The Night Manager
I got back to my hotel after featuring around 5am. I’m put up in a place called the Drury. Don’t go there. Ever. It’s a bad place. At night they require a key to get into the lobby. I don’t care so much about this part. The part I cared about is I had forgotten my key. There is a night window that I would have been able to get a new key through if the clerk had been there. But she wasn’t. In her place stood a little paper sign promising she’d be back soon with a number to call if her immediate assistance was required. It was. I called.
But she didn’t answer. My phone rang for 5 minutes straight. Her phone rang for 5 minutes straight on the other side of the glass. Another man got caught in the same predicament without a key. My phone rang for another ten minutes. Her phone rang for another ten minutes. He started calling up to his room to try to wake the person he was staying with. We continued like this. Ten more minutes.
Finally he got through. His buddy came down to the lobby and let us both in but I still had no way to get into my room. I walked around looking for this elusive night clerk. I went behind the desk and into the offices in the back. There was nobody. Meanwhile that phone never stopped ringing. I picked up the lobby phone and tried calling corporate. They were closed. By then I was homicidal but there was no one to take it out on.
Then I noticed the master key set was just sitting on the reception desk. Not only was the night clerk dumb enough to leave her desk and ignore her phone for over a half hour (who knows how long it was before I got there), but she was dumb enough to leave access to the entire building just sitting there. I didn’t even have to reach for it. What if I were an ax murderer? A rapist? A really bitchy woman who knew what room her cheating husband was in? Murder mysteries are made from this kind of thing. It could have gone badly. Lucky for her I was nothing more than an irate pornstar at 6am who just wanted to go to bed.
Once I got in my room I washed my face. I brushed my teeth. I pulled my hair back. I checked twitter. I called down to tell her to come get her keys. She didn’t answer. I answered emails. I called down again. She answered. I did the math. I would have been waiting at her window for over an hour if I had just sat complacently. I told her to come get the key. She asked why I couldn’t just leave it in the room. I said no, you don’t understand. Come get the master key. Silence. Small voice. “I’ll be right up.”
And of course when she got there she asked in surprise how I got the key. I told her it wasn’t hard and went off about the past hour and a half. She thanked me for the key and went back to not doing her job.
But this made me smile: I talked to the manager when I got up today. I told her the whole story. And you know what she said? It’s against company policy for me to take the keys.