It instantly reminded me of the hotel I’ve stayed at in Paris. This Motel 6 a few miles East of Memphis was probably the second worst place on earth, but I was tired and thirty dollars sounded like a good deal. It was not. I didn’t really sleep much, mainly due to the fact that I’m pretty sure I spent the night with a serial killer. Before going to bed I was smoking outside my unit and saw a white van parked a few parking spots away. My heart skipped a beat when I suddenly realized that there was a guy behind the wheel staring back at me, while he was drinking beer out of a can. I pretended to look at other things in that general direction, but whenever my eyes went back to the van, he was still looking at me.
I almost forgot about him when I went back outside half an hour later. He obviously didn’t forget about me, as he was leaning against his van and said “hey” in the creepiest way possible. I instantly regretted years of watching movies that featured a character just like him. I have quite an imagination, so this second triggered my brain to come up with a perfectly plausible scenario of how I will die tonight. It wasn’t pretty. I figured it would be more awkward for him to separate my head from my body if he knew me a bit, so I introduced myself. When I started the conversation, there were two possible outcomes: he could actually turn out to be a nice guy, or he would be weird and only make the serial killer theory more plausible. Of course he was a fucking weirdo. After our small talk I wished him a good night and walked back to my room.
Apparently I must have fallen asleep at some point, but more surprisingly, I did wake up in one piece. I took a shower and left the motel. Now I’m sitting in a Waffle House on the other side of town, eating breakfast, and celebrating being alive. It is 5:30 in the morning.
Text and photography by Mike Zwahlen.
Mike Zwahlen works for Google and moonlights as a writer and photographer. He is the co-founder and Creative Director of Elusive Magazine and lives in Los Angeles, California.