The Wall who could speak and the secrets she knew
Hotel California was an unusual hotel. First of all, it wasn’t anywhere near California, but in Syria, Damascus. And it was unusual in the fact, that it usually had maybe 2–3 guests at most, and even they stayed only for a few days at a time.
Even though the hotel was empty most of the year, somehow, the owners still managed to have enough money to live quite a luxurious life. They had a nice car, and they went out to eat at famous restaurants. They even managed to travel quite a bit.
All of the people who lived in the vicinity of the hotel wondered what their secret was. “They must run drugs on the side,” Most of them concluded. It had to be the case. There is no way they would be this rich, without doing something shady on the side, especially because their hotel was such a sham of a hotel.
One day in May, Hotel California had a new guest. It was unusual for the hotel to have a new guest. And more unusual that this guest was actually excited to be at Hotel California.
“Oh,” Mary, the guest, gushed, “I’m so excited to be here in Syria. I have dreamt from the time I was a child to come and visit. And even more excited that I am staying at this hotel. Hotel California was my absolute favorite song growing up.” She hummed a few bars of the song, and then looked at the receptionist behind the desk, who seemed only mildly interested.
That didn’t deter Mary. She was used to people who weren’t quite as enthusiastic as her. She was American after all, and she was cheery an American as they came. She would whip these Syrians into shape soon enough, and they would smiling, and laughing with her in no time at all.
The bellboy who spent most of his time cleaning his ears, and making rude noises at the girls who passed by the hotel, stood there, waiting for Mary to stop talking. It was one of those rare chances for him to get some American dollars in his pocket. He wanted to to see a movie tonight, and the extra cash would definitely help impress his date. He picked up Mary’s bags, and walked up the flight of stairs. There were only two levels to Hotel California, and there were only 13 rooms on the second floor.
The ground floor was filled with cobwebs, and people pretending to work.
The bellboy was really fit, but despite that, Mary’s bag was still too heavy for him. So that he was huffing and puffing by the time they came to her room, Room #13.
Thankfully Mary wasn’t superstitious, otherwise, she would have demanded that the receptionist change her room instantly. But as soon as she walked into the room, as everyone else who walked in, she was instantly charmed by the room.
The room wasn’t small. But it wasn’t really big either. It was just right. The windows were big and overtook one entire wall. The shades were open onto the courtyard, and everyone could see in, and Mary and the bellboy could see out. The bed had one of those tarps on it, made of lace, that made it seem more romantic than necessary. The floors were marble. The bathroom was clean. And there was only one cockroach in the whole room, but he was quietly resting underneath the bed, so no one really paid him any attention.
Mary was enchanted. This was even better than she had expected. She loved it. She gushed over it endlessly to the bellboy. He wasn’t interested. But he pretended really well. Nodding, and nodding some more. She finally gave him a $5 dollar tip and he beamed from ear to ear, as he left the room.
Mary sat down on one of the plush velvet chairs in the room, and immediately got to work. Mary wasn’t really a tourist in Syria as she would have had them believe. She was, in fact, a detective. A private detective hired by a woman who said that she was being blackmailed by the hotel owners. “Somehow, they found out all of these secrets about me, and are not blackmailing me over them. I mean, I was only there for a few days. How did this happen?” The woman had sobbed over Mary’s shoulders.
“I will find out for you, and get this situation rectified.” When Mary was in detective mode, she wasn’t as cheerful or gushy as she pretended to be otherwise. No one paid attention to a cheerful and gushy tourist. Everyone paid attention to Mary when she was in detective mode. Not only was she tall, blonde, and skinny, but she was also beautiful and intelligent. Everyone wanted to hate her, but everyone ended up loving her instead.
Mary put out listening bugs in all parts of the room. Thankfully, they had placed her in the exact same room as her client. Room #13.
She was affixing a particularly difficult piece of wire to one of the walls, when the wall spoke up. “Ahem, ahem. What do you think you are doing, young lady? I haven’t given you permission to touch me up like this. How dare you! I feel so violated.”
Mary fell back onto the side of the bed, and bruised her lower back. She rubbed it with chagrin, and looked up at the wall. Where was that voice coming from? Did someone place a speaker in the room? Was someone watching her? What was going on here?
“Who is it? Where are you? Show yourselves to me. This is my room, and I won’t have any trespassers in here.”
“Trespassers. Ha! That’s quite rich, I tell you. I have lived in this room for the past 30 years, and all of a sudden, you come and tell me that I have to kowtow to you? Look here, little lady, I don’t like people speaking to me like this. So stop that. Also, don’t put anything on me anymore.”
Mary didn’t want to believe it. She didn’t want to believe it. She couldn’t believe it. It was impossible. But as a pair of lips sprouted from the wall and spoke all of those words, Mary had to start believing it.
“Umm, so you are a wall and you can speak.” Mary asked stupidly. She was a smart one usually, but all of these unusual circumstances were causing her to lose her intelligence all at once.
“Oh god. What is up with the people of today? You are just so slow. Yes, I am a wall, a female wall, thank you very much. And I can speak. I can see, I can hear, and I can speak. So what’s the big deal? Humans always assume that walls cannot speak. They assume we are blind, deaf, and mute. But it’s your own fault, isn’t it? Thankfully, the owners of this nice hotel were kind enough to realize my potential and put me in the nicest room here, so I wouldn’t be bored anymore. And the owner even comes in and talks to me, whenever there isn’t a guest situated in here. She’s ever so nice. The last time we spoke about elephants.. There is…”
Mary tuned out at that point.
This wall can speak. And see and hear. I mean, this is just insane. Did her client know that? I am sure if she had, she wouldn’t have spoken all her secrets out loud in this room like that. Mary scratched her head, and tried to think.
“Wall… Umm, what do I call you? Do you have a name?”
The wall bristled. “Of course, I have a name. Even orphan walls have names, for wall’s sake. My name is Plasterina. Nice to meet you… And you are…”
“Mary is my name. Nice to meet you. Question for you. Did the last guest here, an older lady with pink hair, happen to mention something about her inheritance and how she didn’t really do all of those thing…”
“Oh yes. Yes, that woman was quite indiscreet. She spoke about the million dollars she had inherited all the time. Just to the room in general. She didn’t know I was here, you see. Mostly the owner likes to keep my presence a secret. You are the first one I have really spoken to. But that’s only because you were touching me inappropriately. I am quite a lady in that regard, you know.”
“Yes, I can imagine.” Mary said, absent-mindedly. She sat down in the velvet chair, and pondered, while the wall kept on babbling on and on about secrets, and all of the different things she had seen in her lifetime.
A wall that could speak. And the secrets it can tell. Mary had seen quite a few things in her life, but this was definitely a first.
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