The Super 8 Lifestyle

Part 1

Grady Arnold

Although I call Bryan-College Station my home, I travel around the country following my work.  I mainly do computer analysis type of work and contract with companies for various lengths of time.  It pays well and gives me something to do.  Of course, we all must have some place to live when working away from home: I’ve found motels to be one of the less expensive and one of the more stimulating places to live when away from my proper home.  One of the more stimulating was in Virginia.

After returning home from a job in Minnesota, I received a frantic phone call from a male recruiter about work in northern Virginia. I had bought a 1999 Cadillac Concourse deVille in Minneapolis. It was now 2001. The recruiter called me back about a day later.

We had already discussed the rate and our expected corporate relationship. The recruiter’s shop was in Massschusetts. About 90% of the job shops are in Boston.  Well, this guy had me all set to go to General Dynamics in northern Virginia.

I packed the Caddy and took off for Georgia. I left myself enough time to visit my relatives in East Texas and Michael and Rebecca in Atlanta.

I drove north on I-95. I found a Super 8 in Dumfries, Virginia, the first exit south of Woodbridge. The Super 8 was run down and noisy.  I thought I would soon rent an apartment closer to work.

I paid a cab driver to lead me up to the job site location. It was raining that day in the spring. The job was in an old abandoned retail merchandising store outside the mall.

I reported for work and found I was assigned to create five requirements documents for various subsystems for the prototype Advance Amphibious Assault Vehicle (AAAV) for the US Marines.  The documents, I was told, were 5 years behind schedule.  So, I went to work researching the relevant data and meeting the players.

My days were full and I went back to the motel every night to rest from all the new job activities. I had a room on the second floor. By now, I had met several of the desk clerks and other motel employees.  One desk clerk lived with her mother, was about 40 years old, and had a live-in dump truck driver boy friend.  I would visit with them in the lobby early on weekday mornings.

I remember one particular evening coming back to the room around 6 pm with a bad headache, the new job headache.  I took a couple of pills and tried to go to sleep. The air conditioner was on in the room, but I could still hear activities outside my door.  As I tried to rest while the aspirins kicked in, I kept hearing the ice machine loudly dumping its contents into plastic buckets. I thought, "Jesus, there must be some thirsty people somewhere down the hall."  I finally dozed off.

The next thing I knew, the morning sun was coming into my room, and I could hear activity again in the hallway.  I got up, dressed, and went down to the small lobby and poured a styrofoam cup of coffee which I diluted with heaps of cream.  I stepped out of the front door and noticed a crumpled window screen leaning against the motel wall by the entrance. After checking on my car and taking a few deep breaths of fresh air, I went back inside. Then, Jackson, the desk clerk’s boy-friend-dump-truck-driver appeared. We exchanged greetings as he drew a cup of java.  I asked him about the crumpled aluminum window screen outside.  He turned, and looked at me in a  sort of weird way saying, "Your room is on the second floor? Yeah, I remember now where they put you."  He took a drink and said, "You didn't hear all that racket up on second last night?"

I replied, "Well, I thought about investigating the hallway traffic...."

He cut in, "Man, you better thank the Lord you didn't open that door! They woulda had you in handcuffs and layin’ on the floor when I got up there!"

I asked what it was all about. He replied loudly, "All about a gang o' teenage hookers had called in here with somebody’s credit card and rented two rooms face to face up there! They had beer and whiskey in a whole tub o' ice! They had maryjane and cocaine and they had the second room full o' jus’ graduated Marines. They was between 13 and 18 years old. When the cops and the sheriffs got here, they had all serviced one round of those Marines an’ were halfway thru the second round.  When I went up there pass your room, the cops had all them folks cuffed an’ laid out in the hall. You count your blessings!  They took six cars loads of teenie prostitutes and Marines outa here! That window screen you saw come from when one of those Marines jumped outa a second story window!"

I downed my baby coffee and went off to work that Saturday morning.  Little did I know, this was only the first of many adventures and exploits I would witness in the Dumfries, Virginia Super 8.


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