Strictly business

16 Mar

Ding!

I’ve always wanted to do that.

Ding!

But it’s not all that it’s cracked up to be.

Ding! Ding! Di …

… finally, the genie moves his ass out the bottle and I’m asking for a room.

“Let me check, sir, we‘re fully booked with the convention, but some may have checked out already.”

He gives me a wink while I stand there and wonder what the hell should I make of it.

“Ah, yes, two rooms have cleared this morning.  I’ll give you 27. Very clean, the cops didn’t even bother to dust the place.”

“Cops?”

“Yes. They have to come, you see. Even if it’s all so official and organized, they have to sign the papers when the guests kick the bucket.”

“Man, what the hell is this place? Hotel California?”

He goes all serious all of a sudden.

“Please, sir, don’t say something like that. We are a very, very serious establishment and wouldn’t have been chosen for five years in a row as hosts of the BlissCon if it weren’t so in the first place.”

“BlissCon?”

“The annual convention of the National Association of Suicidal People.”

I carefully scan the room for hidden cameras. I’ve had the experience before and I know entertainment when I see it.

Only this time, it’s the real thing, conference agenda posted in the hallway and everything:

14:00 – 16:00 – 2Fast, 2Furious: Crash Course into Traffic Suicide

16:00 – 18:00 – Serendipity:  The Art of Getting Caught in the Act

18:00 – 12:00 – Break & pill-tasting cocktail

Curiosity gets the best of me and two hours later I’m in the lobby. There’s a colorful table with shitloads of pills and girls dressed in slutty synthetic leather invite passers-by to sample the wonders of medical progress.

This is when I see her, a complete waste of hotness on a suicidal girl, browsing through pills with a melancholic look on her face, shifting from one stupendous leg to another and biting her lips with the slightly oversized dentition that always hooks me on a girl. I offer to buy her all the drinks she would have in the company of a lost soul and regret it right away.

“I met him in college. We were young and stupid, but he was the only man I would have followed to the end of the world. The way he talked, the way he acted, so decisive, but still warm and kind made me feel …”

She tells me for about half an hour how happy they were and how great the schmuck was. Then, all of a sudden, she takes a long break sipping her Martini. Time for everything to go bad.

“I got pregnant. He wasn’t ready for a child, he wanted to finish college, have a career, have fun with the guys. I wanted the baby so bad I fell out with my parents too, completely. Then, one evening, he went out slamming the door, got drunk and splattered on the tree he’d drove into. I had a nervous breakdown.”

The Martini lets me know it’s not over yet.

“A month later I lost the baby.”

Guilt takes a screaming rollercoaster when she touches my hand, thanking me for listening so sincerely and offering to listen to whatever troubles I have.

“It’s getting late, perhaps we should get some sleep,” I suggest, trying to get out of the guilt trap, but I’m out of luck. Before we know it, I’m in her room to make sure she won’t “do anything regrettable”.

At some point during our lovemaking, I do realize that I’m having an affair with a delicate, fragile woman, but it doesn’t last long. I am lost in her, completely sucked into how much she needs me to comfort, caress and love her and it’s probably the first time in my life that I am making true love, unselfish and loving, so remote from sex that I would still consider myself a virgin if this were my first time.

As I leave the room, she smiles radiantly and whispers in my ear:

“Perhaps there IS hope …”

I’m walking on air for the rest of the night, pacing through my room before I doze off in the armchair. Morning glory hits my windows with fury surpassed only by the banging in the door.

“Police, sir, open up.”

She’s dead, swallowed a jarful of pills. They wanted to let me know since we’d been seen together.

I’m moving through poisonous treacle for the rest of the day, with a bitter taste in my mouth, bitter as the coffee I’m having at the train station when I see her in the crowd, pulling a small luggage with the carelessness of a teenager out for a holiday. Her surprised stare confirms I’m not being delusional.

“You …”

“Yes, me … surpised?” This looks worse than the hidden camera incident and I feel my sarcasm overheating to meltdown levels very fast.

“Somewhat. You should be dead,” she says, an undercurrent of discontent in her voice.

“Because you’re so good at getting people depressed?”

“Please,” she says, straightening her back and pushing the familiar breasts forward, “I’m one of the best.”

“On the payroll of the National Association of Suicidal People?”

She loses her confidence now – no pride in being the best if you’re a bloody mercenary.

“And a couple of pharmaceutical companies …” she adds, getting gloomier.

While I am struck with disbelief, there’s only one thing I feel like saying right now.

“Would you like to have another drink?”

She stares at me with Viagra-blue eyes wide open.

“Are you sure? Doesn’t it bother you? My line of work, I mean …”

“Let’s just say I have a vested interest.”

I take out my business card and hand it to her. It’s all there, printed in golden, crisp letters, with large serif and warm font marketing the support and deep understanding that we sell with our services:

Daniel B.

Sales Manager

BARNARD & SONS UNDERTAKERS

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7 Responses to “Strictly business”

  1. Alice M. March 16, 2011 at 1:47 pm #

    Really clever idea. Nice one!

    • lettersbloodyletters March 16, 2011 at 6:29 pm #

      Thanks! Writing it was good fun and I guess that’s what always gives a story some amount of crispness 🙂

  2. shreejacob March 16, 2011 at 2:59 pm #

    Wow! Now that’s a really good twist to the story! Good one! 🙂

  3. Joyce Juzwik March 19, 2011 at 6:56 am #

    Gotcha! I really enjoyed this one. Such a clever use of the prompt and I adore these characters. This is grand. Brava!

  4. Diane Henders March 19, 2011 at 8:26 pm #

    The twist at the end made me laugh out loud (though perhaps cynically) – well done!

    And I liked the “Viagra-blue eyes”.

  5. CMStewart March 24, 2011 at 3:35 am #

    Original and awesome! You have a great writing style. I’m impressed. 🙂

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