Dursten woke up with a start. Another nightmare. The same nightmare he’s been plagued with since the fall of the commonwealth. All the running, all the hiding, all the dodging of Lehs’tr’s thugs, or what they are officially named, The Peoples Patrol, had taken its toll on Dursten. Dursten just laid quiet unsure of his surroundings. Dursten hated this feeling of being startled awake, but in a strange way it was like an old overprotective friend. Many times the nightmares woke him just in time to move on and find another place to hide for the Patrol was just minutes from finding him. “An old friend indeed,” Dursten thought. A friend that he wished he hadn’t found the need to make its acquaintance. He just hated the feeling of the electric shock that jolts you awake, and that immediate feeling of dementia that clouds over you until you start to recognize your surroundings. When you are on the run, you don’t have time to let the dementia subside. You just run. If nightmares about running to and from nowhere being chased by unknown terrors, was the worst leftover of the past few years, he felt he could live with it. It kept him sharp, it kept him alive.
He just laid rigid, peering over his room. He realized that it was the first time, in what seemed like countless months, that he slept in a bed. The same bed, and within the same room for longer than one night. Never mind three consecutive nights. Even though, he could hardly resist the urge to get up and run. To move on. To find a safer place.
Dursten decided that enough was enough and got out of bed. He had noticed that the time was only 10:45 am, but didn’t feel the least bit tired for only being asleep since a quarter to six. Dursten thought that maybe going for breakfast, and stretching his legs a little, might make this uneasy feeling pass, and maybe catch a couple more hours of sleep before he has to go to work. “If I can’t feel safe here there’s no place that will be,” Dursten thought trying to shake off his uneasiness. As he was getting dressed, he noticed that there were three messages waiting for him on the hotel com pad. The first message was from Buz’zee:
“Dursten. Just letting you know that I will be in tonight. Tolby and Mel’lonza are going to pull through. Mel’lonza’s injuries weren’t as severe as they thought at first, but Tolby is not so lucky. The explosion did some not so nice damage. I mean that his...well...his....thingy....his penis was severed in the explosion. He was in surgery all night. They grafted part of his calf muscle to make him a new one. He is now in cosmetic surgery to make it look, well...natural.
Well, see you tonight, it is supposed to be busy. Don‘t forget, we‘ll also have to train the new bellman. Que‘nesh said that there will be one starting tonight. See ya.”
Dursten paused not sure what he had just heard and replayed the message. “Calf muscle?” Dursten thought smiling to himself, “Jesus, they can do anything these days.”
Dursten played the next two messages. One was just a hotel advertisement for the Dining room to try their Bison Wellington which is on special all this week. Dursten wasn’t sure, but thought it was Rosy’s voice that was doing the add. The next message was from Que’nesh Eba telling Dursten that she would like him to be in her office prior to starting his shift.
Dursten finished getting dressed and went to the cafe for something to eat then walked around the hotel until he started to feel tired, and then returned to his room to try to nap until he had to meet with Quen’esh. The uneasy feeling he woke up with had subsided and felt he was able to nap easily.
Dursten woke, nightmare and nervousness free, and headed down to the office to meet with Que’nesh. Upon entering the office, he was greeted by her executive secretary, Gw’endell, who told him that she was busy with a client, but to wait because Que’nesh was expecting him. About fifteen minutes later, Que’nesh and her client came out of her office, and Que’nesh motioned to Dursten to enter and have a seat. This was Dursten’s first meeting with Que’nesh, and now he felt that nervousness come all over him again.
“I received your report on the fire alarm from last night,” Que’nesh said almost matter-of-factly. “I just wanted you to know that I felt you handled the situation quite well.”
“Thank you,” Dursten replied.
“Also, I just wanted to welcome you to our team. Teph’lon and Buz’zee seem quite impressed and confident that you will do well with us. So don’t let them down,” she said with a hint of smile on her face. “We’ve been having a lot of staff turn-over since the fall of the commonwealth. People just don’t seem confident or safe enough to stay in one place while Lehs’tr is at the helm, so to speak. I know you’ve also had a tough time since the fall, I’m hoping that this wont be a continued problem for you.”
“I don’t think so,” Dursten said apprehensively. “I haven’t felt this secure in one place in a long time. I’m hoping it stays that way, I’m tired of all the running.”
“Shouldn’t have to worry about running from here. I am not an advocate of Lehs’tr’s, but I have enough influence with the acting council that he does leave this sector and my Hotel alone. Tonight we have a new bellman starting, I want you and Buz’zee to go through the motions with him. I don’t want another nit wit running free around the hotel. This is a list of duties that I have prepared for you, please look them over. I also want you to report to the office at the start of your work week. A working schedule is also within the duty list I have prepared. Any questions?”
“No, I don’t think so.”
“Good, well, I will see you Tuesday afternoon 4:30 sharp,” Que’nesh said and shook hands with Dursten as he left the office.
“That was easier than I thought it would be,” Dursten almost mumbled aloud as he made his way to the cafe before signing in at the desk for his shift. Dursten poured himself a coffee and went towards the staff table so he could read the duty list that Que’nesh had given him. Dursten read the entire duty list and thought to himself that it all seemed to be pretty common sense stuff, most of which, Buz’zee and Teph had stepped him through anyway.
“So, I see Que’nesh has given you the riot act,” Teph said laughing and pointing to the duty list as he stood over the table, but his silent approach almost startled Dursten.
“Yeah, I guess so,” Dursten replied.
“That’s what we call the duty list, if you have a head on your shoulders, she wouldn’t even need to waste the paper it’s printed on.”
“Seems, pretty common sense,” Dursten said.
“Yes it is, but Que’nesh always has to do things by the book,” Teph said just as Buz’zee approached the table pointing at the list.
“Riot act, riot act, I just knew she wouldn’t forget,” Buz’zee said almost in fits of giggles.
“Am I not in on a joke here?” Dursten said to both.
“Yeah, yours is bigger. I think Que’nesh adds to it when she gets a new manager on staff,” Buz’zee said “If you leave now Dursten, I think she’d have a new duty list the size of a Mother Encyclopaedia.”
Now all were laughing, but Dursten was thinking that some of it was at his expense so he felt he needed to change the subject. “Did Tolby’s calfallus take?” Dursten asked Buz’zee.
“His what?” Teph asked.
“You know, Mugs, Tolby’s calf muscle penis graft. Did it take?” Dursten repeated, but burst into laughter. Teph still had a puzzled look on his face.
“Didn’t get your messages this morning did you Teph?” Buz’zee said.
“No, I never thought to check today, so what’s Dursten talking about.
“You know about the accident with Tolby and Mel’lonza, don’t you Teph?”
“Yes, Que’nesh told me this morning that there was an accident, but didn‘t say much more than that”
“Well, brace yourself for this,” Buz’zee said with a wide-mouthed grin on her face, and proceeded to fill Teph in on all the details, which took Buz’zee a few minutes to tell because of the constant interruption of Dursten’s laughter, and Buz’zee’s need to laugh.
After the laughter was over, there was that uncomfortable silence that falls over a group just waiting for one of the people with the shit-eating-grin-on-their-face to either change the subject completely, or add insult to injury by adding one more comment on the subject which would start a new series of laughter. Dursten knew that it if it needed one more comment, he might as well get the credit, “Do you think that they’ll change the name in anatomy books from calf muscle to Bull Muscle. It’ll only make sense now if they did.” Teph choked on a mouthful of coffee, Buz’zee dropped her head into her hands shaking it back and forth in a motion of no, and Dursten bolted up from the table laughing, and made his way to the desk to start his shift.
Dursten checked in at the desk and asked if the new bellman had arrived yet. The desk clerk handed him the duty keys and hotel handset and told him that the bellman was sitting in the foyer waiting for Dursten. Dursten walked over to him and introduced himself. The bellman introduced himself as Mack’enzy Bruce. Dursten asked him to come with him because he and Buz’zee would be showing him his duties for the night. Dursten, Buz’zee, and Mack’enzy spent the next couple of hours going over all of the bellman’s routines when Dursten got a call on the handset to go to the Honk’n’Holl’r immediately. Dursten left Buz’zee and Mack’enzy and made his way into the Honk’n’Holl’r. As he walked in the bartender, Dim’pl Bumm, waved at Dursten to come over to her. “Do you see the lady with the long blond braids sitting in the top section?” Dim’pl asked.
“Yes, what’s up with her?”
“I’m not quite sure,” replied Dim’pl. “She’s been sitting there quite a while, just acting kind of weird, I just want you to keep an eye on her.”
“Okay. Has she had a lot to drink?”
“No. She’s only had two since I’ve been on, and the day shift girl said she had just come in about a half hour before I started. Just watch for a few minutes, she‘s really acting weird.”
Dursten sat at the end of the bar and watched the lady, but trying not to make her uncomfortable by staring in her direction. He noticed that she would whistle little toots and chirps, and talk to herself every couple of minutes. He noticed that she had two bags with her. One large one, and one funny looking triangular bag that was quite long. It looked like hundreds of multicoloured tacos standing upright. Dursten thought it was a just a new type of designer purse, but, if it was a purse, it was the ugliest purse he had ever seen. Dursten thought the lady also looked quite odd and out of place. She was in her late thirties or early forties, but her hairstyle was quite unusual for her age. She had very tight blond, almost white, braids, hundreds of braids, that seemed to be unwinding and dishevelled. Also in her hair was many coloured feathers. The feathers weren’t part of a hat, rather they just seemed to be placed at random throughout the hair. The lady stood up, grabbed the triangular bag and proceeded to the bathroom, but on her way, she stopped at every table and said something to the people that were sitting there. Dursten’s first thought was that she was trying to panhandle the guests, but as she got close to Dursten, he heard her say to one guest, “Do you want to see my bird?” Dursten now thought the she was trying to solicit herself, but before he got up to stop her, she made her way into the bathroom. Dursten waited at the bar for her to come out, and if she wasn’t out in a short time he would page Buz’zee to come and help get her out of the bathroom. But he waited a few more minutes for her and she came out on her own, but Dursten almost fell out of his chair when he saw her. She exited the bathroom with a very large Macaw parrot on her head. He thought it was just a novelty hat, but it wasn’t it was a real parrot. She stopped at every table she had stopped at on the way to the bathroom, but was now yelling “This is my bird you fuck, why did you say you didn’t want to see him? You’re all assholes. My bird is a nice bird you fucks.”
After Dursten got over the initial what-the-fuck-is-this-all-about, he made his way to her table, which she was now sitting at yelling at everyone about her nice bird. “Get away from me you fuck,” she said as Dursten approached her.
“Excuse me, ma’am, but you are going to have to put your bird away, and leave the premises. You are disturbing all the guests in here.” Dursten said politely and over-smiling at such an unusual sight, for the parrot was crawling all over her head and picking out what seemed to be seeds in her hair.
“I’m not going fucking anywhere you douche fuck, get away from me.”
“Ma’am, if you don’t pack it up and leave, I’m going to have to call authorities.”
“Fuckin’ call ‘em, lumpy nuts, fuckin’ call ‘em, I’m not leavin’. I hate all you fuckin’ men. Don’t look at my bird asshole, I wont let you.”
Dursten decided to pull back and call for authorities, for he knew he would not get her out nicely on his own. She seemed to spiteful towards men, any man, for him to be able to evict her. As he pulled back from the table, he used his handset to call for authorities, but he noticed that all the people in the bar had turned their chairs to get a better look at the spectacle that was unfolding before them. And a spectacle it was becoming. She now had a small bowl of bird feed on her table, and was tossing and patting it on her head while the parrot just crawled freely all over her and gently pecked at the seeds that she was tossing. After a few minutes, a police guard arrived. Dursten met him at the entrance and explained what was going on, although he was quite nervous to see a member of the People’s Patrol. The guard made no acknowledgement of Dursten’s wanted status, and just simply proceeded towards the lady and the bird.
The guard tried to talk to the lady, and get her to comply with leaving, but she got more verbally hostile with the guard than she did with Dursten but made no physical resistance towards him. Not losing his composure, the Guard went to reach for the bird because the lady would not put it back in its triangular bag. She started to scream, and cry that he was hurting the bird. Many of the patrons in the Honk’n’Holl’r were now either outright laughing, or teasing the guard with comments like, “Isn’t that bird brutality,” or, “Someone call a vet,” still others said, “Boy this place has gone to the birds.” Dursten grabbed the triangular bag to assist the guard because the bird was now biting him in the hand, and the lady had gotten up and started to slap at the guard for hurting her bird. The bird went in quite easily with two people trying to cage it. The guard turned towards the lady and told her to settle down or he will handcuff her. This seemed to have some effect on the lady, for once the bird was away, she became less aggressive and seemed to want the guard to help her instead of her trying to resist him further. The Guard went through her personal things and found that she had several bottles of prescription medicine in her large bag. The guard managed to get her out of the bar, almost having to carry her, while Dursten assisted the guard by carrying her bags, and the triangular bird cage with bird safely inside. As he put the lady in his patrol vehicle, Dursten tried to thank and apologize to the guard on behalf of the hotel. The guard said laughing, “Don’t worry about it. In all the years I’ve served, I’ve never seen anything like this either. The boys at the base will never let me live this one down after they see my report. The Bird Man of the Gran Nebulae, I can hear all the ribbing now”
Dursten laughed and again thanked the guard for his assistance.
---The bird lady, absolutely every word about her description, the bird, the poor embarrassed RCMP officer, and the heckling and lauging from the guests is true. I did find out later that she had just left the hospital earlier in the day and took a double dose of the medication she was prescribed. That, combined with a couple of drinks was enough to send her over the loop. Her husband had contacted us after the incident and thanked us for helping her. He mentioned, but wouldn't go into details, that she does have these type of episodes and she knows she is not supposed to drink on her medication.
Real Correspondences: Really!
subject: Oh Oh!
Dursten, we must have a meeting soon ! As dweller of the cave I cannot handle much more of this influx of stranger's ?
Dursten, we must have a meeting soon ! As dweller of the cave I cannot handle much more of this influx of stranger's ?
I have also discovered, Oh Prancing One at our main pod area ?? What the hell was that ??? I am getting concerned the place is going squirrel and spinning out of control.
I am sure the queen is behind this.