"...everything in life is writable...if you have the outgoing guts to do it, and the imagination to improvise. The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt."..... Sylvia Plath

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Will The Real Roger Easton Stand Up?

Excerpt from Operatic Divas and Naked Irishmen: An Innkeeper's Tale
a work-in-progress by Nancy Hinchliff

I heard it loud and clear. I was on the third floor of my bed and breakfast sitting at my computer with my shoes off working away on a new article. By the time I finished the last paragraph, it had turned into a steady pounding. I got up and walked to the stairway, shoes in hand.

Sitting on the top stair, I put them on one at a time, while the pounding got louder and louder and took on a sense of urgency. I hurried down the forty stairs to the ground floor, thinking that this must be a worker from the street who has come to tell me they're turning my water off for a while.

I opened the front door and there he stood, rumpled; his weather-beaten canvas jacket open in the front revealing a denim work shirt. His hair was all askew, and a backpack was thrown over his left shoulder. He looked a little annoyed.

    "Sorry," I apologized, "It's a big house....over four thousand square feet.........takes a while to get to the door....... Can I help you?"

    "Yeah, I'm here to check in"

Check-in? Check-in? I thought, my mind racing. Did I have a check-in today? Oh my God, I think I did! But not this dirty construction worker, who was about to turn my water off. Stumbling over the words, I gathered my wits and I spit out

    "And you are.....Mister....?"

    ".... Evans," he interrupted, "the business man from Virginia"

Business man...business man...this is a business man? I thought. If this is a business man, where is his brief case?....and his computer?.

    "Mr Evans, of course" I managed to get out "Do come in"

    "And you are?" he asked, reeking of tobacco.
    "I'm Nancy, the owner and innkeeper," I replied.

Telling him to put his backpack down in the hall, I took him into the parlor to give him the grand tour, the one I always do for my in-coming overnight guests. As we left the parlor and entered the dining room, I pointed out the snacks and drinks that were available for guests.

    "Is it okay if I have some of that liquor over in the corner?" he asked, completely ignoring the fresh baked chocolate chip cookies on the cake plate nearby.

    Hesitating to think that one over for a bit, I answered "Yes" I'm such a trusting soul.

He told me he would be eating breakfast at nine and asked if his friend, the one who had made the reservation Roger I think his name was, could stop by later for a visit.
    Then he asked "Is there anyone else here but me?"

    I thought seriously about lying, but answered "No"

    He went on " Do you live here alone?"
A sharp jab in my stomach alerted me. Do I tell him the truth?  Why is he asking that?

    "Yes", I said and sent him up to the third floor, with a key, to find his room.

I hurried to my room on the second floor and double locked the door. Sitting on the bed, I tried to catch my breath, his words whirling around in my head. Later I heard him leave, then return. I quietly went down, to check out what was going on. I entered the parlor and there he was with an already half empty bottle of Vodka, in his right hand, pouring himself a drink. The brown paper sack from the liquor store across the street was lying on the floor.

    "Hi," he said, looking up at me from my favorite winged-back chair, with a crooked but friendly smile on his face. He was now reeking of both tobacco and Vodka.
    "Hi" I countered, scurrying past him and heading for the kitchen.

    "Like a drink?"

    "Oh no, thank you. I don't drink". I said, maybe a little too curtly.

I made it to the kitchen, without appearing too rude, happy that I wouldn't have to answer any personal questions. I retreated up the back stairs to my room, which I immediately locked tight. An hour or so later, the doorbell rang and I could hear him open it and greet his friend. For a while, it was very quiet and then I heard the two of them leave.

I finished watching the evening news and went downstairs to make myself some dinner. I walked into the parlor and was a little taken a back by the empty Vodka bottle plopped down on the antique table next my beautiful winged-back chair. After I recovered and threw out the empty Vodka bottle, I had dinner and retired to my room for the rest of the evening. I talked myself into believing everything would be okay and I wasn't in any eminent danger. Then I locked both locks, grabbed the phone, and jumped in bed............

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  1. Very nice story - you're quite a good story-teller. It's amazing the people we meet if we're open to it. Thanks.. Buddy

  2. Thanks, Buddy. Glad you liked the story. it will be included in the memoir I'm writing with lots of other juicy vignettes.