The Sauna that Never Was

The small sauna behind Peter’s country villa was the major victim of the massive editing that reduced the original story from 210K words to around 160K.

In the first version of the book, Megan asks Peter if the sauna still works. He says he’s never attempted to use it but will investigate if Megan’s interested. She is, so Peter spends most of one afternoon cleaning out the flues and vents, removing cobwebs and old birds’ nests, and checking the electrical wiring. The only thing that doesn’t work is the thermometer on the wall.

Megan and Peter enjoy a cleansing steambath and return to the villa for a shower when they begin to feel the onset of heatstroke.

But that’s not the end of the story. Later on, when Peter and Megan are discussing the possibility of their pursuers finding the villa, they decide that the sauna is the only place that would serve as a refuge. They consider placing a rusty lock on the front door and crawling in through a small ventilation window at the back—a window almost completely hidden by overgrown bushes and stacks of firewood.

They plan to lay in a stock of food, water, blankets, and even a small chemical toilet but it all proves unnecessary when the pursuers turn their attention elsewhere.

A side-story that I enjoyed writing but which had little or no influence on the main plot. Hence the decision to bid it farewell.

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