Once Upon a Time, the Outer Wall of the Castle was Called the Bailey, and It Enclosed Everything

by on February 17, 2024 :: 0 comments

photo "Public Privacy" by Tyler Malone

Bailey’s body cast a big shadow across the property, protecting the castle and the inhabitants in times of attack. That is what I told myself, anyway, when I purchased the property on East Ghouland Avenue in Philadelphia. This magnificent estate, built in 1857, not only included the bailey with a beautiful courtyard, but also a three-story rounded tower with battlement-style parapets on top, making it look like a real castle.

I had always wanted to live in a castle. Like many a starry-eyed maiden, I had been enamored with fairy tales, pining for a kiss from a handsome prince who capably rode a white horse; that is, one which could take me away from the mundane. Not getting either, it is no wonder to me, then, that I wanted to make it happen my way.

At just under a million dollars, it was a stretch for me. Without an evil, hairy troll with amassed wealth by my side, I would need to spin more yarns into gold to meet the mortgage. But I only had one best seller under my belt, and therefore, as my pushy publisher reminded me, the best way to sell a first book is to write a second book.

But you can’t tell Muse when to work. She must be in the mood. She must like what you show her. You must show her your soul.

Because nothing was coming, I got busy decorating the tower. Fortunately, the tower had a separate entrance from the main house, with a winding staircase inside, giving access on each floor to a spacious bedroom with a full bath. I replaced each stairwell door with a heavy, yet decorative fire-door, equipped with a deadbolt to give the illusion of privacy. All of this allowed my dream to become a reality: I had become a super-host of three rentable, fairy tale-themed rooms.

The room on the first floor was made into a dungeon-like space. It had a New Orleans’ French Quarter feel with dark Moroccan rugs on all the walls including the ceiling, pitch-black mahogany flooring throughout, and a bidet adjacent to a glass shower at the edge of the room, no walls around them.

I created the second-floor room with the peasants in mind: two rustic double beds against a mural of a rolling countryside with an untenable castle in the distance. A sofa bed was added to accommodate a family of four or more, giving options for the sleeping arrangements. Because snacks are required to attain the Super Host rating, a basket full of packaged treats sat on the medium-high dresser, along with coffee-bar accessories next to an ordinary coffee pot. The attached bathroom included a motel-room-like bathtub-shower, hedged by a kitschy, see-through patterned curtain of crowns, pearls, and the words God save the Queen all over it.

The third floor was designed with beloved maidens in mind: a canopy bed took center stage, ensconced with sea-green toile which tied loosely at the posts; the marble-everywhere bathroom included whimsical hooks for his-and-her robes, available for purchase by the visiting royalty; exquisite teas and decadent chocolates adorned the dressing table, along with a modern electric water kettle hidden by a table-top mirror. The icing on the cake was that this level featured French doors which opened to a balcony overlooking a bucolic city park.

Of course, to satisfy Muse, I concealed a video camera in each of the rooms to capture everything.…

After all, the material had to come from somewhere, AND, didn’t every story demand the evil ways of a wicked witch?

I knew you’d agree.

editors note:

Home is where we haunt. ~ Tyler Malone

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