Betsy Shebang - Column for 2/26

Chapter 13

It was night before we finally found an affordable motel and Eugene woke up as we bounced into the parking lot. He pushed down on some of the bags in the back window and asked “Where are we?”

“King City,” Shauna replied, looking back at him.

I undid my seatbelt. “How about you two stay in the car, I'll say I'm getting a room for myself and my wife, then Eugene, you hang out by the car and Shauna and I will walk to the room, then I'll come back and you and I can come back to the room. Maybe, Shauna, if you give me your coat, we can pretend Eugene is you.”

Eugene interrupted, sortof. “Why don't Shauna and I get the room as a couple, then she'll come out to the car and get you?”

I couldn’t think. Seemed like it would work. “Okay. Write down my license plate number.”


It took several minutes for Shauna to come back with the room key, and a few more to dig attractive things out of the car. I kept thinking about small-time rock bands whose instruments are stolen from motel parking lots.

When we got to the room, Eugene was walking in a circle beside the bed, trying to meditate. I thought it was perfectly reasonable behavior, but he looked embarassed, picked up a comic book from the table and headed into the bathroom.

I started arranging things around the room. Shauna knocked on the bathroom door. “Eugene, what do you feel like for dinner?” He opened the door and took one step out.

“Look, I'd like to maintain the illusion that you can't hear what I'm doing in here, so could we postpone this conversation until I get out?”

“Yeah.”

He closed the door.

Shauna bounced over and sat on the bed beside the map I’d spread over the covers. I leaned on my elbows, studying our route.

“Toby.”

“Shauna.”

“So what's the plan?”

“What do you mean?”

Are you going to want to eat dinner at some point?”

“Oh, yeah - I figured we'd get something after we'd all cleaned up a bit.”

“Oh. Okay.”

I looked back at the map.

“Toby.”

“Yep?”

She took a deep breath. “Please don't take this the wrong way, but –“

“Everything you say to me starts with 'please don't take this the wrong way'.”

“Could you let me and Eugene have the hotel room for a while?”

I stared at her. “How long's a while?”

“Four hours.”

“Four hours?!?”

“Okay, two hours. Plus half an hour for dinner.”

“What are you going to do?”

“We're going to be alone.”

“They only gave us one key.”

“We'll stay here.”

“Do you want to get food?”

“We'll order pizza.”

I shrugged, or shook my head, or something. “Fine.”

“Now, don't get all pissy about it.”

“I'm just...hungry. I’m gonna go get some dinner.” I pulled my things into my backpack, looked around and left Shauna in the room.



Copyright 2002 Betsy Shebang

Columns by Betsy Shebang