A supposedly random building inspection by various authorities at large resulted in a temporary closure of Hotel Julian due to multiple code violations: plumbing, electrical, health – the grammar of business, industry, and construction. Because of the hourly, daily, and weekly services the hotel historically provided, the clientele the hotel attracted consisted primarily of maritime workers or fleet members in a time of severe housing shortages, but its purpose also aided in the growth of a culture of nomadic, vagrant, loitering, independent, outlier peoples arising over the years in its immediate environs. That culture was, come and go, at times more active than others, evident in weekend sidewalk and local park arts and crafts fairs and farmers markets, music busking evenings in parks and outside restaurants and taverns, a monthly swap meet at a defunct outdoor drive-in movie theatre, a local free medical clinic, underground crash pads and overcrowding of rental houses. Also, in panhandling and promiscuous drug use, prostitution, and petty crime incidents some members of the community were alarmed by, and the hotel was often the subject of debate and scapegoating at meetings of local neighborhood and business associations who put pressure on the local government institutions to crack down on illicit behavior. Following the most recent inspection, Minerva was served papers and this property condemned was suddenly a real possibility. At the same time, local gentrification opportunities resulted in her receiving two competing unsolicited offers to purchase the hotel – for demolition. She called for an unprecedented meeting with Julian and the entire hotel staff as well as the proprietors and employees of the ground floor businesses. Rumor had it, she was going to drop out and sell.
“Code Violations” is episode 40 of Inventories
a Novel in Progress in Serial Format at The Coming of the Toads.
(Click link for continuous, one page view of all episodes.)
Note: With episode 30, the title of the novel was changed
from the original working title of “Ball Lightning” to Inventories.