“Open Letter to Sherwood Forest Inn” by Wendy Rainey


Sherwood Forest Inn,

Your sign advertises hot fantasies. But before I address the issue of your lack of them, I want to talk about how disappointed I was when I walked into your establishment and found not a trace of Robin Hood, the Sheriff of Nottingham, Maid Marian, Friar Tuck, or even Little John. Nor did I find anything to suggest that your place of business resides on or anywhere near the royal forest in Nottinghamshire or the surrounding kingdom of Northumbria. Your close proximity to Disneyland and Knott’s Berry Farm is a dismal substitute for a forest that has been in existence since the end of the ice age. I did not appreciate your misquote of Robin Hood in the sign above your bar, “rob from the rich and give to the whore.” Furthermore, your use of the word “inn” perplexes me. This word conjures up a picture of an open hearth. It suggests a place where a traveler can hitch his horse, get a pint of ale, and warm his body by the fire. Where was the mutton stew simmering in the caste iron pot? Where was the fresh baked bread just out of the brick oven, smothered in melting butter?

Sherwood Forest Inn, I had envisioned a room with a bed with a goose down mattress and a woolen blanket. And when I lay my weary bones down to go to sleep I’d look out the moonlit window and see winter’s first snow blanketing the ancient Saxon forest. It is a forest of 1,000- year-old oak trees that stand majestically outside the window and stretch on as far as the eye can see.

The hot fantasy would be dreams of the virgin beer maid’s bosom spilling out of her bodice and several nude forest nymphs in a forbidden pagan dance at the stroke of midnight.

To recap, my expectations were not met. I had anticipated a magical experience from a place called Sherwood Forest Inn. But all I got was a bowl of stale nuts and a few watered down drinks served by unbathed prostitutes, in a dive that smelled of bacon grease and vomit. I think you’d better change your goddamned name, Sherwood Forest Inn, because I am not about to lower my standards.


Wendy Rainey


Wendy Rainey’s works have appeared in Chiron Review, Carnival Literary Magazine, and many other journals. She has read her work at Hotel Café in Hollywood, Grand Performances in Los Angeles, Mount San Antonio College Literary Festival, and San Gabriel Valley Literary Festival. She is the founding poetry editor of Cultural Weekly, one of three poetry editors on Chiron Review, and is a four time Pushcart Prize nominee.