Pet Peeves

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Short Story

By Mark Krantz

Short-term lodging (STL) was front and center at a recent City Council meeting. One resident cried, “You can’t make me, as a property owner, rent to only short people.” Another citizen piled on. “It’s discriminatory. I’m tall. Are you telling me that I couldn’t rent to myself because I’d be breaking the view ordinance?” Mayhem broke out. Short people aligned on one side…tall people on the other.

Tensions ran high. The room was on a knife’s edge when a tall person asked a short person to dance. A disco ball never used at the village entrance began spinning slowly to provide a visual balm to the gathering. A quick-thinking councilperson took charge as DJ and announced, “See we can come together as a village. Now let’s turn up the music. Who cares if our neighbors complain? I suspend the noise ordinance. Tonight it’s all about happy feet.”

Peter Blake and Steve Dicterow won as best dancing couple. But when the music stopped, the STL issue continued to reverberate. The City Council reassured exhausted dancers that they had submitted a revised STL ordinance to the California Coastal Commission. The new STL allowed for short-term rentals in its commercial mixed-use zone. A resident having difficulty with his Dr. Scholls inserts asked, “Isn’t the commercial mixed-use zone just another name for Mo Honarkar properties?” A Liberate Laguna advocate spraying foot deodorant around the room to combat the stink responded, “What does that have to do with anything?” The room divided again. Short people aligned on one side…tall people on the other.

Everybody was tired of the dance. They had gone round and round on STLs. Nobody was going to change the other’s view on the subject. Tall people said they could see the future better than short people. Short people countered by saying they were the only ones who could watch their fellow villager’s back. The noise ordinance advocates showed up a step too late to stop the dance noise. They whispered their complaints that no one heard and left disappointed.

The room remained divided. Short people watched each other’s backs. Tall people peered off into an indistinct horizon. “Well, where do we go from here?” asked a frustrated councilperson. Nobody could think of a thing to say. The stares continued. Finally, a person of indeterminate height, neither tall nor short, announced, “It’s 11 o’clock. Checkout time.”

Everyone used express checkout. They couldn’t stand another minute of their stay.

Crantz tells the Indy that his wife supports short-term lodging. He has been asked to leave on multiple occasions. He refuses to go.

 

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