Why I Hate Sick People

sleazy hotel roomI started getting a little bleary on the plane from Istanbul to Bucharest and by the time we had bussed it in and showered, I had to confess I had slight pains in my lower back.

“I know that feeling,” Anthony said, which reassured me, “You probably have the flu,” which discouraged me. Sick? I don’t get sick. I hate sick people. They’re weak snivellers. They aren’t worthy for breeding and continuing the species if all they’re going to do is produce sickling children.

How did this happen? It wasn’t because of the partying, granny, no, I’ve been a good boy. I think it was our hotel last night. It was $7 each and you could see a brown line on the wall where the TV cord used to run to the ground. When we first entered we had to air it out because the smell was so rank and I joked, “This is great! Look at this place! Our own private hotel room with nice beds, and hey, it even has a shower.” But Anthony and Holly scoffed. We were down to our last lira anyway, timed perfectly so I didn’t have to withdraw any more money. And besides, we didn’t have Holly no more, this was a man’s hotel room, real roughin’ it with a touch of Traveler’s Romance. It was all we needed.

After our dinner of kebab and pita for three dollars each we sat in our room listening to a Honky Tonk/Outlaw mix surmising that Johnny Cash and Hank Williams Sr. had probably stayed in worse hotels. If we weren’t such a couple of nancy boys we’d be able to stand this easy, and camp in the Romanian woods by growling at the wolves coming to eat our faces off in the middle of the night. We’d be fearless and rugged, if we hadn’t been raised in a middle-class American family with hair pomade and clean underwear and hot showers.

So we made do. Rather than use the bathroom down the hall we just peed in the shower in our room. It was cold, probably about 45 degrees, so that every time we got out of bed we shivered. They gave us a blanket with a duvet which looked to’ve been washed, and a big wool blanket that had probably seen god knows what. It was painful to move around in bed because too easily your foot or arm could fall into a puddle of coldness where no body heat had yet reached.

We fell asleep by ten to wake up at 530. But Anthony woke up at 4, waited half an hour and at 430, got up to check his phone, and swore loudly so I thought we missed our flight. Then I couldn’t go back to sleep because my head was so cold and every time I put my head under the covers it got too hot and I started worrying about my tax return that Matthew has to send to me because they couldn’t directly deposit it into my account, God knows why, and only getting half an hour of sleep so by the time I fell asleep it would be time to wake again, and pretty soon we were up, shivering with the the fluorescent lights on and the 530 call to prayer sounding ghostly and hollow in the background.

I reckon Anthony was right. The Mother Hen of the hostel gave me medicine to ease my aches and chills and today with plenty of rest I’m recovering slowly, so that by tomorrow night I should be back in the game. Right in time for the weekend.

By Daniel Ryan Adler

Daniel Adler writes fiction and nonfiction and is finishing his MFA at University of South Carolina.

1 comment

  1. Well,Well,Well! In all your misery I had to laugh,In those moments of feeling sick isn’t it interesting that you start hearing what your mother would say”Daniel make sure you wash your hands…don’t touch that, or drink that!
    Also “THE GIRL “with the bony lips, now there’s a story.Your stories are authentic and I feel like I’m with you vicariousy…Drink more vitamin C
    Miss you, be safe…..luv you….your hands-on MOM!

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