“Hell yeah we gouge Tourists!” snarled Tome O’Scanlinn — then added, “sometimes literally!” With that, the Editor of the Atlantis Semimonthly Special (ASS) launched into a laughing and coughing jag, spewing Fireball breath at me.
Atlantis City, of course, is “just west” of Ocean Shores; on a clear day, you can almost see it, out there in the distance. At extreme low tide, you can drive there — but I wouldn’t advise it, for a number of reasons that I’ll sum up as:
EVEN MORE SCREWED UP THAN OS.
Views on Tourists, for example. Being even more isolated than Ocean Shores, Atlantis City has a hard-earned reputation for xenophobic Locals who have a complex relationship with visitors.
“Love their money,” as O’Scanlinn put it.
The word “why” wasn’t even out of my mouth when he launched his attack: “They think they’re so smart, with their fancy cars and big houses and computer jobs — and they come here and treat us like country bumpkins. They litter and they leave s–t for us to pick up — and I’m not saying ‘they leave their s–t around’ meaning they leave stuff — they literally leave s–t in the dunes for us to pick up.
“Fourth of July, these javelinas have their annual contest to try to burn the town down, so that’s strike three!” he proclaimed; personally, I had lost count.
“On top of that, all they do is pester you. ‘Where’s the best place to eat? Where’s the best place to get coffee? Where’s the best place to get a beer? Where’s the best place to hang out?’
“Answers: The gas station, the gas station, the gas station and the gas station!”
That was a little harsh, but ….sure, AC is culture-challenged.
Yet the Tourists still wash up there in endless waves.
The Editor more-or-less confirmed that, in the summer months when Seattlites and Tacomans crave the cooling ocean breeze and “quaintness” of a small beach town, even AC’s grungiest motels jack their rates ridiculously — and, it seems, disingenuously.
Tome told me about a Tourist who stopped by the ASS office on his way out of town, complaining he had booked a room for what he thought was a reasonable $99 per night.
He waved a copy of his AC Finest Mowtel checkout bill at the Editor: After a two-night stay, the total was $732.99.
Among the “hidden charges”:
-”Pet fee (even if you don’t got one), $63 per night plus tax”
-”Tsunami Warning Tax, $87 per night plus tax”
-”Breakfast buffet (even if you don’t eat it) $37.50 per person plus tax”
-”Bedbug removal fee (even if you don’t get em) $73.31 per person plus tax”
-”Fire chief got fired fee (don’t ask it’s 2 complicate) $29.99 per person plus tax”
-”Tax figuring tax, $13.33 per person per night plus tax”
The Tourist also complained that, after he and his family couldn’t choke down the stale doughnuts and festering coffee (“made with real local water!”) at the AC Finest Mowtel, then went to the Buccaneer Cafe, where he gave the waitress a $100 bill for a $19.90 check, and the waitress brought him back a dime — insisting he only gave her a $20.
When he complained, the Manager came over and reviewed the bill.
“Sorry, bud,” the Manager said. “Looks like she added this up wrong. You owe us another $7.”
Worst of all, he cried out to the Editor, when he and his bedbug-buffeted family loaded up the car to head back east, he saw scratched into the side of his SUV
GO HOME WE HEAT TOREISTS
“What do you think of that?!” he demanded.
O’Scanlinn shook his head in disgust.
“Typos — I hate ‘em!” he growled.
And, taking the key to the ASS office, he scratched in the corrections.
I went back in side and shook my head, my eyes falling on the pile of papers on Tome’s workspace. I recalled he told me about getting a promotion as I took in his shiny new deskplate: