Without Walls

Mr Jewell was a patient man. He didn’t mind waiting while the receptionist completed his telephone conversation, who indicated that he wouldn’t be long.

It sounded pretty serious though. “Look, I’ll say it again. You need to sort out these building envelope and interior wall issues immediately. There’s been nothing but problems over the past few days. And don’t get me started on plumbing! I’m saving that for next week’s moan. I don’t care if your staff is out on other jobs – they should come and finish this one first!” He put down the phone, shaking his head, and looked at Mr Jewell.

“Sorry about that,” he said. “We’ve had major renovations. The whole place was redone and nothing seems to be working right. We’re relaunching the Lucerne Valley Hotel for our one hundredth anniversary, and at this rate we’ll be lucky to see the hundred-and-first.” The receptionist took a breath, adjusted his tie, and said, “Mr Jewell, how may I help you?”

He knows my name, thought Mr Jewell, maybe I should know his. He was about to ask, but noticed a badge clipped to his tie, saying TJ. He said, “TJ, I have a small problem with my room. It has only three walls.”

“Only three walls? How terrible! I’m so sorry, Sir. You may have overheard my conversation – there’s problems with both interior and exterior walls – which is it? Exterior? Dammit! They’re harder to fix! Still, that isn’t your business. I’ll take care of it for you. What about the ceiling – okay? And the floor? I’ll get it done right away. So sorry for keeping you waiting.”

Mr Jewell was impressed by his urgency, but didn’t want the poor guy to pop a transistor, so said, “Look, it’s a pleasant summer’s day. It’s not a problem right now. Hell, even if I had windows I’d have them wide open! As long as you’ve fixed it by tonight I’ll be happy. It may get cold, and noisy, with all the drinkers going home. I would be obliged if you took care of it by, say, nine o’ clock.”

“No need to wait that long, Sir,” said TJ. “It’s only a matter of a few adjustments.” He began pushing buttons and swiping objects on his touch screen, while muttering to himself. “Room fourteen is empty, maybe I could take its wall tonight. Agh! That doesn’t work. I’ll reboot the room. Okay, okay. Agh! Still no wall. Mr Jewell, I’m sorry, I can’t fix your room, so I’ll upgrade you to a Premium suite. Agh! There’s an override. Okay, let’s try Super Premium.” He punched in a code. “There, it’s done. Top floor, Mr Jewell. This lift takes you straight up there. I hope you enjoy your stay with us.”

Mr Jewell went straight up to the “room”. It confused him however. This one had no walls at all; there was a bed, furniture and en-suite, all sitting out in the open! Was this his punishment for complaining?

He called down to reception. TJ answered and said, “Ah, Mr Jewell! How do you like your room? What? No, no, not at all! Please enjoy the fresh air and scenery during the day – you have great views of Mt Alba and Lilly Lake – and when you’re ready to turn in, simply slide the switch from Transparent to Opaque. If you’re in the mood for entertainment, slide the switch below it to Movies or Holograms. I’m afraid the Horror Holograms are disabled at present. We’ve had too many guests screaming.”

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One Response to “Without Walls”

  1. Nice story. Sort of unfinished and creepy.

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