All Original

December 9, 2009
By , Miami, FL
“The Plaza” the driver gave a low whistle and said “Ain’t you kids kinda young goin’ to the Plaza on your own?” “No,” I protested “we are mature kids and are perfectly capable of traveling New York on our own.” I shot a Look at Brian when I said mature, knowing he was well below that standard (not that I was exactly grown up myself).
He gave me a cheesy grin and looked away. The driver gave me a funny Look, turned around and said “Okay, then” and continued to drive.
Brian and I looked out the windows with awe at everything. It was just as busy (actually, about 15 times busier) as Miami but there were the weirdest store names. And there was always another shop for everything, like if you saw a McDonalds you’d see another one a mile away. When the driver pulled over in front of the Plaza, I got out and gaped up speechlessly. We had some pretty big hotels in Miami, but this was posh beyond words. It was humungous and really old. It had little flags on it, and was crowded with people of all ages and sizes. There was a person so small, (and I could tell he was full grown) that he was only taller than my three year old brother by about three inches.
We walked in and my jaw dropped. It was elegant, like something your fussy, rich, great-grandmother would like to own. I looked sideways at Brian and his look mirrored my own. Slowly as possible, we walked toward the clerk at the desk. After waiting in line forever, we reached the clerk. He looked at us skeptically and said “Are you looking for your mom?”
“No” said Brian “We’d like to get a room please” he tried to muffle it but I could tell he scoffed. (The clerk, I mean.) “We only give rooms to people 16 or older” he said imperiously. Then Brian said “We have pre reservations for any room we’d like, from my mom’s work” while digging in his pocket. “Here” he said triumphantly, having finally finding found a slip of paper from his overloaded pocket. The clerk took it, giving us a Look before he started to read it. Then he said “Okay” reluctantly. “I guess I have to get you a room.” How polite was this guy? “A room for two please.” I said, then exchanged Look with Brian and said “Separately” He gave us a key, and said “Room 579”

My eyes widened, but I was careful not to look at Brian, so I didn’t give anything away. The clerk looked at me. “What?” he asked, noticing my overlarge eyes. “Didn’t think I’d give you a room?” I said nothing, but gave him a fierce Look. The clerk looked away hastily and said “Find a bellhop, he’ll show you where to go.” I as turned I saw the clerk’s relieved face. I grinned at Brian, and he grinned back. “Let’s go find a bellhop.” I said. It didn’t take that long, as they were everywhere, carrying luggage racks, escorting people to their rooms, and sipping lattes during break. I asked a bellhop waiting by the door if he could take me to room 579. He grabbed our luggage and led us to an elevator, and pushed the button to the 5th floor.
While we waited in the elevator, I heard the bellhop humming something that sounded suspiciously like the McDonalds theme. The bell dinged and we stepped into the hall on the 5th floor. “Room 579 is down that hall and to right.” Said the clerk. “Thanks!” I yelled, tearing down the hall to our room. When we got to the door, Brian took out the key and fumbled with the lock. When he had managed to unlock it, we raced inside, dropped our luggage on the floor, kicked off our shoes, and started jumping on the bed. “We’re in New York!” I yelled, letting out all my ecstasy “We’re in New York!” I did a back flip and jumped off the bed. I felt like a little kid again. I sighed unhappily and said “We should unpack first” when I saw Brian give the dirtiest Look I had ever seen, I added “I don’t want to either, but let’s do it first, then jump on the beds.”
“You sound like my mom” he murmured and reluctantly flopped off the bed. I took my suitcase into my room, opened the dresser and put all the different clothes in different piles and then shot back to the bed. Brian was already there, jumping like a lunatic. I knew that all he basically had done was dump all the clothes in the dresser and then came back to jump on the bed. I didn’t really care, so I left the situation alone. I yelled “Move!” he jumped out of the way and I did a punch front onto the bed. Since I was jumping, my voice was shaky but I asked Brian “So how do you think we ended up with room 579? Coincidence or did somebody make sure we got this room according to the key? And if it does, what does 39 stand for?”
“Jeez!” he complained “Gimme a chance to answer!” we stopped jumping and sat down on the bed “I think,” he said slowly “I think that someone made sure we got this room. But why this room? I mean I haven’t seen any other rooms, but this seems pretty average for fancy.”
“I think you’re right, but still, if this is what the key meant, then what does 39 mean?”
Forgetting all that was just said, Brian jumped of the bed and said gleefully, “A mini-fridge!” and, without further ado, ripped it open and started guzzling down a grape soda. “Hey give me one!” I yelled. He took another one out of the fridge and I tossed it to me. I caught it deftly and popped it open. While we drank, Brian turned on the TV and started flipping through the channels. It sounded something like “but I- gimme- tell me everyth- get out of my life you-” when Brian left on Freddy vs. Jason I walked out of the room, uninterested. I took out both of the keys and examined them. The key that I had found in the airport was slightly smaller, but by such a small margin, you would have had to have been trained to see it. I started to look around the apartment. I don’t know what I was looking for, but I looked anyways.

Then I found it. Underneath the bed in my room, there was a hollow space in the ground. You would have had to move the bed to find it, but I made sure my search was thorough. And on the very edge, in incredibly small numbers, was 39. I slowly took the key from the airport out of my pocket and put it in an almost unnoticeable keyhole, and turned.

? ? ?
“ Bri! Brian, come look what I found!” I shouted. “What” he called sulkily. “I was getting to the part where Jason was about to- Whoa” he walked in and saw the trapdoor open wide. “What is that?”
“You know how the key said 57939? Well, I was looking around, I dunno what for, but when I moved the bed and walked around the empty space where it used to be, it felt hollowish, like there was something missing. So bent down to check it out and I saw 39 really small so I took out the key and looked for a keyhole. When I found it, I opened it, and here we are.”
I said all of this really fast and had to take a couple of deep breaths. “Jeez! Slow down!” Brian said. “I’ve lived with you basically forever and sometimes I still can’t understand you when you talk fast. So, what I understood is that you were looking around and you found this trapdoor, right?”
“Uh-huh” I responded. There was an awkward silence, and then I said “What are you waiting for? Let’s go!”
“Wait a second!” Brian said and ran into the kitchen. When he came back he had a small rucksack, most likely filled with food. “Okay, I’m ready,” he said.
And then we headed into the tunnel.

It was dark and dank, and smelled really wet, but it was spotlessly clean.
Just then, my phone rang its Harry Potter theme song ring tone. I exchanged a glance with Brian, and I knew he was thinking exactly the same thing as I was, ‘What a great time to get a phone call’ I looked at the caller ID and it said HOME. So someone had already found my note. I pressed the green ‘talk’ button and held the phone up to my ear. “Hello?” I asked.
“Hi sweetie” replied my mom. “I saw you’re note. Are you in New York already?”
“Yup!” I said enthusiastically.
“And how do you like it?”
“Its sooooo cool! If I was standing on a street and you said ‘Quick! Find a Hawaiian’ I would have found him in, like, .5 seconds. There’s someone from any and every country here. I bet that if you told me to find someone from Turkey, if I looked hard enough that I would find him.”

My mom laughed and said “Only if he’s wearing an ‘I’m from Turkey’ t-shirt.”
“Well, I’ll talk to you later, mom. Bye.” And with that, I hung up, not giving her time to protest to my abrupt end to our conversation.
I sighed and I grabbed the grape soda he was drinking and took a sip. I gave it back to him and said “Let’s go”, ignoring his reproachful Look.
We crawled our way down the tunnel, steadily munching through the provisions that Brian brought. As I reached into the bag for my third Snickers bar, Brian said “I knew that bringing those snacks was a good idea. Food is a good way to keep your mind off of something you don’t really want to think about.”
“Oh yeah? Like what?” I asked through a mouthful of Snickers.
“Like what’s at the end of this tunnel.” He responded simply. We continued on. After what felt like three hours, (but was only 15 minutes, I checked) we came to a small door at the end of the tunnel.

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