A Man Without Qualities
The Word: GUARD
Doug didn’t realize. He didn’t know. Nobody told him. He took the job because it was easy. Sit in the hotel lobby and watch the to and fro. Read lots of books. He was a slacker. A stoner. His skin was bad. A certain time of night. Goodlooking women arriving. Alone. Well dressed. It was a swank hotel. Boutique. On a side-street just off the prime shopping district. He was told to challenge late night visitors. Women clearly not staying at the hotel. He read his book. All the time in the world. He’d already gotten through 2666, Infinite Jest, and A Man without Qualities. He heard the click of her heels. The waft of expensive perfume. Lilies or something. Lilacs. He looked up. She was long-legged, in a very short gold dress. Her honey hair in a ponytail, up high, cascading. “Can I help you?” he asked. His throat was dry. She smiled. She came close. She leaned over him. Lilies. She slipped something in the pocket of his guard uniform. He didn’t have to look. A folded bill. A twenty, probably. He swallowed. He knew he was going to be fired. Make way for some other reader. Some other pimply slacker. She kissed a fingertip, then pressed it to his dry unkissable lips. He watched her walk to the elevator on those heartbreaking legs, and press the UP button.
Part of a weekly series of short short stories based on a writing exercise, The Word. “Inspired by a simple word, chosen at random, write a two-page double-spaced story, using the Word at least once.”
Next week’s word is: BRUSH