I rang the number on the hotel leaflet again using my cell phone, nothing rang in the house. I looked around the house for a land-line telephone and found one. I picked it up, no dial tone but a computer voice telling me how to get reconnected. I unplugged it.
I counted the bedrooms, yep, my memory was OK, there had been only three doubles and one single for guests when I was a kid. Not enough rooms for a busload of tourists and no beds – they were now rotting at the recycling centre.
The next tourist bus came on Wednesday, I had to call the police when they tried to kick the doors in.
My lawyer is a busy man, I had to wait for an appointment. Two weeks, four busloads, three letters demanding money and several wannabe guests later I visited him in Bigtown.
“I checked the hotel register here in Bigtown. I can definitely say that the Copper House is not registered as a hotel and has not been for four years. You have nothing to worry about. I will respond to the letters demanding money and I'll get a court order to stop the town hall in Brasslans harassing you, but that will take some time.”
Early the next morning there was a loud knock on the door, some official wanting to know where Mr and Mrs Sandhaven were. “At the Bigtown cemetery, they're...” “Oh, I see, at a funeral, I'll go there, it's very important...” and away he was.
An hour later he was back and angry. “You didn't tell me that...” “that my aunt and uncle are dead and buried at the cemetery. You didn't let me. You were in a hurry, very important you said, don't you remember?”
“It is important. I am the inspector for hotels and public buildings. Are you the hotel manager? I need to inspect this hotel...”
“No, no, no! I'm not a hotel manager. This is not a hotel. You are not inspecting nothing. Go away!”
An hour later he was back and angrier, he had a policeman with him. The inspector read out a long list of legalese which I did not understand. The policeman said that I had better let the inspector in.
“My name is Yudi and I own this house and this house is not a hotel. My lawyer says that it is not registered as a hotel. Please go away.”
The inspector showed me the hotel registration documents. The address was Copper House, Copper Lane, Brasslans and it was signed by the hotel manager, Jeremy Westchester. Where had I heard that name before?
The inspector checked every room, the policeman stood around bored. “This is the worst hotel I've ever seen, I will arrange a full inspection at soon as possible.” I was pleased when they left.
That evening on my way to the pub I looked at the notice board outside the town hall. There was a very small notice at the very top – the announcement of the election of the mayor and an invitation for candidates signed by the electoral officer. And several much larger notices signed by the Mayor of Brasslans, Jeremy Westchester.