The Flophouse

The room is narrow and small, about 75 square feet. There is a bed with a mattress. The mattress is covered with a white sheet. At the bottom of the bed the sheet has spots of blood. It is as if someone has been scratching his or her leg very hard. She understands why. The bed bugs have been waking her, the new “guest” up for 4 nights.  She tosses from side to side but it is no good. The bugs always find the most sensitive parts of her body. The TV set is small, about 12 inches. It is attached to the wall, hospital style. There are only 2 or 3 English speaking channels. The rest are Chinese. At the foot of the bed a blond cheap looking piece of furniture has a small yellow bar of soap, a Colgate toothpaste sample and a small toothbrush. The woman’s suitcases are not large; there is no room for her to move unless she wants to bump against the wall. Someone put the white towels on top of the TV. They have ripped parts. The woman opens the door to use the bathroom at the end of the hall. It is also narrow. She hears the sound of water running. Someone is taking a shower. Maybe the water will make the bugs go away, but she doubts that. They are here to stay. She hopes she is not.


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