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

Hand-envy