An Accurate Accounting of the Various Reasons
Why I Should Be Hung


After Antoine’s not so sudden disappearance there arrived as if by miracle a young Italian.
He spoke English with the delightful flexibility and eager fluency of a six year-old, and his
accent gave everything he said a kind of cheerful idiotic charm. I instructed him as to the
nature of the job and he launched into it with bubbly enthusiasm. He did his job well and he
did his job well for something like six or eight months. Then he departed for Italy.

He told us that he would be gone for a week, but emailed us later, from Italy, to say it would
be two weeks instead. Then he emailed us again to say it would be a month, and then…we
never heard from him again.

I think somewhere about that time Sylvie and I were married and the night guy thing fell, as a
kind of wedding gift to us, once again into my lap. So, then I was both desk clerk and night
guy…as I am still today. Ah well, that which does not kill us makes us irritable and maybe just
a little justifiably snappish.

Oh and here’s something of note: after this nice young Italian departed, all the computers in
the place began to freeze up sporadically, and not in the usual way but with an impressive
stubbornness (control/alt./delete did nothing.) While they were being re-instated, re-
configured and coaxed back into action, we discovered that someone had (perhaps
inadvertently) visited and subsequently subscribed to every pornographic site in the internet
universe. We further discovered that most, if not all of these visits had taken place, by
coincidence I’d imagine, between 11 PM and 6 o’clock in the morning. The owner, when he
heard of this, shrugged and—being French—declared dryly, “C’est normal!”

If so, it was the only normal thing associated with the hotel’s night guy replacement efforts.

But that’s neither here nor there. I was back and, though it remains officially unrecognized to
this day, apparently I am irreplaceable. More accurately maybe I should say at least I can’t be
replaced by a part-time whoring, French lumberjack; I can’t be replaced by a fat, belligerent,
red-faced liar who sleeps like the dead; I can’t be replaced by a young Frenchman who,
though he appears normal at first, turns out to be stark raving mad and potentially
dangerous. And I can’t be replaced by a good natured young Italian with a limited English
vocabulary but an unlimited hunger for pornography. I’m sure this would not be recognized
as a significant scientific sample, but that’s the way I summed it up for my wife, and she

Not everybody is cut out for night guy at this small, privately-owned, French hotel.