Sunday, 22 July 2007

My Week In Dallas - Day 4: Thursday part 3

Oh, and I almost forgot - I got back to my hotel room just after the pyjama party and was just settling down to jot a few things down in my notebook when I heard a noise like a police car siren - going off inside my room! Then a big booming voice informed me that there was an emergency in the hotel and would I please evacuate using the exit staircase. Oh my goodness, did my adrenaline go into overdrive!

I grabbed my handbag (I know you are supposed to leave stuff like that behind, but it was right near the bed and I didn't want to be stranded with a frazzled passport) and went out into the hallway where there was a strong smell of burning - like an electrical, burnt-plastic kind of smell. A security guard appeared and informed the bemused guests that it was all under control, it was only a short-circuited wire in the exit stairwell, and we could go back to our rooms.

I did so, but the alarm continued to sound for at least another five minutes. I started to get worried again and poked my head into the corridor, where I found a few more people with furrowed brows, cleary wondering (as I was) whether they should just find the nearest emergency exit anyway. As we discussed our options we decided that, as writers, the continuing alarm was bad news. Our what if engines whirred into life - What if the problem had spread? What if there was another fire somwhere else and the alarm had nothing to do with the tiny smouldering wire in the stairwell? You get the picture...

My imaginiation doesn't need much encouragement to run away with itself. Most of the time it's halfway there and straining at the brakes anyway. Eventually, the large, gruff-voiced security man (think Men In Black) reappeared and told us it was fine to go back into our rooms. The alarm would stop as soon as the smoke had cleared in the stairwell. I went back to my room, but kept my handbag right next to the bed, just in case. A few minutes later the arm stopped. Phew. Then I just had to wait for the adrenaline to wear off so I could go to sleep.

Oh, and by the way, have you noticed how fast my word counter thingy is going up at the moment? This story is so rollercoasting towards the end. Just hope I haven't jinxed it by saying that...Well, I haven't, because I don't believe in jinxes. Back to the work in progress...

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