Wild Man Cometh

Western North Dakota—Running the cheapest motel within 100 miles attracts a not always savory clientele, a truth I allude to when a prospective guest of a more respectable class asks for a room. Not because I care, but so I don’t have to listen to them bitch about wanting a refund later.

Motel and hotel rates in the Bakken are outrageous due to a limited supply and the endless flow of people pouring into the area. Because there is no mortgage on this motel, the owner can undercut everyone else in town enough that even the monied peoples’ curiosity is piqued. They may feel brave, or perhaps just cheap, but invariably they’ll ask for their money back not long after settling in—but we don’t do refunds.

I suppose it can be scary for those who lead lives shielded and sheltered from the bottom. One guest was quite distraught over the fighting going on in the room next, where a young woman has been held virtually captive all week. Her man beat on her, then she kicked him in the face. It had gone on like this for much of the week. But after this particular scuffle, he stopped by the office, his forehead bloodied, to see if we were going to call the police.

Just then the police rolled in and he bounced. Outstanding warrants, presumably.

Another guest had summoned the law.

But sometimes really scary things do happen, things that frighten even those accustomed to life’s violences. Sunday night around midnight our housekeeper found a man laying unconscious in the courtyard, by the building where the single rooms are located, when another guest sprang from the darkness and began to beat the dude. D., our housekeeper, shoved the assailant, who then pulled a knife and chased after a woman who let out a terrifying scream. Her friends deflected the attack.

If that weren’t freaky enough, the wild man then went to Room 145, where the fighting couple stayed, knocked, then bum rushed the room when they opened the door. Brandishing a large knife, the maniac allegedly said, I just stabbed a motherfucker, then ran from the room.

He looked like a wild animal, the guy in 145 would tell me later.

Around 3 a.m., we woke to a phone call from the cops. They wanted to review our security footage, but I told them that would only happen if they got a warrant. Not knowing what happened or who was involved, I wasn’t about to drop dimes. Besides, the cop wouldn’t tell me why two guests had landed in the hospital. A chicken scratch in his notebook read no blood, so I figured it was an overdose or alcohol-poisoning situation. Nevertheless, the coppers never came back with their warrant.

I still haven’t figured out who got hospitalized, whether they were guests here. Apparently one of them isn’t doing well. I’m not even sure if anyone was stabbed. I did, however, locate the wild man, who argued with me over why he had to get the hell off the property. This wasn’t just some fist fight, dude. You’re lucky we don’t call the cops. 

The wild man and his buddy had arrived from Texas the day before, dropping most of their cash on a room for the week while they look for work. The wild man’s buddy had no idea of what had gone down the night before or so he claimed. But just about everyone else in that building had a story about being wakened by screams, breaking glass, flashing red and blue lights, and ambulance sirens.

Before the police arrived, but after the wild man fled Room 145, he returned to the body on the ground, still under the protection of the housekeeper. The wild man again tried to beat on the unconscious victim, and when D. tried to stop him, the wild man again brandished his knife. By this time D. had acquired a knife of his own, telling the wild man If you stab me, I stab you. 

That’s when the police arrived and the wild man fled, slipping back into his room without detection. The next morning, a higher than normal number of guests checked out, earlier than usual. Most of them were travelers on their way elsewhere who stopped over for a night they’ll never forget. Not what they expected in middle-of-fucking-nowhere North Dakota.

1 Comment

  1. Margie says:

    Big Smile, thank you for sharing this story.

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