“Hotel X”

“Congratulations! You—”

***

“Congratulations! You have been specially selected to—”

***

“Congratulations! You have been specially selected to receive a free stay at one of our luxurious hotels!”

“Does your phone have a cord?”

“Yes it does. Why?”

“Hang yourself, you lowlife piece of worthless shit.”

“Wait! Please don’t hang—”

***

“Congratulations! You have been specially selected to receive a free stay at one of our luxurious hotels!”

“Nice. Is it nice? Does it have a nice view?”

“Yes to both. As a matter of fact, your suite will have the very best view of the city!”

“Sweet. Enjoy that view yourself before jumping out the window.”

“Please, sir, don’t hang up! I—”

***

“No one accepted the offer…”

“Darn, such a shame. This really is such a nice hotel, too. This room feels so empty with just the two of us. Wait, did I flush?”

“I… I don’t think so. No.”

“I will be right back.”

“Okay.”

“Shit, I hope that doesn’t clog. Anyway, sorry about that.”

“What are you… going to do to me?”

“Let’s see. I tortured my last victim, made her boyfriend watch the whole thing. I cut her in half, from the waist down, replacing her lower half with that of a deer. I also ripped said deer’s face off and stitched it to hers. Then I watched her try to escape, running across a highway, only to get hit by an incoming truck. Don’t ask me how I killed the boyfriend when I finally caught him… But, hey, I’m a nice guy, so I ate the both of them together. They said their vows just a few minutes ago, married in a bowl-shaped banquet hall made of white porcelain. Ah, to love each other unconditionally, through the good times and the shitty ones!”

“Let me make some more calls. Please. I’m sure someone will accept the offer.”

“I just… don’t fucking get it. I mean, we all blindly trust strangers, right? We trust incoming cars to stop for us at crosswalks. We trust barbers not to slit our throats. We trust pilots not to crash planes into buildings. We trust cops not to go around shooting people. Well, that last one is questionable nowadays… But… we can’t trust a guy on the phone telling us we won something for free?”

“One more call. Please.”

“Fine. I’ll give you one last chance. Final one. Fin—that’s all, folks!”

“Thank you.”

“Let’s see. I’m thinking… architecture.”

“What do you mean?”

“Architecture. X. Overhead, this building is in the shape of an X. So… call your ex. Use your cellphone for this one. Go on. Oh, and be sure to put it on speaker. No cheating!”

“No. That’s not a good idea at all. Look, trust me, she won’t—”

“She won’t what? Wait a minute. Oh. Wow. Wait, is she the reason why you’re here? Let me guess, you’re trying to move on from her, so you’ve come here to tuck and fuck. You’ve come here to tuck your emotions in and fuck some stranger you’ve set up a meeting with. Am I right?”

“Yes…”

“Wow, I’m good! I swear, sometimes I think that caul I was born with gave me physic powers or something. So, tell me, did she break your heart?”

“No. I broke hers. I… I left her.”

“Whoa. Plot twist! Please, do explain.”

“I developed feelings for… someone else, but I never acted on them. I never did. It was a stupid crush. I wanted to tell my girlfriend about it, instead of keeping it bottled in, but I couldn’t. Letting honesty take the wheel would’ve resulted in a total wreck. I couldn’t do that to her. So instead, I told her… I told her I wasn’t right for her, that she deserved better. I ignored all her calls and texts after that. I had promised I would never cheat on her. I had promised I would always be loyal. I failed… My mind cheated on her. That guilt continues to eat me alive.”

“Love can sure be cruel. Funny, I always used to tell my doctor that when you pronounce love backwards, it sounds a lot like what it truly is. Look, write it on this piece of paper and hold it up to the mirror there. See? Love is evil, man. We fall in love with someone only to eventually move on from them. They become the ex we push to the end of the line, where they can live with the ‘why’—the ‘why’ that consumes their mind until they’re driven mad wondering why you really left them. And no matter what, that X can’t escape the Y creeping behind it. Just like in the alphabet! Okay, enough of me talking. Go on, call her.”

“I can’t… What if she ignores my call?”

“Well, let’s hope karma is asleep.”

“If she does answer… What if she hangs up?”

“If she hangs up, you’ll be hung up. This phone cord will do the trick. Oh, and don’t worry about your ‘tuck and fuck’ buddy. I’ll treat her good. Well, you will actually. You see, I’ll wear your skin and tuck myself between her legs to fuck her. Meanwhile, your flayed corpse will be hanging outside the window. I may lose myself a little too much in the act of making love, but one quick look at the mirror will remind me of what I truly am. Okay, time to call her!”

***

“Congratulations. You… have been specially selected to… receive a free stay at one of our luxurious hotels.”