I was just riding along.
However, it was 8:00 PM and cold, so I wasn’t riding along very happily, and moreover I needed a place to spend the night. I saw a shabby motel, half of which was torn down from construction. “Price should be right,” I thought.
“How much for a room?” I asked.
“$202,” said the clerk. “It’s our last one.”
I gulped. Turns out that the right price when it’s dark, late, and cold is pretty much any price. I took the room and went to sleep. For a while.
About 3:30 I woke up. A lady was yelling. Her voice came perfectly through the thin walls. Since my room was on the ground floor next to the office I could hear every word. She was screaming so loud that the folks still partying on State Street two miles away could have heard it. She had shown up too late and her reservation had been given to someone else. To add insult to credit card, she’d also been charged for the room and wasn’t getting a refund.
I opened the door. The woman, dressed in, um, business attire, was accompanied by a scruffy guy in jeans. She was screaming at two police officers while he appeared to look uneasy at the evening’s escalation.
“Excuse me,” I said. “Could you quit screaming?”
She responded with an unimaginative string of words advising me to fornicate myself forthwith. I waited until she needed air. “You’re waking up everyone in Santa Barbara.”
She screamed more. The scruffy guy began yelling at her. “Kylie!” he said. “Calm down, willya? Calm down!”
Kylie screamed at me more and then turned to the officers and redirected her screams to them.
I went inside, got my camera, and opened the door. “Kylie” saw me with the camera and instantly dropped her voice from hysterical rage mode to outraged-angry. After a few seconds another scruffy fellow appeared out of the darkness and told me to stop videoing. When that didn’t work, he slunk back into the pitch.
I kept filming and took stock of the situation. Single woman nicely dressed. Two scruffy dudes. No luggage. 3:30 AM. Dudes are highly anxious about being filmed. “This,” I thought, “is almost certainly a high-level, late-night conference about cybersecurity or top-secret graphene technology applications for space travel.”
If it wasn’t that, they were probably brother-sister, or brother-cousin-sister, or friends out touring the countryside at night.
I shut the door, the yowling stopped, and I went back to sleep, pleased that I’d gotten that one “last” vacant room and not upset at all that Motel Six had made $404 on the deal. I hoped that whatever business those nice folks had, they were able to get it taken care of.
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