Submission Transmitted

For future tracking. Submitted to The First Line.

Stuck in San Jose

I almost feel as if Tom Bodett has let me down somehow. I went down to San Jose, but planning was so late that my hotel choices were a) a $400 hotel, b) a Hampton Inn 22 miles away, or c) a Motel 6.

Now, the customer was paying, but I definitely didn't want to do that drive every day and the difference between $400 and $65 was hard for me to justify. Would the other hotel have been six times better than the Motel 6?

Yes. It would have. The Motel 6 shower head came out at my chin, the room was dirty, and there was no shampoo. But at least the police visited the parking lot every hour or so.

Sometimes, you just feel stuck.

Harvest (Jim Crace)

Two twists of smoke at a time of year too warm for cottage fires surprise us at first light, or they at least surprise those of us who've not been up to mischief in the dark.

A Squirrel in Chesapeake, VA

The world is growing small. I've been to Chesapeake before. I'm pretty sure I stayed in the same hotel many years ago. Am I running out of places I've not worked? Perhaps I'm just growing weary.

Still, this is the first Wee Toaty Explorer to visit Virginia.

All I can really say about this one is: squirrels like nuts.

One Good Turn (Kate Atkinson)

He was lost. He wasn't used to being lost.

Under the Harrow (Mark Dunn)

It has been said that a slow child is an inconvenience to its parents; a slow and ill-countenanced child, and unhappy burden; and a slow, ill-countenanced, and fractious child a veritable curse.