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Your first night in the hotel was far from comfortable. Her insomnia may be due to the effect of time differences on her circadian rhythms, but a more immediate cause was the presence of mosquito flights in the room.
Thursday, September 10, 2020, 7:30 a.m.
Wave after wave, these tiny warplanes launched against the target presented by the recumbent figures of Matthew and Elspeth. They plunged in to attack like kamikaze, ignoring the desperate blows of their victims. There was a mosquito net, but it didn’t provide adequate protection as it was too small for the double bed.
“These women gave us a uniform net,” Matthew muttered as he tried unsuccessfully to tuck the edge of the net under the mattress. “It’s just too small. It won’t stay where it should. “
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“What about repellants?” asked Elspeth. “Are there any in the bathroom?”
Matthew went to see, but there wasn’t any. On the way back, he put on pants and socks to minimize the area of exposed skin that would be prone to mosquito bites.
The next morning, after the mosquitos, sensing the onset of dawn, retreated to the base, Matthew made his way to the front desk to address the issue of a larger mosquito net. Clottie answered the bell when he pressed it.
“Breakfast isn’t until eight,” she snapped.
Matthew struggled to be polite. “This is not about breakfast,” he said. “I’ve come to talk to you about mosquito nets.”
“You have one,” said Clottie. “I set it up myself. You shouldn’t have any problems with mosquitos. “
“Well we have,” said Matthew.
Clottie pursed her lips. “You shouldn’t confuse the sound of mosquitoes with real bites,” she said. “Mosquitoes are always buzzing around. But when you have a network, you are safe. “
Matthew showed her his bare forearm. There were several angry red spots on it. “What’s this?” he challenged.
Clottie cast a disgusted look at his arm. “You seem to have some kind of skin condition,” she said. “There is a pharmacy in town. You could pick something up there. Some kind of lotion. “
Matthew gasped for air. “I have no skin disease,” he exclaimed. “These are mosquito bites. And there is more. I could show you a lot more. “
Clottie shuddered involuntarily. “But you have a network,” she said. “You should have used your network.” She paused before fixing Matthew with a disapproving look. “It’s not our fault if guests don’t use the things we try to provide for them.”
Matthew took a deep breath. He was naturally mild in character and generally avoided confrontation. But that pushed him to his limits. It was certainly not inappropriate to bring up a subject of this nature, as politely as he was. He didn’t blame management for the presence of mosquitos – it was a matter of geography, and he imagined the altitude, and no one, not even these sour and unwelcome women, could be blamed for their size above sea level or their altitude . But they could be held responsible for providing a single bed size mosquito note for a room with a double bed.
“We used the network,” said Matthew. “But I’m afraid there is a problem with it. As you can see, this net is intended for a single bed and therefore does not fit in properly. It gets stuck when something moves in bed and then the mosquitoes come in. “He paused for a dramatic effect. The staccato sentences were each the subject of a solemn indictment. “And then they bite you. Bad. On the arm. And elsewhere. “
He would leave that to her imagination. She had seen his arm; she could only speculate.
Clottie’s eyes widened. “Movement in bed, you say? What exactly are you doing in this bed? “
Matthew gasped. Then he answered through clenched teeth, “I’m trying to sleep.”
“Hah!” said Clottie. “So you say. The point is, you have a network and you didn’t use it properly. We can’t change our network arrangements if a group of guests aren’t using them properly, can we? There are other guests at this hotel, you know.” You. “
“I’m surprised,” said Matthew quickly. “I’m surprised you have guests at all.”
Stalemate had been reached and they broke up. Matthew returned to the room to tell Elspeth of his failed attempt to fix the mosquito net problem. She sighed. “We need to get some repellent in the village,” she said. “I saw a pharmacy down there. We can try it. “
“Or one of those spool things that you set on fire,” suggested Matthew. “They smoke out the mosquitoes.”
“Yes.” She looked at Matthew. “Dear Matthew,” she said. “You look like you have a skin disease on your arm. Poor you.”
And later that day, in order to pile Pelion on Ossa, there had been the incident of the snake in the swimming pool. This had happened when the two of them went down to the hotel pool, which was deserted at the time; In fact, they hadn’t seen anyone swimming, even with towels on lounge chairs by the pool. Elspeth was about to dive in when she stopped and pointed to a long, thin object in the water below.
“Is that a snake, Matthew?”
Matthew looked. “Yes, it’s a snake. I better go get someone. “
The snake swam along the edge of the pool, moving in elegant, undisturbed serpentine wings through the water. Matthew took another quick look and then he and Elspeth went to the front desk. There they found Tippy.
“Yes?” Tippy asked and then added, “So what?”
“So you claim there is a line in the pool,” Tippy said after Matthew explained the situation.
“I’m not saying there is a snake,” he replied. “There is a snake. A large.”
“I doubt it,” said Tippy. “You are from Scotland, aren’t you? You don’t see any snakes there. “
“Sorry,” protested Matthew. “There are many snakes in Scotland.” Well, maybe not much, he thought, but at least there were adders on some of the hills, not that he saw them.
“Wait here,” said Tippy and disappeared.
She returned ten minutes later. “There was no line,” she said.
Matthew and Elspeth didn’t argue, but went back to the pool. There was no line, but there were large puddles of water at the edge of the pool and a long-handed net had dripped onto the pool area.
Matthew sighed. “I’m so sorry, darling,” he said. “This may not have been the smartest choice.”
“But you are,” said Elspeth and kissed him. “You are the smartest choice I have ever made.”