Early this week I was having a hard time getting my writing brain in gear. So I popped over to Terrible Minds to check out his latest writing challenge. Here are the rules:
1) 1,000 words maximum
2) In the first paragraph you must introduce a dead body.
So, I popped this out, based on my own experience, sans the dead body:
When the couple in 301 complained about the smell, I knew it was time to move the body.
The housekeeper blamed the fishermen who had left their bait in the mini-fridge the night before. The guests accepted an upgrade to our luxury suite in response to the inconvenience. When I heard the rumble of the jets from the in-room jacuzzi later in the evening, I determined that their on-line review would be favorable.
When all of my check-ins had arrived, I turned on the NO in front of the VACANCY sign (despite having five rooms still available) and moved my car closer to the building. I accessed the crawlspace through the linen closet outside of 301 by removing the spare blankets and pillows until the panel was revealed. I pulled myself up and through and regarded poor Mr. Winger. I had strained his solid portions into several turkey basting bags and then placed the bags in a blue Sterilite™ so the juices from the leaking culprit had been contained within the plastic tub instead of soaking into the redwood beams. Thank goodness.
When I returned from my predawn fishing expedition (wherein I fed Mr. Winger to the salmon), I showered and then opened the office for the day. I waited for the couple in the luxury suite to check out, hoping their night had been more restful than mine. The man came in just after ten. I inquired if he had enjoyed his stay within The Inn.
“The jacuzzi didn’t get very hot,” he complained.
My spirits sank. “The maximum setting is 103.”
“Most go up to 104,” he advised. “You really should look into that.”
“Did you get the champagne I left outside of your door?”
“Oh yes. Barefoot Bubbly. It was nice to have a second bottle. We got the same brand at a gas station for six ninety-nine. Not exactly a luxury item despite the term luxury suite. And the in-room sauna smelled like feet.”
“I will speak to housekeeping about that.” He wanted me to ask another question so that he could answer in a negative manner but I preferred to spare his life. “I hope you have a safe journey back up the mountain.”
“Yes, about that. I don’t want to drive in this fog and my wife isn’t feeling well. We were considering staying another night.”
“Wonderful,” I lied. I pulled my ledger towards me to peruse the schedule. “Room 301 is still available and…”
“You’re going to make us change rooms… again?”
“Of course not.” I lightly penciled the man’s last name into the ledger for another night in the luxury suite. “The room you’re in hasn’t been otherwise booked for tonight and comes to a total of $387.50. I’ll run the card we have on file.“
“You’re not going to charge me for the full cost of the suite, are you?”
“Well, 301 is still available if you-“
“We’re stuck here because of fog and you want to charge me up the ass? Is this some kind of scam? I want to speak to the owner of this establishment.”
“I am the owner.”
He snorted through his nose. “Then, unless you want one star on both Trip Advisor and Yelp, you will comp us the room for the inconveniences you have caused my wife and I.”
“Me,” I corrected.
“Yes,” he said. “You.”
“You are demanding a free night in the luxury suite because of coastal fog.”
“Are you being sarcastic?”
“I’m just clarifying the situation.” I opened the drawer that housed the Comp Tickets and The Pen. My fingers tingled when I touched the parchment sheaves and I repressed a shudder as I pulled one free. I put his name and the name of his wife on the recipient’s line. I then signed my own name and barely winced when the pen pricked my finger.
“Please use this pen,” I said. “It works best on the parchment.”
When the pen pricked his finger at the end flourish of his intentionally illegible scrawl, he yelped and threw it aside. One single drop of blood fell to the ticket and quickly disappeared. “What the Hell?”
“Did you get a paper cut?” I inquired, even though he’d not been writing on paper, per say.
“The pen bit me.”
He showed me the tip of his finger. “I’ve been injured.”
I squinted and peered closely, waiting until the tiny wound had healed before I said, “I don’t see anything.”
The man examined his finger and frowned. “It was bleeding.”
“Would another bottle of champagne ease the pain?”
He snorted again but, this time, I could hear satisfaction in the sound. “Not that Barefoot bullshit again.”
“No, of course not. This time I will select from our private reserve.”
Later that evening, I set the champagne and the ice bucket outside of their door. I knocked, despite the Do Not Disturb sign on the knob. I could hear the rumble of the in-room jacuzzi jets so I knocked a little louder.
“Mr. Roebuck? Mrs. Roebuck? Champagne service.”
There was no response. I left the champagne and went back to the office. I closed a little early but the heavy fog had kept people up the hill and no one else was scheduled to check in. I left a sign in the window directing any unexpected drop-ins to the Wayfarer Lodge on Upper Pacific and retired to my apartment above the office.
I knew that tonight Mr. Roebuck and his wife would find—if they hadn’t already—that the in-room jacuzzi could get very warm. Very warm indeed.
I am the Innkeeper. This is an inherited position of great responsibility. But when it comes to unreasonable guests, The Inn takes care of The Inn Itself.