by Celia Jenkins
a large brandy
“Hey, Mister. Mister,” Roseangela puffed down the dimly-lit hallway after the hotel guest. “Is yours? You left in room.”
She held up a beige unmarked envelope which she had found in plain sight on the neatly made bed. She wasn’t sure what surprised her more – the envelope, or the fact that a middle-aged man (single occupancy) could make his bed so nicely.
He turned slowly, shook his head and padded silently towards the exit.
It was 6:42 and more than half of the doors in the corridor had little ‘Do Not Disturb’ signs hung on the handle. The signs had a sombrero motif, which Katerina said was some sort of joke about not coming into the room, but Roseangela didn’t get it.
In Lima, she had worked at the same hotel for thirteen years. When it closed down, she went North. Texas had been her home for six months, and this was the third hotel she’d worked in. Katerina said it was ‘seedy’, but it was better than the other two. They were motels, actually, but Roseangela didn’t know the difference.
In the staffroom she wafted smoke out of her face and searched in the haze.
“Hey, explain me. You say stopping now,” she waggled a finger at her pretty young co-worker.
Katerina shrugged. “Life.”
“Hmm. Yesterday I saw you with Chang from Chinese takeaway. You guys good-good friends now, huh?” she teased.
“Quiet, you.” Katerina blushed and put away her phone. She pointed at the envelope. “What’s that?”
Roseangela opened it and her eyes widened. There was a cheque. A big one. It was blank. The neon post-it note read No questions, just enjoy it. Don’t worry – I can afford it. Thank you.
“Holy shit,” Katerina gasped.
Roseangela nodded. “I am agree.”
Celia Jenkins is a freelance writer, specialising in writing for children, light-hearted romance and travel writing. She also moonlights as a café girl, senior caregiver, and language teacher. In her free time (ha!) she likes reading, knitting, cooking and hitting the gym. Her hot beverage of choice is a latte, though she also enjoys chai latte, pu’er, almond cake rooibos (yes, that exists), After Eight honeybush (yep, that too), and a good old fashioned ‘cuppa’.