Room 1408 (With Respect To The Master, Stephen King. All Hail Stephen King.)

“You should write a book. But if you make it one of those tweenage porno stories disguised as a vampire romance novel, I’ll come back here and beat you to death with a copy of Twilight.”


Uncover a man’s desires and his soul is laid bare before you.

As I approach my second decade in the Canadian hospitality industry I can’t help but reflect on all the kind, generous souls that have walked through the hotel’s doors over the years. But then I remember how boring those folks are and I thank God for all the dysfunctional, unhinged douche-copters that have stumbled across my path.

Like this guy.

His name was Sinner. Don’t roll your eyes, this is me being uncharacteristically honest. I’m not sure if he felt pressure to live up to his name or if he simply felt it was too much effort to cultivate a mature, long-term relationship with another human being, but it was apparent from the first time we spoke over the phone that Mr. Sinner was a man who liked to indulge his darkest desires whenever possible.

“Yeah, I need a guy with a cart to bring down my booze, broads and bags. Or do the girls qualify as bags? Either way, I need a guy!” He then proceeded to cough up a lung over the phone.


A few minutes later, I had made my way through the hotel’s labyrinthine basement, maneuvering my brass-plated cart through a minefield of mop buckets, housekeeping carts and garbage bins, past the laundry with its Victorian era Steampunk charm and the housekeeping office with its distinct odor of industrial strength cleaners and onto a service elevator to the twentieth floor. My knuckles banged against the door, but my mind was imagining a series of images, each one more disturbing than the last.

I hadn’t even scratched the surface.

A modern-age Steve Jobs clone in an overpriced suit greeted me, his body turned away from the door. An indifferent guest is nothing new in my world; most people are so wrapped up in their own lives they wouldn’t notice if I showed at the room completely nude. To be fair, though, I really can’t blame Mr. Sinner for his indifference. On the bed behind him, a crimson-haired hooker decked out as a gangster’s moll circa the Twenties was busy untying one of her sun drenched colleagues who was dressed as a 1950s female health care provider.

“Hello, nurse!”, indeed.

Ironically, this particular nurse was sporting a crisp white uniform (which, strangely, was barely wrinkled), that clung so tightly to her curvaceous form, it was likely to induce a heart attack. She even had the little hat nurses used to wear. Her partner in carnal crime was equally faithful when it came to costuming; blood-red lipstick complimented her ginger locks, a mole enhanced the authenticity of the look and vintage clothing consisting of a pinstripe body squeezing dress with ample room for cleavage to pour out, put the finishing touch on a uniform that put mine to shame.

Welcome to my world. I’d like to be able to say that this wasn’t a typical day in my life. I’d like to be able to tell you that every single guest interaction is wholly limited to the usual Q & A:

  •  “Where is the ice machine?”
  •  “Can we get extra towels?”
  •  “Where the white women at?”
  •  “Do they really shut the Falls off at night?”
  •  “Where can I score, buddy?”
  •  “The headboard is attached to the wall… how do we hook these handcuffs up?”

As I was saying, I’d like to be able to tell you the life of a bellman is one of mind-numbing routine but the hard truth is this: bellmen live at the epicenter of all things strange and unusual, and so there is one rule (which bears repeating), that can only be ignored at one’s peril.




But back to our tale: I offered to wait in the hall so “everyone can switch back to something more comfortable – and of this era.”, but each of the hookers threw on a raincoat, flashed me a grin that said,

“Yes, we just did exactly what you think we did… and more… but we were paid large, so who cares?”

and made their way to the elevators. They looked like the proverbial cats who got the cream – literally, of course. As it was the height of summer, I couldn’t help but imagine the looks the ladies would have provoked had they run into a family of five in the lobby, which they surely would have.

That left me with Mr. Sinner, his duffel bag, three God-awful dress shirts, a suitcase filled with sex toys (he had to open it up to silence the dulcet tones of one particularly large vibrator), and his five cases of wine, and four boxes of cigars. Bloody hell. This guy is lucky his lungs didn’t give out while frolicking with the moll and Nurse Ratched. One thing still bothered me though and so I had a query that needed to be resolved. It was this guy’s turn to be probed – metaphorically, that is!

ME:  It’s August and yet, the ladies left in raincoats?

To be clear, I asked somewhat sheepishly, which as you know, is against type for me.

SINNER:  Yeah, they said they were in a hurry. I guess they had another appointment.

ME:  You’re probably right. Perhaps they had a church group to attend. Or maybe a PTA meeting?

One of the greatest skills I utilize in my job is my ability to read people; any bellman worth his salt will be able to size up a guest in a second and know precisely what he can get away with. Mr. Sinner just banged two kinky hookers for breakfast. This was a guest that wouldn’t be offended easy.

SINNER:  PTA meeting?  You’re one funny guy! I like you!

Being right – at least at work – is a gift, not a curse. We were ready to go. After loading a departing guest’s luggage, your average bellman will take the service elevator down to the lobby, but I wasn’t about to miss out on the opportunity to chat with this guy…

SINNER:  Man, I’m knackered! Thought my heart was going to burst last night!

ME:  Its a good thing you had a nurse present, sir.

He paused and gave me a look that said, “You’ve got some stones on you, buddy!”

Some people find it easier to open their vaults to perfect strangers and Mr. Sinner was no exception to that rule. One elevator ride and a long walk through the lobby to the parking garage later, I was privy to his deal.

  • He was a stockbroker with a bad heart and two ex-wives, one of whom was an alcoholic and the other had taken up with her personal trainer – Cheryl.
  • Three separate batches of Sinner sperm produced a trio of neglected kids who were surely in therapy.
  • The lack of emotional attachment that forms the cornerstone of the prostitute/john relationship – or in this case, the prostitute/prostitute/john relationship – appealed to him immensely.

SINNER:  You ever have the pleasure of a three-way, buddy?

ME:  I’ve never felt the desire to disappoint two women at once, sir.

SINNER:  Funny you should say that, boss. The nurse, Cherise (apparently originality isn’t very high on a young lady’s list when choosing a user name in the call girl world), she said I could use some work on my performance. Imagine that?

An honest prostitute? Where did this guy dig these girls up?

ME:  Perhaps she was trying to drum up repeat business?  A psychiatrist never actually cures anyone.  I imagine the same work ethic applies to paid companions.

SINNER:  Paid companions?  You’ve got a way with words, pal!  Hey, you know what?  I bet this isn’t the first time you’ve seen something interesting at work.  You should write a book!

Told you.

Mr. Sinner then rattled off the quote that preceded this little tale.

ME:  Funny you should suggest that, sir –

SINNER:  You’re gonna tell me you’re a writer, aren’t you? Hey, you’re not gonna write about me are you?

A simple grin sufficed.

SINNER:  Fine. But if you get famous, I want my due!

ME:  Of course, sir. Someone has to help keep you in molls and nurse, right?

As a bellman, I’ve learned to gauge my attitude towards guests to match their own. My bold attitude was entirely appropriate in this case and so Mr. Sinner broke out into a fit of raucous laughter. He then pulled out a wad of cash, peeled off a few bills and thanked me for my service; most likely the third time he had done so that morning.

He drove off in his “mid-life-crisis-mobile” as I pondered whether or not a man can truly find satisfaction in a series of random sexual encounters with women who will say or do literally anything for the right price. After a moment, though, I realized it makes no difference whatsoever. I got paid. The Hookers got paid. And Sinner got laid. For once, everyone won.

Just another day in my life, folks.

See you in the lobby, kids…

About The Hook

Husband. Father. Bellman. Author of The Bellman Chronicles. Reader of comic books and observer and chronicler of the human condition. And to my wife's eternal dismay, a mere mortal and non-vampire. I'm often told I look like your uncle, cousin, etc. If I wore a hat, I'd hang it on a hat rack in my home in Niagara Falls, Canada. You can call me The Hook, everyone else does.
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24 Responses to Room 1408 (With Respect To The Master, Stephen King. All Hail Stephen King.)

  1. 1jaded1 says:

    “I’ve never felt the desire to disappoint two women at once”…side hurting laughter. Another fine day at the office. Thanks for sharing.

  2. This was wonderful to read 🙂 thank you!

  3. Life gives you a gift everyday – a new story to tell. Thanks for all the grins, snorts, and giggles

  4. C.E.Robinson says:

    Again, you’ve done it! Love your bellman stories! Always end up with a smile and shaking my head! Is this for real? Merry Christmas! Chryssa

  5. Next time, you should ask, “So, did you find all the cameras in the room?”

  6. The Cutter says:

    Where do people attach the handcuffs if the headboard is attached to the wall?

  7. His remark about “tweenage porno stories” was actually pretty literate coming from him. And thanks for the laughs as usual, Hook.

  8. I think Sinner was a great character. Who goes to a one nighter with a case of wine and box of cigars. Only a great character. *hack* Nice story Hook. I loved the setup quote in the beginning..

  9. curvyroads says:

    You, sir, are anything but the average bell man. 😉 Another great telling of the human condition…

  10. shimoniac says:

    Agreed. You are an above average bellman. 😀

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