Opening Scenes to Books That I will Never Write – Chapter 6: Vacation

It was dark. In fact, it was really dark. And hot. And humid. And it smelled bad.

And I found myself lying between sweat soaked sheets that reeked of chlorine bleach and calamine lotion and were stretched across a bed frame so full of splinters that you could use them to hang the ‘resort’ supplied bath towel that’s so thin you could read the newspaper through it in the pitch black darkness of  a hotel room that was so run down that even the rats, mice, termites and spiders had abandoned it nearly a decade ago.

Well, at least the chances of catching Hantavirus were low, what with the conspicuous absence of vermin, and all. 

As I lay there in the dark, I rehashed the events of the previous eight hours, trying to figure out why this trip seemed like such a good idea at the time.

Was it the promise of the the resort restaurant – “Voted the best escargot in Lake Misery County!”? “Wow!”, I thought. “The best escargot! I don’t know what that is, but it sounds great!”

Well, I found out what it is at breakfast that morning… I ordered up a big plate of the stuff at 6:00 AM, thinking that I would start out my day with what they were the best at. They asked me how I would like them cooked and I said “extremely rare, please.” 

Two minutes later the waitress placed a plate full of their best dish in front of me. 

I looked at the plate. I kept looking at the plate.

It took me a minute for my mind to process what my eyes were trying to tell it, but the message finally began to register. It looked like… like… like… snails… Snails! Snails sitting right there on my breakfast plate!

It was the only time in my life that I ever saw a snail run – and I’m not talking about the ‘moving rapidly from point A to point B’ kind of running. I’m talking about a ‘nose stuck to the face of a guy with bushy mustache and a really bad head cold’ kind of running.

Finally, the waitress asked if she could bring me anything else. I stared at the pile sitting before me for another minute in an attempt to decide whether to ask for ketchup or Snare-All. I opted for a “to go” box… and the check.

She said, “certainly, sir!” and left me to my imagination, returning thirty-seven seconds later with the check and an empty Energizer Battery box along with a roll of duct tape to keep it shut after she dumped the ‘best escargot in Misery County’ into its gaping maw, being careful not to spill any onto the old bedsheet that passed for a ‘table cloth’. I couldn’t help wondering what all of those stains on the tablecloth were.

At least they have good taste in batteries.

And I now have, yet, another use for duct tape I had not previously thought of. 

I got up, walked to the cash register, paid the check, walked out.

After walking about fifty feet, I happened upon what appeared to be a serviceable garbage can and, looking around to make sure that no-one was watching, deposited the collection of deceased, slimy Mollusca  Gastropoda as I passed by.

Breakfast was finished before it ever started. I think I know where all of the missing vermin went.

I will never look at snails the same again.

Or tablecloths.