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The concierge, Leland McCormick, stood at his station with stiff resolve.
People came and went through the lobby all evening and occasionally approached him with a request, which he efficiently satisfied, but it was as if he did so unconsciously. Leland's puffy eyes were moist and his haggard face made him look even older than his sixty years, but his uniform was pressed and his boots shone with freshly applied polish.
There was a holler from beyond the lobby and a couple stumbled through the revolving door. The man, tall and burly in a beige suit that seemed just a bit too small, wore a cowboy hat that he habitually reseated on his head.
He trailed behind him a skinny young blonde. Her eyes were heavy with apparent drunkenness, and her garish makeup was smudged. The man pulled her up to the concierge desk.
"We need some help."
"How can I be of service?"
The woman's knees gave way and the man wrapped his thick arm around her waist to prop her up.
"The lady and I need some assistance in fourteen-thirty-seven.
"Would you like me to call house cleaning sir?"
"Hell, no! If I wanted house cleaning I would have called myself. I need some fucking concierge action and I need it now!" The man leaned over Leland, growling in his face. "Now get yer ass in gear!" Leland followed the man as he dragged the woman back into the elevator. The doors closed and Leland pressed fourteen. The woman buried her face in the man's plump chest. The man glared at Leland, but Leland avoided eye contact. He felt as if he might cry.
"What's your fucking problem?"
"I... I'm going to be let go. After thirty years working for The Catalonia, this is my last night. They've hired a young man to replace me at the concierge desk."
The man didn't seem to be listening, and Leland looked at his feet with embarrassment for having discussed his problem with a complete stranger. The bell rang, which seemed to rouse the woman, and the door opened. Leland followed them down the hall and around the corner. The man, unable to get the key out of his pocket while holing onto the woman, threw her into Leland's arms. Leland held the woman gently; both scared to be touching her and scared to let her fall. He found that, for the moment at least, she could nearly support herself, so he simply ushered her into the room. She stood by the bed, her head hanging low and drooling, her arms limp by her side. The man loosened his tie and he poured himself a glass of whiskey from a bottle on the dresser. The man gave the woman a rough shove in the chest and she fell back onto the floor with a thud. Leland gasped, but the man didn't take any notice. He just sat on the edge of the bed and pulled off his boots. Leland backed away toward the door.
"Where the fuck do you think yer going?"
"Is there anything else you need sir?"
"Damn right there is!" The man pulled his pants off, clipped the cuffs to a hanger and hung it in the closet. "This hooker done OD'd on me and I'm still horny."
Leland sat on the bed next to the man. The man put his hand on Leland's knee. The hotel didn't need Leland anymore, but at least somebody did.
Date Written: December 15, 2002
Author: Ewan Snow
Average Vote: 3.4