Outside this cheap, dingy motel window I can see, shining across the street, a neon sign declaring 'Shrine of the Infant Jesus' in colours that could save your soul if only you had one. I'm sure I sold mine long ago, cashed it in for a night in a room just like this, for some cheap liquor and a few hours of being somebody new.

And just like then, this sign was like the guiding star, with three women huddled under it, wearing clothing so thin you could see the little bits of dignity trying to hold on and failing and falling down into the dark, stomped down by the shined shoes of the business man who had his hand on the slightest of the three's waist. Even from here, I can see the way her skin crawls beneath his.

I wonder what kind of gifts they were bringing to the baby Jesus tonight.

Eventually, I pulled back from the window, falling onto the bed. The t.v. went on and on in the background, as it had been doing, flickering lights against my closed eyelids like a dream machine. No sound. I hate the sound of televisions, though with the thudding of the bed against the wall in the room beside mine, it almost seemed worth it to suffer a night of trashy cable shows with people who have even less dignity than the three wise women across the road.

I was craving a cigarette. I was craving sleep. The clock flashed 2:45. 2:45. 2:45. 2:46. 2:46. 2:46...