"This looks like a good hotel," Cliff Ventage said, pulling into a gravel parking lot by the sign that said "The Extraterrestrial Inn. ET's Home Away From Home!" along the highway to Roswell, New Mexico. "we'll stop here."
"Do we have to?" said Emily, his teenage daughter, looking at the green two story motel with crudely painted pictures of little green aliens on the side. "This place sucks. Can't we please keep going? I want to get home."
"It's not nice to say 'sucks'," her mother Velma said.
"I'm tired of driving, princess," said Cliff. "I need to stop. I need to get forty winks, or I'll get us into an accident."
Inside, they met a dimpled hotel clerk with a bouffant hairdo, named Miranda.
"On vacation?" she said. "You have that look. I think it's nice when families travel on vacation together."
"No it's not," Emily said. "It's crap, traveling with your family."
"Oh dear, somebody needs a good night's sleep," Miranda said, giggling.
"Shut up," Emily said. "Just find me a room in this two-bit hole in the wall before I smack you."
"Emily, that's not nice," Velma said.
"She's just tired," Cliff said.
"Oh, it doesn't bother me," Miranda said. "I've raised a few teens myself, and I know how cranky they can be."
"Here you are," she said, handing them a set of keys. "Room 210. It's outside and up the steps to the second floor. Then, go halfway down the walkway."
"Oh, God, this place is a toilet," Emily said, as they walked to their room. "These steps are rusting, and the place needs a coat of paint, and the roof probably leaks. Why do we have to stay here?"
"Because your father is tired," Velma said. "He's been driving for hours and the poor man needs some rest."
Emily made a face. "How about me? I have to stay in this place? There could be bugs in here, or snakes, or something."
"I don't think snakes go up to second floors," Cliff said, unlocking the door and opening it.
Inside, the room had two double beds, an ancient TV with rabbit ears, and a green couch, desk and chair that all looked like they would collapse if you put any weight on them. The bathroom had a rank smell, the bathtub had a ring of dirt, and the shower curtain had mold on it.
"Eww," Emily said. "This place is disgusting. I'd rather sleep in the car."
She started out the door.
"Emily you come back here this instant," Velma said. "You are not sleeping in the car. You don't know what could be out there. Cliff, don't you agree?"
"I don't think it's a good idea, dear," Cliff said. "There could be wild animals out there."
"Wild animals wouldn't come near this place," Emily said. "They'd be too grossed out by it. I will not sleep here, I'm telling you. Give me the keys to the car, Dad."
"But Emily dear--"
"GIVE me the keys!" she shrieked. "I will not sleep here. Do you hear me? I can't believe you're both so stupid you'd have to stop at a godforsaken place like this."
"Now, Emily, don't call your father stupid," Velma said.
"I think she called us both stupid, dear," Cliff said.
Emily stood there with her hands on her hips, glaring at them.
"Well, I guess it's all right," Cliff said, fumbling in his pockets for the keys. "I'm sure there's nothing dangerous out there." Before he could say anything further, Emily ripped the keys from his hand and stormed out of the room.
"I hope she's all right," Velma said, as Emily's heels rang against the metal stairway as she walked downstairs.
"Oh, I'm sure she'll be fine, Cliff said. "She's just tired, like we all are. A good night's sleep will do us all good." He yawned and opened his suitcase, and rummaged around till he found his favorite pajamas with the Disney characters on them.
Emily was muttering to herself in the car, about how stupid her parents were, that they had to be the stupidest parents in the entire universe, and that as soon as she got home from this stupid vacation she was going to move in with her biker boyfriend and never come back again.