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‘The Last Hotel: A Novel in Suites’: Suite 62

Installment 24: Fred turned on the TV. Ronald Reagan’s smiling face. He turned the TV off. “Fascist pig,” he mumbled. His eyes fixed on the wooden box in his bookcase, filled with red sticks of dynamite.

Editor’s Note: This is the 24th installment of Sonia Pilcer’s novel THE LAST HOTEL. We have nine more chapters to go!  Stay tuned. If you want to own the book — print or kindle edition — go to: https://amzn.to/1IW0sEA. Look for it every Friday. To read the 23rd installment, with links to previous ones, click here.

 

 

Suite 62

Fred discovered Leah’s note as he opened his door. The ruled sheet looked ripped out of a notebook. “…Maybe I’ll find something for you,” he read aloud. What did she mean by that?

Fred began to sweat. He could feel his heart pounding. Suppose she got the wrong idea? He didn’t mean any boyfriend/girlfriend kissypoo. He wasn’t looking for anyone.

Usually he sold his stuff, but not always. Besides, she could use Italian leather gloves and a scarf. He thought the hike book might be good for her, get her outside. But more than that, forget it. And yet. He looked at the note again. What did she mean about finding something for him?

Leah was hot, in her way. He could feel it. Hot and depressed, the sexiest combo around. Made you feel like you were in an existentialist novel. Sartre or Camus’ Stranger, which he’d just found on 73rd Street. She was definitely strange. Possibly gay. Yes, that must be it. He always fell for dykes. Their very unavailability made for great fantasy. That’s the role women played in his life – objects of fantasy like luxurious vacations on yachts around the world. Around the world. That would be fun.

Lead-directory3-502x1024He turned on the TV. Ronald Reagan’s smiling face.

All I can say to all of you is thank you and thank you for more than just George Bush and myself, thank you, because if the trend continues, we may very well control one house of the Congress for the first time in a quarter of a century. We have already picked up some governorships and…

Fred turned the TV off. “Fascist pig,” he mumbled. His eyes fixed on the wooden box in his bookcase, filled with red sticks of dynamite.

He leaned back into his green La-Z Boy and began to undress his upstairs neighbor, taking off her black trench, the fedora she wore over her face, her eyes just barely visible. He removed it, met her dark eyes. “Take off your clothes,” he demanded. She stripped for him, flinging her black lace brassiere at his face.

Just then, the doorbell rang. “Wha –?” he called out. “Who is it?”

“Your neighbor,” the voice answered inaudibly.

He shook himself awake, already regretting leaving behind the fantasy. He tucked his shirt into his pants, then opened door.

Leah stood in the doorway. “Have you ever been up on the roof?”

“Wha’?”

“The roof. Upstairs. There’s a door, then a stairway to the roof.”

“Why would you go to the roof?”

“Haven’t you ever been on a building roof?” she asked, amazed.

“I grew up in the suburbs,” he admitted. “There were no high roofs.”

“No tar beach,” she said. “You were deprived.”

“We went to Rockaway.”

“Well, should I show it to you?”

“Now?”

“I don’t think anyone knows about it.”

“Sure. Let me just get my keys.”

The sun was setting like a great orange ball as they opened the roof door. Both stood silently for several moments and stared.

“Pretty amazing, huh?” Leah said. “To find this is in the middle of the city.”

“Did you hear the Reagan speech?”

“I can’t stand him.”

Wisps of pink and purple cotton candy clouds floated over their heads.

“This will all be over soon. They’re taking the hotel away from Saul.”

“I know,” she said. “He told me.”

“He did?”

She nodded. “He’s my father.”

“Saul is your father?”

Leah looked down.

“I can’t believe it.”

“When I needed somewhere to crash, he gave me the space.”

“I still can’t get my brain around you being Saul’s daughter.”

“Well, I am. Okay?

“Okay. So I went down to the Tenants Board a few days ago. There’s something called a non-eviction conversion, but why would they do that? We don’t have leases.”

“I know,” she said.

“It makes me furious. Everyone in this city is so fucking greedy. All they ever think about is money. Decent people live here.”

She nodded.

“I’ve been here for seven years. Do you know how much stuff I have? They’re not gonna get me out of my room.” He stamped his foot. “That’s all there is to it.”

“What are you going to do?”

“I won’t go quietly,” he said. “I can’t say anymore.”

“Like what?”

“Let’s enjoy this while we have it.” He indicated the sky, which had turned indigo. “I wish I’d known about this place before.”

“I know. It’s so special,” she said.

“Look, you can see Lincoln Center.”

“Yeah, and there’s that weird replica of the Statue of Liberty.”

“Mike O’Neal erected it over the Liberty Café.”

“Hey, do you want to share a doobie?” Leah asked.

“A fellow smoker! “ He exclaimed. “Light it up.”

She took a joint out of her back pocket. Lighting it, she drew in the smoke, then passed it to Fred, who looked happy.

“I have to tell you something, Fred. I’m gay,” she said, backing off. “At least I think so. My last relationship was with a major cunt, Angela.”

“That’s cool.”

“But let’s hang. Okay?”

“Why not?”

Fred exhaled, large yellow teeth glowing in the setting sun.

______________

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Photo: Denise Demong

Sonia Pilcer is the author of six novels including The Holocaust Kid. The Last Hotel is now available at your favorite bookstore or Amazon.comVisit Sonia Pilcer’s web site here.

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