“I hate these cars. They are Ugly, ugly ugly.” Crasley stood on a busy street corner waiting to cross. Most cars were identical, faded green curvilinear boxes with stubby noses. One he noticed, distinguished by stenciled letters on the top ‘Illustrated News Service’, being driven by a black rimmed bespectacled man of serious demeanor. Crasley scoffed at him. “I am a writer”, he said, ”and not employed by that illiterate news service. I create. I write from my imagination.” He waited for the light to change so he could continue home, slumped with impatience, breathing the irritating smoke from the clattery engines. “These cars are nothing if not ugly boxes, only their state of deterioration provides variety”. He looked at the opposite corner to check the opposing traffic signal hoping it was yellow so his light would be changing soon. He noticed another ‘Illustrated News Service’ stenciled with military slovenliness on the roof. “Would anyone have a job if it weren’t for that miserable news service?” He imagined a world where cars had style and color and variety. He thought he should get home and write such a story. “The streets hummed with vehicles sporting red bodies with stripes, bright chrome grills, yellow roofs.” Then the sound of the traffic changed and broke Crasley’s reverie. He looked up to the changed traffic signal and crossed noticing another ugly green box distinguished by the passenger side headlight pushed way to one side pointing aimlessly off toward the sidewalk.
He walked slowly, age having impaired his body. His room now only a half block away. “Fucking room, I’m sick of it. Vile accommodations.” As he approached he noticed the sign for his building hanging above the street. ‘Walton Arms’ black on white swinging from a hinged bracket. “Maybe if a French investment company would buy the building. It would finally get fixed up. The French had all the money. He took a few more slow steps and looked again, the sign now was forest green, with a nuance of a fleur-de-lis overlayed with gold letters reading ‘Hotel Montagne Trois’. “By god it really worked. I can really change things with my imagination.”
Inside he slid his key card into a reader and the locking solenoid snapped sharply unlatching the foyer door. Upon arrival at his room he noticed an envelope stuck beneath his door. He unlocked the door and after pushing it open, stooped stiffly picking up the letter. It was on Walton Arms stationary and had ‘James Crasley’ hand printed on the front. He set his bag down on the kitchen table and sat before opening the letter. He tore at the flap un-ceremoniously, leaving a jagged uneven opening.
“We regret to inform you that the building has been sold to an investor and all leases will be terminated after July, 1954.” Crasley’ s heart pumped with the reaction of a huntsman on the savanna upon seeing a lioness. He was frozen in his attitude, unable to incorporate the information in his conscious mind. “Where will I go? How can I afford another room? What will become of me? This is terrible, terrible, terrible.”