Stag Party

TJ didn’t have to wait for complaints from guests. He heard the noise for himself from the lobby. It must be the people who had booked out the second floor. He tried calling their rooms but there was no answer, and the woman who had booked the rooms didn’t answer her cell phone either; she probably couldn’t hear it. TJ had no choice but to go up himself.

The Lucerne Valley Hotel was often rowdy, but only in the bar area. There was a strict noise policy for the rooms, especially after ten p.m. He tried to recall the guests’ appearance, but realized they had checked in before his shift started, and none had been down since. He wondered what were they doing up there. He was about to find out.

Deep house music filled the corridor, causing the mirrors to shake. It stopped suddenly when he knocked on the door. Why did people always do that? As if that made them less guilty or changed anything.

A flash of white light blinded him when the door opened. Before he knew what was happening, he was pulled in, whirled around, and captured in a net. The music began blasting again and he was dragged into the centre of the room.

TJ was glad that he was 20% android. A full human would have been scared and probably fainted or peed himself. He had at worst blown a few transistors, which were easily replaced.

He heard shouts and shrieks, and felt the voices were familiar. Their frequency and amplitude were known to him. He steadied his perception and looked between the holes in the net. The first person he saw was Mr Kazantzakis, the hotel’s Lifetime GM.

TJ was scared. The LGM was fearsome in business, and had killed at least one person for threatening the hotel’s welfare, but what had TJ done? He was a reliable worker, clocking up four years of service, with never any complaints.

Mr Kazantzakis said, “Ha! You didn’t think you could get away with it that easily, did you?” TJ wondered what he meant. It was true that he helped himself to a drink from the USM (Universal Spirits Machine) most nights, but what was the cost of that to the hotel? A few cents per night. Surely it wasn’t that.

Through the net TJ saw a dozen of his best friends, some from Lucerne and others from the city. Then it dawned on him and he began smiling. Mr Kazantzakis said, “Ah! You know now. Your friends tell me you are getting married next month and are not having a stag night. You have refused and ignored their invites. So they have decided to come to you.”

He turned to TJ’s friends and said, “Gentleman, I will leave you now. Lucerne Valley Hotel is pleased to host this important ritual for our staff member. You have permission to do whatever you want. He’s all yours. Goodnight.”

TJ’s friends made him smash plates and cups, saying it signified the end of his adolescent lifestyle and his transition to responsible marital life. They made him wear a French maid’s outfit and dust the room. This was clearing out his old ways. They made him watch a rom com so he could “understand girls,” and sing a Celine Dion song to become “more romantic”. They made him dress as a woman to “enhance empathy,” and call a marriage guidance helpline, so he wouldn’t be shy if he needed to do so again.

There was a knock at the door. Two people entered, a male and a female, both wearing lipstick and leathers.

His friends asked, “Which one do you want to entertain you? And remember we may decide to accept your wish, or to do the opposite.” This would teach him the crucial lesson that sometimes with your wife, whatever you do, you just can’t win.

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