February Photo Prompt Contest Winner

“Sunset at the Antenna Motel” by Jim Carls

The note laying under my door was simple: “Antenna Motel 8pm Monday.” That was the way distribution ops started, just a note to meet, no details leaked to someone who doesn’t show up, someone who finds he’s a “person of interest” in a room of stone-faced cops with some real info he can trade.

It had to be one of Oggy’s jobs, though, because there is no Antenna Motel. Me and Oggy Peters used that for the old Hatchie Motel, on the Memphis side of Brownsville near Stanton, when we were kids throwing papers full of news instead of meth.

I pulled into the lot off Highway 70 at five til. The thick, hot air tried to push me back into the cool of the car. That’s summer in Tennessee. Distant crickets chorused approval.

The motel sign looked old and industrial against the sky. In the 60’s, with business getting sucked down SR 222 to the new interstate, the owners tried to pull in Jackson and Memphis stations with a new antenna stuck on top of it. Now the name “Hatchie” was long gone, along with any business that didn’t come from pimps and pushers — but the only sign they needed was “Motel.”

The place was just a single row of rooms. I walked around to the blank wall at the back. The crickets seemed to start screaming louder, and the county cruiser sitting there told me who the person of interest was tonight.

Motel