A neon sign at the ________ Motel has caused at least three cases of temporary insanity.
I’m withholding the motel’s name to deter occult-tourist nutjobs who will either disrupt my investigation or stare at the sign until they’re clinical nutjobs.
The sign is pale green and reads “FREE COFFEE”. It’s placed in the office’s front window and is visible from the road, which is the kind of treeless, strip-malled road that makes you want to avoid whatever urban center it leads to.
The motel owner describes the following pattern: a guest checks in, behaves normally, and asks about the free coffee. Each guest seems less interested in the coffee itself than in the “FREE COFFEE” sign. The guest then stands outside to stare at the sign and starts behaving erratically.
GUEST A: Male, middle-aged. Stared at the sign for three minutes before completely undressing, running into the road, and attempting to swim in oncoming traffic. Arrested. Believed to be under the influence and later released.
GUEST B: Female, adolescent, traveling with her mother. Stared at the sign so long her exasperated mother left her there to unpack the car alone, at which time the girl wrote in lipstick, in perfect backwards script on the office window so the manager could read it: “You will beg me to swallow your heart, lungs, kidneys, liver…,” etc. She listed seventeen organs before her lipstick ran out. Her mortified mother paid the manager for the cleanup expense and drove her daughter away without spending the night.
GUEST C: Male, elderly. Stared at the sign for less than a minute before removing his false teeth and using them, like a bad ventriloquist, to recite pornographic terms and definitions until the manager called the police. When the officers tried to calm the old man, he clutched his genitals, wept, and dropped dead in the parking lot. Autopsy results are pending.
The sign is currently unplugged.
— Report filed by Claire Maple