A tag hangs on the handle of the door to room ONE, written in the night manager’s illegible stickpen cuneiform. The unresolved destruction of room TWO drifts up before the window. Milk twilight from an early moon still nestled behind the mountains draws across the motel embossing the doors and windows, roofline and arcade pillars, their flakes, gouges, paintbare baldness, their dry corners, ventifacts, matte window glass with the melancholy humors of a cadaver all flooding the valley. Jack sits in a chair on the concrete pad. The night manager shuffles from the glowing office. “That boy you were here with is here.” “The boy, yes. Yes. Yes.” “That retarded one.” “Retarded boy?” “Yes. You know the skinny, retarded boy you were here with several months ago.” “The boy, yes. But not here, of course?” “Yes. He is here.” “I understand that he is here now. But I have never been here. I’d never been here before you waylaid me last week.” “Certainly you had. You and that skinny, retarded boy were here several months ago. You stayed a night. You two walked out across that field in the evening to take some air. Everyone seems to.” “Why haven’t you mentioned it?” “Why should I mention something you already know? How would I know what you do or do not know about your own life? You stayed in the same room, and you left without paying the same way you were planning to this time. I have seen it all in this motel, mostly from you!” “Have we been back since?” “No, until you reappeared alone a week ago.” “And the boy is here now?” “He’s walking out past the road with a man. They are staying in your room, but stay out.” Jack breathes deep, dry wind, scrutinizes the motel. The stucco color is again unfamiliar. Orange, perhaps it is dry rose. The series of windows, each with a portal below for the air conditioner, are nondescript rectangles. The numbers of windows change, the directions of doorswings. The location of the office changes. The slope of the eave changes slightly. His belongings are still in room ONE. Sand blows up and the night manager heads to his office leaving a lingering wake over the chalk. Passing through it, the two travelers materialize, making labored progress. Sweeping tints of the setting sun wash them across the obscure landscape without shadow. Reaching the arcade outside room ONE they halt, bared by uniform shade. They stand, the two keeping secrets, draped statues of a crypt marauded by daylight. Jack can hear the two men only in the sharper syllables that prick and slice the packed vacuum of the valley floor in piquant slaps. In their pose, contingent both on their pairing and their distraction from one another, the standing man, alike to other men, holds two chambray shirts tied into a sort of lean-to over the boy, obscuring his face, the boy, squatting, who, after their dusk walk down into the wash and rock field, looks smeared from slumber and verges toward unconsciousness as the standing man talks. Each performs with confusion in the bent of their respective loquacity and vegetation. The boy on the ground resembles an invertebrate version of the erect man, though both resemble versions of everyone else. Sheets of tissue as the sky grows dark are pulled from the air, each limiting the potential actions of the two travelers, their closing doors, coaxing, scolding, retracing in the chalk, their posing, and siphons them out toward the dunes until they can only duck into room ONE. The unceremonious occupation of Jack’s room is feebly pronounced by a delicate click and the limp drawing of the curtains. The air conditioner motor roars into the arcade beneath the window of room ONE. Jack watches room TWO then. Among the wreckage inside, the chair he left in front of the window wide and bare begins to green in the dusk sinking. Some traces of men alive in every room everywhere await their return. Room TWO lives with the life set in motion by Jack’s mess. Its air conditioner comes to life. Jack approaches across the chalk court falling dark and lays faint hands on the locked door. The air conditioners of both rooms chant and breathe. Jack searches the complete, full sound, and when dark fully has settled and after some more time passes, the distillate of the travelers’ voices within the song needles forth to corrupt the clarity of its emptiness. As easily as he might pretermit back to the annihilating blur of the air conditioner, he clings to the voices and asks that they claim him. Their serum of bilious panic pounds from each consonant. The boy, yes, and the copious blood of all his recollections swells against his skin.