In the Lobby of the El Paso De Norte, 4:30 AM, 1978

By Chuck Taylor


Quiet. The desk clerk and I are the only ones. He gives me permission to turn a side-lamp on. He is working on figures on his adding machine and laughs. It is quite dark here inside. The great center mosaic dome is unlit. Three good western style oils on the wall across from me are brightly lit. They catch the color tones of El Paso, the brown, the pale blue sky, and the purple glow of the mountains with the coming dusk. 

The columns in the lobby are brownstone. Four gold chandeliers hang from the ceiling around the great central dome. Four flags hang over the reservation desk. The stair to the left of it leads to an open second floor. The doors on the Depot Restaurant are closed. To the left of it, near the wall that holds the main entrance, The Parlour Bar.


I am so tired. I arrived on the bus an hour ago. The clerk may think I’ve already checked in, or he is being kind letting me rest here. When the sun comes up I can walk to the plaza and wait for a bus to take me to my friend Hal’s house. 

Charles “Chuck” Taylor Jr. is an American author of books of poetry, essay, short story, and novels who was born in Minneapolis, but has lived most of his life in Texas.