The Hotel February 27, 2023 on Kenneth Dodrill's blog

Last night was a chore. You might think that drinking in a five-star hotel could never be boring or described as work, but you’d be wrong. Drinking among politicians and celebrities can’t be described as anything other than work. You would think that the drink would be a comfort, but you’re wrong there as well. Fat men and plastic women gossip and demean each other down the halls and into the lobbies. You begin to wonder if you are starting to become one just by being around them. Perhaps you are pulled aside by a group and begin talking about why or how something should happen, or why this person shouldn’t have done this or that. You turn to the bartender. What do you ask for? What is everyone else drinking? Will you be questioned if you turn back to look? You order something simple, you decide. You turn back around, drink in hand. Take a few sips, set the drink down. Others do the same.

You see, it’s really all a game. It’s mostly copying. But how can one copy when one doesn’t have any money? It costs money to get into this game of doing nothing except copying someone else, who must have gotten their idea from the person next to them. It doesn’t matter, you say. These people are fake, and I’m special. I want to use them to do my own good. But what if everyone else here is trying to do that same thing? You had better act quickly. You better move faster than everyone else to copy someone who isn’t all that popular. You’re a better person anyways, and that person doesn’t need any money for his idea. He probably copied it from someone else anyways. He probably didn’t do all the work. He probably doesn’t even want money; he’s just doing it for fun.

So, it’s really just a game, but maybe you can work around the rules to try and get what you want. However, you’re still playing the game. That hits you when you wake up the next morning. How awful, you say. What terrible people. How could they say things like that about people they have never even met? But haven’t you done the same thing? You get up, and take a shower. You get dressed and walk out of the door. The door to the room opposite of you opens up.

You see a small girl. Crazy to think that an almost child can get a hotel room, you think. “Where are your parents?”, you say. The child says nothing, and scrambles down the hall.

It’s about that time, she says. She gets dressed. There is a choice of uniform. One has lace, the other does not. She picks the one without lace as it feels more comfortable. She feels like her hands are starting to feel older as she puts the blazer on. She looks in the mirror and examines herself. There is a single gray hair poking out towards the top of her scalp. She smooths it down a little and opens the door. In the doorframe opposite of her room is a tall man, perhaps the oldest man she has ever seen. He has a large nose and deep wrinkles on his forehead. His hair is shaved almost bald, and there are also many bald patches. He has large glasses on, a red tie with a striped blue vest and a white undershirt. He looks like someone who dresses very nice but also very sloppily at the same time. He looks extremely tired.

His question sinks in a little and she thinks she should’ve chosen the uniform with the lace. She runs down the hall.