Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Party of One...ish.

Damian pulled into the hotel parking space and the engine sputtered off.  As usual, the door did not want to open when he pushed against it.  He put his shoulder down and gave a harder shove.  It squealed past the point of resistance, flinging wide.  Thankfully, the space next to him was unoccupied.  He'd chosen this space - the furthest from the door - for just that reason.

Sometimes, it is considered mercy to kill a lame horse, Inigo pontificated.

Damian chose not to respond.  Instead, he pulled the trunk open and removed his luggage.  He slung a black bag containing a laptop over his shoulder.  The other, larger piece was on wheels.  He heaved it out and popped up the handle. 

It slid halfway, and then stuck.  He pressed the button harder, worrying the thing back and forth.  He pulled and rattled, pulled and rattled.  It would not budge from half-mast.  He cursed at it, but that didn't solve the problem either.  Instead, he simply turned and trudged off toward the hotel, stooped at an uncomfortable angle.

I wonder if she got my message, Damian's mind wandered.

Are such messages often waylaid? Inigo asked.

Damian considered how to respond.  I suppose it depends on the person.  She could have lost her phone for all Damian knew.  Or left it at home while she was at work.  Or simply turned the ringer off and didn't realize he was trying to reach her.  Whatever the case, he hoped she wasn't sitting alone at home, waiting on him.

He considered calling again, but didn't want to risk pushing her number of missed calls into double digits.  It would seem desperate, he reasoned.

Inigo let that one pass with a simple chuckle.

The check-in went as smoothly as one might expect.  His last name had been misspelled: Gardener.  People always insisted on adding the extra "e" for some reason.  He was neither a botanist, nor a tiller of land.  Wide brimmed hats made him look silly, and his fingers were most assuredly not green.  In fact, all of the plants in his apartment were plastic.

The room was tolerable.  There was not an inch of dust on the faux-wooden surfaces.  No shards of glass lurked in the bathroom sink.  The air was free of a musty chlorinated smell.  The bed was only slightly lumpy when Damian laid down on it atop the comforter.  He'd been in worse.  Heck, he might even risk sleeping beneath the covers.

There was a time when one was fortunate to be able to sleep on something other than straw, Inigo noted.  Shall I call you Lord Damian?

If you wish, fair subject, Damian answered.

If the voice in his head could have waved in disgust, Damian was sure he would have.  It made Damian smile.  His smile made him think of Genny.  He pulled out his phone and stared at it.  The clock read quarter to eight.  He sighed, and reached over to turn on the beside lamp.  It was long, skinny, and utilitarian, like everything else in the room.  Perhaps he would do some reading. 

It is not too late! Inigo said.

She is over an hour away, Inigo.  There is no way I would be able to keep the date now.

A pity.

Just then, there was a knock at the door.


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