Hotel Pools and Marc Summers

–The Good–

Hotel rooms are notoriously inconsistent, even within the same chain. Especially the age and firmness of the mattress, assuming you can’t only feel the box springs and their jarring reminder of that one time you lifted the thing you shouldn’t have all by yourself. And the TVs are a different can of worms altogether.

It is the sanitary chlorine scent shared by all hotel pools that should remind you what really matters. It is the hot tub nearby, sometimes little more than a half-abandoned backyard jacuzzi, that should warm your heart. This is where the consistency lies.

Indoor, outdoor, it’s the only place you’re allowed to smile while walking around half-naked outside of your hotel room itself. It’s the best place to wake up, and it’s the best place to come down after you’ve nursed that eighteen-fifty double-shot of Finlandia for the full twenty dollars worth.

It was a hotel pool where my dad first told me he loved me. I was young and stupid and went into the deep end without a thought or a floatation device. Almost choked to death on that half-visible chlorinated shit until he scooped me up and out. If I was half as annoying to a lesser man as I was to him, I don’t think I’d be here today.

Okay, so he didn’t actually say he loved me. He isn’t exactly the type. It was more like one of those show, not tell, moments.

Can’t wait to hit the pool.

–The Bad–

I must not have seen it on the way in. It’s pretty easy to miss. But I can see it clearly now, from just outside my hotel door, sunken into the earth behind the roundabout in front of the office.

It’s not quite empty, judging by the thick layer of algae lining the bottom of the pool. Probably just enough water for a toddler to drown in.

I decide to go for a dip anyway. The viscous oily plant matter works its way between my toes and I stomp around before falling down in it. There’s enough spoiled and wilted green and black stuff to prevent my tailbone from breaking.

I scoop up the muck and toss it in the air and raise my head to meet it it on its return descent and wonder if this is what it felt like to get slimed by Marc Summers on Nickelodeon.


Another result of a writing prompt: write about something in a positive fashion, then write about it in a negative fashion. Did it before about barns.


  1. Barns was cool. I dig this one too. “without a thought or a flotation device” is my favorite line. I will have remember that and try really hard not to steal it. I’ve told you in the past, I could see a collection of shorts from you with a central theme… but now I am seeing a travel column with Bearshaman’s name on it too!

    • Hahahahah! Bearshaman’s First-Person Rambling Travel Guidance! I can dig it.

      I think I might be close to enough pieces to try submitting Xenology: Close Encounters of the Third Shift somewhere. I would enjoy having it be a multiple-part series, maybe with a sub-theme in each collection.

      I’m also working on another 15k word (goal) story. I’ve sent you the beginning. I’m expanding it, but it’s going some strange places.

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