birds in a barrel's mission is to release creative nonfiction into the wild.

40 Days & 40 Writes is its first project.

Smoky Jacuzzi

Next to my backpack and suitcase there is an old fireplace. When we checked in last night I couldn't tell if it was a gas fireplace or just ornamental and decoration. I called the lobby and the man assured me it was operational. He asked if I saw the remote for it on the top of its wooden box frame? Nothing there but a vase of fake flowers, I reported. He suggested I explore it and if I still couldn't turn it on, that he'd come and show me how.

I touched the shelf lining glued to the flat top, reached around the dusty sides, and explored the scratched front panel...nothing to make me think I was getting a fire from this box against the wall. My husband, after grumbling that there was absolutely no need for a fire (it is July and the air conditioner was on) came over and sat in front of the thing and flipped a switch I still never have seen. An orange glow, made by colored light bulbs, and shaking orange flames, made by blown tissue paper, and a warm gush of air blew out of the fireplace. It worked!

Next to the fireplace is the jacuzzi for two. When we first walked in I was excited to give it a go. Then, after smelling the perfumed air spray masking the room's thinly veiled new policy of "non-smoker's only", the jacuzzi lost its charm. I pictured all the other couples co-mingling in that tub next to the bed and became less enamored of the thought of putting my naked body in the oversized tub. We both showered, individually.

Building Worlds