Staring out the lobby windows I watch the street glow with every hit of lighting. The rain’s falling hard tonight, dropping violently like metal pearls that melt on impact. Every few minutes thunders rolls and suddenly the lobby music gets remixed into a metal ballad and just for that passing moment there’s a bit more excitement in my eyes. The phone rings and I reach to grab it, but the Night Auditor beats me. A guests in 1609 requests a manager’s assistance in her room, so I grab my radio, step in the elevator, and press 16. At the door I notice it’s ajar, knock lightly I announce myself, ‘Night Manager.’
‘Come in! Come in!’ a raspy voice echoes. I step inside the room to find a woman in a colorful silk kimono. Walking towards me her long brown hair follows as her long tanned legs lead towering over me with a smile, ‘Hi thank you! Can you help me unload some boxes? I had two crates of this stuff delivered to my room this afternoon and I have to rip this packaging out to get to my products.’ Her french tip manicured hands meet mine and I freeze for a second as she continues, ‘You don’t mind do you?’ She asks handing me a yellow box cutter.
‘Certainly ma’am. If you’d would like I can get an Engineer to assist you further.’ I say as I cut strands of plastic tie downs off a large box. Cutting through layers of clear masking tape I finally manage to get the top open.
‘You’ll do just fine. I need this to be discreet. It won’t take long either!’ she pleads as bends over to pick up a trash bin by her work desk. Walking back towards me in the living area she bends over placing the bin close me. As I throw a ball of masking tape and packaging debris in the bin I notice her breasts hang through her kimono. Noticing, she suddenly stands at attention with her breasts aimed like missiles, she grins and extends her hand, ‘Can you hand me one of the boxes?’
I reach my hand in the packaging box, gently thumbing at the top row of a grid of ten black squares, I pull out the one in the center and hand her a cardboard block with a picture of her face on one side and the rest of her body on the remaining three. I turn back to the box and reach for another cardboard block to see my finger tips cover the same picture of the lower half of her unshaved body. Grabbing blocks now two, three at a time I form a pyramid on the living room table as ten copies of her naked self stare back at me with every turn. The real woman version sits on the couch as I finish unloading the remainder of the box packaging. My pyramid, now a Mayan temple, is tall enough to block my view from her, not that I could fully focus, as a hundred copies of this woman’s full frontal shines in glossy packaging.
‘You’re awfully quiet there Mr. Manager!’ She laughs. ‘There’s no need to be uncomfortable, yes it’s me! This is my product! I’m an actress!’
‘Yes ma’am.’ I mumble a bit frozen as I don’t know whether to continue with the other box or leave the room entirely.
She’s laughs and sits closer to me as she grabs a box off the table. ‘I have a convention tomorrow night and I need to sign all these.’ She opens the little black box and pulls out a cardboard cage holding a long thick cylinder the size of a large Magnalight. Pulling it free she holds it with with her small hands barely able to the wrap around its large black shell. ‘It’s my Fleshlight!’ she giggles handing me a black arm of plastic. ‘Take the top off!’ she insists her fingers already getting half the job done for me.
Unscrewing the rest I pull out the top cap and see a mouth, her mouth. She grabs the Fleshlight and pulls out her lip gloss and dabs a bit on the rubber clone and reaches over to me holding the Fleshlight by her face as she puckers, ‘Looks just like mine right?’ I nod as I stare at two identical pair of lips shiny with little pink glitter smelling like fresh strawberries. ‘This is the mouth one! It vibrates! See!’ She pushes a button and presses the base of it on my cheek. ‘I need to find the chrome one!’ She reaches over to the table and sifts through the pile and fishes out a box embossed in platinum foil.
Opening the top she grabs a larger chrome plated cylinder and hands it to me. Twice the size of the previous it shines our reflection on the top face. She motions for me to unscrew it and in it holds an anatomically correct vagina, soft and detailed like the ones you dreamed off in sex ed classes. ‘That’s me!’ she smiles as she takes the light saber from my hands and untwists the other end, ‘It’s easy to clean with just hot water and alcohol and look…’ fastening the end piece back on she presses a button causing her cloned vagina to glow a bright blue ray towards the bedroom on the other side. ‘It’s holds a 75 lumen LED, that’s brighter than any Magnalight on the market!’ she says very matter-of-factually that if she had glasses I swore she’s now a scientist.
‘How about the batteries?’ I ask, looking at each end of the light saber searching for an adapter input.
‘You shake it to make it, silly!’ She giggles her scientist looks melts back to porn star, as she shakes the light saber up and down causing her latex vagina to glows brighter and brighter illuminating the ceiling like a Bat signal. Then suddenly a flash of light burst right outside, the room’s fully lit for a split second before thunder follows with a bellowing vengeance and a second later we’re in the dark with nothing but the glowing vagina light saber illuminating the room.
‘The power’s out! With all do respect ma’am, I have to return to the lobby.’ I say as I head for the door using my iPhone as a flashlight.
Grabbing my shoulder before I can escape she pleads, ‘Don’t leave me here alone! I’m afraid of the dark!’
‘I have to notify the other guests regarding the power outage ma’am. I also need to check on my night team!’ I explain gripping the door and placing one foot in the hallway.
‘Take this with you!’ she tosses the Fleshlight to me and runs to the bathroom. Shaking the vagina light saber vigorously, I push the light button and out burst a blue beam stretching as far as the end of the north east wing. A few guests begin to open their doors and pop out their heads asking if everything is okay and when will the power come back on. I explain to them there is a minor power outage due to the thunderstorm and that the engineer is working on the generators as we speak. I tell them I am on my way to reset the breakers and for any further information our fire safety director will make an announcement of any updates on the PA system. Before I explain any further another beam of light bursts from room 1609. The adult actress now in a thick white bathrobe steps in the hallway holding her own chrome Fleshlight. ‘You’re not leaving me back here in the dark, I’m coming with you!’
Shaking my head I lead her to Stair Well A and quickly we descend down the stairs to the lobby floor where our blue light beams meet a web of yellow green flood lights. The lobby now looks like a bad 80’s warehouse, filled with aggravated guests half clothed, bathrobed, and pajama’d circling the poor night auditor as she gestures for everyone to stand back and away from the fire panel as it beeps, blinks, and prints out a roll of paper now curling on the marble floor. I wave the Fleshlight onto the mob and enunciate every word as I make an announcement on behalf of the missing Fire Safety Director, ‘Good evening dear guests. I am the Hotel Manager. I apologize for the inconvenience as it appears the thunder and lighting storm has knocked out our power momentarily. The night engineer is monitoring the backup generator as only essential outlets will be receiving electricity. Please stay calm. You can either wait in your room or convene here in the lobby until the situation improves!’ Staring at a bunch of raised hands with angry faces I continue, ‘I apologize as I can not answer any further questions at this time. Thank you!’
The fire safety director finally arrives running to the fire panel and thumbs the acknowledge button, eliminating the beeping, and ripping off the white scroll hanging from the printer’s lip. He places the fire panel microphone to his mouth and makes a formal announcement which now echoes in the lobby. The crowd turns and makes their way towards him, as I take this opportunity to start walking down the steps towards the lower lobby. Turning off the Fleshlight, I walk towards stair well B. I look behind me and there she is making her way down the steps, her Fleshlight blinding my eyes with blue laser.
She turns off the her light and runs pass me and through the door of the lit stair well, turns around and asks, ‘You coming or not?’
I step through the door and lead her down the stairs, to the basement, and then the subbasement. Turning on my Fleshlight I shine the blue beam to her face, ‘You know you’re not allowed down here!’ She shines her light back at me and presses for us to continue. Reaching the hallway of the subbasement there’s nothing but our blue lights to lead the way. We head down the east wing but every door is either locked or has a padlock, until we finally reach a dead end. We turn around and run towards the western wall to meet two double doors. Each heavier than the both of us we manage to push a single door together and slide through the small opening before we end up in open warehouse filled with scrap metal and construction debris. With no flood lights in working order we shake our Fleshlights hard like spray paint cans, bombing the unfinished walls in bright halogen blue.
Leading, I search my light forward as we press further to the unknown back to back with her blue beam as a wagging tail that points straight back to the heavy doors we left paces ago. At the end of one corridor was another hallway catching pieces of my light source with reflective tape. I follow it until it leads me to a room filled with electrical boxes and lights switches. Scanning the room for any signs or labels, I realize the woman is gripping both my shoulders, her nails now digging through my jacket. ‘Relax! This is not a zombie apocalypse!’ She’s trembling behind me, so much so now my arms are starting to shake causing my Fleshlight to stutter in the darkness until something yellow reflects back. I push her back off of me and tell her to stop as I continue to walk towards a giant brown cylinder tank wrapped in a cage of chain link fences. A yellow sign reads: ‘Warning Poisonous Gas’.
Her claws now back on my shoulder she whispers to my ear, ‘What the fuck is that?’
‘I don’t know, but I don’t think it’s suppose to be down here.’ Suddenly a red light starts flashing atop the giant brown cylinder. Small lights come to life as the big brown tank starts gurgling and then humming as it’s pumping out air from one end of the machine causing a blasts of ringing alarm sounds. ‘Run!’ We run back towards the way we came and yet it feels like the giant brown gas tank is following us with every breath, it pumps louder and louder into our ear drums as we finally reach the two giant heavy doors. I hand the woman my Fleshlight as I attempt to frantically open the door but it’s too heavy for my arms alone. She drops both Fleshlights on the ground and attempts to help me pull the door open as we barely manage to get no more than an arm’s worth. Reaching and pushing my body, I hold the door open as I ask her to grab the Fleshlights. Now slightly pinned by the door, I feel its metal edge begin to pinch down on my flesh.
‘Here!’ she screams, securing both Fleshlights at the foot of the door now laying side by side holding it open enough for me to fall back and breathe. I exhale and push her forward climbing through a 12 inch opening, with me following her closely behind. Now in the corridor of the subbasement I take a second to catch my breath sitting against the wall as I see the woman on the floor reaching to grab her products out of the crevice. As she pulls on both handles with her feet planted on the other door for leverage, suddenly she falls back with two halves of Fleshlight in each hand. Defeated she drops them, as I extend my arm to help her on her feet. Adjusting her bathrobe now stained black and gray, she looks at me and says, ‘Thanks,’ as my face slowly disappears against the quickly dying light.
With two dead blue vaginas on the ground, I shine my cellphone and watch the woman walk slowly away from the two heavy doors. She turns to me and whispers, ‘There’s someone knocking on the door.’ And as those words escape her lips the knocking turns to pounding and the doors start moving. We both run towards the double doors gripping its metal bars and pull as much as we can, but whoever or whatever is in the other side is stronger than either one of us as the doors start opening an inch closer as we weaken. Then suddenly we both lose grip, the lights bursts from the ceiling above us as the doors swing wide open with the two of us laying on the ground witnessing lights illuminate the dark unknown that lays before our feet.
The curtain of bright white halogen, reveals the resemblance of an unfinished basement of a unemployed construction worker with a collection of scraps and unused tools collecting dust. At the far corner, the corridor holds a dark brown pressure tank running ducts and pipes that feed three rows of giant turbines labeled: Generator. We sigh in relief and before we can laugh we’re interrupted as the night engineer comes out of left field and yells, ‘Why didn’t you open the door? I kept shouting for you to help me!’ Shaking his head he helps the woman to her feet and follows to extend his arm to me.
Getting up I look at the night engineer covered with brushstrokes of grease and soot, his eyeballs nearly bulging out of his head with a grin from ear to ear. I thank him and say, ‘You fixed the generator!’
‘I didn’t fix shit. The power’s back on!’ He laughs fixing my jacket and dusting off my wrinkled shoulders with his large rough hands. ‘The elevator’s fixed, you kids coming up?’ He laughs and walks down the hallway and reaches for the elevator button.
I step aside to give way as the woman in the bathrobe follows the night engineer. In the elevator L illuminates in soft white, I push 16 to match it as the elevator doors close it shakes for a moment before proceeding to ascend. Reaching the lobby level the night engineer extends his arm granting me to pass, I look at the woman in the bathrobe and look back at the night engineer and hold the doors open for him. He winks at me, laughs, and steps out. As the elevator opens on the 16 floor I hold the door as she steps out and turns towards the north east wing. I reach for my master key and open her door, looking at her eyes i tell her, ‘Have a good night ma’am!’
‘Wait right here for a second…’ she says stepping into her room and leaving the door just slightly ajar. She returns shortly - without a bathrobe, without a kimono, without anything; warping her arms around me she whispers in my ear, ‘Thanks everything!’ She kisses me on the cheek and hands me a box wrapped in shiny platinum foil. She smiles just one last time and closes the door.