Sunday, May 15, 2005

Hotel Guilt

Hotels are dark and mysterious places, with their own special powers. The mirrors in hotel bathrooms for example have a terrible effect on PP, who occasionally phones me in stroppy hysterics, demanding to know if he 'really looks that fat'. I tell him no, it's just the effect of the harsh lighting and the tile angles, but we both that the hotel bathroom mirror is a terrible thing, able to offer up your darkest fears and show you a ghastly sagging version of your future self. For the record, PP is merely 'well-built', and were he an American, he could be described as 'husky'. I'm staying at his big gay bachelor pad in Canterbury this weekend, so I have to be nice about him. The big gayer.

The hotel bedroom is the particular dark zone for me (relax, no tales of sexing-up are about to transpire). I just get guilt, at four in the morning. Not even proper guilt, but a sort of low-level fretting* about things that I really can't do anything about, like when I killed a shrew with a coal scuttle in 1998.

I was living at home, and there was a strange sqeaking noise from the patio. Opening the door I found my cat Tabs (who I'd christened Moglet, but nothing had come of it, which was probably best) looking at me with a terrified shrew in her mouth. So I shouted at her, and she dropped the tiny creature and went off to commit random violence on more British wildlife.

The shrew just rolled around on the crazy paving, squeaking, and judging that it was in terrible pain, I went in to get the coal scuttle. One mighty blow later, it was still squeaking, and it took about four goes to properly dispatch it. But yes, finally, it had moved on, and I was able to tenderly scoop up its battered remains and fling them into the rockery. At which point my mum came out.

'What's all the noise about?' she asked, which wasn't an unreasonable request, as it was late at night, a time you don't usually expect to hear squeaking and clanging unless you live above an brothel catering for Arthurian-style knights who like other Arthurian-style knights, and they do it in full armour, in which case more fool you.
'I had to kill a shrew,' I said. 'The cat had it in her mouth, and it was squeaking, so I was putting it out of its misery.'**
'It was probably perfectly fine,' said my mum. 'They're very noisy, shrews.'

She went back inside, and turned off the kitchen light leaving me standing in the patio clutching a blood-stained coal scuttle, staring up at the night sky. It was a particularly clear night, and for a moment I thought I saw a new star wink into existence above me, a tiny trembling beacon of hope, and life beyond all that we think we know. But then it winked off, and then on again, and I realized it was just like, I dunno, a satellite or something. Which was a shame.

I slept fine last night though, on PP's sofa. But then I had been drinking, which always helps.



* I often check under the bed, in case the last guest left behind their 'Low-Level Fretting Device'. 'Aha!' I would say as I carried it down the reception, holding it gingerly by the electric cord. 'I rather thing I've found the source of the problem.'
**I may also have added 'You know, like we did with Aunty Nora.' I can't remember.

27 comments:

Paul Pennyfeather said...

One hotel had a whole wall of mirrors, and when I jumped out of the shower I thought there was a fat naked man in my room and screamed like a girl.
James has gone out to get shopping, so I am just checking what he has said about the delights of Pennyfeather Towers on the interweb.
We don't speak, he has spent the weeknd writing amusing stories on pieces of paper and handing round the pub with a pen so that we can all add our comments.

Fizzy good said...

James, I think I love you, despite the shrew thing. In fact, today I love everybody. Very tiresome. This must be how God feels.

Maus said...

I think this might have just pipped the last post I said was my favourite JATBC post to the post.

james henry said...

I thought I wouldn't put up a picture for this one.

tabby cat said...

Could you be a smaller than small media empire again please - egomaniacs scare me...

irony in motion said...

I took part in a similar incident - well I say I took part, I hid in the study and handed my brother a cricket bat whith which to dispose of a mouse. It was very nearly dead already, thanks to the cat, but I still didn't like it. However he couldn't bring himself to do it so he put a box over the top and took it out to the bin, where it probably died a slow and painful death and dreamed fitfully of how much happier it would have been to have been hit on the head with a cricket bat. (Or possibly not.)

How come you're just a blue cat now?

Bearded Lady said...

MURDERER

james henry said...

I thought I'd see how it looks without the 'james and the'.

Thanks Ori, the guilt's back now...

cello said...

Have you considered that that shrew could possibly have been The Great Architect of the Universe? He was just trying to squeak the question to end all questions when you whacked the life out of him. And yes, Zooooey Wasserface is gorgeous.

Steve Dix said...

A low-level fretting device?

You often stay in hotels just after they 've hosted a Luthier convention then?

Loganoc said...

Well I wouldn't feel too guilty if I was you. Somehow I doubt that a shrew would really be totally unharmed after having been carried around by a cat. I think they're quite prone to heart attacks when scared too, with their little hearts just beating way too fast. But maybe I just made that up.

Paul Pennyfeather said...

I am upset that everbody cares about the shrew and nobody has taken any notice of me or my "weight problem" as James and my mother so caringly put it.

Am I being a bit self centered?

james henry said...

Hard not to be, with your gravitational pull.



Wahey! Anyway, you're not remotely fat, although your are clearly paranoid.

Thanks for letting me stay though.

Paul Pennyfeather said...

No problem- the gates of Pennyfeather Towers are always open.

james henry said...

Whoa there, pickle.

james henry said...

x

Christina said...

Paul - can't comment on your weight, but your story caused some disturbance in my workplace as it caused me to laugh out loud. I'm supposed to be writing a very serious document, not reading about fat men, so it did cause a ripple ...

moira said...

"Husky?" I'll reluctantly admit to being American, and I've never used the term outside of describing a dog breed. Or is it that Americans don't come in the size "well-built?" This bodes ill.

james henry said...

Now that's a shame, as I like the idea of American people calling each other 'husky'. Possibly I just read that in a book though.

Loganoc said...

I may have read that in a book too. I think it was about a little boy who had to go to the "husky" department with his mum to buy his smart school clothes. Have no idea what it was, though

Uberpause said...

I once stayed in a hotel with a mirror actually inside the shower, which was almost as disturbing as when they put full-length mirrors opposite the toilet so you can see yourself answering the call of nature. And I kept thinking of that One Foot In The Grave episode where the hotel mirror's a two-way one with a load of voyeurs on the other side...

Are You Mad? said...

just a quick question;

Does anyone else think that the woman on the hula hoops advert is like Sue White?

irony in motion said...

Yes. Very. I wonder if it's coincidence or they were GW-inspired?

Loganoc said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Loganoc said...

I was thinking exactly the same thing. She even talks and looks like her. I think they should be sued. James? Ready to take on KP foods?

here's the ad:


http://www.davidreviews.com/MMovies/Mar05/2005030708_medium.mov

james henry said...

I've heard about this before, but sadly I can't make the link work on the Talkback computer, so I'll look another time. However this kind of thing has happened before, and I suspect it will end up being filed under 'Stuff One Can't Do Much About'.

Are You Mad? said...

i could bite their legs off......

Or is that illegal?