Ellen sat waiting in the Buick while Fr. Dean Finn checked in at the motel office. He always registered them as Mr. and Mrs. George Adams of Syracuse, New York. There was no objection to a couple without luggage taking a room for a couple of hours at the Hit-the-Sack. The desk clerk, a poorly-shaven, perpetually smirking man of 35 lewd years, had managed, in the midst of an ambiance of sexuality which should have inoculated him against disgust, to cultivate a urinal of a mind.
People came to his office thinking of their affair as a matter of love or fun or nature or bawdry or even mystical oneness. The desk clerk never allowed these patrons to raise him to their level of innocence. Rather, he saw to it that their ecstasies were not unashamed. His grin evoked for them the puritanism of their parents, the prurience of the adolescent gang, the hellfire of the preachers, the chancres of sex hygiene movies, the self-consciousness of the stag party. Finn hated the man; he was always tempted to sprinkle holy water on him.