I am currently sitting in room 231 of The Avalon Hotel in Beverly Hills, drinking black coffee, contemplating a nightmare. It must be a nightmare. I can not call it a memory.
It has a different name now.
For two nights I have slept here. I must have slept, though the bed is still made and the mint lies uneaten on the pillow. I tried to go for a walk this morning, but the corridors confounded me and turned me back to my room.
Marilyn lived here. She got out, for a time, but her suicide tells me she never really left. She carried these corridors with her.
Alvin Lustig, "Incantation" 1947
Alvin Lustig designed these hallways. He was clever to merely call himself a designer and not an occultist, but anyone with understanding can perceive secret messages in the architecture — sigils bound in stucco and steel.
Portraits of Lustig by Maya Deren
Everyone here is from out of town.
Everyone is here on business.
Last night I was drawn to the amoeba-shaped pool, though I was very tired. Other guests seem to feel it as well, travelers dressed for dinner though it was nearly eleven. A young woman drank too much champagne and fell laughing into the water. I wanted to help her, but knew better than to stain my good suit.
We watched her thrash for a time, and when she grew still we raised a glass to her beauty and then retired smiling to our rooms. The pool was empty this morning. Someone else is checking in now.
I too am here on business, but I cannot remember what I do for a living. My credit cards are all maxed out. My pistol and passport have been stolen from my room.
I fear I will never leave.
*I am staying in this hotel for work. I got sick of working so I wrote this up. No one actually drowned here last night.