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My trip home wasn’t exactly as I planned.
It started out to be an easy trip. I coasted along the highway making good time and feeling a little, might I say, cocky because I was able to skirt the pending storms that were blanketing the east coast. I was just north of Walterboro, S.C. when I began to feel extremely warm. I glanced at the outside temp on my car, and it read 99 degrees. I waved my hand across the AC vent, and there was nothing but stale air and I still had three hours to go to reach the motel I had already paid for. My AC had died.
It was a long, hot three hours, but alas, there on the horizon was a beacon of hope. It was the motel sign. Soon I would be in an air-conditioned room. I pulled up to the front lobby and staggered in. I slumped over the counter gasping for breath but managed to squeak out, “Diane Jones, I have a reservation.”
The cheery guy behind the counter smiled, “Here we are. How was your trip?” he asked, smiling. I forced my head off the counter, gritted my teeth and gave him my glare of death look with my blood-shot eyes and my face as red as the devil himself. He just handed me the key card. I struggled back outside in the heat and drove to my room in the second building behind the lobby. I parked the car only six feet in front of my door. I slid the key card in and pushed down on the handle, but nothing happened. I tried again, only this time I slung my hip against the door for extra leverage. Still nothing. I started back to my car. Each one of those six feet felt like a mile, and I was crossing the Mojave Desert barefoot with no water. The car seemed to be getting further with each step, and I wondered if the heat would claim me before I got there.
I drove back to the lobby, to the still smiling, cheery-faced man standing in the 72-degree environment.
“The key card doesn’t work,” I said gasping for air.
“Did you pull up on the handle?” he calmly asked.
“You didn’t tell me I had to pull UP!” I responded, wanting to jump the counter and choke that cool air out of him.
I returned to my room and pulled up on the handle and voila, it opened.
I dragged myself to the AC unit and turned it to the lowest temperature and cranked it to high, and then aimed the vent directly at the bed.
I threw my over-heated, drained of any life, barely breathing body across the top of the bed. The cold air from the vent hit my face with the strength of Hurricane Katrina, flapping the loose skin on my face. I didn’t care. After about twenty minutes, I rolled over, sat on the edge of the bed, took a deep, long breath of cool air and muffled, “I think I’m going to live.”
Author of Mystery/Crime Drama and Romance.