Monday, August 10, 2009

50 The accidental fire of Agnes Ford

Agnes Ford, former stripper, graduate of medicine at Sanford, sharpshooter and the American voice of a popular brand of GPS navigation software, woke up in sweat soaked sheets and cursed. The A/C had gone off, but when she checked the control knobs, she discovered to her concern that the unit in her hotel room wasn’t broken, it had been turned off by housecleaning. The room had still been cool when she returned after dinner and she had ignored the card she now held in her hands and gone straight to the shower and then to bed. The card read ‘please consider the environment and turn off your air conditioning when you leave the room.’ She felt a rising fury but didn’t want a repeat of last year’s soap incident. She now kept her own soap in a ziplock and brought her own cooler. She could have just put up a do not disturb sign but that would mean no ready made beds at the end of the day.

She made a decision, she left a note saying ‘please do not touch the countrols’ on the A/C unit, then, using a paperclip and a stripped electrical cable from her bag, she proceeded to wire the unit to the power socket in such a way that touching the unit would not generate a shock. Turning it off, however, would.

As an added warning she added the always-mysterious-to-the-uninitiated universal clue: Danger 110 Volts. There, let’s see them turn it off now. Agnes went back to sleep under the cool hiss of conditioned air.

Later the following day on her way back to the hotel, she heard the trucks well before she saw the fire. Agnes had a tendency to paranoia and it was largely directed at herself. To wit: She had the overwhelming feeling that she was following herself around with malicious intent. It was how she half-jokingly described the feeling to her nervous friends. On the practical end, it meant she took precautions to protect herself against her own tendencies.

Having anticipated a fire risk to her lilttle electrical jiggling, she had packed her bags in her car in the morning. The Police would likely be looking for the occupant of her room but without much luck, surmised Agnes.

Whose other names included Lucille, Michele and once upon a time in New Orleans, Antoine.

After so many years of independent wealth and a private practice, For Agnes, (Maybelline Barnsworth) random terror was the new black. She drove on.

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