A Witness To The Perfect Crime

I’ll be man enough to admit that I was rather emotional leaving College Station the day after the Mississippi State game.

In the weeks leading up to when I first came to Texas, I had my trip all mapped out. Three months later, it was all over. As I took my last glimpse of Kyle Field on that Sunday morning, it marked the end of my journey. My adventure.

Well, not exactly. I still had a night in Houston to negotiate. Oh and a nine and a half hour flight back to London Heathrow in a plane that was probably older than some World War II jets.

Luckily it just about managed to transport me over the Atlantic. I’m now sitting in my flat as I hear hailstones crash against the windows and freeze over.

For it is one thing here in England. Not just cold. It’s effin’ cold.

When I got off the plane, I had made the ultimate rookie mistake. I was still wearing ‘Texas clothes’. Wearing such gear is only going to end in one thing. Hypothermia.

I now stroll around wearing eight coats. Even indoors. It’s not the best of looks, but it’s better than being a wee bit chilly.

It’s a world away from that last Sunday in Houston. I got to top up my tan a little before coming back.

I was staying in a hotel about twenty feet from the runway. Well, it sounded like I was. The place would literally shake every time a plane would come into land. I found it strangely invigorating at first. But after the 300th time, it understandably started to get a little tedious.

That wasn’t my only gripe about this place. When I booked my stay there, I hadn’t realized that it was a ‘pet friendly’ hotel.

You can imagine my surprise when I turned up to check-in at reception. Dogs, cats and even a parrot (yes, a bloody parrot!) outnumbered the amount of people surrounding the front desk.

Regardless, I’d been promised that I’d be put on the ‘humans only’ floor. They used those exact words. Humans only? What if I fancied venturing onto the alien floor? I bet they have some high quality parties up there.

I got on with it. In fairness, I wasn’t in the best of moods. Obviously, I was sad that I’d just left my beloved Aggieland. Secondly, I’d just been mugged off by another taxi driver.

This is an absolute true story, and if you’re not American, pay double attention.

Rewind a month. I was back in Houston. I’d got into a cab and the driver could obviously gage that I was from out of town. When he dropped me off at my destination, he added $10 to what the meter read. Without a doubt, I was questioning it. I was like ‘an extra tenner? How does that work? And why is it not added onto the meter at the start?’ He started to panic that I’d questioned it. The words ‘Houston tax’ were then mumbled. I looked confused. He then finished by saying ‘because I picked you up from Terminal C, you have to pay extra. It all totals to $10 more.’ The strange part was the meter said $18.35. Where did he get EXACTLY $10 from? As soon as the car stopped, he quickly worked out what this tax would be. He’s either a mathematical genius and has gone down the wrong career path or a blatant charlatan.

Like a fool, I ended up paying it. I couldn’t be arsed to make a scene. Like hell was I going to give him a tip though.

Where am I going with this? Well, the next time I got into a Houston taxi, and I’m actually scared to admit this, but I put on what I can only describe as a less than authentic ‘Houstonian accent’ and acted like I was from around town.

Yes, you do start to go a little crazy when you live in a travel inn for three months.

I reached the destination, and guess what? I paid exactly what the meter said. There was no ‘Houston or Terminal C tax’. Just the price that I was meant to pay. Pop, bang, lovely.

On this last day though, I completely forgot to play my part as ‘Texas Josh’. I was back to being a bumbling Englishman. Yet again, I was screwed over. A magical rounded up beefed up price was added to the meter.

The next morning, I was getting ready to leave the ‘humans only’ floor when I noticed something strange by the elevator. In no uncertain terms, it was a poo.

Now, don’t get me wrong, if you’re going to stay in a pet friendly hotel, it’s only natural that you’re probably going to see the odd case of misplaced animal faeces.

But I’d been given some assurances. One being that I’d only be sharing a floor with mankind and I’m not the type of person to question the authorities that run a hotel. Even if I could hear a dog barking next door for most of the night.

So, I took it at face value. There is no way that an animal could have got onto the ‘humans only’ floor, surely? In that case, I could only draw one conclusion.

A human had done his or her business by the elevator. A hit and run. The perfect crime.

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