by Lillian Csernica on April 9, 2016
An important part of any travel is where you’re going to stay for the night. If you aren’t fortunate enough to have friends or family in the area, then you will probably end up getting a room in an hotel. I have quite a few hotel stories.
When I was 10, 13, and 16, my father and I drove from Southern California to Toledo, OH to visit my grandmother. It took us about 3 days to get there. We stopped for the night at cheap local motels. On the inside, they all looked pretty much the same. Knotty pine walls, thrift store furniture, ugly paintings, and sagging mattresses. Until I was old enough for a driver’s license, I had to invent various games to keep myself entertained during the long hours on the road. On one particular trip I recall sitting up late in the bathroom with the door shut so the light wouldn’t keep Daddy awake. I wrote postcards to a friend of mine from my debate team days. I’d drop them in the mail at post offices along the way so the postcards arrived one after the other like those old Burma Shave signs!
At BayCon one year Pat and I didn’t make our hotel reservation in time, so we ended up at the Motel 6 down the street. The room was clean, with a bed and a shower, which is pretty much all I really need. We did discover one very strange feature. The light switch for the bathroom was on the wall outside the actual bathroom itself. Do I need to tell you what happened next? Pat and I would sneak up on each other and flip the switch at some very inconvenient moments!
My husband and I met at the Northern Renaissance Faire and even worked there together for a few years. When I became pregnant with our first son, I wasn’t working Faire anymore, but Chris and I did decide to go visit for a weekend. We booked a cheap motel near the Faire site and woke up Sunday morning to the sounds of the people in the next room having a very good time. So good they were slamming their headboard against the wall just on the other side next to our heads. I got up and took a shower. Now I was at that stage of pregnancy where your balance starts to change. The shower/bathtub unit was brand sparkling new, no mat or traction pads on the bottom, and no safety rail. My husband told me later what happened next.
There I was, in the shower, washing my long hair. I got soap in my eyes, leaned back to wash it away, and lost my balance. Our neighbors reached the Big Moment in their good time. He screamed, she screamed, and then I screamed. My husband told me there was a moment of stunned silence, a sudden thumping as of running feet, then the door to their room opened and shut. Car doors slammed, the engine revved, and they took off. I stepped out of the bathroom minutes later to find my husband still whooping with laughter.
Photo courtesy of A Creative Writing Place
On a side street just off of Beverly Hills boulevard, quite close to some of the big, glitzy hotels, there is a small family-run hotel that was built in the 1930s. Pat and I stayed there about 12 years ago when we were working on some screenplays for an actor who was also a world champion martial artist. One night, quite late, we heard sounds in the room above us like somebody was bowling or moving heavy furniture. In the morning we asked the manager about it. He insisted the room was unoccupied. This was an old building, under partial renovation. OK fine. The next night, after midnight, we had
a plugged toilet some plumbing problems. We knew the manager and his wife were already asleep, so I went downstairs looking for a supply closet.
This was a bad idea. No, I was not in the basement. I did have to walk down a hallway I’d never seen before. The light was on, the doors were shut, and I couldn’t find what I was looking for. When I turned around to walk back, some of the doors were slightly ajar. I had that horrible feeling of being watched. And then I heard three or four little kids whispering and giggling. There were no children in the hotel. At all. I bolted upstairs like I had hellhounds chasing me. Between my panic and the resulting asthma attack it took me at least ten minutes to tell Pat what happened. She went downstairs and came back with the plunger we needed.
We never stayed in that hotel again.