Friday, January 2, 2009

A Tale of Two Flies

Costa Rica, Night #13
An account of the happenings in room 6 of our San Jose hostel from the perspective of Charles, the fly on the wall.

7:30 pm I've lucked out.  After months of trying to make my habitation filthy enough to be fit for a fly, I've finally encountered roommates who will only improve my dwelling space.  Three greasy girls have joined me, complete with dusty luggage and mounds of dirty clothes.  As luck would have it, they haven't showered in days!  I am dreading the day they leave and disgustingly clean travelers replace them.  

8:30 pm  My new roommates got ready for bed.  Fortunately this involved putting on smelly pajamas and did not involve showering.  Unfortunately, their bedtime ritual revealed a weakness I did not anticipate.  They pulled back their sheets and began scouring every inch of their musty beds so they could remove any bugs, hairs or other delightful discoveries.  Of all the nerve.  Their search exposed  four boogers I strategically placed in two of the bunks. Pathetically, they requested clean sheets.  I can't figure these grungy girls out.  They are a bit of a contradiction.

10:30 pm The girls have been trying to sleep for an hour now.  Lamentably, their bedtime conversation has revealed a distaste for all things I find bright and beautiful.  They actually had the audacity to complain about the delightful aroma of cat urine that fills the room!  
11:00 pm Finally.  The girls have fallen asleep.  It took them awhile to doze off because of the sounds of other travelers coming in and out of the front lobby (sound certainly travels well in this hostel!) and using the community bathroom next to their room.  

12:30 am Sweet success.  The girls continue to sleep soundly, giving me time to undo some of the damage they did during their bedtime ritual.  I'm beginning to look forward to their departure.

Costa Rica, Night #13
An account of the happenings in the hostel lobby, 30 yards from room 6, from the perspective of Dickens, another fly on the wall.

7:30 pm A swarm of travelers arrived, trekking in dust from the busy city street and letting in a blast of exhaust from a passing bus.  This night is off to a great start.  The lobby has always been a bit too pristine for my liking.

8:30 pm The hostel owner is out of town fulfilling his responsibilities on a search and rescue team, so his wife and friend are holding down the fort in his absence.  I am taking advantage of his absence by trying to lay eggs in, and therefore improving, the bags of bread the owner will use for breakfast tomorrow.

10:30 pm  Travelers milled about the lobby, acquainting themselves with each other as they discussed their evening plans.  

11:25 pm The lobby cleared out, leaving the owner's friend and wife to get things in order. 
11:30 pm Three young men knocked on the locked door just outside the lobby.  Assuming they were unexpected travelers seeking lodging, the wife unlocked the door.  The travelers shoved past her and began raiding the cash box and grabbing nearby laptops and the tv.  I froze in my corner on the ceiling, trembling with fear as I tried to remain inconspicuous.  My hopes rose however, as I watched as the wife quietly called the police below me.  

11:31 pm The police immediately arrived on the scene, but were completely unprepared for what they found.  Their moment's hesitation was all the thieves needed.  One of the thieves pulled out his gun and shot the officer in the head and chest.  My wings quivered and I grew faint at the sound of the three bullet shots ricocheting throughout the neighborhood.  The echo of the shots was interrupted by the sound of squealing tires as the getaway car sped off, leaving the thieves standing over the wounded officer.  

11:32 pm Shocked and paralyzed with fear, the female officer began screaming frantically.  Amidst the noise, the thieves bolted and ran down the street.  Several more officers arrived on the scene and chased them down, catching everyone but the man in the getaway car.  

12:30 am About twenty cops arrived and shut down the entire street.  The wounded cop is in the hospital recovering.  Things are calmer now and I am counting my blessings.  My wings are in tact, I still have all of my legs, and in the chaos the hostel owners have forgotten to clean up the dirty treks in the entryway. 

Epilogue: A Tale of Two Flies is true.  Without Dickens' account of that night, we would have never known about the shooting, so calm and uneventful was our sleep on December 30th, 2008.  We can't be sure because there are no eyewitnesses, but we think there may have been angel warriors lining the hallway that night, keeping watch over our room.  We're also speculating that the angel barrier was soundproof, because that night the most terrifying sound we heard was the flushing of the toilet.  

"If you make the Most High your dwelling--even the Lord, who is my refuge--then no harm will befall you, no disaster will come near your tent.  For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways; they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone."
Psalm 91:9-12


  1. Oh my goodness! Praise God for your safety. Prayers being sent for all who were a part of that horribleness!

  2. Oh. My. Goodness. I'm so thankful you were so protected, and saddened for the families of the officer and hostel owner. You are such a compelling writer, Sarah, and I was so caught up in your story that the shocking part of it truly was a shock. So glad for those angels. We can only imagine their activities on our behalf on a daily basis.