Watching a lot of TV, as I do, I take a lot of notice of things like adverts. Like the advert for Best Western motels. Where kids can stay for free!
"Can I help you, sir?" said the clerk at the front desk.
"Hello, yes!" I said. "As you can see, I'm a kid who'd like a free room please, like in your advert."
As I said this, I pointed to my incredibly tight-fitting school-boy uniform.
"Sir, you must be kidding. You must be at least twenty years old, and therefore, technically, not a child. But I suspect by your behaviour you have the mind of one."
"I'll have you know I'm twelve years old, my good man."
My voice being higher in pitch was an added bonus of the restrictive clothing, painful though it was.
"Can you prove it?"
"Sure. Ask me a maths question. Something really easy."
The clerk thought for a moment.
"Okay, what's three times twelve?"
I thought for a moment.
"I've no idea. And if you need further proof, my backpack is simply overflowing with schoolbooks, pencils, rulers, and hackysacks."
I pulled the zipper open and a cascade of said items fell to the floor. I ferreted out a hackysack and flipped it from foot to foot.
"Sir, do you have any form of identification?"
Still hackysacking, I pulled out my crazyperson card. It was my last resort.
The man looked at it first with a blank expression, then a frown, a look of disbelief, and finally, one of revelation.
"Will you hold on just one second?"
"Sure," I said.
The clerk made a phone call.
"Hello? Yes. There's a crazyperson here in the lobby - he even has a card to prove it - and he'd like a free room. No, he's not a kid. He's twenty-one years old. Uh-huh. Yes. Okay."
He put down the receiver.
"I'm sorry, Sir, but it can't be done. Either pay for a room or leave before I call security."
I'd encountered security people before. So rather than stick around, I gathered up my books, pencils, rulers, and hackysacks and said:
"Very well. As you don't want my business, I shall go to Holiday Inn - where they're serving free breakfasts!"
But, as I later discovered, it turned out the breakfasts weren't free at all. They wanted me to pay for a room first. Bah! So much for truth in advertising.
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