I’ve been known to be indecisive.
So Friday after school I headed north on Interstate 5 but needed some direction once I hit Sac-ramento. Would I go right and fish the Truckee River, turn left and spend the weekend on the Russian, or simply stay the course and end up on the Upper Sacramento?
I had to call for help. “Help” told me North.
I arrived in Redding five minutes after The Fly Shop closed — a disappointment that paled in comparison to what was to come.
I found a bargain hotel, $49 a night. The stained towels were supposed to be pool towels, but based on the debris in the pool it was either out of order or they were getting ready to stock it with tilapia.
The door to my room had been kicked open at some point in its life but was repaired just enough so that it locked. Both chairs were worn hard, like they’d been attacked by belt sanders.
The toilet paper had a circle of something in the center of the roll as if it had been sealed with wax, like it was the 17th century and the two-ply scroll contained information vital to the king.
I pulled back the bed spread and found what looked like toe nails that had been put in a dryer lint-trap, or digested by an owl then picked out and spread on the top sheet.
I got a new room.
The sheets were funk-free, the towels cleanish and door worked properly. I settled in to watch Back to the Future.
There was a knock and I discovered the special feature of the new room — the peep hole was blocked.
I opened the door. It was a dude in a nice dress shirt holding a plastic bottle containing what looked like apple juice, but two other things were probably better guesses.
I expected the, “Sorry wrong room”. I got something even better.
“Is your wife here?”
If my wife here? C’mon, Redding.
“Uh, no. Don’t have one of those.”
Idiot. You just admitted to sleazy dude that you are staying in the dirty cell alone.
He said okay and left.
I thought about the filet knife in my truck, but then remembered Atticus Finch’s mantra about carrying guns being an excuse to get shot.
Somehow I fell asleep once Marty made it back to 1985. At midnight, yelling woke me up. Someone was counting down from 10.
Oh boy, what happens at zero? Nothing.
The countdown restarted. I peeked out the window to see a new guy standing next to the dumpster. I thought he was marking it with a batch of processed adult beverages, but he wasn’t.
He resembled a quarterback looking down the offensive line calling an audible and the ball was to be hiked when the countdown reached zero. Since the ball never came, the countdown restarted.
This quarterback’s cleats had no traction on reality.
This place officially became less comfortable than the hotel across from the Mega-truck stop in Winnemucca, Nev., where every couple minutes a voice announced the availability of shower stalls for wary truckers.
In the morning, the shirt I wore to school and on the drive up smelled better than the clean shirt I slept in. It might have to be burned.
Oh, and I did go fishing during my time in the Redding area.
It was fun.