Welcome to the Entrada

Where Hollywood motel culture is alive and well -- the good, the sad, and the funky

Don't you just love Donna?

Everyone agrees he or she does. Unfazed by her sudden fan club, Donna turns to a gangly kid who wants to know the price of a bottle of Hennessy. She offers a patronizing smile. "We don't sell bottles."

"How about a cup?" he responds.

Donna gives him a hard look and floats away to her next customer, a Key West­ looking dude with a leaping bass on the front of his T-shirt and a ZZ Top beard. He sits by himself and contemplates his cocktail, mouthing the words to a country ditty someone's punched up on the juke. After he finishes the last of his drink, he looks up.

"I just got divorced," he offers. "Seventeen years. It's been two years and I'm still trying to accept it." After another drink, he talks how about his mother looked like Lucille Ball, how he fed his cancer-stricken father morphine until his death.

His name is Brian, and if his confessions seem a tad personal, they lack any trace of self-pity. He's just thinking out loud. The Entrada lounge is more than a place to drink. It's a place to unload whatever ricochets inside your head. It can be tearful. It can be dull as a stone. Most of the time, it's full of the same faces and the familiar chorus of truths, lies, and drunk guffaws.

Brian cheers up after a few more. He talks about his job as a pool cleaner. He says that he won't kill the frogs and spiders he finds. He catches them and sets them loose in the yard. "There's an intelligence there," he relates. "Spiders don't build webs again in the same place." He then invites the couple sitting next to him back to his trailer for a drink and a smoke. The clock is closing in on midnight, and he wants the company. He wants to keep talking.

While he pays his tab, Don Henley's "Sad, Sad Café" pours from the jukebox. If Brian notices the irony, he's not letting on. He shuffles out the door and into the night with his new friends, his flip-flops scraping the pavement as he moves on to his next stop.

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