Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Era (02/03/11)
TITLE: Room 108
By Mary Toll
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‘Not again, it’s past six thirty in the morning.” Miss James moaned ringing the ‘after hours’ bell. “Don’t these people know how to run a business?”
The handwritten cardboard sign was still taped to the door of the inn.
“Why didn’t I book a hotel?” She regretted. “It’s like living in another era.”
Waiting again on the inn keeper Miss James entertained a list of grievances of the crummy motel cropped up in her mind.
‘Let’s see, no microwave except the one in the lobby; The ice box resembling the Elephant Man has a tumor-sized motor allowing a slim margin for food; the dated coffee maker they scrounged up requires sitting half-cocked on the hot plate, while the coffee dribbles from the broken basket; and now no internet in my room. I have to tromp up here to the office in the dark, so that any Jesứs, Juan, or Carlos can see what I’m reading on it magnified screen!”
Neglecting to take down the sign, the inn keeper in the same camel suit unlocked the door. His beady eyes peered over his spectacles as they rested on the tip of his nose.
“Si,” Sounding put out.
“Oh, six-thirty, six-thirty.” He mocked pointing to his watch.
Miss James ignored his poking fun at her.
The man disappeared into the room behind the desk before Miss James could complain about the meager breakfast.
A gold-speckled pig with a face like a clown sat like an idol upon the counter. With its red painted grin and creepy gaze it waved a hello to Miss James with its bowed mechanical arm.
Miss James rolled her eyes.
A shuffling and bullying language from the inn keeper was heard from behind the cracked opened door. In the dimly lit room obscured sharp objects, a leg of a couch and clothes strewn to the floor made Miss James feel uneasy in her spirit,
The figure of a woman appeared discreetly from the room before spotting Miss James at the corner table. Wrapped in a sheet she carried breakfast items into the barren eating area before slipping behind the door.
“That’s appalling Lord.” Miss James prayer later that morning pounds the dead remote in her hands. “No one should be treated like a dog.”
A woman paced nervously outside Miss James’ room tapping on her door. With fresh linens cradled in one arm and a cleaning tote crooked on the other, she peered into the glass.
“Please, come out of the cold.” Miss James recognized she was the woman seen earlier.
Pulled back into a pony tail, the maid’s chestnut hair streaked with pearl highlights accentuated her earthy features.
“I noticed a nasty smell around the commode.” Miss James grumbled. Glancing at her sandals and stocking feet.
The woman shivered in her shabby attire. As if honoring tradition she spoke up with an attitude to please.
Miss James listened with frustration, not understanding but a few words she said.
‘Why can’t these people speak English?’ her face warped with disapproval.
“Aw, I’m sorry ma’am,” The woman said kindly. “No Espanola?” Unbiased towards Miss James about her race.
Through her thin rimmed glasses the woman’s sharp perception made Miss James feel uneasy.
Quickened in her spirit she realized she was the inn keeper’s wife.
“’I am no respecter of persons.’” Miss James heard the Lord say. “’They’re all my precious people.’”
Miss James’ heart was pricked. “Please forgive me for being so haughty.” Questioning if she understood.
“Please come in. Look, I can make beds.” Miss James pressed at the wrinkles willing to help her a bit.
In a room which had been staged with its inadequacies a pantomime of this woman’s tragic life was about to play out.
Raising her hands the woman’s mouth began to quiver. Her hands folding close to her chest she began to weep with a lamenting force.
“Oh- my- gosh,” Miss James stuttered, standing in her fuzzy red robe. “I’m sorry, what can I…”
The inflections of the woman’s voice screeched pitifully through the barrier of her speech. She spilled out her heart like a child’s forbidden secret.
Taking refuge into Miss James’ arms, her form wilted like a flower into her bosom.
“I feel like a big dumb bird in my yellow crocks.” Miss James laughed awkwardly as she towered over the woman. “I’m sure glad I could help”
With cheeks as smooth as glass, the woman embraced her new friend with a renewed hope and strength.
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