April 2008 – September 2008
In 2006, Christian Nielson murdered four people at the bed and breakfast he worked at in Central Maine. State police stated it was one of the biggest homicide cases of the century. Only eight years into this century, when I took a job working at a prestigious Select Registry B & B in Portland, Maine, I didn’t expect to ponder the thought of defeating that record.
Out of all the service industry jobs to have, keeping an inn is by far the worst. Behind a bar, you can refuse someone a drink or make them wait the appropriate amount of time for how big of a douchebag they are. Waiting tables has its pitfalls, but usually after two or three hours, the assholes have puckered up and retreated from the dining room. In some cases, they’ll make their way to the bar and with any luck get a lesson in manners from a bartender who’ll keep his regulars entertained by pointing out how much of a tool they are. But, a bed and breakfast is the nightmarish, constipated agony of the service industry. Not only do you entertain fuckheads as they check- in, set their alarm clocks for them, show them how to turn a door knob, etc., but you may find yourself calling the police department on a Sunday to find out if the hourly limit on the handicapped parking sign applies to her or for every overweight pumpkin faced cunt. By the way, the officer I spoke to kept me on the phone for an extra three minutes so he could laugh when I asked him this question. When the phone conversation ended, I made my way to the plump princess from the Garden State and told her as long as she had out of state tags, they’d ignore it.
With most of the jobs I’ve had, I’ve had the opportunity to meet truly wonderful people, and I met some of the best while working at the inn. The biggest problems were my dickhead guests. I couldn’t make them wait or force them out, and I couldn’t only deal with them for a few hours. I had to wake up with these shitdomes every morning (usually hung over) and prepare breakfast. The complaining was endless, and after about six months I’d finally managed to get fired from a job for the first time. This, of course, was inevitable, especially when the I had pulled the tickets from the windshield wiper of a vehicle in the handicapped spot until it was finally towed and the owner of the vehicle had the audacity to write a four page complaint letter to the owner of the inn, which only communicated a warning to me. The rubber fuck doll I sat at the breakfast table one morning, much to my dismay, only got a series of giggling responses. Getting fired is a difficult thing to accomplish sometimes.
The morning I was fired, I woke up late with the stench of Patron and Corona hovering in my room and the dry throated call of one of my guests, Mr. Smith; a man who had already established himself as the captain of the douchebag allstars. Initially, I thought the guest was waking me up early for coffee or some other bullshit request, and before I could reply I saw the time. Shit, replaced, Yeah, and Mr. Smith asked, “Excuse me?”
“I’ll be right up,” I told him. I pushed out of the bed and grabbed a pair of paint-stained camoflauge shorts.
“We’re locked out of our room. Could you just tell me where the spare key is.”
“No.” I pulled a v-neck t-shirt over my head, slipped into a pair of flip-flops and made my way from the basement.
Mr. Smith made a face, and I hadn’t quite adjusted my eyes to the light yet, but I could smell his cologne, briefly. Then my breath eliminated any other smell in the air. The man had been staying at the inn for a week, for a few days with the rest of his family who had helped themselves to food stock in the kitchen, used breakfast plates for ashtrays, and had even helped themselves to the private balcony of another room that was already occupied by another guest. I’d had enough of the man, but not quite enough to tear into him with a plethora of half pronounced curse words. Not at that moment anyway.
I slipped a spare key from the rack in the kitchen and led the way to the third floor of the B&B to the carpeted staircase where Mrs.Smith sat in her nighty–a sight that made me want to rub my eyeballs against a cheese grater.
The woman’s voice was shrill with the nasally whine of sick child. “Where were you? You were s’posed to be heeeeeeeeyyyyyyaaaaaaa.”
I refused to offer a reply and quietly unlocked the door for them. Again, the woman inquired in a higher pitch as if the banshee like wail of hers would provoke an appropriate response.
“A good man is hard to find,” I told her, and thought that if I’d had my gun, I would have shot her three times in the chest.
The couple scowled, pushing the wrinkled faces into the deep, creased elaborate lines you’d see in an M.C. Escher print, and I turned to scurry downstairs to start breakfast, which, at that time, was supposed to be on the tables a half an hour before. I walked through the glares in the dining room where the other guests had already taken their seats and told them breakfast would be a little late that morning. The couple in the window let out dramatic sighs, which was an appropriate response after I had told them the night before that they were free to leave. This was after an emergency phone call they’d made to me at 1:00 A.M. to tell me that their sheets were wrinkled.
All six rooms of the inn were booked. When I had finished preparing a well balanced, nutritious breakfast, and Mr. and Mrs. Smith had sat themselves sitting primly at the main table with a guest. Since there were only twelve chairs available in the dining room, twelve prepared meals, and twelve guests staying at the inn, there was no room for an additional guest.
“I’m sorry, Mr. Smith, but the inn is full and I can’t accommodate an additional guest.”
“There wasn’t a problem yesterday.”
“I didn’t have a full inn yesterday.”
The man stood, and adjusted the waistline of his jeans before he turned. He placed a hand on my shoulder. “It wasn’t a big deal yesterday, now go ahead and bring us some breakfast from the kitchen.”
My self restraint has grown over the years, and instead of sinking my teeth into the old man’s knuckles, I smiled. “Actually, it is a big deal. I can’t accommodate your guest.”
Mr. Smith’s guest spoke up. “This is absurd. You can’t go make something for him? He’s been a guest here for a week.”
“I’m perfectly aware of how long Mr. Smith has been here. I’m also aware that Mr. Smith has helped himself to food that didn’t belong to him. He’s helped himself to other guests’ rooms, and he’s used the dishes you’re all eating from as an ashtray. I also know that you aren’t a guest here, so feel free to close your mouth and help yourself to the exit.”
The couple in the window spoke up. “This is extremely innapropriate behavior for an innkeeper.”
“I don’t want any shit from you,” I told them. “Eat your breakfast.”
The couple dropped their heads to their plate and stabbed at the undercooked eggs there. The old man’s wife and guest made their way outside, and I meandered back to the basement. I listened to the old man follow behind me.
Next to the bed, I kept a double barrel twelve guage loaded with 00 Buck. You never know what can happen in a bed and breakfast. I picked up the shotgun and snapped the breech open. As a precaution, I pulled out the two shells just as the old man entered my living quarters.
“You are quite out of line, young man,” he told me, putting his hands on his hips. “I’ll be making a complaint.”
I turned to face him, snapping the breech of the shotgun closed and exposing the stainless steel barrels to the flourescent light above me. The metal shimmered, and the light reflecting against his face danced with the quivering of his cheeks and lips. The old man backed away and tripped over the edge of the threshold. He fell into a pile of soiled sheets and towels and flailed his arms. Hand towels sailed into the air from his movement, and he finally got himself to his feet and scrambled up the stairs.
I sat at the desk in my room and leaned the shotgun against the wall and thought of what little motivation it takes to shoot someone. Perhaps, in another life, the misfit in me would have come through.