imagination, n.: A warehouse of facts, with poet and liar in joint ownership. — Ambrose Bierce (The Devil’s Dictionary)
Writer Ambrose Bierce has the best “bad hotel” story I have heard. After recovering from a head wound received in the Battle of Chickamauga, he caught up again with Sherman’s army following the Batter of Kennesaw Mountain. Being a staff officer, he was entitled to a hotel room, so he checked into the Kennesaw Hotel in Marietta (which is still there). He got his key, was wished a pleasant stay and found his room, only to discover that it was stacked with bodies of dead soldiers from the field hospitals. So, he complained at the front desk and requested a different room, hopefully one that Housekeeping had gotten to. I hope he got extra hotel points and a couple drink vouchers, as well.
Bierce started out as an Indiana farm boy, then upgraded to wartime traumas in the Civil War Indiana boys were used as cannon fodder), to short story writer, to snarky San Francisco journalist extraordinaire (obits were his specialty), and finally to his disappearance in Mexico as a correspondent embedded in the army of Pancho Villa. This is all dutifully reported, in one way or another, in the painting I call “St. Ambrose”. He stands here, magnificently, in Emilio Zapata pose and color, in the glory of Our Lady of Guadalupe, on a pile of dead Civil War hats.
He is not to be confused with the original St. Ambrose (Aurelius Ambrosius, Bishop of Milan). A much different agency is at work here.