Jeff tried opening the door but the little piece of plastic couldn’t get the light to come on. He pulled the card out and inserted it back in. No light. He flipped the card over and tried inserting again. When that didn’t work he flipped the card over again and wiggled it inside the slit. He sighed.
As Jeff tried over and over to dismantle the door, he heard footsteps coming from the other side of the hallway. Jeff turned his head. A man wearing a leather jacket and trucker cap was walking in his direction. Jeff looked back down at the impenetrable door handle, feeling a slight embarrassment. The man in the leather jacket eventually passed him and entered one of the other doors. Jeff tried wiggling his plastic key card a little bit more.
Somehow, the door opened. Jeff looked into his room with a mixture of surprise and relief, but that all faded away when he entered and dropped his suitcase on his bed. The room wasn’t dirty. There weren’t thick, mysterious, brown stains slowly conquering the corners nor a dense, pungent air. But there was a print hanging above the bed depicting a sailboat rocking on a sea that was just a shade darker than the blue sky. The boat wasn’t a speck on the ocean but rather took up most of the painting. Like the rest of the room it elicited nothing within Jeff.
Jeff debated whether to put the contents of his suitcase into the drawers, in fear of nefarious little life forms tainting the remainder of his possessions. He sat on the bed and flipped through the channels. For a while, the TV remained on kids’ television station featuring a cartoon fish and his nautical pals. Jeff remembered having to sit through the cartoon fish and his fishy antics every night before their bedtime. Jeff flipped the channel.