This very short tale about nothing, is dedicated to friend good friend of mine, I'm sure he'll know who he is. We all wish you the best my friend and hope to see you writing again very soon.
But just a little hint before anyone gets out of his/her pram. This is another of those stories where the reader has to be careful not to prejudge anything.
My thanks go to Angelina, PapaGus and Deryk for their assistance in preparing this story for posting. But I have had to make a couple of minor changes at the last minute.
There I was, wandering around the hotel's public rooms, somewhat furtively asking people I vaguely remembered meeting in the previous few days if they'd seen my wife Molly, and at the same time trying not to make it too obvious that I'd completely lost track of her.
I'll be honest with you, I was getting more than a little worried; I'd last seen Molly about three hours previously and she'd been in conversation with the very disreputable Gordon Hamster.
Hamster wasn't exactly a Casanova, but word had it that he had an eye for the ladies on the quiet. He was good looking and reputedly he could be hazardous to connubial bliss. Mind you, rumour had it that he rarely -- if ever -- got the chance to indulge himself, because usually wherever Gordon Hamster went, his rather beautiful, somewhat possessive -- or possibly distrusting -- and very jealous wife, Katrina, was to be found not very far away. I should imagine you get the general idea.
However, I, and everyone else who had been in residence at the hotel that week, was well aware that Katrina had had a pretty serious accident while water-skiing a day or so previously. By all accounts she was stretched out on a bed in traction at the local hospital. That kind of changed the status quo, by my reckoning.
When I had last seen Molly, she had been sitting up at a bar in one of the hotel's lounges. I'd had to leave her for a few minutes to make a quick telephone call to check in with the boss. Hamster had entered the lounge just as I was leaving and I'd lingered for a few moments, just long enough to watch him spot, and then make a bee-line for Molly.
I had wondered whether I should return to the bar myself, but I figured that Molly is a big girl, and that she could look after herself. Lets face it, she wouldn't be in the business we're in, if she couldn't handle a sleaze like Hamster, would she? Well I believe that was how my mind worked at the time. And well, I was a little late calling in to the office anyway and theoretically it would only take me a few minutes. And lastly, I was damned sure that Molly would get thoroughly pissed-off with me if she thought I was playing the part of the jealous husband, if you understand me.
As it turned out, things had been moving along at a hell of a pace back at the office. Not only did my boss fill me in on numerous changes that had taken place in the previous twenty-four hours, but a couple of my colleagues had things they wanted to clarify with me as well. Consequently I was tied up on the telephone for nigh on fifteen, maybe even as long as twenty minutes.
When I eventually arrived back in the lounge, to my dismay there was no sign of either Molly or Hamster. Keeping my cool as much as I could, and pretending to myself that I was not panicking, I went over to the bar and got myself a stiff drink. Then as subtly as I could, I enquired of the barman if he'd seen where Molly had gone, and with whom, if anyone.
Whether he'd been slipped a few bob by Hamster -- or he was expecting the prick would prove to be generous later -- the barman informed me that he been busy and hadn't noticed that Molly had left the bar until after she'd gone. When I tried to enquire about Hamster, the barman made out that he had no idea who the guy was. It was all very unconvincing, as far as I was concerned anyway.
I then did the rounds as rapidly as I could. Not one of the guys out the front remembered seeing Molly leave, and the same went for the people round the pool and out in the hotel grounds. That left the hotel's gym, public rooms and bars- and, of course, our own, Molly and my, suite or, most disconcertingly from my perspective, Hamster's own suite.
My main problem was that it was such a damned great big hotel and there were so many damned public areas. And numerous different ways of getting between any of them; consequently, if Molly were moving around, then I could easily miss her and Hamster practically anywhere, as I went from one public area to another myself.
After another twenty minutes of frantic searching -- actually meandering around and trying not to make it look obvious that I was searching for the missing Molly -- eventually I went up to the reception desk and asked the guy there if he'd happened to notice my wife heading towards our room.
"Mr. Burns, yes, I think I have seen your wife," the slimy bugger smiled at me, "I do believe it was Mrs. Burns I saw going up to the rooftop lounge with Monsieur Hamster, about half an hour ago. They were most likely going to take a walk around the upper terrace. One gets a very good view of our beautiful sunset from up there."
"Yeah, and you're half-way to the effing bedrooms, and no bugger's going to notice you getting into the lift from up there, either!" I almost added. But I just thought it instead.
Shit, over the years he'd worked at that hotel, that slimy little wanker had probably seen hundreds of couples heading up to that mezzanine level, and I'll bet he knew exactly where they were going to end up.
Still, trying to act as naturally and calmly as I could, I strolled across the hotel foyer and made my own way up onto the mezzanine level myself and from there I went on out onto the roof terrace.
"You bloody bitch, Molly, how could you do this to me?" I'd found myself saying out loud as I tried not to rush up the stairs. Luckily, there was nobody close enough to hear me.
After I'd taken a turn around the roof garden to convince myself that Molly was not out there, I then took the lift up to the sixth floor and made sure that Molly wasn't in our suite.
I'll be honest with you, I almost picked up the telephone to call for official reinforcements in my search, but I chickened out. Molly had not been missing for very long and she would certainly chew my balls off about it anyway.
I found myself straining to look over the balcony rail. God alone knows what I thought I was going to achieve. Maybe, I thought I might chance to hear Molly calling for help, or something from Hamster's suite, which was directly below ours.
I heard nothing!
You know, for an instant I thought about climbing down to the balcony of Hamster's suite, but I feared that at that time of the evening, someone might see me and take me for a sneak thief. That would have put the cat amongst the pigeons.
Besides assuming that they were in there, Hamster would hear me climbing down and I would not be in the best position to defend myself.
So after pacing the room for what seemed like eternity, I'd gone back downstairs and began touring the hotel's public spaces again. And that's where I was, when I caught sight of a grinning Molly, all but skipping out of one of the lifts.
Furious, I took her by the arm and manhandled her back into the lift she'd just exited.
"Where the fuck have you been?" I demanded, once the lift doors had closed.
"You said it, hubby. I've been getting my arse screwed off, by the world's most wonderful lover!" she grinned back at me.
"For fuck's sake, Molly. Everyone in that damned lounge must have seen you go off with Hamster. That supercilious frog out on reception..."
"André is not French, Jim, he's Swiss!"
"Trust you to know that. Anyway, the stuck up little shit knew where you two were headed anyway. Have you any idea how that makes me look in everyone's eyes?"
"Ah, diddums! Is my loving husband all upset because someone might think he's a cuckold?"
"Molly, leave it out, will you. You just didn't have to make it so bloody obvious. What the fuck was wrong with letting me know where you going anyway?"
"It was a spur of the moment thing sweetheart..."
At that instant the lift doors slid open on our floor and Molly stopped speaking just in case anyone overheard her. She didn't speak again until I'd closed the door to our suite.
"Well?" I demanded.
"Well, you went off to phone the boss and bugger me if Glamour Pants himself don't plonk his arse on the stool right next to me, almost the instant you'd gone."
"Yeah, I saw the bugger enter the lounge."
"And you didn't come running back to protect my virtue? How sweet of you, lover!"
"Molly, I'll bloody swing for you one of these days. Get on with it?"
"Ooh tetchy this evening, aren't we? Well anyway, then he starts giving me his line of shit!"
Molly picked up the bottle of scotch we had on the side table and poured herself a stiff one.
"Want one?" she asked, grinning at me.
"No, thanks. And?"
"Ah well, I thought I'd give it a whirl. Long time since I got picked up in a hotel bar."
.... There is more of this story ...