Checking In After Hours (Part II)

Flash Fiction: The mysterious fire extinguisher

She stared at the man, fumbling for the words to tell him what they’d just found, and before she could get the first word out, he said, “Lemme guess, you found Magda? We’ve been looking for her for hours.”

Hearing this, Tamara fainted. Her feathered-like body splayed itself on the floor. There she lay until the cops arrived.

The strange Oompa Loompa’d man waddled over to Tamara and waved his hands frantically in front of her face. He leaned in far too close to her and then stared intently until she blinked and opened her eyes. Tamara shot up from her fainted state — disoriented — but regained her sense of self quickly. He led one police officer to the area where she was and directed the other to the room the couple reserved.

“Hey! Hey! Name’s Beau. Officer Beau Dibbs. We got ourselves a bit of a situation here. You the one who found the motel’s cleanin’ lady, Magda?”

The strange man stood behind the front desk with a defiant look plastered on his face. He scrutinized Tamara silently while Officer Dibbs attempted to get whatever information he could out of Tamara. She averted her eyes from him and paid attention to Officer Dibbs.

“Ye — Yes, me and my husband found the woman. He — her head. God! Her head was in the bed and her body was in the tub. IN THE TUB!”

Officer Dibbs made note of the delirium spouting from Tamara’s mouth. He perused the perimeter, took photos of the motel lobby, and asked the strange man to escort him to the scene of the crime. Tamara walked along behind them — afraid to touch anything. There was a fire extinguisher on the wall next to their room. Had it been there before? The glass was broken, yet the extinguisher looked to be intact.

“Was that fire extinguisher there when we checked in? I just . . . I don’t remember it being there before.”

“Yup. Gotta have one every hundred feet. City code. There’s one here, then about five rooms down, there’s another. And so on, and you know. City code.”

Officer Dibbs entered the room. His partner, Officer Clive Bends had questioned Tamara’s husband Dale, took photos of the mangled body, the room, and blocked off the area in a 50-foot radius with crime scene tape. Dale was standing in the middle of the room, hovering over their children, and muttering a lullaby. It seemed as though the song was for him more than it was for their children.

“Dibbs. It’s a damn mess. Couple came in expecting a night of rest from a long drive up. They’re headed farther North. From what I got from the husband over there, they hadn’t been in the room five minutes before locating the body. According to him, they don’t know the lady, and don’t have anything to do with this here, um . . . situation.”

The strange man stared at Dale, then at Tamara, then at both officers before speaking up.

“The deceased is Magda. Magda Kowalski. No children. She lives here on site. Works every day along with our other two maids; Daphne and Tess. Last I heard from her was three days ago — hadn’t called in — nothing. This was odd for Magda. She’d be here at 07:00 on the dot every morning. As I said, she lives on site.”

Noting the information given by the motel clerk, the officers gathered their things and headed for Magda’s room. Tamara insisted on following along — she wouldn’t be able to sleep. Not tonight, and definitely not at this motel. On her way out, she noticed the fire extinguisher was on the opposite side of the door.

“Wasn’t that fire extinguisher on the other side when we came in?”

“No, ma’am. Been there the whole time.”

But had it?

Originally published in via Medium.

Part I

Checking In After Hours

Photo by Sean Mungur on Unsplash

Flash Fiction

Tamara slapped the call bell on the dusty motel desk with her freshly manicured hand. She had on thigh-high boots, a blood-red sarong, and a black throw draped across her shoulders.

Her nine-month-old son bounced on her hips. His tired eyes surveyed the dingy lobby — his fat feet kicked at the stale air.

It was 12:35 am and their family had turned off I-95 onto the ramp for Exit 164 and pulled into the first parking lot they spotted.

Dale, Tamara’s bald, bold, and barky husband, stumbled in behind her and the baby, carrying their four-year-old lopsidedly across his chest. He barked at Tamara to hit the call bell again.

She slapped the bell this time with a salty vengeance that had been pulled from the depths of her exhausted body. She slapped it again and then again, and then finally . . . a chubby, Oompa Loompa’d man appeared from the shadows. He yawned, scratched his scruffy beard, and acknowledged them begrudgingly.

“How many beds and how many nights?”

Tamara looked at Dale, then back at the man, and said whisperingly, “Two beds, one night.”

The man whisked a key from the panel on the wall beside him, scanned it under the reader, and typed the request on the computer. He blurted out the fee.

“72.99. We only take cash. ATM’s on the side of the building next to the vending machines if you need it. $3.99 fee, though.”

Tamara looked at Dale, who looked at her and the two of them scraped cash from their purse and wallet, respectively. They paid the fee and took the key from the man.

Once in front of the door to their room, they swiped the key over the reader and opened the door. The room, to their surprise, was spotless and smelled of lemon-scented Pine-Sol and lavender-scented bleach. But something felt off.

They piled their things on the table near the window, turned on the lights and television, and laid the children down on the bed nearest the bathroom.

Tamara pulled back the covers to the bed she and Dale would share, and a trapped scream escaped her throaty lungs. Before her, was the head of what must have been the motel’s maid. Dale found the rest of her body in the tub.

Tamara bolted out of the door to the lobby while Dale called the cops. She slapped the call bell and yelled for the attendant. He came stumbling out from his previous stupor, annoyed by yet another interruption.

“Room need cleaning? Or empty fridge?”

She stared at the man, fumbling for the words to tell him what they’d just found, and before she could get the first word out, he said, “Lemme guess, you found Magda? We’ve been looking for her for hours.”

Hearing this, Tamara fainted. Her feathered-like body splayed itself on the floor. There she lay until the cops arrived.

Originally published in via Medium.

Boldly, She Creeps. She Creeps.

Musical Selection: Snoh Aalegra|Fool for You

A Free Verse Poem

Photo by Ashleigh via Pexels

and I am beholden to her,
bathed in a glossy light
of her intentions.
could she just be flirtatious — 
plotting on playing, picking
sides, and pursuing nothing?

I am cautious in her presence,
boldly, she creeps. she creeps.
and when she does, I stand aside
and mimic a child looking for
her lost toy.
I must find it.
it needs me.

I can’t figure her out.
I keep telling myself, “Tread
lightly. Watch yourself.
Be careful.” there could be
danger ahead.
I want this danger. I don’t want
this danger.
this danger is linked to her — 
I want her.

But I want to be safe too.

I hear an older church mother
in the back of my mind shouting,
“Pick your poison, baby. Can’t
have your cake and eat it
And I understand her words of
concern. I know the memory
of her will play on — she knew
what she was talking about.

Age and wisdom and experience.

I ask the dog, “Why me? Why
has she chosen me to
beat around the bush with
when I need consistency and
clarity and comfort?
women know what they’re
doing with their ways. they do.
keepers of lust and desire,

I will not pressure her.

I will remain in a lane
of my own making — happy
to gallivant effortlessly in
a world of her design.
I see what she cannot.
I hear what she cannot.

I do not want to damage
the goods she flaunts in
my direction.
boldly, she creeps. she creeps.
and when she does, I stand aside
and mimic a child looking for
her lost toy.
I must find it.
it needs me.

And I need her.

©2022 Tremaine L. Loadholt, Originally published in soliloque via Medium.


How I Benefited From Purchasing My Car Through Vroom

The overall process was lengthy but worth it

“Solo” the Chevy Spark. Photo Collage Credit: Tremaine L. Loadholt

I hate to say I “fell on hard times”, but truth be known, I had taken on a heavy period of struggling financially after losing the part-time editing job with P.S. I Love You, thanks to the swift and prudent changes to Medium regarding publications. So yes, I fell on hard times. Everything mounted in front of me, including inflation, a significant rent increase by $87.00, and Jernee’s (my almost 14-year-old Chorkie) health declined.

I am only one person. The income I plummeted into after being considerably above water for over a year was not welcoming or a warm hug. I felt the pressure. I felt the pain. And I felt the undeniable need to make a significant change.

I work from home for my primary job. Given this is my reality, I weighed my options on keeping my vehicle or selling it and going without transportation for six months to a year. Implementing this change would allow additional income to pay down a few bills and be comfortable enough to live with some sense of stability.

It was actually an easy decision for me to sell the vehicle. I did so in late November and got more than I thought I would — which enabled me to pay off the car and two bills.

I spent the next four months paying down two other bills, working overtime at my job, dealing with Jernee’s health issues and endless vet visits, enduring my cousin’s death, and swimming slowly back to the surface.

It was a hellish journey, but I finally made it to a place where I no longer needed to go without a car. But what I knew was I needed to find a car comparable to my pay with insurance coverage that wouldn’t cost me an arm and a leg.

I researched a few dealerships and quickly found out this current season is not the best market for purchasing a vehicle in the traditional way. So, I began looking into Vroom and the company’s inventory, background, and benefits for me being a new consumer.

“We believe buying a car should be fun, easy, and affordable. Here’s how Vroom is leading the revolution. No haggling. No pressure. We’ve eliminated the middleman and made the entire car buying process more efficient, which allows us to pass the savings on to our customers.” — Vroom

During my research period, I also received a raise from work. Everything seemed to be falling into place. I prayed and spent some much-needed time running numbers in my head and reaching out to my closest friends for support.

I found the car I wanted after three days of searching and reviewing mileage, prices, down-payments, and financing options.

The vehicle I clung to like a fly to fresh manure is the car you see as the cover image; a 2017 Chevrolet Spark Hatchback.

The color captivated me. I’d never had a blue vehicle before. The mileage at the purchase date had been 31,401. Financing through Vroom and one of their financing entities had been calculated at 10.73% at 72 months. The vehicle also comes with one year of roadside assistance.

The monthly payments are considerably lower than my last vehicle’s payments, and I found insurance through Direct Auto through National General Insurance.

I still have my arms and my legs.

The entire process, although a lengthy one, was seamless. My Car Specialist was helpful every step of the way. When my vehicle was ready for delivery, I received communication from the manager at my local Vroom delivery hub.

She was thorough in her emails to me and kept me informed right up to the day before delivery. The delivery assistant/driver who brought the vehicle to my front door was beyond friendly, professional, and efficient. The vehicle had been delivered an entire two days ahead of schedule and four hours before its tentative delivery time.

Deciding to go this route opened my eyes to a brand new experience in the world of online vehicle purchasing. It has proven to be worth it and I’m saving close to $195.00 compared to my last vehicle and its accompanying insurance and roadside coverage.

They recently presented me with an opportunity at work that will catapult me to a higher position in radiology scheduling, which will also increase my pay (again). The impending change should be finalized in the coming weeks.

I would have never thought about Vroom without seeing their commercials. I am glad they prompted me to get to know more about the company, and that doing so, landed me with a vehicle equipped with the tools and bells and whistles I find accommodating.

I don’t think I’ll ever go to an actual car dealership again.

Originally published in soliloque via Medium.

After the Storm, There Is Still Hope

A Prose Poem

From a harsh windstorm, we had in my area over the weekend. Friday, March 18, 2022. Photo Credit: Tremaine L. Loadholt

I haven’t gone a full day without crying since your death. Some days, I think, “This could be the day. A full day with no tears”, and then I hear, smell, see, or remember something that has you all over it, and I begin to puddle. Triggers . . . I hate to dub them as harshly as I have, but that is what these things are . . . Triggers.

I haven’t been myself lately.

How can I be myself without you? I am writing more; fulfilling requests from interested people, doing what I said I always wanted to do. You have always been vocal about my writing and supported it undeniably.

The little things pump their way into my view, and I find myself trying to shun them without several blinks.

I don’t want to really see them.
I don’t really need to. Do I?

After I lost the part-time gig, I waited a few months and sold my car. We discussed this. It was best for me, and at the time, financially fruitful I was not. You listened intently, knowing I’d do what I needed to in order to get back on track.

Four months later, I am at a place where breathing is easier and above water is where my head seems to rest. The Powers That Be saw fit to give me a raise, and I paid down two bills significantly. I set my eyes on another vehicle, purchased it, and blended my life into the interior of a compact Chevy I call, “Solo.”

I wanted you to know, but I couldn’t tell you. Not like before. There’s no actual way of getting the news to you, but I speak to the air. I whisper to the clouds. I pray that you will hear my faint-barely-holding-on statements to you when no one else is around.

We have had several windstorms — weird for this time of year. A tree toppled my neighbor’s car. I’d just moved mine to venture out to the store, and when I came back, she and her sons were outside assessing the damage. My jaw dropped, as I’d not had Solo a full four hours, and had I not left for the store when I did, I would have been outside, alongside her, shaking my damn head.

I prayed for her to have patience — for her to gain what she needs monetarily to get another car. I prayed for any emotional distress she will endure — for the will and fight to duke it out with her insurance company and our property manager.

I look at her deformed vehicle — and send a word of thanks to God for making sure she was not in it.

I come inside my quiet apartment, pat the dog on her head, give her a treat, and put the groceries away. It had been nineteen hours without one teardrop. I read an article and watch a commercial about a fellow artist who is taking her art to new levels and the tears begin.

Triggers. That is what these things are . . . Triggers.

Originally published in soliloque via Medium.