit the description."
John was petrified by the man's words.
"Excuse me?" John said sounding offended.
"Yes, and if you mind me asking. What is your name?"
"Oh um. . ."
"Here you go, son," the bartender interrupted as he gave John the spritzer.
"Oh thank you!" John said as he sipped, looking at the man.
The man told the bartender to get him a Harvey Wallbanger.
"Well, where was I?" the man asked as John gulped down his drink.
"Sorry but I have to go, I need to pick up a call," John lied as he hopped off the stool. John quickly walked away from the man but before that he crashed into a waiter. The waiter fell back as John quickly grabbed him up.
"So sorry!" John apologized as the waiter gazed at him.
"Hey, it's you! The one who had an affair with a woman!" the waiter said so loudly that everyone could hear.
Everyone looked at John like he was a work of art.
"I knew it!" the man in the fedora said as he looked at John with a gleam in his eye.
"But I am not in an affair!" John defended himself as a woman with a black shawl got up.
"I heard from someone that he was in an affair!" a woman claimed as everyone else followed suit.
"I knew that man was suspicious, just look at him!"
"Yeah, and look at him sweating like a hog!"
John didn't know what to do but to just leave quickly. John heard them come closer to him while he pressed the up button furiously. John shook his head as he went towards the stairs, knowing the elevator's doors wouldn't open on time. While ascending the stairs, John was in disbelief by the fedora man.
"No wonder they stared at me!" John thought as he reached the second floor. Pushing the door, John quickly went to the left where he saw the rooms. When John reached his door, he fumbled for his keycard.
Suddenly, he heard the elevator ding.
Oh god, it's them!
In sudden panic, John dropped the keycard. Quickly grabbing the keycard, he inserted it in the slot, and just in the nick of time, he went in.
John hastily closed the door and locked it.
"Phew!" John said as he fell on the wall.
John, out of curiosity, went to the peephole and observed what was happening. He saw the man with the fedora pass by his room and other people as well.
"Man, that was a night!" John said as he tumbled onto the bed. "I should go to bed."
After John was in a comfortable sleeping position, he closed his eyes.
The next morning, when John was ready to leave, he looked back at the room and bid farewell.
“Bye room,’’ John said as he left.
The weirdest thing that John noticed was that there was silence. Except for the ringing of phones, but just that. The same people were there but they didn’t interrogate him. People looked at him but they looked away, not bothering to talk to him. The man in the fedora smiled at John which creeped him out.
“That’s weird,” John thought as he went to the clerk, to return the keycard.
When he was done, he started leaving the hotel, but before that, he looked behind him.
Everything was normal. That was weird.
John returned back to his car. He stared at the dashboard, his eyebrows furrowing.
“What’s this feeling?” John thought as he started the engine driving away.
For some reason, it was the silence that creeped John out.