A couple years ago, a Motel 6 on the outskirts of town – or maybe it was a Super 8 – found itself under investigation. The shabby motel housed an intricate prostitution ring, and plenty of drugs.
The week of the bust, a girl’s dead body was found in one of the rooms. It appeared to be a drug overdose.
This is a peek between the scratchy sheets of one Buffalo motel…one that we decided to investigate on a cold, snowy night.
It’s just after midnight. Maurice and I are driving in search of a seedy motel. We will be conducting undercover research. I’m holding onto a paper bag of take-out tacos, unable to wait much longer before consuming them.
“Look, there! That place looks sketch,” I say, pointing my finger at a bright red, trailer park-esque building on the left. We pull into the lot, with a single red Camaro parked in it. There’s a room at the forefront, illuminated against the darkness – the check-in desk. It is outlined with window boxes full of dead flowers, and faces the outside, enclosed behind glass.
Maurice approaches. A man is scuttling around the motel office like a hamster, clad in wrinkled chinos. He asks Maurice to surrender his ID.
“Why do you need to keep my ID?” asks Maurice.
“Oh you know, just in case you end up murdering me in the motel room. Standard practice,” I say, wandering off, swinging the tacos to and fro.
Maurice turns the key in the doorknob of room 103. We are jet-lagged from our journey down Niagara Falls Blvd. An offer of “Jacuzzi hot tubs” glowed in phosphorescent yellow, but when we enter room 103 it’s clear we’ll enjoy no such luxury.
The room is freezing and dark. Maurice turns on the heater, which rests in the window frame behind wispy curtains. Dust particles stream out of the vent, but the room is toasty in no time. I discard the hideous pumpkin orange and yellow floral comforter that I had wrapped myself in. There’s burn holes in it, leftovers of a former inhabitant’s nocturnal nicotine lust.
Maurice and I are on the run from the law. Earlier this evening, we were making out inside Maurice’s car, which was parked behind the art gallery. Suddenly, bright headlights came streaming into the driver’s side door.
“Police…” Maurice whispered.
“Dammit!” My hands flew up towards my face, pressed against my cheeks. “No!”
“Roll down your window for me, bud?” I could hear the voice of a young cop, coming from inside his police car. “Park’s closed, bud. You can go down the street.”
So we went on an expedition. First, we got tacos. Then, we were on a quest for the motel in which the prostitute was found dead. We didn’t quite make it there, but rather washed up on the shore of this Boulevard Inn. This is step one of our review of Buffalo motels – an undercover inquiry into what could become a tidal wave of sketchy scenes and socially aberrant behavior, if we should be so lucky.
I hang my jacket up on a hanger which can’t be removed from the rod.
“You can’t take the hangers off,” I say. “Probably so we can’t murder each other with them.”
It’s time to inspect the bathroom. I turn on the light. The bathroom is terrifying. Not grimy or dirty, per se, just…stuck in a 1970’s puke green time warp. There’s definitely no Jacuzzi tub…no bathtub at all. The shower is one of the stand alone locker room varieties, with a circular bar of soap lying on the shower floor. It’s so creepy; the showerhead looks like it will emit poison gas. The walls are lined in tiles the color of split pea soup/stomach acid. The bathroom as a whole is narrow and it feels like the walls are closing in. Toilet paper hangs sideways from its holder. Cue Psycho music! Wait…somebody stole the shower curtain.
I emerge from the bathroom, and throw myself on the bed next to Maurice. I wrap myself in the charred comforter, the horrendous floral pattern like something you’d find in the basement of That 70’s Show. We tear into the tacos, and soon the bed is littered with paper wrappers from Elmwood Taco & Subs. I lean over Maurice to grab our giant fountain beverage. “I’m a filthy whore,” I say. “Filthy!”
The stars are glimmering in the Boulevard sky. I peek between the blinds, and see that a few other cars have parked at the motel. Oh, the horny love birds. The illicit affairs. The closet homosexuals. The girls turning tricks on Backpage.com. We fall asleep. Everything is silent at the Hotel Motel Boulevard Inn.
The next morning, I search the internet for reviews of the Boulevard Inn. Besides the horrible bathroom design scheme and weird recluse of a night manager, I don’t really know what else can be said about it.
After a perusal of Trip Advisor.com, I realize that Maurice and I have been very, very lucky. “Cigarette burns in bed linen, moth eaten curtains,” wrote one reviewer. Ok, no surprise there. It grows worse as I scroll down. “Cob webs and bugs on the floor,” “Room reeked of cat urine,” “RUN AWAY,” wrote others. “Dirty, worn sheets,” said somebody who previously stayed, “The kind of place where you sleep with your clothes on.” I take another shower, then resume my internet search. The best one came last, accompanied by gruesome photographic evidence. “There was a crude smell in our overpriced room,” quoth a former guest from a year ago. “There was a blood stain on the comforter and splattered on the doorknob.”
Blood stains and crude smells? It looks as though our motel room investigations are just heating up.