sidebrow

from Hotel

fresh fruit in bowls on all the tables in the dining room, fresh fruit laid out for the guests in exactly the same way each morning. There is nothing quite like, or quite as wonderful as, the smell of fresh fruit in the morning, he feels. Things are getting better. He walks down the stairs and enters the lounge. It is morning, and there are only a few other guests, early risers, like himself, present in the lounge at that time. It is morning, and the company in the lounge is mixed, both men and women. The men and women are reading newspapers and magazines, or, rather, there are men and women, other guests, hidden behind newspapers and magazines in the chairs in the lounge. In the meantime, he has overheard a conversation. He is almost certain that a conversation has taken place in the kitchen, or that a conversation has taken place in the hall, near the kitchen. He is almost certain that a conversation has taken place between the chef and one of the assistant chefs, between two of the chefs, certainly, or that a conversation has taken place between one of the assistant chefs and someone else, perhaps one of the other guests.



~



His signal, or rather, hotel bill, had come to him in the form of a letter, or note. The letter, or note, containing his signal, or rather, hotel bill, had been slid under the door and was waiting for him when he entered his room that night. He was certain, however, that he would not be able to accept the invitation. There is no tomorrow. Don’t accept the invitation. Accept the invitation, or there is no tomorrow. There is no future anyway. No future. And, at that point, he holds his hands out, flexes his fingers. He is seated at the dining room table. He smiles, and clinks his glass with the person sitting on his right. The other guests are very charming. During this season, there are fresh cut flowers placed on tables all over the hotel. It is late spring, and the flowers are cut each morning in the mountain meadows, meadows that are common in the area immediately surrounding the hotel. Mountain meadows that, in fact, provide a picturesque backdrop that the hotel guests, by and large, seem to enjoy, indeed, seem to, consistently marvel