The following morning I am check out and am directed to one of the many hostels in town. After I glance over my options, I decide against staying there – the doors are too fragile, there’s no room for storage space and guests are not allowed after 11PM. Confound my luck! I had to find an alternative.
According to a cabbie, I find myself dropped off a local travel agency and as I find my way to one of the agents, I carefully adjust my tie and sniff my sleeves. Damn, I smell of cigarette smoke and felt like I needed a hot shower. Time to play the part and hopefully talk my way into a good deal.
“Good afternoon,” The woman I’m speaking with appears to be in her early forties, dressed in a light blue shirt; a black vest worn over her attire, floral purple-blue scarf around the hems of her shirt collar. “How may I help you today?”
Yes, I was hoping to ask about any good hotel deals in Seattle. Rather last minute, I apologize in advance, but I was wondering if you could help me, Miss? She introduces herself but for the sake of anonymity, I leave her name out of this entry. “Where are you visiting from?” She asks politely, glancing up from her monitor screen. Vancouver, BC.
“How long are you staying in town for?” For a few days, maybe a week at least. Are you a local here? “I am. Ten years and going.” Really? How do you find it? “It’s marvelous.” She says, smiling. “There’s plenty to do out here in the city.” Oh? Interesting places to see? “Absolutely. There’s the eye of the needle here,” She points my attention to a tourist map. “Have you heard about the monorail system?” I have. “Where would you be planning to visit?” Just about anywhere that’s interesting, like you said.
“What is your budget set at?” She asks, glancing into her computer. I take note that she’s got a ring on her finger. I’m a student so my budget’s pretty tight. “Any relatives here?” I shake my head. Not unless you help me, no. She laughs, “Sorry, dear, I’m married.” I noticed. She arches a brow at me questioningly.
“Let’s take a look at your options. Have you considered a hostel?” Too, shall we say, crass. I’d like to think I’m a man of class not swag. “Perish the thought.” She replies sharply. “Don’t ever use that word around me.” I incline my head, I do sincerely apologize but you get my drift. “Single bed or double?” Queen size, maybe with enough room for two. I catch the smirk on her lips, the brief glance from the corner of her eyes.
“Are you traveling alone?” She asks, making eye contact with me. Not if I could help it, I’m told there’s a bit of nightlife in Seattle. The agent hides the urge to laugh, “Depending on where you go, yes. Is that the purpose of your visit?” Actually I’d call it an added bonus but no, its not. “Just visiting?” Places of interest, maybe interesting people. The smirk lingers.
What is there to do aside from the nightlife? Coffee bars and funk musicians? “If that’s your style,” She replies. “There’s quite a lot to do for tourists in Seattle.” You’re the expert, Miss, suppose you’d tell me? “That depends entirely on what you’re interesting.” Would you like the honest answer or the polite kind? “Both.” She says, smiling. “You don’t have any reason to lie to me do you?” I think for a moment. Not unless I decide to plead the Fifth, not at all.
“I see a deal here for a week at the Downtown area for about eight hundred.” I whistle sharply, reclining in my seat. That’s a bit stiff, Miss, I’m looking at a tight budget. “As you said,” She replies, “Looking for a place with class?” I show my hands, helpless. “Fair enough. A place with nightlife?” Actually a place with soft sheets and a good night’s sleep. Nightlife tends to prevent that…depending on who you sleep with. She flashes me another smirk.
I smell fragrance, Miss, I’m guessing one of your colleagues is using Kenneth Cole. Maybe Versace. I notice that she arches a brow, impressed. “Close. My husband gave me a bottle for our anniversary.” I gather you’re a smoker as well. “Quite sharp.” She comments, “How could you tell?” Takes one to know one, that’s all. Any luck? “Well, let’s see what I can do for you. Hold on.” As long as I can, for my dear little life.
“I can arrange a week long deal though its a bit of a commute.” She says, scribbling on a piece of paper. “You’re lucky.” I’d like to think fortunate but thank you. She smiles, “There. Less than five hundred. Its a three star.” Really? How could I thank you? “You just say it.” Just? Maybe there’s some way I could return the favor. You’ve been of great help.
The agent snickers quietly, “You’re a bit of a flirt aren’t you?” Only to the people I like though I’m more a tease. “I like that.” But sadly, you’re married. We wouldn’t want this to end in murder now, do we? “Not at all.” She slides me her business card. “Call me if you need anything.” I’ll definitely keep that in mind I say, sauntering out with a wink.
An actual depiction of how I felt:
Next Update: Wherein yours truly makes his way to Georgetown, the safest little inn in Washington