THE AMAZING HOTEL TOWEL

By the way, I am not a racist. And life itself is extremely sexist. Our church was the all white Baptist Church. This story is about the assassination of the Reverend Doctor Martin Luther K – g Junior. When the Negro men folk all got together for the shot, they pointed directly and indirectly at the shooter. They were an equivocal blob like group of all male togetherness as I stood there, trying to get to the hotel room. They were brave to stand around like that, in the line of fire, but it was their job to be the great man’s entourage, I guess. A lot of Black Americans would have died to have taken those bullets.

I was the maid. I had to go in there and make the bed. I had the equipment around the corner. I was waiting because I was stark staring terrified that the shooter would shoot me. He was right around the corner on the opposite side of the tracks, only about a hundred feet away. And he had a sniper gun with an excellent sight. Pausing momentarily, I was standing there realizing something, and then I hated myself completely. I had been told to go mop up the room.

I had to go get the amazing towel. I was going to be mopping up some excess blood, slightly. And of course, in the cheap hotel we were all stuck working at, the towels ran short sometimes. I was stuck taking the blame for that, and they were constantly threatening to fire me from my job for breathing. In spite of them, I liked the man who was stuck staying at their hotel – for being what he wasn’t, namely a fat comic.

Such a fat comic. Dying in public is such a martyr thing to do. A martyr. A fat comic. I was in love with the guy for breathing. I wanted to. Anyway, I was standing there idiotically wondering if James Earl R – , the assassin as it turned out to be, liked to shoot maids. I finally let out a dry chuckle. Both of those young men, famous and infamous, would have to face a terrible final reckoning. I had no real man in my life to take care of me. Also, I had no unearthly paradise known as Heaven, especially anymore. I had a feeling the shooter was going to shoot me, and I had to plan something to even get in there to mop up the room.

Then J – – Jackson ran into the room. I thought, the guy is going to check out the amazing character in there, namely a Baptist fountain of blood. Y’see, our church knew enough about Baptist black people to accept the differences. They hated it, but they needed to go be Jesus more so than we ever seemed to. It was somehow important culturally.

Suddenly, it hit me that someone else was in an amazing fountain of blood. I wanted to see it briefly, but I felt screamingly depressed. Not because I wasn’t dying, but because I had to hold my amazing job. The streets are not a pretty thing to do.

Anyway, I waited a long time as Mr. Jackson was in there. I thought I heard mumbling sounds and some thrashing. I waited until it all settled down, figuring that while I harrumphed and coughed to myself, the amazing toy – at least, people treated him like he was one – fat man was getting dead in the usual individual’s own way in there. Previous to my maid job, I had been a nurse at the hospital. I had seen people die before. I would miss the amazing toy man to myself, but I was getting impatient, and I had to get back to my house at five o’clock or five thirty and fix the dinner for my very abusive husband at the time.

Coughing, I wondered if Dr. K – – abused his wife Coretta. I was the Coretta fan to myself in my own personal Hitchcockian Star Trek Twilight Zone. I was also partly Jewish, a little Semitic looking and had to hide myself completely. Because I wasn’t really Jewish, I just came from those roots and looked incredibly racially impure.

At the hospital, when someone died, we had to vacate the bed rather quickly. You don’t leave dead people lying around for very long. You get them down to the morgue and they then get shipped out by car to the funeral home. This was rather obtuse.

So after a long time of feeling like cowering, I finally breathed a big sigh of relief and shouted, “So are you still over there yet?” I screamed it out loud, but got no response whatsoever. I waltzed the ten million light years around my maid cart. Death was actually real. I had to leave the hotel cart behind because it could barely fit around the amazing corner. I thought as I left that I was to blame for not getting it around it. I paused. I went back and tried to get the cart around the corner, and managed to get it over there.

Then it dawned on me what a cheap hotel this was for a fat man who was still in Paradise. He was not a fat comic, and he had always been dead serious about what he’d meant by everything that he’d said. I was not in Paradise myself at all, but I briefly had to wonder where the fat comic had gone.

He was so cool, I smiled to myself. But then, clutching my throat, I realized he was dead. And he was inconveniently leaving a huge mess for me to clean up. I frowned summarily, and froze up. But I thought, well, it’s really only some blood to mop up. The diseases didn’t matter to me. And Mr. Jackson had raced right in as I had read he had done in the papers. The man had done his track at college. I finally got the cart into the room, by jerking and pulling it around the tight corner.

I was standing behind the cart in the room with the dead great man. I was solid there for two seconds, hoping that all great men would die someday. One of them was coming home to me. I wondered briefly about the relationships between suns, moons and stars.

Meanwhile, I understood that any second now, unimportant me was possibly going to be executed. Looking down at the dead man’s corpse, I stared for a moment into an unequivocal “maybe.” I would join him by jerking around like a demented puppet, or not. My heart sunk as I realized that such a death would not have anywhere near the honor Dr. K – -‘s death had. His had been an assassination; mine would be an accident unplanned by the sniper. I was merely the hotel maid – and was being made fun of by impertinent people. Would the gunman shoot me?

Gazing off into the far distance, I twisted my narrow lips into a thin smile, daydreaming that one of these overgrown boys had summarily died for me. I was about to make up for the debt through my chosen husband if I didn’t get home in time, and I was immobilized by the thing called death that was behind me. What if the crazy sniper so much as saw another human back? What about the fat man’s lacy white kerchief? Would they arrest me if they thought I had stolen that? Yes. And that thing on the floor was no longer human; it was a motionless death trap.

I smiled the Black Cat to myself, an African grin that means you’re not afraid of anything, and began the search for towels. Sooner or later, they would come to collect the body. I wrangled with myself, and then I got it up already and went to the cheap little bathroom, did my business and flushed it, but very shakily. It was like the room was spinning around me, waiting to die all by itself. I successfully wiped me, washed my hands and got out of there.

I had to go back and carefully collect the towels while facing the awful cataclysm. He was in outer space for a moment, but I was definitely in my own disembodied body. I received the anointment of the towels, in a pile against my chest, and walked slowly out to the room. That’s right; the great man’s sad corpse was still there. I looked behind me to see if anyone was watching, and I gave the corpse a medium hard kick to see if anything was still going on. Nothing was, so I began the mop up with the towels. I poked him gently, and then I looked closely at his beautiful handsome face.

It was extremely destroyed. It had been there. But it was not there. It was a cave with no smile, peeled back and sunken in. As I threw my head to the side, I could see the sniper still over across from us, disassembling the gun. He was visibly shaken.

I began to realize once again that I knew the sniper was still over there. Would he shoot me too? My hand trembled as I bent partway over, but I knew now that I had to hurry and get to my alleged home that my husband was always trying to kick me out of by five or five thirty. I glanced at my watch. Then the loudest sound occurred from the corpse.

I breathed in an elegant, funky sigh, and then I bent over to mop at the body some more. I suddenly saw the towel I was looking for, and it was so white and all. I soaked up some of the blood with it, waved at the sniper across the way, and stuffed it briefly into my green apron’s pocket while thinking something about what a great man and a fat comic was. I stuffed the white little towel all the way clear down into my pocket. And I used another towel to wipe off my right hand with the other wedding ring on it.

I left the corpse behind, and then I looked at the door that wasn’t exactly being pounded on. I heard noise, but nothing coming near the room yet. How pretty. Well, I went out on the balcony and waved the towel at whatever was still across the way there, and saw the man who had shot our infamous hero. I waved the famous towel at him, and smiled the Black Cat to let him know with great assurance that all was well. He was at the end of taking apart the gun, and he seemed to look down as though some faith in humanity had greatly and seemingly wilted. I wondered if I was in the middle of the Shangri-La of Dr. Queen back there for a brief moment of time. Boy, that fart had smelled.

I had the towel. The amazing “Elvis Presley” oriented towel was in my grasp at last. I knew that it would sell as prime memorabilia to the proper collector. It had no special scent of justice on it. I walked away from my job in the room. I was going home at last. I had the most expensive towel I had ever collected in my life. I smiled. I was going to make My Favorite Martyr appear in human history later, all by myself. I had established a collector’s item in my own mind.

Here came the reporters. I stepped back all the way, and one of them brushed a certain body part as they all shoved their way into the room. I was jerking like a puppet, my heart was pounding, and I had been there and in on it, all the way. I had both an incredible story and the hotel towel. The one from the room he’d died in, the very same room. As the flashlights popped their bulbs, I had the amazing towel. Uneducated me was holding a small fortune in her blood reddened hands. It was there. I collected my amazing character and knew I was going to be a little later home for dinner.

Towels take vengeance, I suppose, from a great distance away. Snappily.

I was suddenly standing around the corner in another lost little world that I was glad to throw away, yet I tremblingly did not jump over the railing. I ‘c’lected myself once again and established justice by waltzing down the stairs with my wonderful “Jewish” self. It was very peculiar of me to judge a man, not by his skin color but by my amazing towel. I was headed home in a big fat hairy hurry with a gift from God himself in my apron’s pocket. I was going to keep that amazing towel for several centuries, until it was worth some big bucks in the Heaven I would surely never obtain.

Years later, I sold the amazing “Elvis Presley” towel. I could find no one who wanted to buy the one from the dead Dr. K – -. For you see, it contained the blood of the amazing “Elvis Presley,” as I had sold the towel to the one true believer who had tried to come on to me after my divorce had settled and I had gotten the Black Eye and everything from my abusive and depraved husband. I sold it on EBay. I still went to my temple like church sometimes, but it was slowly filling up with other amazing colored people with amazingly angry characters, so I left already. I went to a church, not a temple. I was hiding like sixty, but I had someone well convinced about the towel. That someone was rather handsome, and we dated – for a little while. He threw me over for some blonde chick with a limp in her left leg. He kept telling me he had to take care of her.

In my dreams, in my sleep, I was the Valkyrie from Hell who had sold her own soul to people. And I received exactly $500 in cash for said amazing towel. It helped put my brightest daughter through school, and she excelled at most of her subjects. But she was killed by a drunk driver on the way home last August, and she had always been nice, but she tended to blame me for taking the towel of a very fat macho comic�

�away. Take it away, whoever you are. Take it away. And play jazz on it forever.

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