Check In at the Hotel

The hotel clerk was a fat woman. She looked strange, but it wasn’t her corpulence, or the fact that she was sweating, even though the AC must have been set to 18 degrees or lower. Actually, that was it. Did she have some kind of disease? I approached the desk with caution. The count slumped into a nearby chair, newspaper in hand, letting go of our luggage mid stride. It sat awkwardly between us.
‘I have a reservation. Mr Count and Mr Duke.’ Beads of perspiration appeared on the clerk’s forehead as she couldn’t find our names amongst the ruled lines of the reservation book. Glancing at the Count, who by this stage had lowered his newspaper and looked ready to bolt, a small swimming pool erupted on her brow.
‘I-I-I can’t find it,’ she apologised, and I was sure she grew larger still with this admission of defeat. Not wanting a Scene, I set about soothing her. I stood so that I blocked her view of the Count, and murmured pleasantries and hotel names until the sweating subsided. She began to shrink, even. I touched her hand lightly and smiled. It was dry! And I could see the veins – she was shrinking further.
Drowning in self satisfaction as I contemplated my incredible healing abilities, the strangeness of the clerk finally became clear: this woman was nothing less than the physical incarnation of anxiety. Every cell was filled with worry, the blood that pumped through her veins was pumped by a heart of fear. If I didn’t stop this, she would simply shrivel and shrink until she was no more. We had to get out of here. I stopped touching her.
‘Biblical advice to sluggard looking back.’ The count muttered into his newspaper.
‘Biblical advice? I’ll give you all biblical advice: go to hell!’ he screamed, his finger jabbing first at me, then the hotel clerk, then the doorman. The bellboy he grabbed by his shirt front…
‘Not you,’ he said, in a sweet voice that was much worse to listen to than his screams, coming as it did from his rasping whiskey hole at close range. ‘You, you can get me a drink. A tumbler of whiskey. And a mirror.’ The bellboy hesitated.
‘Just do it!’ Charge it to our room, should we ever get one!’ he delivered a hate fuelled squint in my general direction before returning to his newspaper tent.
I shrugged and turned back to the desk clerk. She was shivering with the fright of it all, but I was pleased to see some colour had returned to her cheeks. She was even beginning to sweat again. The count had saved her from possible death at my do gooder hands and he would never even know it.
‘I didn’t ask for a straw! I ought to fire you on the spot. Duke, fire this man!’
I smiled apologetically at the bellboy and returned to the business of securing us a room.

Check In at the Hotel


Joined December 2007

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