The Hurricane in Room 108
The sun was setting on Rothenburg. This picturesque German village, seemingly locked in time by its medieval walls and cobblestone streets, acts as a looking glass into another age All things quaint and nostalgic can be found in Rothenburg. On this particular evening, Sean Nelson could also be found in Rothenburg.
Sean had reached the end of a European journey of self discovery. He had witnessed the sunrise over Paris, hiked the Swiss Alps, learned his tolerance for cheap wine, learned his tolerance for expensive baguettes, and familiarized himself with cultures previously unknown to him. Not bad for sixteen, but tonight was not about adventure or international understanding; tonight was about Sean. So, as his newfound friends desperately tried to squeeze every last drop of new out of their experience, he returned to the hotel.
Here, Sean was faced with his first moments of solitude for weeks—and he loved it. He splurged the euro necessary to buy himself a cold beverage, which was given to him with a complimentary wine glass. Sean had never drank cola from something as prestigious as a wine glass before, and he knew right then and there that tonight was going to be special. Tonight was going to be romantic, even. Upon reaching the top of the antiquated stairs leading from the lobby, Sean found himself at the door of Room 108. In anticipation, he fumbled with the key before finally achieving entry into this most secluded of destinations.
As far as hotel rooms go, it would be hard to find anything of note to complain about in Room 108. It featured five windows overlooking the hustle and bustle of Rothenburg life. Its five windowsills held five flower boxes, which teenage boys definitely care about. Had it been necessary, the room could easily accommodate far more than Sean and his two roommates; in fact, it was almost too much space. Nonetheless, it was the perfect lodging for the end of this perfect adventure. But Sean Nelson did not care for views or volume. Oh no, Sean was all about the bathroom—more specifically, the 12-jet jacuzzi bathtub.
As the tub gradually began to fill with water, Sean did as all quasi-romantic bath takers do: he poured himself a drink, turned on some music, and disrobed. The only way the moment could have been more extravagant was if there had been a path of rose petals leading from the door to the bath, a few tasteful candles, and maybe a harpist in the corner. Sean was going to fall in love with Sean tonight.
The water was a little on the warm side, so Sean hesitantly eased himself into the awaiting tub until he was sitting comfortably in the yet stagnant water. He took a sip of his cola, turned up the music just a tad louder, and turned on the jets. What happened next in this tale all too based in reality can only be genuinely captured with a direct quotation from the man himself:
“Those animals attacked me.”
What had began as a relaxing night of self reflection and contemplation quickly became a night of desperate flailing in an attempt to survive the bathtub hurricane that ensued. Water sprayed the walls and the windows. Water sprayed out over the sides of the tub, dousing the entirety of the bathroom itself. Two jets deliberately placed to massage the feet of would-be guests at the hotel instead sprayed Sean directly in the face with the full force of German luxury.
Miraculously, shameless flailing did the trick: his hand hit the button on the side of the tub and the skies cleared. Sean sat in naked disbelief for several minutes. Baths were not meant to be complicated or threatening. Baths were meant to be an escape from all things complicated or threatening. What could he have possibly done wrong? Determined, Sean sought an answer.
Upon further investigation, he discovered a small dial on the side of the tub. Of course, it was just Sean’s luck that this dial was set to maximum strength. Realizing his mistake, Sean laughed to himself:
Oh, if only Sean knew he was sitting smack dab in the eye of the storm. Our naïve protagonist confidently turned the dial to minimum strength, took another sip of his wine-glassed cola, turned his music back on, and started up the jets. I’ll trust his account of the events to come:
“It was like it went from a 12 to an 11.”
Once again, Sean was akin to a crab fisherman caught in a tempest at sea, the gale whipping his grizzled beard and the torrent soaking through to his old bones. If Sean had had a wife, he would have thought of her longingly in that moment. Her face would have gotten him through the storm. But Sean had no fisherman’s license, no beard, and no wife. Sean was just a sixteen-year-old boy, longing for a bath and some bubbles and hopelessly thrashing his naked body about in a German jacuzzi tub.
Defeated, Sean emerged from his watery grave. He drained the tub, dried himself off, put on some clothes, and proceeded to drink his wine-glassed cola atop one of Room 108’s five windowsills. As the sky fluctuated between shades of orange and gold, Sean found the self reflection he had initially sought. He had learned not to take anything in this life for granted. Life is short. He had learned the importance of learning from one’s mistakes. Never turn the murder tub back on after the murder tub tries to murder you. Most importantly, Sean learned that one should probably fill up a bathtub with more than six inches of water. Most people know that, though. It’s common sense, really—but that’s beside the point. The sun was setting on Rothenburg, and Sean Nelson had survived the storm.
Kyle (18) has always wanted to tell stories. A performer, writer, and artist, Kyle tells us that his piece is, unfortunately, based on very real events. Kyle is currently pursuing a degree in Art and Technology at the University of Oregon and hopes to be a concept artist for movie studios in the future. www.knillustrations.com