Beware The Top of The World.

Being a bellman is akin to being a soldier.

Except for the “serving your country while selflessly wading into danger” part, of course.

But otherwise, there are more similarities than differences.

  • Most bellmen have military-style haircuts.
  • The hours suck.
  • Adherence to a mind-numbing routine becomes the norm.
  • The food often sucks.
  • You have to keep your equipment (luggage carts), and uniforms in perfect working order and spotless.
  • Bellmen have to be well-oiled machines capable of infiltrating and navigating hostile territory in record time.
  • There is a chain of command that cannot be superseded. (Except by yours truly, of course.)

And finally, bellmen often walk right into minefields that are disguised as safe zones.

In this particular case, the safe zone was the hotel’s penthouse suite, often referred to by staff as “The Top Of The World”.

  • Corner-to-corner windows that bathe the room in enough light to wipe out an entire vampire clan in one blast.
  • Ultra-chic furnishings that would make Brooke Shields weep.
  • Palatial bathrooms.
  • Big, strong beds – that get put to the test, trust me.
  • A view to die for – and some people do when they get the bill.

The Top Of The World is Heaven encased in concrete and wood. Though to be honest, the temporary residents are usually far from angelic.

“Hey, buddy! I need two carts to the penthouse suite ASAP! I’ll tip you good! Don’t bring those crappy silver carts, I need the good gold ones with the bars to hang shit from! You feel me?”

And so it began. Mr. Personality was a standard, brash, white American male cut came from the same Confederate flag as a million other white American males. His manner – and his voice, for that matter – were as smooth as shattered glass but otherwise, he was completely generic in appearance. Although, he was buzzed at noon on a Friday. At any rate, I made my way to The Top Of The World where, we’ll call him “Mr. Scratch” for reasons that will soon be obvious, was waiting.

“All right, pal! I need you to load all this shit, and there’s plenty of it, on both carts! And I need you to check every room carefully! My boy and I had a wild night, so we need you to make sure we didn’t forget anything, all right? Cool room, right? You been up here before?”

ME:  Yes, sir, I have and yes, I’ll check every room. To begin with, I notice there is some make-up on the floor beside you.

MR. SCRATCH:  Oh that! That there belongs to the wild girls we ordered last night! We’ll never see them again so don’t trouble yourself with their shit! Just get our stuff and I’ll give you as good tip, all right?

ME:  Got it.

And so I channeled my inner Sherlock and conducted a meticulous search of The Top Of The World. Aside from dozens of wet towels, dirty drinking glasses and food plates and wrappers, the room was pretty dull.

Then I checked the second bathroom.

Magnum condom wrappers – and their used contents – were littered around the room, scattered amongst the towels and other refuse. The stench of copulation was barely detectable but lingered nonetheless. A single thought burned its way through my consciousness and demanded to be shared.

ME:  You said you were here with your son, sir?

MR. SCRATCH:  Yeah, what about it? Wait that reminds me… GATES! (His voice resonated like thunder over the Alabama plains.) GET YOUR ASS OFF THAT COUCH AND GET YOURSELF TOGETHER! WE’RE GOIN’ AS SOON AS THIS GUY LOADS OUR SHIT UP!

I couldn’t contain my laughter. Not that Mr. Scratch cared. His mind was racing too fast to register anything but his own ramblings.

MR. SCRATCH:  Hey, you seen the view from here, Boss? I could spend days just staring at it, know what I mean?

ME:  I do. Just out of curiosity, did the ladies enjoy it?

MR. SCRATCH:  What, the view?

ME:  Yeah, sure we’ll go with that.

MR. SCRATCH:  Who cares? They weren’t here to take in the view, they were here to take –

ME:  I get it, sir! No need to elaborate.

With that, I set out to the master bedroom and began to load up six paper shopping bags, four suitcases, three duffel bags, several dress shirts, two bags of liquor bottles and assorted sundries.

MR. SCRATCH:  Told you that we had a lot of shit! I’ll tip you good, though! Turns out, I found a lot of stuff I wanted! That’s why you needed the gold carts. You can hang the paper bags up there… but only if they’re strong enough, right?

ME:  Indeed! Don’t want your shit dropping all over, now do we?

MR. SCRATCH:  Hells, no! You can help me load the car, right? I’ll tip you good!

ME:  I think I heard that. It’s a deal. Tell you what, you peel your son off the couch and I’ll head down to the valet deck. We’ll meet up and double-team your car.

Poor choice of words.

MR. SCRATCH:  Double-team? That reminds me –

ME:  EASY, SIR! I really don’t need the imagery! I get the picture all too clearly.

Mr. Scratch was speechless. For an all-too brief moment. He grabbed his dazed-and-confused son and met up with me in the guest elevator. And he only had to stop twice to flirt with housekeepers. Finally, we reached his car.

I stood motionless for a moment, quietly contemplating the challenge that lay ahead: two carts, as fully loaded as Lindsay Lohan on a movie set, and the tinest BMW they make – with a trunk that was already fully loaded. A walk in the park, right?

Not quite. But after twenty minutes of shuffling, chucking and rearranging (and plenty of ‘I’ll tip you good, buddy!’), we were all set.

MR. SCRATCH:  Well, I gotta say, that’s a helluva packin’ job, Boss! Ain’t that a great job, Gates?

Gates was barely alive, but he nodded and smiled.

ME:  I’m not just a pretty face and a Thor-like body, sir.

MR. SCRATCH:  HA! Well, a deal’s a deal… (he peeled off a few bills), here you go, Boss!

I shoved the wad into my pocket and set off to secure some bleach for my brain.

See you in the lobby, kids…

Other Stuff I Did This Week When I Wasn’t Battling Serving Guests

I interviewed the ever-adorable Sam Maggs for Pulp Nation. You’ll be moved to tears. For one reason or another. Click here. Do it now.

sammaggssonic_09-672x400

I ate an entire bag of candy for dinner one night.

I prayed to a deity I barely believe in while vowing to never again eat an entire bag of candy for dinner.

 I’m done.

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It HAS To Be Monday…

There’s simply no other explanation for this post.

 Despite the tightrope-walk-over-a-wormhole-containing-a-million-shrarknados that is my work life, my mornings are fairly routine: I wake up to the alarm clock’s warning, peel the dog off my legs, carry her downstairs so she can evacuate her TARDIS-like (tiny-yet-bigger-on-the-inside-bowels), carry her back upstairs, plop her on the bed and tell the wife to stay asleep while I get ready for work.

Naturally, I know VampireLover will ignore me, so the clock begins ticking, Jack Bauer style, while I get myself ready to face the hordes of travelers waiting for me. But before I know it, that familiar creak begins to emanate from the upper staircase (a ninja could never live in a 10-year-old house), and the bathroom door flings open.

And the thrill ride that is my union begins to unfold again.

VL:  (Upon seeing the sink.)  Hey, Skippy! You used way too much shampoo for a guy with no hair!

ME:  (Otherwise known as “Skippy”.)  My name’s not Skippy, it’s the Hook. And hey, I have hair! It’s ridiculously short, shaved in fact, but I have hair! And how do you know how much shampoo I used?

VL:  I hate “The Hook”! I didn’t marry “The Hook”. And for your information, I can see all the suds left in the sink… Skippy.

ME:  What, all of the sudden you’re Columbo?

VL:  Columbo was a boy… Skippy.

ME:  Fine. What, all of the sudden you’re Mrs. Columbo?

VL:  You’re –

ME:  An idiot, I know.

VL:  Rude, is more like it.

ME:  You have to admit, I keep your life interesting. Without me, you’d be just another desperate housewife, forced to sniff paint fumes just to stave off mind-numbing depression. Either that, or you’d be watching Kardashian TV shows until your brain melts.

VL:  Do you hear yourself sometimes? And no, a vampire would keep my life interesting. And sexy.

ME:  Twenty years of marital bliss and suddenly I’m not good enough?

VL:  That’s not true.

ME:  Aw, thanks, hon.

But I spoke too soon…

VL:  You were never good enough. I just wanted to get out of the house.

 ME:  And they say romance is an antiquated notion in this day and age.

VL:  Romance? More like convenience!

ME: Glad I could be convenient. I’m like the 7-11 of marriage… I’m open for business 24/7.

VL:  (Giggling in that schoolgirl laugh that still makes my teeth tingle after twenty-plus years.) But you don’t have Slurpees!

ME:  Nice! No wonder I love you despite your obvious hatred for me. And your tendency to beat on me with flicks to various body parts, noogies, wedgies, wet willies and other childish physical attacks.

VL:  I don’t hate you, Skippy.

ME:  I always suspected that, despite the obvious evidence to the contrary, of course.

VL:  I just love bugging you. Now get to work and make me some money!

ME:  I am your humble servant… named Skippy.

See you in the lobby, kids…

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The Hook Visits Pulp Nation. Again.

So I took my sidekick (otherwise known as my daughter), with me to see Ant-Man on Friday.

And I wrote about it.

You can find that review – and a bunch of other cool stuff – on the virtual pages of Pulp Nation. That is all. I’m keeping it brief because I know you have lives to get back to – and I’m in the middle of the Summer of 2015, and let me tell you, its been cray-cray.

That’s what the kids say, right? I have difficulty keeping up with the ever-changing lingo utilized by today’s youth as they navigate their way in and out of rehab, juvie, Kardashian marathons and whatever else they do for fun these days.

CLICK HERE TO BE “MYSTIFIED”.

vyZyWit

 

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Suzie Speaks Summer Blog Party!

The Hook:

If you haven’t partied with Suzie?
Then you haven’t partied at all, baby!
Follow the link down the virtual rabbit hole and party on…

Originally posted on Suzie Speaks:

imageIt has been quite a while since I last hosted a blog party, and I absolutely love them! It’s the beginning of summer, and for me its the beginning of a new chapter, so I’m determined to celebrate in style! For those of you that have never participated in one before, the rules are simple:

1. Choose your favourite post from your own blog. The subject of the post can be anything you like – blogging, food, parenting, life, travel, thoughts, photography… Note: This should be only one post at a time or it will get sent straight to the ‘spam’ folder and I may not be able to find you for a while. You can share up to three links, and for maximum impact I would suggest that you wait a little while in between posting them rather than in one go.

2. Paste the link to your post…

View original 253 more words

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A Typical Morning… For Me, At Least.

VAMPIRELOVER (THE WIFE):  (Upon seeing my new hairstyle for the first time.)  Nice cut there, Skippy!

ME:  I take it you don’t approve?

VL:  You look like a soldier, which is hilarious because you wouldn’t last two minutes in the army. Or a shop teacher, which is even funnier considering you fell off a sawhorse while fixing the garage.

The love of my life, ladies and gentleman.

ME:  What’s wrong with looking like a shop teacher? I thought they got all the chicks?

VL:  Why would shop teachers get all the chicks?

ME:  It’s simple really…. they always have wood.

Needless to say, she was stunned. Luckily, twenty years of marriage to me sharpens one’s comedic reflexes.

VL:  You’re an idiot.

ME:  Guilty as charged. Ask yourself this though: Is it worse to be the idiot… or the person who married the idiot?

Without skipping a beat…

VL:  You’re an idiot wrapped in a moron.

ME:  And they said it wouldn’t last…

Short and sweet today, kids. See you in the lobby…

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The Hook: Diplomat Extraordinaire.

FYI:  This post contains language anyone with half a brain will find offensive. I certainly did.

Admittedly, it’s been a while since I’ve shared a juicy tale from the hospitality trenches so I figure you’re due.

You poor, poor bastards.

At any rate, the summer of 2015 has arrived with all the subtly of  Kanye West at an awards show – and I wouldn’t have it any other way. After being sidelined for seven weeks last year, I spent the entirety of Jack Frost’s reign over Niagara Falls envisioning the hazy, far-from-lazy days of summer. And now that they’ve finally arrived? I’m as happy as Donald Trump while standing in front of a reflective surface.

And that’s pretty happy.

Let’s begin with a profile of a guest I had the extreme “pleasure” of serving this morning.

GUEST BIO:  Sonny D. Redneck (The “D” stands for “Dang, son!”) Some of Sonny’s characteristics include:

  • More teeth than his cousin, Jasper.
  • A home with many zip codes. (It all depends where it’s parked that week.)
  • Hair as red as his neck.
  • A collection of NASCAR t-shirts that would make the Honey Boo Boo clan jealous.
  • A less-than-evolved worldview.

 Sonny was a helluva conversationalist (I ain’t never stayed in a hotel that I couldn’t drive my RV up to before!”), and the last of the big tippers. Luckily, I’m more than accustomed to dealing with the Sonnys of the world, and so I took his colorful comments with a grain of salt…

 “Lookit all the Nine Irons! It’s like a Jackie Chan movie up in here!”

“I can’t trust a woman in a veil. Bet she’s hidin’ somethin’…”

“How do you work here, boy? There are too  many niggers and sand-niggers around.”‘

… and I moved on. My movement brought me into alignment with a sizable family from the Middle East. They were traveling with enough food to feed Bangladesh, but they were jovial, realistic (“Sorry we brought so much, sir! We refuse to pack light!”), and overall, a joy to serve. As soon as I had dropped them and their two carts of belongings off in a family suite I found my path had taken a bigoted turn.

I ran smack into Sonny as he departed a guest elevator. (Unfortunately, I didn’t literally run into him, but you can’t have everything.)

SONNY:  Hey! It’s my Canadian buddy! I saw you downstairs with those sand niggers! Those people are ignorant aren’t they? Bet you’re glad to be away from them, right?

Needless to say, I felt enough was enough. It’s one thing to adhere to a professional code of conduct, but sometimes one must answer to a personal code.

ME:  Actually, sir… those “sand niggers” tipped me twenty dollars. You gave me a buck. Ignorance is subjective, wouldn’t you say?

Sonny just stood there, paralyzed with shock at my bold, Canadian attitude. My point, having been made – and then some – I hopped into Sonny’s elevator just as it closed and pushed the “close” button as fast as I could. 

I talk a good game, but in a physical confrontation I’m next to useless.

See you in the lobby, kids…

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More “Funny Book” Shenanigans From The Hook and Pulp Nation.

Are you sensing a theme yet?

Don’t worry, my faithful readers, I haven’t abandoned my campaign to revolutionize terrorize the hospitality industry entirely. I’ve merely decided to diversify my creative output by writing for Pulp Nation on occasion.

I figure I can do more damage that way.

And it’s been a lifelong dream of mine to write for a comic book site. Well, as long as the web’s been around anyway. I’ll say this though: the Pulp Nation boys are on the right track; it takes time to build a successful site but they’re in this for the long haul.

Granted, they’re the only guys I’ve ever met who have been banned from Tijuana, but I believe them when they say that donkey was already dead…

But enough about international incidents. Let’s talk comics. Specifically, being a cool comic book dad. Here’s my latest offering. Enjoy, and as usual, don’t blame me if you’re scarred for life.

CLICK HERE TO BE AMAZED! (OKAY, MILDLY AMUSED.)

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