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stars of the moscow circus, robert w. kelley, 1965



“There are five individually decorated guest rooms, two with a fireplace and three with a bath. The North Room features a hooped canopied bed and an assortment of antique pieces, including a washstand, a rocker, a table with lamp, and a ladderback chair; it’s decorated in pale-green trim and the chair rail adds a certain elegance. All the rooms have nice touches—-quilts, embroidered samplers, Shaker boxes, and glass bottles.”

— Marilyn Wood, Wonderful Weekends from New York City Add a Tooltip Text



A young woman (Heather, early thirties) woke up in a double bed with her long-distance boyfriend. They were in a wallpapered room on the third floor of a Victorian Bed-and-Breakfast in middle Pennsylvania. They picked the town from a map, because it was equidistant from New York City (she) and DC (he). Every shelf, tabletop, and mantle in the home boasted ceramic figurines on paper doilies, brass candlesticks, silver-plated hairbrushes, and pillboxes.

For breakfast, supersized cinnamon twists painted with sticky white frosting, droopy bacon, and four cups of terrible coffee. Despite the dullness of the location and the winter weather, there was another couple staying at the B& B. These other guests wanted to chat over breakfast. They both worked in technology and lived in the exurbs of DC. Beltsville.

Bored and anxious, Heather dragged her boyfriend away from the breakfast table. During their “so-longs,” the other couple mentioned a plan to visit a nearby outlet mall.

“You know,” Heather told them. “You aren’t actually getting discounts at the outlet. You’re not paying less for stuff you would otherwise find in a retail store. The companies design and manufacture inferior brands, which are always destined for the outlet malls, from the start.”

Later, up in the room, Heather’s boyfriend wanted to know why she was so unpleasant, even rude, at breakfast. She had a ready answer. “I don’t like cinnamon twists.”

They decided to take a frigid hike on a trail, cut unimaginatively through a bland, state-owned forest. There were no vistas, outlooks, peaks, or waterfalls. It still felt better than sitting around in the B&B, staring at the curio cabinets. In the car on the way back, Heather and her boyfriend talked about going to a movie after lunch. They borrowed the innkeeper’s newspaper, which he had been reading all morning. Nothing she wanted to see.

We don’t have any worries.

We don’t have any worries.

No worries. No worries. No worries.