you can check out any time you like

Author: David VC / Labels: , , , ,

"If you are not satisfied with the quality of service in this hotel, Dr. Mason, why don't you simply leave?"

Four months? I spent FOUR MONTHS at the Bethlehem Hotel? That's what I get for becoming head of the Astronomy Club! My friends, I would tell you about the interesting guests I met there. There was Dr. Howard When, a mild-mannered Chronomantic Archaeologist from the Sixth City. He had the most fascinating tales of the future. I would tell you about Lord Edward Chauncy (and Raucous Haunches), but the less said about him, the better. And then there was poor Mr. Anthill leaping down the hallways, convinced he was an antelope. Poor bastard. Chauncey said he didn't even taste like venison!

However, as a Doctor (and Surgeon) I would not intrude on the privacy of my fellow patients. I can tell you about how happy I was when I saw Ama and her Clay companion waiting for me in the main lobby! Now, why was the crowd applauding as well?

Oh yes. Apparently my dear brother Gabriel (he goes by his middle name now, his stage name he tells me) was rummaging through my things and found a draft of the scientific fiction I was writing before I was detained. The literati has been devouring my Tales of the Clockwork Caravel, thinking the novel all the more valuable because I was lost for dead in the Marshes. Apparently the price of the book shot up twice again upon word of my postponed demise due to the irony.

What was supposed to be a moment of peace and fresh sanity had turn into the frenzy of a book signing! Seeing as how I hadn't finished the tale yet, I now have to read it through to see what liberties Gabriel has taken with it. He had the audacity to show up at the end of the line with a copy of the book for my own perusal. Inside as a bookmark were two tickets to his next performance at Mahogany Hall, a topical comedy called The Inconvenient Aunt.

I decided to lay low for a while in my pied-à-terre, a room above a lively gathering place in Spite called the Sixes and Sevens. I was intercepted by a postman as I touched the doorknob, who forced me to sign for a package. So this is how my adoring public thanks me, I thought. A cat in the box?

My room was as spartan as I had left it, but still dusty. I noted the package had been bounced between here and my Watchmaker's Hill address. Something had been in the box for five days. Oh dear. I sliced open the top of the box carefully with an extra set of surgical tools I had stashed away. I winced as I peeked in. It was a kitten. The poor thing was half-dead! Such an unusual breed...sleek black fur and red tips on its ears, paws and tail.

That was a week ago. After a steady diet of milk and rubbery lumps little Koen, as I've called him, is now quite healthy. He's already begun to speak, and seems to have picked up my Baltimorean accent. With his unique appearance and speech, I wonder what kind of secrets he'll be able to gather.