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The Chronicles of the Hotel Bello:
A Municipal Monk
It was mid-afternoon,
The sun was hidden amongst the clouds and a soft drizzle of rain began to fall,
The airport was like a slaughter house,
The doors inhaling and exhaling with people,
All coming to visit relatives for the season.
The back door opened and someone slipped in,
I turned off my lights and pulled myself from the curb.
In the rear of the cab was a gentleman, whom was quite tall,
The skin was stretched tight on his face without wrinkles,
His hair shun with fine oils of Italy,
His suit was crème de la crème,
Holding a strong value of anything I could ever own,
His stature was a key of coup de grâce.
As he entered the cab, he was already on his phone,
He was quite rude and short with me,
Over hearing him on the phone,
He was a man of business.
His fingers were constantly tapping on his Pineider in a rough rhythmic motion,
Every time traffic would belay, his eyes rolled like mountains,
He huffed and puffed as I struggled through traffic,
His pen danced around his fingers.
I reached the Hotel Bello, where I was to drop him off,
He handed me a fine $50 and walked away mid sentenced of my “thank you”.
I returned to the airport in the yellow cab,
I only waited about 2 minutes till I had myself a passenger.
He was a stocky, fat man,
He was plump like a meatball,
Not quite short and not considerably tall,
His choice of destination was quite odd from his look,
But as good men say to never judge a book by its cover,
As he was dressed poorly though I could tell it was for a certain lover.
He wore a green shirt,
Greener than any Christmas tree,
With cinnamon brown corduroys and shoes,
A tie that was quite unappealing,
For it was an exciting blue.
He breathed in and out like a boar,
His chest tightening his green shirt with every breath he took,
His eyes reddening as he looked out the window,
He was quite social and talked of entertainment a lot,
Of how he once had dinner with Humphrey Bogart,
And had gone on a movie date with Vivien Leigh.
He complimented on my beauty and said I could be a star,
And when I asked if he was in the line of the movie business,
It was a nod of the head,
For he said he worked as projectionist at a theatre.
That shot of warm air in the requiem of your brain and lightness in your chest,
They both faded quite fast.
I pulled up to his destination,
As a musician played outside on his Austrian Cello,
Playing Mozart's "Le nozze di Figaro".
On the last trip to the airport,
I picked up an old, frail man,
With a posture stiff yet defiantly grand,
He only had with him a soft leather briefcase,
Stretched in maroon with gold locks and handles.
His body was beaten and hunched,
Covered by a Gatsby woven with a thick wool thread,
Bedecked in a long pea coat covering his bony knees,
He had a white envelope with a missive, letter, inside,
Grey dress pants and blacked out Derby’s.
His hands were purple from the cold,
I increased the temperature of the heater,
His hands were lined with all wrinkles of history,
With tales of love and struggle,
His lips were thin as if they were just two lines of flesh,
But he was not afraid to use them.
The old man attempted to have a heart-to-heart with me,
He talked of his grand old golden days,
Where he would walk the city in a million ways,
He went on about how it had changed since he had left some 50 years ago,
Only too return and see something quite foreign to his memory,
He talked of the possible war to go on in Vietnam,
He said he had two boys, whom died in the 2nd World War,
How there was a loss of true gentleman left in this day and age,
His face was getting purple from talking with-out breathe.
He caught himself and began to wheeze a little like a broken kazoo,
He took off his hat and scratched his head,
He had only but four whiskers combined over his scalp,
The cab was quiet for a second,
He asked what a young woman like myself was doing driving strangers,
But before I could answer,
Another lecture commenced on how women should be at home,
Tending to their husband and children,
I tried to counter and reason with him of my excuse,
But there was no luck stopping him,
I began to tune out till we reached his hotel,
Where outside was a man dancing with his dog.
The bell man of the Hotel Bello opened his door and grabbed his briefcase,
He winked at me with his glassy grey eyes and gave me a flying kiss goodbye,
I pulled the car out of park and turned the cab light on.
Three glasses were poured,
One Bellini for the business man,
One Gin and Tonic for the fat man,
And one Irish Coffee for the old man.
The business man had been visiting the Hotel Bello for quite some time,
He had a condo on Miami Beach, Downtown Hollywood, and his own room in the City,
He spent most of his leisure in the hotel bar where I would watch him read Forbes,
Where he once held spot #90 in 1954 and #93 in 1957,
He had nine cars,
His wallet was always kept healthy and fat:
Five Benjamins, Five Grants, and Twenty Jacksons.
Never a Washington, Lincoln, or a Hamilton.
The business man was on business,
Even this time of year he worked,
For he was with-out a family; as he had told me once,
And it was his heart that seemed indent.
He has an interview tomorrow for a VP position for an oil company,
He sipped on his Bellini and flipped through his Forbes magazine.
The fat man only visited the Hotel Bello every few months when he had money,
He was an English teacher from Shelton, Connecticut,
He had a wife and two daughters, one was 8 and the oldest 14,
They all lived together in a two room apartment,
With a 1961 Chrysler Newport that was painted black.
The family had very little money to spare for any fun,
And were constantly in a struggle.
Six years ago when the English teacher visited his cousin in the City,
He came across a woman named Cheri Champagne,
The English teacher had an affair with her for a mere $8,
Ever since he had been visiting her every few months as he saved up money,
Their choice of meet was here at the Hotel Bello bar,
Where they would have drinks and return to his room.
They never went anywhere else.
In the teachers hands he held a small velvet box,
Flipping it open and closed every five minutes,
Where I could peek several times,
Inside was a solitaire ring:
White gold band with a 10k diamond crowned on top.
Every time he looked at it he started to breath heavy,
He downed his Gin and Tonic as I made him another.
The old man was 69,
Born in 1894.
He had recently returned to the City for the first time in over 50 years.
He was a widower,
His wife had taken her own life in 1946,
After their two sons both returned home without breathe in the 2nd World War.
He had been alone for 17 years.
The old man was raised right outside of the City,
He was raised in a small three bedroom home that was sandwiched between many others,
It was bricked with a color that resembled maple syrup,
Had a crimson door with silver knobs,
Two grand windows on the second floor that were always kept open on a summer day,
He lived in that house for 17 years,
After that he met his wife Linda Brown.
Together they got an apartment in the City where they both worked,
Him a dish washer at a diner,
And she a waitress at the Hotel Bello restaurant.
Which is to our right inside of the hotel,
Where the old man would wait for her every day after work.
In 1913 they left the city and moved to Connecticut,
He bought himself a four roomed house,
Got a job working at an insurance company,
And lived well off for his wife Linda to stay home.
Now after 50 years,
He returned to the City to seek interest into buying his childhood home,
Currently residing there was an average American family named the Charlestons,
Whom happened to be looking to sell the house,
It was kept in the same condition,
The old man pulled out a picture he had taken of it from his left breast of his coat,
And it was just as he had spoken of from earlier visits.
He sipped on his Irish Coffee and wiped his thin lips and they opened,
“Gentlemen, I’m going to tell you a story that only five people have heard before,
This story is true and only happened a short 11 years ago.”
The business man peered up from his magazine and looked at the man with interest,
The English teacher closed the ring box as his ears began to twitch,
I even poured myself a beer and commenced him to begin.
Not all was quite on St. John’s Hill.
The wind whistled over the leaves,
As they weaved like silk in the fog that set over the structure mountain top.
The algae on the smooth grey stones that like guarding Lions,
Were no longer greening,
The trees were balding and the swimming leaves were browning with the Earth,
The moon was vast like a silver dollar,
Lighting the mountain top.
It was light enough to read the good book with its whitening glow.
The wind died down,
And the leaves stopped their chit chat as they sank like pie-eyed sailors,
Touching the jagged sharp Earth,
With the silence,
You could hear the pitter and patter of mice in the shrub,
By the naked ear,
You could pick up the soft rhythmic hymns of the collected robes in brown,
Up in the soft grey stoned castle above in its nest,
Where they sang of Mother Mary and her mourning of the fallen Lord.
The brass bell tolled and the wind picked up again at the hour of eight,
Brother Luke turned his body from the gust,
He pulled his hood over his scalp and faced his back to the howlin’ wind.
The second bell struck and he headed to the brothel.
Outside the door was a plump owl,
Painted in pearled feathers with a glassy blue beak,
Hooting outside the door every night of the week,
Brother Luke lifted a heavy brass knob and the sound of it casted the owl away.
He watched it clap its wings and slip into the blackness of the night.
Inside the brothel it was dimly lit,
With few wax candles of assort all alive in flame.
The ceilings were blanketed in cobwebs and the with mice and crumbs,
The hall way was silent,
With only the slaps of Brother Luke’s sandals on the stone floor and the weeping mice,
Most doors were closed as the other Brothers were fast asleep.
It was cold in the hallway,
You could see your breathe dance in the air like blood in water.
Brother Luke reached his chamber as it sat as the 2nd last door on the left,
He grabbed a candle from the hall and turned his key and pushed the door ajar,
He removed his robe and slid open the closet to put it up,
A gargantuan spider dropped like a yo-yo upon his face,
The monk shrieked and grabbed a broom kept opposite of his room,
He began to pick and poke at it for it retreated itself to the ceiling,
His face was flaring with fright and determination,
Till a large thud hit the ground,
Where a brown leather bound book laid,
And underneath it was the fresh corpse of the spider.
With the broom the monk disposed of the spider and reached for the book,
Sitting on his bed he picked up the candle and gave it a look,
Never before had he seen a book aside from the Bible,
The only other person with different books was the higher priest.
He slipped the book under his pillow and shut his eyes.
The soft morning light slipped through the window,
Brother Luke opened his eyes and slipped out from his bed,
He put on his robe and looked at his pillow where the book laid underneath,
He grabbed his Bible and headed to the Morning Prayer in the service hall.
As the monks collected they all bowed their heads and closed their eyes for prayer,
Brother Luke did not sat still with his silent rebellion,
But no one ever knew for they could not see,
As Brother Luke had lost his faith some 16 years ago.
Brother Luke returned to his quarters after retrieving his meal,
He ate without blessing of his food,
And did not bless it after he was done,
He simply belched.
No one was curious about Brother Luke,
For they were all too blind to see,
And if smell were to hike up their noses,
Brother Luke could’ve been casted out or even hung,
But this was what he wanted,
At night he pressed his dresser to the door and read his new book,
Inside was a missive folded four times,
On the corner of the paper was a red stamped owl.
It read this:
If you are reading this letter, then you are with luck. My name is Brother Paul, and on December 13, 1922, I lived the weekend of my life. I was once a monk at St. Johns Hills, but I was without faith. For 34 years I lead a false life till I took charge. Since you are in my room, assuming this book has not moved, I will help you see all the gold of the world. Simply read the map and descriptions and you will succeed with ease. I wish you a glorious journey. After you have seen the gold, in the back of the book is a letter you must read.
Brother Luke removed the dresser from his door and peeked into the hall,
It was empty,
He pushed it back and read the first step.
Underneath the bed in the left corner of the room was a non cemented stone,
Beyond that stone was a dirt tunnel large enough to fit a large man of tone,
Brother Luke grabbed a sack and put in it the book and his clothes and a lit candle in his hand,
He submerged himself into the tunnel and pulled the bed back and recovered the hole.
At the end of the tunnel you could see the stars,
Only they weren’t all white,
Brother Luke pulled himself through the tunnel for what felt like miles,
He made weird turns and the tunnel fell and rose,
Nearing the end he began to hear noises he had never heard of,
When he reached the climax there were bars,
But they were locked for he couldn’t push them open,
He felt an urge to panic and shortness of breath,
I flipped open the book and a small golden key fell out,
Opposite of the tunnel was a lock on the bars,
He put the key into the lock and turned it and removed it,
He pushed the barred gate out and it clanged and banged as it fell.
The drop was only but a few feet,
He pulled his bag out and blew out his candle for it wasn’t dark anymore,
And around him were things he had never seen before.
Great monstrous beasts with hundreds of eyes of metal and glass towered over him,
Metal wagons zipped and zoomed,
And people began to appear in clothing he had never seen.
Inside the book was about ten papers tinted in green all marked with the number 100.
After reading the book thoroughly for the next hour,
The monk took on the city,
He made love for the first time,
Drank for the first time,
Drove for the first time,
Laughed for the first time,
And most of all,
Felt free for the first time.
“I know this story fellas,
Because I met the man himself,
He made it in the city for three days,
Till he was taken back to the brothel.
He was hung from what I heard,
But behind he left his letter.”
And out pulled the old man a letter with a red stamped owl on the corner of the paper,
And outside somewhere was the toll of a brass bell ringing loud and high.
Where the municipal monk once came from.