Books written by Ray Sullivan

Monday, 25 March 2013

Parallel Lives chapter 75

The night manager returned to the counter once more, despairing of ever getting his evening meal. Generally there was an early evening rush as out-of-town-ers finished their meetings and located their rooms before sampling Bristol's night life. Then there was a lull until about nine o'clock when the businessmen aiming at an early start pitched up from all points on the compass.
Unfortunately the lull had been interrupted by sporadic requests for all sorts; changes to rooms, cancellations and information regarding residents. To make matters worse, most of the interruptions had been centred around the same guest.
'Mr Staples, must be a popular guy,' he said to the two young men. One of them looked at a piece of paper he was holding.
'He's here then?' he asked. The manager shrugged.
'He was about an hour ago, of course he could be eating now. Have you tried the pub restaurant, most guests use that to eat,' he suggested. The young man pursed his lips.
'No, but I'll try that if I can't find him in his room. He told me this morning he was booked into room thirty two, but I've just called there and its occupied by someone else,' he forced a smile as he spoke, trying to keep the manager on-side. The manager felt anything but on-side by this conversation which was merely serving to eat into his own free time.
'I don't know how he could have given you that room number this morning, because he didn't check in until this afternoon, no pre-booking, just turned up,' stated the manager, deciding that if time was being wasted then it wasn't going to be just his. The Secret Serviceman flinched; he'd made a basic error, the sort that got you put under the microscope in the training academy, what was known as the stupid sort.
'OK, it must have been this afternoon, we've been speaking on and off all day,' he said. The manager stood, just looking at the man for a few seconds before turning to the computer screen.
'Well, he did have number thirty two for a while, but he asked if he could change it for a twin bedded room. He's with a business colleague and he's trying to economise. But I guess you would have known that,' said the manager, with a hint of sarcasm in his voice. The reception phone rang, an internal call. 'Excuse me,' said the manager, 'this'll be a guest.'
The Secret Servicemen looked on impatiently as the manager took the call, initially staring at the calendar hanging to one side as he listened, grunting understandingly to the caller.
'I understand, you don't want the police involved,' he said into the phone, 'but you've got to see it from my point of view sir, this sounds an ugly situation,' he continued before being forced to listen politely. 'I can't see how we can improve security on the external rooms, sir, this is an open site. Did they take anything Mr, er...' he asked, realising that the caller hadn't given his Name or room number. He looked up at the two Secret Servicemen worriedly.


Copyright Ray Sullivan 2011

The characters, places and events described in this novel are fictitious and any resemblance to persons, places or events, past or present, is coincidence.  All rights reserved

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