Thursday, March 8, 2012

tales of the hotel st crispian, chapter 49: "the night clerk"

by Horace P. Sternwall

edited by Dan Leo*

illustrated by roy dismas, rhoda penmarq and konrad kraus

*Associate Professor of Classics and Medieval Gender Studies, Olney Community College; editor of Galaxy of the Damned: 37 “Lost” Science Fiction Stories by Horace P. Sternwall; Olney Community College Press, “The Sternwall Project”.







Most people didn’t like to work nights, but Roland did. 

Of course he would prefer not to work at all, but since he had to work, Roland preferred working nights. The Hotel St Crispian had three shifts for the front desk, 8 AM to 4 PM, 4 PM to midnight, midnight to 8 AM. Roland’s favorite shift was midnight to 8 AM, the so-called graveyard shift. But the hotel was anything but a graveyard during those eight hours after midnight. In a strange way the hotel was more alive than ever during those hours. Sure, there were fewer people coming and going, the place was quieter, but up in the rooms there was always lots of stuff going on. Maybe out in the world people were sleeping the sleep of the just or of the unjust or lying in their beds staring at the ceiling fighting off despair, but in the hotel there were plenty of people doing anything but sleeping.



Sitting behind his desk in the wee hours Roland felt that he could feel the vibrations of all those people in all those rooms above his head. They all had a story. Every single one of them. They all had a life.

His phone would ring. Somebody wanted something. Nobody would ring unless they wanted something. Roland would pick up the phone and they would tell him what they wanted. If he could, he would help them. That was his job. He was the night clerk.




When morning came he would clock out, put on his coat and leave. 






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