Motel at the End of the World, Book 2 - Room Service Revenge
Motel at the End of the World, Book 2 - Room Service Revenge
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"As the owner of the motel, I'm pleased with how things have turned out lately. The young guests have that moved in are quite resourceful, creating a garden that not only provides fresh vegetables but also brings in some extra cash. And with the addition of coffee from the Red Rooster Roasters, business is booming.
But things quickly take a turn for the worse when a nun with a gun shows up at the front desk, asking about a missing priest. Nance and I know trouble when we see it, and we're on high alert now..."
Sample - Room Service Revenge
Sample - Room Service Revenge
“He sounds like he’s locked in the next room. It’s probably safe to take a walk. What do you say? Want to go for a quick one around the block before she lets him out again? All right then. Stay close by, Harriett. No wandering off.”
Alice put on her sweater and slipped her feet into a pair of mismatched rubber Crocks while Harriett did a slow side rub against her bare calf and let out a small mewling meow.
At first, Alice only opened the door a sliver to be sure Bao wasn’t lurking right outside the door, ready to ambush Harriett. Then she cracked it a little more, letting the morning’s sunlight into the cool dark hotel room. She squinted her eyes from the bright morning sun when she stepped on the patio and closed the door behind Harriett when she bolted past the metal threshold. “Watch out for the sprinklers, Harriett,” she scoffed. “I don’t know why those kids couldn’t build their raised bed experiment out back. Taking up half the parking lot…”
But Alice halted when a wayward sprinkler shot past her face and took her breath away with cold water when she wandered into its path. Alice inhaled deeply and wiped the remaining drops from her face, but then she heard the unmistakable hiss, hiss, hiss of the sprinkler on its return route, and she ran a few steps ahead to catch up with Harriett who had the sense to move along immediately and was waiting for her owner by the edge of the parking lot. “That was unexpected, Harriett. Why didn’t you warn me? Oh, never mind.
“Wait, what is that awful smell? Oh…it’s the generator. Smells like bad French fries. I liked it better last year when the others were here…except for the murders. That wasn’t pleasant. But we did get to meet Spam. He’s been a blessing in our lives ever since. Don’t you agree? Who would have thought? We never saw that coming a year ago. Did we, Harriet? Me and Spam, the giant who scared the life out of us the first time we met. It just goes to show you never know what life has in store for you.”
But Harriett wasn’t paying attention to the conversation at all. She was padding along the street’s concrete curb, her tail lazily following behind.
“I know you’re not all that fond of Spam, but I wish you’d give him a chance. He likes you. And he brings you cans of tuna. What more could a cat want? What more could a woman want really? At least we can rely on Spam to look after us when we need him to.”
If anyone had told her a year ago that she would develop feeling for the thug who invaded the Motel, throwing his weight around and threatening the guests if they didn’t obey his orders, she’d have laughed in their face. Alice wasn’t looking for a man. She’d convinced herself that she was done with all that; it was her and Harriet, and that was the way she liked it. And there were still occasions when she craved her own space, but something about Spam made her feel … safe …, and when you’ve already survived the end of the world, safe was a good place to be.
And with that, Alice and Harriett had walked the circumference of the Motel and started walking slowly toward the smelly generator that was mostly obscured by a parked pickup truck with a cap sitting on top of the grill. Alice’s stomach growled. She hadn’t eaten since lunch the day before and had planned to have a can of Harriett's tuna on her return to the room but once again, the generator was the focus of her attention.
Harriett sat smartly on the cement curb like a sphinx; her black tail wrapped around her front paws. She looked toward Alice as if to say, I’m not ready to go back inside yet.
Alice was about to reason with her—they’d long ago developed a way of communicating that no one else seemed to understand—but instead screamed, “Bao!” when she heard fast nails click-clacking across the torn asphalt, and in a flash, Harriett was a blur of black and white, and the cream Pug was on the chase.
Bao shot ahead of Alice—he was fast for a pug—his grunts growing louder. He was catching up with Harriett when the cat leaped up onto the bed of the truck.
“Bao! Bad dog!” Alice cried out. Ignoring her, the little dog jumped and yelped for any sign of his prize. But when Harriett sprang up onto the roof of the cab, Bao let out a string of barks, his small solid body bouncing up and down like he was on a trampoline.
“Bao! What’s happened to you, my darling? What have you done to my dog, Alice?” Su Fang appeared from nowhere, her eyes narrowed at her neighbor.
Alice turned to see the short woman dressed in nothing more than a thin crimson robe, eating the ground with her tiny bare feet across the parking lot. She stopped and scooped up Bao before Alice could answer the question.
“I have not touched your dog. He’s constantly harassing Harriett. Can’t you please restrain him while we’re out for our daily walk? Look at her.” Alice threw her arm at Harriett, sitting tall atop the truck’s roof, licking her paw innocently.
Su Fang shook her head. “Look at what? Your cat is perfectly fine. She’s taunting my Bao.” She turned away and stormed off squeezing the dog against her chest. “Poor baby. It’s all right, darling. That nasty woman can’t hurt you.”
Alice’s mouth hung open as she looked around the parking lot to see if anyone else had witnessed the injustice, but once again, Su Fang and her mean little dog had gotten away with it. She didn’t know how the woman did it.
“Come on, Harriett. I’ve had enough of this.” Alice reached for her cat, but she wasn’t tall enough to wrap her fingers around the tuxedo fur as Harriett cleaned her paws. Alice grunted and checked out the step on the pickup’s side to see if it would get her within reach, when Johnny, a new resident, said, “Here you go, Ms. Comney.”
Towering over Alice, he scooped up the cat, stroked her gently, and handed her over.
“Well, um, thank you, Johnny. But you can call me Alice. No need to be so formal here.”
Johnny nodded, his black beanie cap nearly covering his dark brown eyes. She’d bet he hadn’t showered in days, but then again, he shared one room with three other young adults. There was no telling what went on in that room. Even so, she recognized that he was a good-looking guy, the kind of man she’d have been attracted to back in the day. Her cheeks colored when she realized that Johnny was still watching her watching him.
Alice smiled and spread her arm out to the galvanized tubs filled with plants in the parking lot. “You guys sure have taken over. We so appreciate the experiments and what you’ve managed to grow so far. What did you say the germination rate is up to now?”
Johnny’s dark eyes brightened instantly. If there was one way to get him talking, it was about his crops or the new modified generator that ran off hydrotreated vegetable oil. The same one that permeated the air and smelled of days-old French fries … all the time. “We’re up to 14.7 percent germination rate with most of the crop experiments. I know it doesn’t sound like a lot, but we were able to harvest a few radishes the other day.”
“I know, I had a cherry red one. Thank you! So crisp that I nearly cried. But I believe I heard Darrell mention that your special crops were growing at a much quicker rate.”
He blushed a little. She wasn’t sure why. The stigma of growing Mary Jane was long over in her day, and he was a fool if he thought that no one had noticed the tall thriving plants right in the middle of the parking lot.
“Yeah.” He rubbed the back of his neck and smiled again. “The cannabis sativa plants are really thriving. But they’re one of the oldest cultivated plants in human history. We’re just bringing them back, giving them a new lease of life, reintroducing them to the world. That’s our mission statement. To travel around, spreading marijuana seeds and teaching others how to sustain their own crops. It can be done. We’ve already proved it.” He waved his hand at the plants occupying most of the space in the parking lot.
“Looks like your sativa is growing above a 15 percent germination rate.”
“Yep, it’s actually nearing normal levels of 78 percent.”
“Maybe that’s the answer to all this, then. Get the oldest proven plants to do their part; the rest will come in time. We might just live through this after all, Johnny. Too bad we can’t eat the stuff … without the side effects. Well, I mean, not that I’m against the side effects.” Alice blinked. She wasn’t sure why, but it seemed strange admitting to a youth that she might’ve partaken in when she was his age.
“You can eat the hemp seeds,” Johnny said dryly. “We’re in the process of drying some from the first batch. They’re great for you and don’t have the side effects.”
“That’s wonderful.” Alice squinched her nose. “But I have to say, the only thing about this whole setup that I don’t like is the smell from the new fuel. Is there nothing you can do about that?”
Johnny took in a deep breath of air, filling his lungs with the bad Frenchy smell. “Hydrogen sulfide. I really don’t notice it anymore … unless it’s gone, then I know something’s wrong. But HVO is 90 percent carbon neutral renewable. It’s the best substitute for fossil fuels. And you must admit, we’re in this mess for a reason. We weren’t giving back to the planet, and the planet fought back. We have to learn to live with Mother Nature, Alice.”
Most of what he’d said went over her head, but she wanted to say something back, especially after his tone. She wanted to point out that Mother Nature seldom smelled like desiccated French fries in a humidifier. And was he…was he implying that she was somehow responsible for its downfall in her nearly fifty years on this planet? She … the hippie from when the stuff was illegal. But she didn’t. She simply smiled, stroked Harriett’s fur, and said, “Are you guys returning to Colorado soon? Your folks must be worried.”
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