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One Depressing Night at the $12-an-Hour Snooty Fox Motor Inn

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Because we are not very nice, we like to make writer/comedian Megan Koester stay in questionable places for Hotels Week. Last year she found that the $19-a-night space-themed hostel in Boyle Heights wasn't that bad; this year she reports that Vermont Square's Snooty Fox Motor Inn is much, much worse than that bad.

4:20 pm (heh): The grounds surrounding the Snooty Fox, a $12-an-hour motel that specializes in catering to the needs of anxious addicts and star-crossed lovers, are lush, impeccably groomed, and pseudo-tropical. I was not expecting them to be so, well, pleasant. I approach the check-in window, currently occupied by the large, shifty-eyed body of a remarkably unremarkable middle-aged white male wearing a backpack. A pass-through drawer below the window opens, spitting out a key card. The man takes it, as well as his leave. It's now my turn to speak to the disembodied voice on the other side of the completely blacked-out window. When I say black, I mean black—it is impossible to see what is taking place on the other side. Sandwich eating? Solitaire playing? Human trafficking? The possibilities are endless.

"I'd like the Tuesday rate, please," I say. "$49," the voice replies. "Is that the cheapest rate?" I ask. "I thought the website said it was $42 on Tuesday." "$49 PER NIGHT!" the voice yells. I nervously put three $20 bills in the pass-through drawer and wait in silence. "Walk-up or drive-up?" the voice asks. "I have a car," I reply. More silence. Three awkward minutes later, mostly spent staring at signage indicating the importance of properly filling out registration cards, the two-person-per-room limit, and not doing drugs, I finally get a key card of my own. As soon as I leave, another single, shifty-eyed dude shows up to take my place.

4:25 pm: I got a smoking room because it seemed like the most authentic choice given the environment. Opening the door, I am overwhelmed by the sheer smokiness of this smoking room. It smells like my granny, the white trash one who died years ago and referred to the National Enquirer as "the Bible." Furniture—much of it the plastic lawn variety—is artlessly placed around the room. The walls are mirrored, as is the ceiling. It is a narcissist's paradise. An ancient phone, yellowed with time and smoke, sits on the vanity.

I enter the bathroom and discover that the shower has two nozzles—one regulation height, one situated at crotch level. I gasp aloud at this discovery. This is, indeed, gasp-worthy shit. On non-Tuesdays, this room allegedly rents for $70 a night. I find this fact impossible to believe.

4:45 pm: There is no WiFi. Period. Not even the suggestion of WiFi. Scanning for networks reveals nothing. I am, apparently, somehow in the middle of nowhere in the second most populated city in America. The smell of cigarette smoke is making my head hurt. I, myself, am a smoker.

4:50 pm: I delicately grab the corner of the (no doubt horrifically desecrated) bedspread and transfer it to the floor. It, like everything else in the room, is riddled with cigarette burns. Moving it reveals the pillows below, which have been printed with the number of my room and the words "S FOX." I make a mental note to not steal them, though temptation is high.

5:00 pm: Opening my window to allow some light into my dank surroundings, I realize that no one else staying at the Fox has done so. There are cars in the parking lot, but no humans to be seen. The quiet that surrounds me is vacuous. This would make a great writer's retreat, I think to myself. I am a moron.

5:15 pm: The name of the motel is carved into the television remote, which is held together with electrical tape. It is not wet to the touch, yet also somehow not dry. I turn the television on and immediately regret doing so. A woman cries and gags as she fellates a man. He flips her over, spits on her anus, and starts lickin'. At least he's a giving lover, I think. He doesn't lick for nearly as long as she sucked, though. What gives? Ever heard of egalitarianism, bro? I change the channel; what I assume to be the movie Taken is playing. Liam Neeson looks upset.

5:30 pm: I decide to get some fresh air. Absolutely no one is outside to join me. The only sound to speak of is the hum of air conditioners. I'm on Western Avenue, for Christ's sake. It shouldn't be this quiet. A police siren squeals in the distance. That's more like it, I think. At least that's a noise. I retreat back to my room.

6:15 pm: A woman of indeterminate sex, who appears to be in her mid-forties, walks by my window in pumps and pearls. Her dress is skintight. Her presence fills me with ineffable sadness. We make eye contact and nod; there is an unspoken bond between us. A feral cat crosses our paths.

6:30 pm: I travel through the food desert surrounding the Snooty Fox to a Burger King. Coming back, I park next to a car with two little girls in the backseat. An adult female, possibly their mother, sits emotionlessly in the front passenger's seat. The girls wave and giggle at me. What THE FUCK are they doing here?

I'm usually not paranoid when it comes to germs, but I can't stop washing my hands. An oily patina seems to cover every surface; everything feels compromised. I use a Burger King napkin to cover the remote as I operate it.

6:45 pm: A middle-aged white guy wearing the costume of someone trying to look incognito practically sprints up the stairs, hands in his pockets, upon seeing me see him. I'm eating Burger King, alone, with the window open. A housekeeper notices my presence; taken aback, he awkwardly waves. I reciprocate.

7:00 pm: A sketchy-looking guy wearing track pants and a Bluetooth earpiece approaches carrying a laptop. This can't be good, I think. He runs upstairs and speaks in hushed tones to a man I can only see the sneakers of.

The housekeeper from earlier gesticulates at me from the room across the way. He comes outside and continues to gesticulate. He shakes his head, wags his finger, and aggressively says something I cannot hear. He looks upset. I get the impression that he's trying to tell me to close my curtains. I do so. Fuck this. I turn the fan on for white noise. I'm scared. I feel as white as the noise. Insufferably white. The curtains stay closed.

7:30 pm: I hear children, possibly the girls from earlier, yammer outside. Someone in the distance screams "Fuck!" and slams a door. I put an ear up to my door, terrified.

7:35 pm: The children are screaming now. Endlessly screaming. Bedsprings creak above me. Another police siren goes off in the distance. The curtains stay closed.



7:45 pm: The children are still screaming—an adult is screaming now as well. At them. "Get your ass up here, motherfucker!" she roars. I hear slaps, presumably the paddling of an ass or two. I wish I were in a position to do something about it.

8:15 pm: In the hopes of feeling less filthy, I decide to take a shower. The genital-height showerhead sprays, as to be expected, directly on my genitals. It is unmovable. It is uncomfortable. In the end, I feel no less filthy. Terrified of the carpeting, I put my shoes on before I leave the bathroom. I am wearing a bath towel and shoes.

8:30 pm: I open the curtains and briefly look outside. The parking lot is full, but there are no humans within eyeshot. I turn the television on; a man with a butterfly tattoo is getting his dick sucked. I turn it off. This is the sort of room where people sit and wait for something to happen, which makes me think (and fear) that something is about to happen.

12:00 am: Nothing happened.


—Megan Koester
· Hotels Week 2014 [Curbed LA]