You can now find the fourth in the series of “Hotel Stories”, Britches, published on Amazon as part of Hotel Stories: The Complete Collection.
I’ve written about Britches in a previous post, including the fact that it features a rather attractive Scot in a kilt; so I won’t say any more about it now. Let’s get straight into the action with an excerpt from the start of the story.
A short story by Robert Pimm
‘The music is too loud.’
‘I beg your pardon, sir?’
‘You are kidding me, right?’ The customer in the dressing gown peers at my name badge. ‘Tatiana.’
‘No, sir, of course I am not kidding you. But I cannot hear you too good.’
The man is narrowing his eyes. I think he is deciding whether it is worth being angry with someone so unimportant as me.
‘OK Tatiana. You can’t hear me because the music is too loud. Is that correct?’
‘And this is a five star hotel, right? With five star prices?’
I do not know what a five star hotel is or what five star prices are, but I know that the man in the dressing gown is a customer so I agree with him. ‘Yes, sir.’
‘And do I pay five-star prices to be woken up by a disco at 3 a.m?’
‘So will you please get them to turn the music down, or even off? Now?’
I turn around before he can say anything else and enter the Dionysus Bar, which we call inside the hotel our BLV, for Basement Luxury Venue. The customer cannot follow me because the door to the BLV is guarded by Nigel, our Duty Security Manager, and two of his famous assistants with legs like tree trunks. In my opinion they have brains like tree trunks also, although no-one says this to them.
I am guessing that the customer in the dressing gown is not invited to the event in the BLV, even though he is coming from a rich western country. This is maybe one reason why he is so upset about the noise.
I also am not an invited guest, even though I am coming from a poor village far from the historic capital of our beautiful country. But I can enter because I work in the food and beverages team of our hotel. It is my job tonight to welcome guests and make sure they have their first drink within thirty seconds of entering the BLV.
The normal service standard for providing guests their drinks when they enter the Dionysus Bar of our hotel is one minute, because this is a Luxury Venue and all our customers are special.
But tonight we are serving the drinks a whole thirty seconds faster than normal. This is because tonight’s party is a birthday celebration for a customer who is even more special than the others and it is important that we do everything in our power to make him happy.
Before I am entering the BLV, the music is loud enough that I am not being able to hear the customer in the dressing gown. Now I am inside, it is so loud I am touching my ears to see if they are bleeding and I am wondering if perhaps I will never hear any customer, or anything else, ever again.
But the condition of my ears is not important because the request from the customer in the dressing down to turn the music down, or even off, has put me in a difficult position.
Inside the Dionysus Bar, maybe eighty people are partying. Partying is a new word which I have learned in English since I started working in this hotel three weeks ago. What it means in the Dionysus Bar is that some women wearing small red thong-type underwear, red high-heeled shoes and nothing else are standing on bistro tables moving their bodies in time to the too-loud music.
I am hoping that these bistro tables are fixed to the floor or there may be an accident.
The guest women, who are not standing on the tables, are wearing what I am learning to call designer clothing. This is a funny name because so far as I can see all clothing must be designed by somebody. The women in this designer clothing are standing in groups around other bistro tables and drinking tall thin glasses of a drink called Dom Perignon. I have not tried this drink but have been serving it to them all night on trays which we have been told we must not drop because they are made of solid silver.
More women, also wearing the so-called designer clothes, are dancing on the floor near the bistro tables. They seem to be smiling at each other, but it is hard to be sure. This is because many of them have strange, tight faces with sharp noses and big lips and it seems that any other expression except a smile may make their skin burst apart with the effort.
The fact it is hard to tell if the women are really smiling is a problem for me because I need to find someone friendly to ask about turning the music down, or even off. So I am pleased when I see leaning against the bar a woman who is definitely smiling. In fact, her mouth is stretched into one of the biggest smiles I have ever seen.
The woman is wearing a long dress of which the top part is sticking closely to her upper body and seems to be made entirely out of silver, as shiny as the trays on which we are serving the drinks. Also, the parts of her upper body to which the silver is sticking closely are generous in the way which many men are liking. So at first I am not surprised that she is smiling.
I am also thinking that perhaps I have seen this woman somewhere before.
But when I am getting closer I am seeing that her eyes are not smiling.
In fact I do not think that I have ever seen eyes so sad as hers.
For a moment I am staring at the woman in the silver dress, even though this is not the professional behaviour I have been taught when I joined the hotel. I am even thinking that maybe I should ask her why she is so sad, even though this would be inappropriate.
But before I can speak to her someone grabs me from behind and starts pulling me in the opposite direction.
A man is holding my wrist so hard that it hurts. I do not say anything because I am certain he is one of our customers and it would not be appropriate for me to shout in protest or to punch him in the face. He is pulling me backwards behind him through the crowd as if he does not care if I might trip, or fall.
So I try to relax and to focus on my task, which is to turn the music down, or even off. As I am being dragged I examine the people I am being dragged past in case they can help me. Most of the men have more white hair than the women, but their noses are not so sharp and their lips are less stretched. They are dressed in black suits with black or white open-necked shirts and some of them have what look like small white moustaches. But when I look closer I see that they have dabs of white powder under their nose as if they have cut themselves shaving.
It is as if there has been a bad-shaving massacre in the Basement Luxury Venue.
We stop by another bistro table on which a person is dancing.
But this time the dancer is a man.
The man dancing on the bistro table is young and wears black trousers and a white shirt and is holding a bottle of the Dom Perignon drink in one hand. He too has a white moustache and his table is surrounded by a crowd of people who are dancing and shouting up at him and smiling as if he is the most wonderful man they have ever met. Actually he is dancing well and in time with the music and with a lot of energy and he is shouting back at the people around him.
Of course I cannot hear what anyone is saying because the music is making me deaf, perhaps for ever. But slowly I begin to understand what the dancing man and the people around him are shouting.
They are shouting ‘Louder! Louder!’
So I am thinking again that probably these are not people I can ask to turn the music down, or even off.
The man who has been holding my wrist begins to say something to the man dancing on the bistro table. At first the man on the table does not notice and goes on shouting ‘Louder! Louder!’ and I see his white moustache goes all the way to the end of his nose.
Then suddenly he is bending down and shouting ‘Yes! Yes! Yes!’ and someone is pushing a chair into the back of my legs and someone else is pushing me up onto the table where I am forced to grab hold of the dancing man’s waist to stop myself falling back down to the floor.
Of course there is not room on this table for one person, let alone two, and I am wondering again how firmly the table is fixed to the ground. But the man is pulling me close to him to make use of what little space there is and I can feel his lips on my ear and I am thinking maybe he is going to kiss me and then I feel his slimy tongue inside my ear and I am feeling sick. Then for a moment the tongue is gone and I hear him speaking in my own language
‘Hey, pretty waitress,’ he says. ‘It’s time for you to…’
Actually I do not wish to repeat what he says it is time for me to do because I am not used to saying these words or even hearing them. Also, I am thinking that to stand on a bistro table with this man, even without doing the things he is talking about, is inappropriate.
I am also thinking that my chances of turning the music down, or even off, are not looking good; and that the customer in the dressing gown who is probably still waiting outside is going to be disappointed.
Because the man who is sticking his tongue in my ear is the owner of the hotel, Mr Minas, and this is his birthday party.
I, on the other hand, am a waitress. I have been working in the hotel for only three weeks. It is not my birthday.
In addition to our hotel, Mr Minas is owning our country’s largest chain of service stations, our monopoly car-import business, our steel plant, our mobile telephone company, our biggest bank, our oil- and gas-trading company, a university named after himself, and a hospital with world-class doctors named after his father-in-law, our democratic and incorruptible President Abdullatov.
I am owning, the last time I checked, nothing at all. Even the uniform I am wearing is belonging to the hotel and I must pay for this from my first month’s wages, when I am receiving them at the end of next week.
The thought that I am not fulfilling the needs of my customer in the dressing gown, and the slimy feeling of the tongue of Mr Minas in my ear, and the fact I am not even owning the clothes I am wearing, make me feel sad.
So when I see the woman in the silver dress looking up at me with her awful sad eyes I find that my cheeks are wet with tears.
Then things are getting worse.
I am feeling that something is pressing against me and when I am looking down I am seeing that the hands of Mr Minas are on his trousers as if perhaps he is thinking of opening them and taking something out.
At first I am thinking it is not possible that Mr Minas, the owner of our hotel, will take something out of his trousers while standing on a bistro table at his own birthday party in the Basement Luxury Venue. But then I am remembering that he is the owner of our hotel and many other things and already he is sticking his tongue in my ear and telling me to do something I do not wish to do or even think about. So perhaps he is thinking that in his own hotel he can do whatever he wants.
In my panic I look around the room and see a small woman wearing high heels and the grey suit of a member of the hotel management standing at the entrance to the BLV with her head to one side, as if she is surprised by what she is seeing.
I have never seen this woman before, and I do not get a good look at her now because she is at once turning around and marching out of the BLV.
If I am honest I am a little bit disappointed by this because the way the woman in the high heels was observing the inappropriate scenes in the BLV had made me think that she might do something to help me in my trouble with Mr Minas, or that she might at least manage to turn the music down, or even off.
But I do not have long to be disappointed because the next instant the BLV is plunged into darkness. Also, the music is cut off completely.
All I can hear is the sound of people screaming.
Mr Minas seems as surprised by this as I am because he takes his tongue out of my ear and begins to say something and then we both are falling off the bistro table into thin air.
As I said at the top, if you like this excerpt, you can buy the whole story as a Kindle download on Amazon.co.uk, Amazon.de, Amazon.com or other Amazon sites. Only 99p or equivalent. I hope you like it.