Heading out today for Salmon Arm. Yesterday we had a bit of time off; a chance to get caught up on email, take a quick tour of the Stampede and head off to a very tiny gathering at Pages in Kensington. Let's just say that the chairs outnumbered the aspiring writers by a substantial ratio. But it was a lovely day and we had fun. Thanks to Sonia and the rest of the crew at Pages for hosting us!
We decided to take some time off our drive to Salmon Arm, so hit the road for Canmore last night. It's a pretty drive, and a quick one, so there was still a sliver of daylight in the sky as we pulled into town, at the time talking about a shared favourite scene in a movie.
In this movie, called 1408, John Cusack plays an author who debunks ghost stories for a living. It's taken from a Stephen King novella, and is considered a horror movie because of all that happens to Cusack's character once he meets a truly haunted hotel room.
But King's little in-joke for writers is the scene where his author is faced with a book signing. He walks into a bookstore, and no one recognizes him from his publicity poster. Worse -- there are fifty chairs set out and perhaps three people show up. The quintessential mortification moment.
Back to Canmore.
The intrepid authors pull into town, looking at hotel rooms that backed right on the railroad tracks.
"Well," kc sez, cruising the main drag, "where do you want to stay?"
"D'you think we'll hear the trains if we stay in one of these places?" sez James.
"Nah," sez kc. "We're tired. Let's just find a place and go eat. Which one should we choose?"
"I dunno," sez James. "I guess as long as it doesn't have a room 1402, it'll be okay."
"Ha ha," chortles kc. "We've already had our '1402' moment today."
"You're right," sez James, and they laugh together ruefully. They drive maybe 100 metres. They pass a hotel which happens to back on the train tracks.
"How's that one look?" sez kc. "Did you see a vacancy sign?"
"You're not going to believe this," sez James...
So, of course -- we have to check it out. And the girl at the desk (an Aussie by the name of Jodi, with a tattoo of the 'Made in Australia' logo on the back of her neck) finds us the last two rooms in the place.
We take them.
Then, because she is funny and punchy from a long day at work, we have to tell Jodi the whole 1402 story, including a synopsis of the movie, since she hasn't seen it. (We also warn her that the hotel may, in fact, burn to the ground, due to the presence of the ghosts that we will invariably stir up by our presence.)
This story takes a long time to tell.
Jodi, like us, is wildly impressed. She gives us a BCAA discount on the rooms. (She would have done this anyway, but hey...)
We prepare to depart for the rooms, offering dire (dyer) predictions of our potential doom in Hotel 1402, when the other front desk clerk steps forward.
"I hate to tell you this," he says, and there is true regret in his voice. "But you've made a slight mathematical error. That movie was actually called 1408."
The only thing that haunted either of us all night were the trains that drove, at regular intervals, right through our rooms.
(comic version coming tomorrow. Check out James' version of events here.)