Monday, November 16, 2009

The planting papers: Nick the night clown

Back to Whyte Avenue, the Commercial Hotel, Edmonton Alberta, Canada. Add 35 or so dirty, stinky tree planters and a night manager who can't stand dirty, stinky tree planters, comedy would surly ensue. The night manager, Nick was his name, he was a bit of a celebrity, a clown of a fella, hence the nickname: Nick the night clown.

Nick had his eye on me, he could smell a rat and I was coming off rodent. The scam, I will have you know, was to have a group of 20 or so planters book 4 or 5 rooms, then, get this, someone would open up the fire exit letting the other 10 or so planters sneak in. We had done it a bunch of times before and without fail. We were convinced that we could pull it off again this time. What could wrong? Really, I mean we were dealing with Nick the night clown, a mental midget, too easy.

Before the caper began, we hit the pub attached to the Commercial. A little pool and some liquid courage to sharpen the senses. The Commercial Pub was a biker/blues bar, a tough spot, but with great music and cheap booze. It was never a spot where you ended your night, but it was a helluva spot to start. But where was I? Oh yes, plying myself with beer, waiting for the signal... operation hotel room would soon begin.

Myself and my buddy Clarke needed some fresh threads (no mean feat, everything we owned, if dry, was stained a nice earthy brown). Off we went into the Ryder truck which housed all our gear. Clarke, gawd love him found a can of Bear Scare (pepper spray), he decided it was a good idea to spray a little, just a little, in the back of the Ryder, 'you know just to see what it was like'. See, who could see? The whole of the box of the Ryder was filled with the noxious spray. Blinded, coughing and yes laughing, we jumped out of the back of the truck. We had to walk it off, we still haven't found a room to crash, yet. Ouch, it burned, it burned.

Once our eyes stopped watering Clarke and I decided to try and find our bed for the night. We went back into the pub, found someone who had a room, asked them to meet us at the fire exit. Clarke went up first, peeked into the hallway, gave a thumbs up and disappeared inside. Up I went, I peeked into the hallway, first I looked left, no Nick, then I looked right, no Nick. A huzzah to the perfect crime.

In order to ebb suspicion, I carefully shut and locked the fire exit. 'HEY!' There he was, there was Nick the night clown at the end of the hallway. Flashlight in hand and approaching fast. 'Hey you, stop, wait, you get out of here'. I sprang down the hall, into a stairwell down a coupla flights of stairs, zoom into a lady's washroom (Nick would never look there). I waited for five minutes, crossed my fingers that there were no ladies with any biological needs, then tried my luck.

BUSTED! 'There you are, I caught you, you leave the hotel, if I see you in here again, I will call the police'. 'Yes sir, I am sorry sir'.

Fuck, where was I gonna stay? I was broke, it was late. Everyone I knew was either in the hotel or out about town. Hmmmm? The Ryder, could I sleep there? It was a warm night, it was shelter, it was free, what the hell?

I ripped open the back door of the Ryder, whoosh, the lingering fumes of pepper spray smacked me in the face. Yep, I was living large. Hurray for me! I moved a few duffel bags around, I made myself a comfy nest. I slept, well sorta.

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