The common hours of the day, are common
but the midnight hour, with the midnight watchman, is a flashlight, shining on something that moves
in the dark.
I wanted to be a writer, and I thought, a hotel would be the perfect place to write. It was situated next to two airports. I could hear the planes taking off, and landing. There is a real sense that you are in one of those countries like Iraq or Syria. It feels like the building might get barbequed with napalm, and it shakes when the planes land. The Fairbanks Hotel was built near a river. For 200 years, trains spilled oil and coal into the stream. Now, it trickles, like dead blood of an oozing city.
Chemicals and dead things have tried to become something else, undead–I guess.
The owner wanted a lost soul to work there, so I got the job. It’s the sort of place, nobody puts on their resume. I have total access to the soda fountain, which is good for staying awake. Cherry Cola upsets my stomach, so Dr. Pepper is what I prescribe. It keeps me awake.
Writers think a hotel will inspire them, but it’s dead. The people who work there, don’t seem quite human. They’re like ghosts, or shadows of their former selves.
There is one advantage to working the graveyard shift—no distractions. When it becomes daylight, I need to sleep. My room doesn’t even have a telephone. The airport bar is the only place I go to watch people. Most of the crowd wear suits and belong in corporations. You can tell where people belong. It’s their dress, but it’s also their spirit. Once they’ve been in a place, long enough, they become that place.
A man stood-out, like a bright light of inspiration. He was totally engrossed in his newspaper, so that his legs, grew below him, reaching to the floor like roots. They were short legs, in green pants. His Scottish Terrier was drinking something out of a bowl, and without moving his paper, he spoke to me.
“It’s beer,” he said. “Puts the little guy to sleep. Humanity would be better off, if they all drank beer.”
“Really?” I asked.
“Yeah. Not the American stuff, but the Irish brands.”
“How can you see me?”
“The oldest trick in the book. I poke a hole in my newspaper. People stare at me, when they don’t think I’m watching.”
To Be Continued…