his baby by ingridfnl

9 Jan

John sits awkwardly at the very edge of the brocade chair–as if he feels he couldn’t possibly lean back into its opulence. He looks down at his fingers then pulls a ragged looked handkerchief from the front pocket of his jean jacket and rubs them a few times. He sighs heavily and shakes his head and pushes the cloth back into his pocket.

He stands abruptly and walks to the reception with halting steps.

“‘Scuse me,” he says.

The hotel concierge looks up at John, his ruffled hair beneath a stained baseball cap, his rumpled plaid shirt, “Yes sir, can I help you,” he asks.

“Um. I was s’posed to meet Martin Richardson here. In the lobby. He said to meet him here. ‘Nigh half ‘n hour ago.” John pulls a wrinkled slip of paper from his pocket and holds it in front of the concierge’s face.

The concierge takes it and smiles plasticly back at John. “Yes,” he says, putting the slip of paper on the counter between them. “I see. If you’d like, you can use the guest courtesy phones over there,” he points to a row of phones. “Room 415. The hotel operator will patch you right through.”

He smiles blandly and nods at John as if to dismiss him.

John walks towards the row of phones as if walking down a gangplank. He picks up one of the phones and holds it to his ear. Immediately, a woman’s voice sings out, “Good morning, Hotel Metropole! Who can I connect you to?”

John is so startled he hangs up the phone and stares at it. He breathes, in and out, and picks up the phone, holds it to his ear.

“Good morning! Hotel Metropole! Who can I connect you to?” the same voice chimes once again.

John clears his throat and says, “Hello? ‘M sorry I hung up on you there. You took me off guard.”

“Quite alright sir! How can I be of help?” she asks.

“Um. I’d like t’ … that is to say, I’m here to sell my car.”

“Sir? I’m not sure…”

“Thing is,” he continues, “she was my first. The first one. I spent years fixin’ her up, finding the right parts. I just don’t…”

“I’m sorry, I don’t kn…”

“The guy who’s buyin’ it. He’s stayin’ here at this hotel. He was supposed to meet me, and now he’s late, and I’m wonderin’,” John pauses, “I’m wonderin’ if it’s a sign.”

He holds the phone to his ear, waiting for a reply and he can hear her breathing. “Do you mean,” she asks gently, “you aren’t sure?”

“That’s it zactly,” he replies. “What should I do?”

“I… ”

“I love ‘er. She’s my baby,” he says with emotion he does not expect.

“You should,” she says, “you should always protect your baby.”

“Thank you ma’am,” he replies. “I think you’re exactly right. Don’t know why I didn’t see it myself. You have a nice day now.”

He hangs up the phone and stares at it.  Then, smiling to himself, walks towards the revolving door, past the concierge who calls, “Excuse me, sir, you were looking for Mr. Richardson.”

John just lifts a work-worn hand to the concierge and gives a brief wave, “Not anymore.”

Advertisements

One Response to “his baby by ingridfnl”

  1. slingshotmama January 12, 2011 at 1:36 am #

    This story is very light, almost comical- especially the operator… I know I have difficulty using present tense and you did a wonderful job in this. “smiles blandly,” I really love that description.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: