The Nightly Disease #1 (Free Excerpt)

(The estimated reading time for this is 12 minutes)

Seeking Friendly & Outgoing Night Auditor

Do not apply if still in possession of hopes or dreams.

The hotel is currently searching for a manager during the overnight hours, while providing a smooth transition between the evening and morning shifts. This position requires knowledge of accounting skills, computer skills, and a natural ability to handle obnoxious drunks without committing murder. Should an instance arise where a potential candidate goes over the line and ends a guest’s life, the hotel will not supply you with bail money, nor will the hotel contribute to lawyer fees. The hotel’s use for your existence will be immediately terminated, and once again, you will be forever, blissfully alone.

Potential night auditors will be responsible for: maintaining and promoting hospitality at all times, even when depression is at its highest (which will be every shift) and happiness is at its lowest (which never existed, anyway); welcoming and serving guests in a courteous, efficient and friendly manner, both face-to-face and on the phone, perpetually maintaining the widest smile physically possible despite how gory and disgusting a situation will probably become. As part of the job, this individual is required to: perform and manage standard accounting tasks; handle guest concerns and answer questions, such as “what is the meaning of life?” and “why won’t my toilet flush?”; perform necessary audit tasks, which will range from backing up the previous day’s work to assisting pregnant guests give birth or, if they aren’t quite ready to be a parent, abort (remember: this is their choice, NOT yours; we don’t need a repeat of New Years Day 2010); greet guests and assist them with check-ins and check-outs; demonstrate good computer skills, but not great computer skills (intelligence is not something to boast); accurately handle cash and charges; stand for long periods of time, perhaps forever, even when your body has been lowered deep into the hotel’s garden with the previous night auditors; present a friendly, outgoing, energetic and guest-service-oriented demeanor. The night auditor will be left alone for the majority of their shift, although there will always be somebody or something, somewhere, watching, but you will never personally see or hear this person or thing. The night auditor will be expected to maintain order in the hotel at all costs, even if the night auditor must sacrifice his or her own life for the benefit of the hotel. The hotel is god. The hotel is god. The hotel is god.

Other duties include but are not limited to: Perform the balancing, reconciliation, and closing of various daily accounts and prepare the daily statements to provide accurate, timely information to management while ensuring proper controls are maintained, unless a guest passes away while staying at the hotel, in which case you will be required to dispose of the corpse in secret and hide all evidence the guest checked-in to their reservation. Do not tell management. Do not tell anyone. Serve the hotel.

Further shit expected of you:

Stocking the front desk with daily supplies. Ability to operate multi-line phones. Providing guests with information on local attractions (for instance, if a guest asks you to recommend the best bridge to leap off of, you don’t want to be unprepared and direct them to a bridge without enough drop to properly end a life). Resolving or referring to management all guest concerns, complaints, or suggestions in a continuous effort to provide heartfelt, but insincere care to our guests. Remaining current on in-house groups and property events. Responding to customer issues/complaints/problems in a quick, efficient manner to maintain a high level of customer satisfaction and quality service, which involves never, absolutely never denying a guest’s request, no matter how illegal, no matter how immoral. Maintaining preparedness and implement emergency procedures when appropriate to protect the hotel guests, staff, and assets.

Must be prepared to die for the hotel. Must be willing to prove it.

An ideal employee will have no social life. An ideal employee will not be close to family or have any friends who might ask questions should the employee suddenly disappear. An ideal employee will also be flexible with schedules and be willing to work holidays.

An ideal employee is you.

Compensation: Commensurate with experience.

*      *      *

“Thank you for calling the Goddamn Hotel. This is Isaac. How may I help you?”

This is how I’m supposed to introduce myself.

“What brings you to the area? Business or pleasure?”

Sometimes they’re here to cheat on their lovers. Sometimes they’re in town to attend a funeral. Other times, they just need to get away from their shitty, miserable lives for a few hours. To forget about the mistakes they’ve made, to ignore the pool of consequence perpetually drowning them. If only for a moment.

“What are you escaping from, sir?”

“Why are you hiding?”

This is the script management makes us practice during training. The diarrhea they shovel up our assholes and out of our mouths. Lava trickling down greasy chins.

“Will this just be for one night, ma’am? Or forever?”

“Will that be cash or credit card? Blood sacrifice or semen deposit?”

These are the words I’ve recited for hours, days, months, years. Two years? Three? Clocks don’t work when the sun’s down. Calendars lie. Seconds are days and days are seconds.

“I’m so sorry to hear that, sir. I understand how frustrating it must be to walk around in life with a gargantuan penis dangling from your forehead.”

These are the apologies imbedded into my brain. My promises for resolution. My vows for vengeance.

“I can assure you, ma’am, that the Goddamn Hotel will do everything in its power to track down and punish the heartless bastard who coughed while passing your room. If not, we would be honored to purchase you some Goddamn Hotel rewards points.

Always say “purchase.” Never “give” or “compensate.” “Purchase” implies I’m personally reaching into my own wallet to resolve the conflict, even if it’s a lie. Never tell a guest the truth. Night auditors are the FBI of sleep, the X-Files of dreams.

“Once again, ma’am, I deeply apologize for not warning you in advance that you’d have an upsetting nightmare tonight. Obviously you did not read the fine print on our website: every stay here is a nightmare. Life is a nightmare. You will never wake up. The Goddamn Hotel has failed you. How can we make this right?”

These are the questions I have to memorize. The same formula repeated on myriad blank faces. Everybody becomes nobody. Nobody becomes everybody. Adult infant doppelgängers stumbling in the lobby demanding a tit to suck and a customer service representative to stomp on.

“Hello, sir? This is Isaac, from the front desk. I was just calling to ask if the kick to my balls earlier was satisfying enough, or if you needed to go for a second round. Also, did you ever figure out how to turn the TV on?”

In hotel bootcamp, the drill sergeant will scream the following into your face approximately one thousand times a day: “LEARN. LEARN. LEARN. LEARN, YOU MAGGOT. LEARN.”

L.E.A.R.N.

Listen.

Empathize.

Apologize.

React.

Notify.

Listen to the way they cry. Empathize with their phantom, agonizing pain. Apologize for everything. React to the nausea. Notify the deceased.

Learn learn learn learn learn learn learn learn learn.

Repeat the word until it’s the only word in the English language. Every hotel associate is required by contract to carve the word into their flesh. Become the word. Give the hotel your blood and become one.

Learn.

I am a prisoner in a kingdom of tiny shampoo bottles.

When the hotel doors slide open, reality blinks back into focus. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve listened to these doors open and close, open and close. Sometimes I wonder how it would feel to lie down perfectly still on the floor and allow the doors to slide shut against my skull. How strong are they? Strong enough to shatter my cranium, squeeze my eyeballs out of their sockets?

Strong enough to fill out my resignation papers?

I straighten my tie at the front desk and clear my throat, because it’s action, it’s go-time, it’s red alert. Here we fucking go.

“Good evening, sir.” I smile at the guy approaching the front desk. He’s wearing a business suit, but the top buttons are undone and his tie hangs halfway down his gut like a suffocated snake.

“Hey boss,” he says. “How’s it going?”

He reeks of whiskey and I gag when I open my mouth. “All right, and yourself?”

“Well, I’ll be a whole lot better if you have any rooms.”

“Then you’re in luck. What are you after? One king bed, two queens, or a suite?”

“All depends, don’t it? How much we talkin’ for a suite?”

“Single king suite is gonna cost you one-seventy-nine, and a double queen suite will be one-eighty-nine.”

The guy steps back, offended. “Jesus Christ. You talk to your mother with that mouth?”

“I don’t make the rates. I’m sorry.”

“You just give them out.”

“Correct.”

“Ain’t that some shit. Okay, what about the standard one? The, uh, single bed.”

“One-nineteen.”

“Holy shit. Just stab me in the fucking face, why don’t you.”

“That still wouldn’t make the price go down any, I’m afraid.”

“One hundred and nineteen dollars? At this hour? It’s two in the morning for Christ’s sake.”

“Yeah, that’s the rate. I think the Other Goddamn Hotel down the street is ninety-nine, if you’d rather do that.” I motion at the door. Just fucking leave, I want to tell him. Fuck off and die.

“What if I was just going to be here a few hours? Can’t you knock it down, like, fifty bucks?”

“This isn’t the Days Inn. We don’t rent by the hour. It doesn’t matter what time you check-in or how long you stay. Housekeeping still has to clean your room the same way.”

“All right, fine. I’ll take it. Christ.”

“Fantastic. I’ll need a license and credit card.”

The guy pauses, scratching his cheek. “Actually, I was hoping to just pay in cash. I don’t need anyone tracking my expenses. Fuckin’ divorces are brutal, kid.”

“That’s fine, we accept cash. The only thing is, you have to put down an extra one hundred dollar deposit that you’ll get back once you check-out.”

“What? Why the hell would I do that?”

“For incidentals.”

Incidentals? The hell’s that?”

“You know, like, in case anything in the room is damaged during your stay, we’d have collateral.”

“Do you honestly think I’m going to break something?”

“Honesty has nothing to do with it, sir. It’s just policy.”

“What if I promised I wasn’t going to break something?”

“You’d still have to put down the deposit.”

“Okay. Fine. What do I owe you?”

I bust out the calculator and do my magic, then tell him the total.

“Jesus. This is turning into the most expensive screw of my life.” He opens his wallet and I manage to sneak a peek inside. There must be at least a couple thousand stuffed in there. He tosses two hundreds and a fifty on the counter.

“Are you a Goddamn Hotel rewards member by any chance?”

“What do you think?”

“Probably not.”

“That’s some wise thinking.”

“All right, here’s your change and license. Did you have a floor preference?”

“I don’t really give a shit.”

“Okay. I’m going to put you on the fifth floor, away from the elevator, so you don’t bother anyone and nobody bothers you as you do…uh, whatever it is you’re doing.”

“Peachy.”

“Internet is free, there’s no code for the wifi. Just follow the directions prompted on the screen. Breakfast begins at six and ends at nine-thirty. Check-out is at noon. Are you going to be needing a wake-up call?”

“Why would I need a wake-up call? I got a cell phone, don’t I?”

“I have no idea. Do you?”

“Are you being a smartass?”

“I don’t know. Probably.”

“What’s your boss’s name?”

I pause, then shrug. “I call him ‘Boss’.”

“Give me my damn license back, boy.” He pats his pockets.

“I already gave it to you…man.”

“Then where is it, smartass?”

“I assume your wallet.”

He glares at me. “Give me your boss’s information. I want to call him.”

“Okay, sure. But I assume he’s asleep at this hour.”

“I don’t give a shit. Give me his card.”

“Fine.” I toss the business card on the desk, hoping he gets a paper cut picking it up. A paper cut so deep he bleeds to death here in the lobby. I could display his corpse in front of the entrance as a rug for other guests to wipe their muddy shoes on. Impale a sign down his throat that reads: “ABANDON ALL HOPE, YE WHO ENTER HERE”.

“You’re in for it now, dickhead,” the guy says.

The guy dials the number on the business card into his cell phone and brings it to his ear. The phone at the hotel begins ringing a few seconds later. I hold my finger up at the guest and tell him to hang on just a moment, then pick up the work phone.

“Thank you for calling the Goddamn Hotel. This is Dickhead. How may I help you?”

The guest across the front desk stares at me with death in his eyes, then lowers his cell phone. I keep the hotel phone to my ear. “Hello? Hello?” I hang up and shrug. “I guess they had the wrong number.”

“Fuck this,” the guest says, “and fuck you.” He grabs his room keys from my hand, turns around, and storms out of the hotel. Then he immediately walks back into the lobby and asks for directions to his room.

I return to my seat and unpause Netflix. Five hours remain of my shift. In another hour, I will sneak up to the roof, take off my pants, climb up on the ledge, and masturbate onto the cars in the parking lot. Afterward, I’ll wipe my penis off with a guest receipt and climb back down to the lobby and watch another episode of Gilmore Girls. Then I will go home, sleep, shower, eat, and do it all over again. The cycle will only end when I either quit or burn the fucking building to the ground.


Ready to Read the Rest?

http://www.darkfusemagazine.com/2016/10/the-nightly-disease-complete-serial-novel-in-progress

© 2016, DarkFuse & individual contributors. All rights reserved.

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6 COMMENTS

  1. Oh my, I think I about died from laughter reading that. I can’t wait for the rest, now. Even better, I’m actually trying to find a job as a night auditor while I’m in school at the hotels where I live. xD

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