The Soupster learns that traveling alone need not be lonely.
Originally published December 4, 2003
The Soupster vigorously dried his hair with the motel towel, brimming with satisfaction. He happily donned a thin travel robe..
On his way home at a Sea-Tac Airport motel, the Soupster gave a satisfied sigh. His was not just any motel – but one the Soupster had stayed at more times than he could remember. Often for just a night passing through, sometimes for a week on business.
The motel had gone through bad periods in the recent past, but had snapped back recently with new owners, paint, and a snappy new name. Two floors high, with a large parking lot in front. A lobby that, in season, featured Washington apples in a basket for the guests to sample. A free local shuttle. Could a pit stop offer more?
But it could. For this motel’s showers were exemplary, extraordinary – they put the showers in any other establishment to shame. The water was not too soft and not hard, not too hot and not cold. The shower loosed a stream that perfectly coated anyone standing under with a warm, cascading blanket. The knobs and valves were amazingly responsive — you got just what you wanted. This inn featured low prices and a pleasant staff. But the showers made the Soupster book a room here, time and time again.
Leaving him defenselessly mellow when a key clicked in the lock, the door swung open and a motel clerk stepped in, followed by a young woman.
“Pardon?” said a wide-eyed Soupster.
The clerk stopped in his tracks. A suitcase he was holding thudded to the floor.
“Uh-oh,” he said, as stunned as the Soupster. “Wrong room.”
“Soupster?” said the young woman.
“Sally?” the Soupster asked as she stepped forward, into the light. “Sally Wright?”
“Right,” said Sally.
“Right?” asked the motel clerk.
Sally put her hand on his arm. “This man knows my Dad,” she explained. “He’s known me since I was kid.”
“Her father and mother used to stay here all the time,” the Soupster added.
“I thought this was the wrong room,” said the clerk.
“This is the wrong room!” Sally and Soupster simultaneously said.
“You must have started work here just recently, “ The Soupster guessed and the motel clerk admitted he had. “There’s a lot of people from Our Town – well, mine and hers – that stay here. A few owners ago, the motel had some kind of deal with a travel agent in Our Town and a lot of people got steered here. New owners – the travel agent moved on – but we still keep coming to this motel.”
“It’s the showers,“ said Sally. “Have you ever taken a shower here?” she asked the clerk
“No,” he said.
“Well you should. And I’m going to right now,” said Sally. “Soupster, I’ll meet you in the lobby in half an hour and we can take the shuttle out to dinner. There’s two more people here from Our Town. If you see them, ask if they’re hungry!”
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