Monday, March 24, 2008

Home Away from Home, the Final Episode

C.L. Beck
© 2008

Just in case some of you might be interested . . . I have a short story titled, “Horse on Lap” coming out in April in the national publication, Cup of Comfort for Horse Lovers. You can order a signed copy from me at: author(at)bythebecks(dot)com. I'll also be doing book signings for it in the near future. Wahoo, it's exciting! More info to come in the next few weeks!




Now ... back to the last installment in the series: "Home Away from Home, the Final Episode"


It was evening. The last thing we wanted was to spend the night sleeping in a room the temperature of a meat locker. However, we wanted even less to spend the night in the company of a maintenance man, banging away on the heater, interrupting our rest and relaxation.

*******

The night before, in our hotel-room-the-size-of-a-closet, the TV hadn’t worked. Earlier that day, the maintenance man was standing in the lobby. I have a finely-tuned brain that picks up on vibes … the pleasure of someone eating rich, milk chocolate; the happiness of couples in love; the thoughts of serial killers.

The maintenance man definitely did not bring chocolate to mind.

“If that creepy guy shows up to fix the TV, I’m outta here,” I said as my hubby, Russ, called the front desk about the television.

Two men showed up. The first one started working on the TV, and the second one walked in through the open door a few minutes later. It was the man from the lobby. Neither the dog nor I could fit under the bed, so we hightailed it to the bathroom.

It got tiring, sitting on the commode for half an hour. And who in their right mind wants to lie down on the floor with all the germs? Corky Porky Pie and I finally reached a compromise. He settled his short, fat body on the floor, and I settled mine in the bathtub, fully clothed.

However, that was the night before. Any serial killers/axe murderers currently wandering the hotel had no clue we’d changed rooms. Not even the maintenance man. Still, we preferred to take our chances with the heater.

All night long I got up and down, first turning the thermostat on high so something akin to the fires of Hades radiated from the wall furnace. Then, half an hour later, turning it off—before the heating unit quit and the fan kicked on, freezing us into Sno-Cones.

After two days of this, we were ready to go home. I thought a nice, hot shower before we left would be the ticket. Moisture condensed in a fine mist on the cold, tile floor. Stepping out of the tub, I put on my flip-flops. Ooo, a little slippery, I thought as my feet slid a tiny bit. Then I walked out, got dressed and started packing.

What? You thought there’d be more drama? More slipping and sliding, bumping and ouching?

There wasn’t.

The drama happened fifteen minutes later when, wearing shoes with treads the size of a steel-belted tractor tire, I walked into the bathroom again. As soon as I hit the still-damp floor, my feet shot out from under me. One knee smashed into the toilet six inches away, while the other leg buckled at an odd angle. With arms flailing, I grabbed the only thing nearby, the shower curtain.

If my knee wasn’t throbbing, a goose egg wasn’t rising, and a contusion wasn’t spreading beneath my skin, I would have found it funny—as I lay in a heap on the floor. I’d have laughed that in a hotel where the elevator, TV and heater didn’t work, someone had anchored a shower curtain rod firmly enough to the wall to slow the descent of a hundred and . . . um . . . let’s just say hundred-and-something pound woman.

Russ came in and picked me up. Fearing we were jinxed, we vacated the hotel like the Looney Tunes’ Tasmanian Devil on amphetamines. Well, okay, Russ and Corky did that—I just limped away, hoping to get out while all my bones were still intact.

And despite the pain, I congratulated myself the whole way home . . . it’s not every day a story like that falls into a writer’s lap.

Life is Like Riding a Unicycle by Shirley Bahlmann, "Priming the Pump, pg. 79 by C.L. Beck
Newspaper Column--Awarded first place, "Best Feature Column," by Utah Press Association, 2008, for category 1 newspapers
Ensign Magazine, Dec 2007-Q&A
2007 League of Utah Writer's Award-Historical Fiction
Website

What books C.L. recommends:
Publishing Secrets by LDS Storymakers (BJ Rowley and others)
Writing for Story: Craft Secrets of Dramatic Nonfiction by Jon Franklin
Self-Editing for Fiction Writers by Rennie Browne & Dave King

4 comments:

Triple Nickel said...

Congrats on the story in the book! Sounds painful ~ a horse in your lap? Ouch!
If you have that kind of trouble in bathrooms I'm glad you didn't live when people used outhouses! I can just imagine what kind of troubles you'd have had back then!!
Great blog!

C. L. Beck said...

Triple Nickel,
You're toooo funny. I'll be certain to stay out of the outhouse the next time I have a horse in my lap!

Thanks for reading and commenting.

Keith Fisher said...

Great story and blog. Congrats on the new book. You are my inspiration.

C. L. Beck said...

Keith,
Thanks for the congrats! I've never been someone's inspiration before ... I won't know what to do! :)

Thanks for reading and commenting.