There was silence – all but the faint sound of police siren in the distance. It was the calm before the storm.
The rusted paint-chipped motel door slammed behind him. Ian took a deep frantic breath and looked around, scanning the low quality one-star room around him. The windowsills were dusty, the windows had cracks and covered in dirt, the door squeaked and there was a bed with a nondescript stain on the sheet that probably hasn’t been washed for a few days. Low quality motels meant less security; less of a threat in situations like this.
The sirens became more and more audible in the distance but nowhere near the motel itself – The next few hours would be crucial to the outcome of the rest of his life; no matter how different it would be.
Ian put his bag down on the bed and opened it. Shaking, he pulled out his recently purchased hair clippers, hurried to the bathroom and flipped on the light. He looked at himself in the mirror – blood shot eyes, flushed face. His teeth were chattering, and his breathing was uneven. He switched on the hair clippers and began cutting his hair. Tuft after tuft of hair fluttered to the ground until his once lush brown hair was trimmed down to nothing more than a crew cut – at least the best crew cut he could do on his own.
More sirens roared past the motel and Ian peeked out the window through the narrow blinds. Paranoid. Luckily the shady Rosa Marie Inn accepted cash and didn’t even bother to ask for an ID or even take a credit card for security purposes. Maybe the owners or managers saw the almighty dollar as a higher priority than basic security protocols. Given the low reviews of this shithole of a motel, they would be lucky if anyone booked a room at all. Either way, the less anyone knew about his whereabouts, the better.
Ian removed the bottle of cheap hair bleach he acquired from a CVS on his way over and read the directions; it was pretty straight forward. He flipped it open, being careful not to get any of the substance into his into his eyes, he began the process of bleaching his hair. He’d never been a blonde but now would clearly be a better time than ever to start. It took a while, maybe 20 or 30 minutes – each passing minute was another minute they could be getting closer. He wasn’t concerned about the quality of the hair bleach or even if he damaged his hair in the process. Anything to make him look different would suffice.
Colored contacts. Typically, people want to make their eyes lighter, possibly blue or green. In this particular case, Ian needed to change his radiant blue eyes to dark brown. Something to make himself less distinguishable. The novelty contacts burned as he maneuvered the foreign pieces of plastic onto his corneas. He blinked and wiped away the stinging tears.
Ian looked into the mirror and barely recognized his new appearance. Progress. The next step would have to be to finalize his actions. He took out his wallet, removed his credit cards, insurance card, library card, Starbucks card, and his scruffy driver’s license with an embarrassingly young picture of himself and placed them all into a tin pencil can sitting on the warped wooden desk across the room. With the flame of a cheap lighter and a few minutes of melting plastic, the physical records of Ian Avery burned away. The smoke from the tin can fluttered high into the air, blowing right past the broken smoke detector. The smell of burning plastic didn’t even alter the dank smell of the room itself.
With emptied bank accounts, a destroyed wallet, a new appearance, a different change of clothing and nothing more than about $3,000 cash in his pockets, there would be no going back now. He couldn’t go back. Ever. Not after what had just happened. Not after what he did.
There were witnesses to the incident but no direct witnesses in the motel. Nevertheless, staying the night at the Rosa Marie Inn was obviously not an option. It was only a matter of time before the police showed up anyway. Ian opened the old squeaky motel door and slipped out the back.
The faint sound of the sirens grew louder.