It is the beginning of another month and thus time for another installment of the Ohmygod saga (to catch up on the previous installments click on the Ohmygod menu up top). As you will recall, I used to be a cycling tour guide in Europe for several years. Through that job (yes, it is a bit difficult to call it a “job”) I met countless interesting people and have a few compelling stories to tell, but most of them pale to the story of Ohmygod, one of the clients that I had for three weeks. Some may wonder about the moniker, but the name chose itself really; it is what I uttered repeatedly during just about every interaction with him.
In the previous installment (Part Forty), I conducted a blind tasting of half a dozen champagnes during which CC sprayed her boy-toy Paul with about a third of a bottle of champagne. After cleaning up following the tasting, I made my way up to my room to change for dinner. There, I found a completely naked (I think) Maggie under the covers of my bed. While I was in the process of trying to get out of the sticky situation, Paul barged in and stated: “We have a bit of a problem….”
My first thought after Paul uttered those words was that Ohmygod was up to it again, but curiously this time, his buffoonery was actually going to get me out of the stickiest of situations. Adopting the role that I knew far too well, I asked Paul:
“What did he do now?”
My words seemed to startle Paul who was not looking at me at all and seemed to be entranced trying to get a glimpse of Maggie as she was uncomfortably fidgeting under the sheets.
“Huh?” was all he could muster initially, but as he snapped back to reality, he shook his head briefly and simply motioned with his hand to follow him out of the room. As I moved toward the door, I glanced back at Maggie who was now practically as white as the sheet she was grasping on either side of her face, no doubt trying to shield every inch of her flesh from Paul’s laser sharp gaze.
I thought I should say something to her as I left the room, but I had no idea what might be appropriate in that situation. I did not want to say anything that might give the impression that I hoped she would be there when I got back, but I also feared that any suggestion that she should leave, no matter how subtle, would end up being even worse.
So I said nothing.
Yeah, I am a wuss.
Out in the hallway, I once again asked Paul how Ohmygod had managed to create yet another emergency. Once again, Paul appeared puzzled by the question and simply responded: “Nothing.”
Now it was my turn to be confused, so I pressed on:
“Well, what is the problem then?”
Paul held up his left index finger as if to say “wait a minute” as we were just approaching his room. He swung open the door and motioned that I follow him in. Once inside, he quickly moved past me to shut the door, at which point he pointed to the bathroom. There, on all fours, was a rather scantily clad CC.
I quickly turned away as if I had just inadvertently stared directly into the sun, glaring at Paul, not exactly sure why he had just invited me into his room.
Paul, suddenly realizing CC’s relative state of undress, once again reached past me, this time closing the bathroom door. Once closed, he leaned toward the bathroom and spoke to CC through the door: “CC? I brought Jeff over to perhaps lend a hand….”
At this point I was both embarrassed and irate. What the heck was going on? First, a naked woman in my bed and now this? I like to think myself a relatively attractive guy, but this was broaching on the ridiculous.
As I was contemplating the best way to extract myself from this latest conundrum, the door the bathroom swung back open and CC emerged with a t-shirt now covering her mostly naked body. Further confused, I blurted: “Um, what the hell is going on?”
At this, both Paul and CC let out a rather uncomfortable laugh after which Paul motioned to the bathroom once more. After a moment of trying to apply some sort of logic to the situation, I noticed that there was indeed a problem: there was about an inch (2.5 cm) of water covering the bathroom floor and an enormous black spot covering most of one of the walls.
With my chin near my ankles, I turned to Paul with what must have been a look of utter shock. While most of my job was focused on taking care of the clients and trying to provide them a memorable vacation, I am also charged with serving as the conduit between the company and the hotels. We usually use the same hotels year after year and any friction could result in needing to find a new hotel.
An inch of water on the floor and a huge burn spot on the wall would definitely qualify as some “friction.”
As I continued to survey the situation, attempting to construct any number of scenarios that could have led to this catastrophe, Paul was apparently talking. I had toned him out, though, not being able to divert my attention from the destruction before me. I started wondering where we might stay in Reims in the future, since the owner of the hotel, already seemingly hostile to our group, would likely call the gendarmes once she discovered the state of this bathroom.
I was already thinking about the following day, a day that instead of riding my bike, or instead of squeezing in another tasting, I would be pacing the streets of Reims, looking for another hotel. And then there would be the phone call from the Paris office asking, in effect, what in the name of Napoleon happened causing the hotel to drop us like a bad habit.
By this point, CC had interrupted Paul since, no doubt, she saw the perspiration on my forehead, my glazed over eyes, and my weakening knees. I am not quite sure why or how I snapped out of my trance, but once CC started talking, I was able to refocus and go into damage control mode. Nonetheless, I needed a bit more information.
“What the hell happened?!?”
(I was actually half-way waiting for Ohmygod to jump out from under the bed.)
Over the next few minutes, CC and Paul went through a bit of a back and forth, trying to fill in what happened over the course of the last couple of hours.
It all started when CC tried to open that bottle of champagne during the blind tasting, which resulted in a dousing of Paul’s button-down shirt. Paul went up stairs, rinsed out his shirt, and then started to dry it.
With the hair dryer.
Then he left.
With the hair dryer on.
He then went back downstairs to return to the tasting. Once the tasting was over the two of them first went to CC’s room to “fool around a bit” (information that was not necessary, in my opinion), and when Paul eventually made it back to his room to grab his wallet for dinner, he walked into the room, smelled smoke, and found the bathroom…
Apparently, the hair dryer, being left on for at least a half an hour, over-heated and ignited his shirt and a couple of towels.
Instinctively, he went to the tub and grabbed the hand-held shower head to combat the blaze. Once the fire was out, he ran out of the room to go get CC who was still a flight of stairs away in her own room.
So he left.
After getting to CC’s room and explaining what happened in great detail, they both returned to Paul’s room to assess the damage only to realize that he had left the shower head on the floor.
With the water still on.
So they were now in the process of mopping up the water with the two towels from CC’s room (and French hotel room towels are not known for being all that absorbent). I ran back to my room to grab my two towels and thought about asking the hotel staff for a few more, but decided against it. French hotels seem to have an odd attachment to their towels and hand them out sparingly. Just about every time I have asked for an extra towel or two for a client, based on the reaction of the hotel staff, one would have thought I just asked if it were alright to set the bathroom on fire.
No, I figured that a couple of extra towels would not really help the situation all that much and it would likely serve to raise suspicion. I figured that all hell was going to break loose when I told them about the fire, so I might as well wait until the morning to face that maelström.
When I got back down to Paul’s room, CC had once again removed her t-shirt for some reason and the two of them were busy mopping up the pool of water on the bathroom floor, wringing out the towels in the tub. I thought about offering to stay and help, but there really was no space to operate, our dinner reservation was quickly approaching, and, well, there was CC in her bra and underwear.
So I skidaddled. I let them know where we were going for dinner if, by chance, they were able to get the situation under control. (The situation was far from being “under control” but they needed to get the water off the floor lest there be a repeat of what happened up in Jouarre. There was still the huge black burn mark on the wall, the melted hair dryer, and a stack of hotel towels [one of burnt to a crisp] to explain, but that could wait until later. I needed time to devise some sort of plan to inform the hotel owner that we should still be able to stay in their hotel despite nearly burning it to the ground, no doubt killing her and most of her staff. Yeah. I needed more time for that one.)
I glanced at my watch and it was just past 7:30 so I needed to meet the rest of the group in the lobby in ten minutes to head out for dinner. I went back to my room and just before I opened the door, I remembered that when I had left, there was a naked Maggie in my bed. Thus, I paused before grabbing the handle, trying to formulate a reaction if she were still there.
I opened the door.
And the bed was meticulously made as if there had not been anyone in it just moments before. I then turned to my suitcase to throw on a different shirt for dinner. It was, after all, the last night that the group would be together and I had told everyone to wear the nicest clothes they had with them.
I shuddered for a moment as I recalled what Ohmygod had worn on the last night of the previous week, and realized at that moment, with all that had happened in the last hour or so, he had not entered my conscious thoughts for some time. No, the focus of my current angst was firmly on the two people on the trip, that until that moment, I would have likely deemed the most “normal” of the crew.
As I picked up my shirt, I saw the extra bottle of Mailly Grand Cru Champagne that I had purchased at the winery. For several moments I stood there and pondered if I had enough time to down the entire bottle.