A veranda wrapped itself all the way around the NoName Hotel where we stayed. For the Christmas season, an old Santa figurine stood at the front door and whistled Christmas carols. His tinny whistle sounded macabre. As I keyed us in, I felt a presence. A woman slipped into the hotel with me that night, a dark slender waif. My shadow was dressed in a plaid flannel shirt and blue jeans. Up the stairs she tip-toed, pretending to live here.
In the middle of the dark night lit only by a half moon, a female voice - sibilant, seductive, threatening, high pitched - echoed in the hallway. "Snake woman," I said in my sleep and dreamed that the wraith of a woman slithered under my doorway.
In the morning, our host said, "We had a little incident last night. But I took care of it." The maid walked by, sullen, with vacuum cleaner in hand, headed for the room two doors down from us. I looked in and saw food strewn about and furniture all jumbled. A new set of rules was posted. "No slamming doors. No clomping on stairs and in hallways. No loud voices. No alcohol on veranda. No hanging out on the steps."
"Time for Breakfast," said the Professor. "We have a big day ahead of us. Food heals all."