I stood outside Room 856, held the silver tray aloft in my left hand and knocked quietly on the door. There was a pregnant pause of one or two seconds, before an elderly gentleman greeted me expectantly.
“Room service,” I announced.
The man eyed the tall glass of warm milk on the tray and beckoned me into the room.
“I know it’s late,” he started, “but my wife is not sleeping well.”
“It’s all part of the service, sir,” I replied. I placed the silver tray down on an antique oak sideboard, picked up the glass of milk and set it down on the bedside table next to an ageing woman, who looked up at me smiling.
“Thank you,” she whispered, softly.
“You’re welcome, madam,” I replied.
Bidding my farewell, I made my way along the red-carpeted eighth floor corridor of the resplendent hotel towards the lift, the silver tray tucked neatly under my arm. This was my second week as night porter at the hotel, the hours were long and hard to endure, but I needed the money to help fund my university course. The job was anti-social too, but again, it allowed me to catch up on my studies, indulge in a little surfing of the net and listen to music; all things I had found little time to do of late. I was also saving myself a small fortune by not being out all hours, drinking with my mates, even if they were on the verge of disowning me. OK, so I was often called upon at two o’clock in the morning by guests pestering me for hot glasses of milk, but it was also good to stretch the legs every once in a while.
Suddenly I heard the sound of laughter, followed by a loud cracking noise. I stopped dead in my tracks and listened, thinking I might have imagined it. There it was again, a loud slap, this time followed by a low, female groan. The sounds were emanating from Room 812. Gingerly approaching the door, I held my ear to the dark mahogany wooden surface and heard the muffled strains of music within. A third thwack made me jump and the tray fell from under my arm and clattered on the corridor floor. I withdrew from the door, picked up the tray and beat a hasty retreat to the hotel lift.
Back at my desk, I picked up my course book and resumed reading, taking a bite from the un-finished sandwich I had made for myself some twenty minutes earlier. It was after turning two pages I realised I hadn’t digested a word, my mind pre-occupied with what I’d heard up on the eighth floor. Curiosity finally got the better of me and I tapped in the room number on the hotel computer to discover the occupant was a Ms Collins, staying for one night only. Moreover, the adjoining room, 814, was one of the few in the hotel that was available as a family suite, together with Room 812. An inter-connecting door provided access between the two rooms. However, Ms Collins was paying for a single occupancy and Room 814 was currently unoccupied.
My body tingled with excitement as I mulled these thoughts over in my mind. It would be both immoral and negligent behaviour to even consider abandoning my duties to eavesdrop on a guest in the hotel. I drew open the drawer of my desk and stared at the set of master keys to the hotel rooms. Immoral and negligent indeed, I thought; but sometimes these things just had to be investigated.
My heart raced as I exited the lift once more on the eighth floor and made my way along the corridor. I paused at the door to Room 812, held my breath and listened. I could just discern the strains of the music from inside the room. I smiled quietly to myself and continued to the door of the adjoining room. It was now almost two thirty in the morning, there was not a soul in sight, yet I still felt the need...
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