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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Hotel/Motel (09/12/05)

TITLE: A Fly on the Wall
By Ann Grover
09/18/05


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From my vantage point near the ceiling, I can see all.

Sometimes, I try to get a closer look, getting rewarded for my attempts with unsuccessful swings and swats. Usually, I bide my time, watching and waiting for vacancy before I scavenge among the castoffs and leftovers for something worthwhile.

I am never bored, since a steady stream of occupants comes into my sphered vision.

The families are hugely entertaining. Small children look through drawers, unwrap soap, and check out every satellite channel. They leave a trail of chocolate bar smears and potato chips. They eventually sprawl together, parents and children alike, in puppy-like abandon on the beds. In the morning, I help myself to granola bar crumbs and apple juice.

Large groups of girls are always amusing. They arrive as a herd, giggling and laughing, dumping their bags on the floor, and kicking off their shoes. They pile on the beds, rip open bags of snacks, and turn up MTV. I retreat to a corner, trying to avoid the toxic mist of hairspray and nail polish. Their loud, good-natured fun continues until late into the night, when their exuberance finally settles into whispered discussions about their futures and dreams and goals.

But consider the gentleman who pauses after shutting the door and leans against it. Eventually, he walks over to the bed and sits on the edge with his head in his hands. He opens the night stand and lifts out the Bible. He leafs through it, sometimes pausing to read. He gives a low grown and leans back into the pillow. He stares at the ceiling; I think, perhaps, he is looking into my eyes, and I twitch uneasily. After a time, when the room darkens, I hear him feeling in his jacket pocket; thereís a loud click and a silence. I wait. I doze. He leaves before morning light.

I hear the next occupants before I see them. The vibration of their music thrums through me as they fumble with the lock. A young man and woman, teens really, laugh together nervously, and sit at the table while they polish off burgers and Coke. I tremble in anticipation of partaking of such delectable fare, but itís nothing in comparison to the electric energy of their excitement. As the light fades, their laughter turns to sighs and murmuring. A rustling of sheets. A few muffled sobs. It is a restless night.

The fragrance of White Diamonds arrives before the next occupant comes into view. I know this one. She comes often. All night, there will be comings and goings. In the rosy glow of dawn, I will sip from the rim of a lipstick-smudged wine bottle.

Then, an elderly couple. They methodically hang up their jackets and put their coffee cream in the little refrigerator. He pockets the complimentary pen. She takes a bath. They watch the news and a rerun of Gunsmoke. They talk about their gas mileage and the price of bread. Their low, slow voices give way to synchronized snores, harmonizing after fifty years of sleeping side by side.

The maids also provide a diversion. Some laconically swipe the cloth over the table and bathroom vanity and indifferently push the vacuum across the floor. Others fuss about in clouds of Lysol fumes, not leaving until the faucets glisten and the toilet sparkles. Occasionally, one will poke around in a suitcase or pry through papers on the desk. Iíve even seen one or two flip through a wallet. I keep my many eyes on them.

And so it goes.

Itís an interesting thing - this temporary home - where diverse lives come together, lives that are in transit in one way or another. Each one leaves a bit of himself in a smudge on the television or an echo in the air. Sometimes, the mattress is barely cool before the next person arrives. The newcomer breathes in the lingering scents and vapours of the others, unaware that their lives have briefly overlapped.

Each morning, the door will be pulled shut. For a moment, dust will eddy and swirl in the air before settling on the lampshade, forming a small, almost imperceptible mosaic.

But I can see all.


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This article has been read 1127 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Donnah Cole09/19/05
Very good! Enjoyed!
Melanie Page09/19/05
If it's not blashemous; this is rather like a God's eye view, isn't it. Scary to remember that there is no corner of our life hidden from Him.
Excellent writing!
Kathryn Wickward09/20/05
Really, really good. You really draw the reader into the room with you.
Jan Ackerson 09/21/05
This is a masterpiece; so creative!
Angela Saunders09/21/05
I really enjoyed the creative perspective presented here!!! Nice job!
Debra Brand09/22/05
Good writing!
Garnet Miller 09/22/05
Great story. We'd all like to be a 'fly on the wall' sometimes!
Lynda Lee Schab 09/23/05
Rats! I thought I was the only one who came up with the "fly on the wall" perspective LOL(Advanced "Bug-Eyed Witness") Yours was so creative and clever. Maybe we can get our little friends together sometime :-) Loved the story. Well done!
Blessings, Lynda
Shari Armstrong 09/23/05
Very nicely written
Jan Warrick09/24/05
Very good writing. I enjoyed this piece very much.
Julianne Jones09/24/05
Well done! Interesting take on the topic. Enjoyed this.
Deborah Porter 09/26/05
Ann, congratulations on your 3rd place in the Level 2 Challenge Awards. It was well deserved.

I have to admit, I was like Lynda Schab when I saw that two of you had come from a similar out of the box angle. Just goes to show that you both have a great imagination.

The only thing I picked up on when I was reading it was that you used the word "grown" for "groan," in this sentence, "He gives a low grown and leans back." But other than that, it was a very good piece of writing that really did answer that request we so often have, "If only I were a fly on the wall..." Keep up the great work. Love, Deb (Challenge Coordinator)
Janice Fitzpatrick03/18/07
Whoa. This is just soooooo good. I was reading several of your works and came across this and couldn't stop reading it. I love your descriptions as they paint such a clear colorful picture. I felt like I was another fly next to this one, noticing each visitor who passed through these doors. Well done! God bless. Janice+-