The Writer Had Flair
By Joan MacIntosh
“The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.” That was the title of the Airbnb review. Carolyn chuckled as she scrolled down the page on her laptop. She was scanning advertisements for accommodation in South Florida when she spotted the post. Carolyn had rented the same house in the Florida Keys, the year before.
“The Good,” the reviewer described, was the private location of the seaside house. There was a sunroom and decks. A boardwalk led down a shaded path to the ocean.
Yes, Carolyn agreed in her mind. The outdoor spaces were fine, if you didn’t mind the rotten planks or the beer cans in the shrubbery. It was true, she mused, reading the list of good points. There were plenty of towels stored in baskets in the Florida room. Graceful paintings of sailboats, whales and mermaids decorated the walls. A lime green futon was artfully enclosed by curtains for extra sleeping space in the porch.
“The Bad," according to the review, was the way the pool heater failed to work. The advertised beach umbrellas and hot tub just weren’t there. The sun blazed relentlessly.
Carolyn remembered the long wharf. She had watched small sharks gliding lithely through the water before she became too hot.
Then there was the house owner, the reviewer revealed. The woman’s attitude was “take it or leave it. She made excuses about the pool-heater and the absence of umbrellas and hot tub.”
The house was for sale, after all, Carolyn observed. The owner wanted to sell but was having trouble finding a purchaser. One day, during Carolyn’s stay, a cadre of potential buyers came to look the place over. They tip-toed around the house like they were attending a wake. Carolyn glanced up from her book, annoyed at the intrusion.
“The Ugly," Carolyn read, laughing aloud, were the rats. “Big ones,” the post added ominously. Carolyn remembered the determined gnawing on the window frames outside her bedroom at night. Oversize black boxes were a telling presence on the pool deck. Rat droppings coated the outdoor flooring.
“The house-owner was blasé about the rats," the review condemned indignantly. “It was a fact of life in the tropics, she claimed. She wasn’t concerned about the hygiene issues.”
Carolyn remembered the prickly tone of the homeowner’s e-mails. Pages were torn out of the guest book. Only glowing reports were left intact.
“The Florida Keys have a lot to offer”, the review concluded, “but there won’t be a return trip to this property.”
Carolyn bookmarked the website with a decisive click. The review was fair, she decided. How clever to entitle it, “The Good, the Bad, and The Ugly.” The writer had flair, she mused admiringly. She could hardly wait to see what the home-owner wrote back!
Joan MacIntosh lives in St. John's, NL, Canada and writes poetry and prose. Her work has been previously published in Understory, Leafpress and others.