Meet a family so dysfunctional, they make the Honey Boo Boo clan look like well-adjusted, productive citizens.
I first met the Wests in December of 1999, as the world was gearing up for the New Millennium. Prince’s song was being played on a maddening, soul-crushing loop on every single station and the world was slightly more out-of-whack than usual.
Enter a family so nutty, squirrels followed them everywhere.
The best thing about unhinged guests is their willingness to bare their souls to strangers. Of course, they had no idea they were laying their secrets on the metaphorical table by simply being themselves, but in this day and age we yearn to be known and so we unknowingly broadcast every aspect of our lives to anyone willing to pay attention.
(Incidentally, the best thing about a metaphorical table? It never has a wobbly leg, there’s always room for one more and it fits nicely in any room. Okay, that’s actually three things. Sue me.)
A few minutes of examination from the other side of a luggage cart coupled with chatty rugrats told me all I needed to know about the Wests.
Dad was a philandering drunk with a taste for under-age strippers. His breath and sunken eyes were the unmistakable result of a life spent emptying bottles and he bragged of “bagging dozens of junior peelers back home” after picking my brain for the location of the most superior strip clubs the city of Niagara Falls has to offer.
Mom was a blackmailer. “Mommy got $10,000 from her boss!” her youngest boy, Ricky Bobby (I swear to God), declared while his progenitors checked-in on her employer’s dime. “He gave it to her to shut the hell up about things that should have remained behind closed doors and under the desk!” Needless to say, he took a heck of a hit in the back of the little noggin once Mommy caught wind of his disclosure.
Her sister/nanny was more twisted than a pretzel. Mom and Dad beat a hasty retreat to park the car, leaving sis in charge of wrangling the young’uns. However, her wrangling skills left something to be desired; as she directed my efforts, the youngsters pillaged their creator’s suitcase. Upon discovering Mommy’s strap-on “personal massager”, Ricky Bobby took to chasing Becky Sue (I swear, I’m not clever enough to make this stuff up), around the suite, before finally cornering her and… well, we’re all grown-ups here so a mental picture has already formed, right?
“Hey, boy! Stop dry humping your sister with your mom’s boyfriend!” was Sister West’s response.
If you’re like me, gang, two questions immediately spring to mind:
1) “What is a supposedly straight, married mother of three doing with a strap-on?”
And the even more disturbing…
2) “Why did she bring it on a family vacation?”
Well, those are logical, coherent, perfectly reasonable questions.
And much like Sheldon Cooper would, I reject them both. Unfortunately for all of us, Mom and Dad West returned at that moment, witnessed the carnage unfolding in the suite, shoved some hush money, I mean my tip, into my hands and shoved me out the door faster than you can say “Are you kiddin’ me, Hook?” and that was that.
Forget logic, kids, especially when it comes to examining the lives of rednecks with cash. My apologies for any frustration you may be experiencing but this twisted tale is a perfect example of how my shift unfolds. I get snippets of info about my guests, not reams of information. I get a glimpse of their naughty sides, not the full monty.
But even a piece can be quite satisfying – and simultaneously disturbing – at times. I feel for you though, so here’s another tidbit from my memory banks as a consolation prize.
Telephonic Interlude: The Bell Desk
The Niagara region, my home and native land, has it’s share of attractions, but sometimes the Greatest Show on Earth can be found at the Bell Desk.
Especially if I’m manning the phone…
ME: Bell Desk, Robert speaking. How may I help you?
Now, put yourself in the role of a guest standing near my desk. And in case you’re wondering (after all, you do have a curious and agile mind), my Bell Desk isn’t an actual desk, nor is it equipped with scanners or a weapons system. (But wouldn’t that be sooo cool?) It is however, four-feet high with a dark marble counter-top and a desk lamp with a ridiculously-tilted shade that I “acquired” from storage – for a bit of character, naturally.
But back to hypothetical you: You’re waiting for someone. (It could be a spouse, some friends, three prostitutes you’ve hired to dress as naughty librarians and instructed to Dewey your decimal system until you pass out… or something like that. The choice is yours. What?) Turns out, Mistress Fate has smiled upon you; you get to hear one side of a typical
phone call between myself and one of God’s “special little guests”.
ME (JUST ME): What was that, sir? She’s seething with rage? That usually doesn’t happen until the bill arrives… Yes, yes that was a feeble attempt at humor, I agree, sir. I’m off my game slightly today, I have to admit… Yes, we can get back to your wife’s uncontrollable rage, sir… You should be fine as long as she doesn’t turn green.
There was a lengthy pause while he pondered the significance of my comic book reference – and while he no doubt questioned the wisdom of his vacation destination. Finally, he returned for another go-round.
ME: Yes, that was a Hulk reference. Very good, sir! … No, I haven’t forgotten about your wife… Yes, I can hear her, she sounds like quite an unhappy person at the moment… Okay, we’ll go with “psycho bitch”, if you like.
Another pause followed. Apparently his spouse had very acute hearing.
ME: What’s that? She heard you, did she? … And now she’s really ticked… Okay, why don’t you tell me exactly what happened, sir.
He drew a deep breath and began to recount his tale of a lustful rendezvous gone horribly awry.
ME: Yes, Niagara Falls is a very romantic destination, sir… For sex play? Yes, I suppose so… Our showers? … I’m not familiar with how much force the shower head can withstand, I’m afraid… No, we’ve never tested our showers under those particular circumstances… Well, I don’t exactly know why, but I’m guessing the Canadian labor laws prohibit employees from engaging in rough sex in hotel showers, sir… Yes, even under those circumstances.
[About the hotel’s showers: The needs of those travelers who use the shower for activities other than cleaning themselves were apparently ignored during the design process, and so any carnal activities conducted in said showers are limited by space. To be clear, I’m referring to certain amateur Olympic water sports. Namely, the Aquatic Broad Jump.]
Returning to the aquatic debacle: It was at that moment that I realized – as I’m sure you have – that things had gone completely off the rails. The growing audience at my desk didn’t help matters, either. It was time to wrap things up.
AN EXHAUSTED ME: Okay, I think I have a pretty good idea of what’s transpired in your room, sir… Transpired… It means “happened”… Never mind, sir. Let me ask you this: is your wife in any pain?
He actually paused our conversation to ask his spouse that which should have been obvious. It did not go well.
ME: Yes, she certainly sounds royally pissed, sir. I haven’t heard language like that since… well, ever, to be honest. Why don’t I send someone from Security to check her out… I’m sorry, sir. You want to discuss compensation?
No, you’re meds aren’t fading, you read that right, my friends. This yutz wanted know whether or not the hotel was going to discount his rate to make up for his “suffering”. This guy was dreaming, of course. If the hotel compensated every guest that failed to achieve orgasm during their stay, they’d be bankrupt in a week. All the while, his wife was clearly hurting after their failed semi-aquatic adventure.
ME: (Stunned, but hanging in there.) As far as compensation is concerned, sir, you’d have to speak to a Front Desk manager… No, this is the Bell Desk. No… we can’t fix your phone, sir, we handle your bags when you arrive…. No, by bags, I meant your luggage, sir.
My lobby audience exploded with laughter.
ME: I tell you what, sir, I’ll have a manager contact you… Yes, I’ll tell him about your “psycho bitch” wife… Yes, of course I’ll have Maintenance look into reinforcing the showers. I’ll also have Security come up and check your wife out…
A thunderous crash, most likely from a glass being hurled across the room traveled across the line with sparkling clarity.
ME: And why don’t I send Housekeeping as well?
Postscript: Follow-up conversations with my fellow minimum wage slaves revealed two intriguing nuggets of info:
1) There is a young, nubile minx in Housekeeping who can… Well, let’s just leave the rest to your fertile imaginations, shall we?
And more relevant to our current topic…
B) It turns out my guests, let’s call them “Doug and Wendy Whiner”, were indeed let down by their shower head. However, in the hotel’s defense, our plumbing fixtures were not designed to support the full weight of a neoprene restraint collar – and the insanely-randy adult it’s attached to.
Additionally, the Whiners brought several literal love handles with them (the last few years have seen some amazing innovations in the field of shower sex with several impressive suction cup handles emerging to allow people to get simultaneously clean and dirty), but again, the hotel’s showers were not designed to accommodate the space such devices require.
In retrospect, Wendy Whiner was lucky her injuries were limited to a sprained ankle and several incidents of traveler’s rage; dying in the shower while engaged in rough sex would have been too Hollywood for a soccer mom.
Thus ends our interlude from the world you know.. Say what you will about the tacky gift shops and the various tourist traps, Niagara Falls is never boring, kids.
See you in the lobby…