Jules Archer ~ From the Slumbarave Hotel on Broadway

The hotel key was ours. A rec­tan­gu­lar piece of hard plas­tic with the words PLAY SLEEP REPEAT on the front. New York City. That humid sum­mer day when it rained frogs and peo­ple shield­ed them­selves with their umbrel­las, only to be pelt­ed any­way. Four con­cus­sions. One death. And us? We were snug in our suite. Plush pil­lows, silk sheets, turn­down ser­vice. A mini bar we emp­tied. We filled that hotel room with the scent of weed, of sex. When we part­ed ways, I slipped the key into my purse. I’d nev­er let the front desk shred it, erase its mem­o­ry, cav­a­lier­ly toss it away, what­ev­er one does with a used hotel key. That night when I went home, I placed the key on my night­stand. Sat it upright, braced by a bot­tle of La Mer hand cream. When my hus­band came to bed, I reached for him and gave him a kiss. He did­n’t notice the key. He would nev­er notice the key. Instead, he pet me like a child and said good­night. 

~

Jules Archer writes flash fic­tion in Arizona. Her work has appeared in SmokeLong Quarterly, >kill author, Pank, The Butter, Maudlin House, and else­where. Her chap­book All the Ghosts We’ve Always Had is out from Thirty West Publishing.