Fell Hotel 06 – Arithmetic and Low Blood Pressure’s Bouquet
Too cool, displayed indifference, flick of the cigarette stump, bounced off engraved granite. The dwindling mildew rain dripped from her plum-pie hat as the last charcoal shoulders slouched and stumbled homeward to free whiskey, gulped, muted 55-inch football games. She’d have none of that, and yakked a phlegm missile after the cigarette, which made her think of cartoon rabbits and Kool-Aid, gummy white sandwiches. Shock, a fantastic swinging fist so precise she threw up on her chin and gloves.
Tiny uptight lamps each with a trio of thumb-sized bulbs shaped like crystal candle flames filled the hotel hallway with honey amber gloom. Swell people padding elegantly across scribbled Persian wool, dim ghosts reflected in gold-foil walls. She did not look at them but felt their manicured gleam push against her neck. A queer shame slithered into her and she angled her back towards the crisp suits and starlight pearls, laughter brittle and brilliant as a frozen pond. Alien, threatening laughter. The key in her fingers snicked and she fell through the door with a childish gasp. She was going to shower. She was going to drink. She was going to sleep. In her ears, the hammer-fall crack – a skull connecting with polished hardwood floor – would be absorbed into wine-red unraveled velvet.
“Miss, are you a guest at this hotel?”
Barbed wire in her mouth. Rust-flakes in her veins. An upturned face, white-lipped yawning confusion, necklace in red: the last horror panel of a comic-book dream, ink running and fading in her tears.
In her nose, now, sweet rose-soap and Chlorox. A fat, strong arm around her and a gentle accent, “I take you to you room now, okay? You maybe sleep and we find where you clothes go, yes?”
Text and Images © Andrew Auten – All Rights Reserved