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This was a quick write....1st version...I am almost doen with part 2 of a 5 part series...Haven't really done any revision on this part yet...enjoy!

Jim Russo, seemingly a man without a care in the world. Boy did he fool everybody.

The blaring wail of the nightstand alarm clock woke Lizzy out of her fitful sleep. It’s not like it was a particularly comforting sleep, but it was sleep nonetheless; a sleep that Lizzy so desperately needed. You see Lizzy here was a night receptionist at the posh Windsor Hotel, sitting behind the grandiose marble desk, checking in noteworthy notables as they fulfilled their pleasures. It wasn’t a prestigious job but it got the bills paid and kept food on the table, allowing Lizzy to live in relative comfort. It wasn’t near enough though, you see, everyone gets ‘the itch’ everyone gets that worm that burrows deep into the soul, eroding the virtues, leaving a big welcome sign for the visitor of greed. It would be almost too easy for Lizzy to sneak into one of the rooms and pilfer to her hearts delight, I mean they had so much money anyways, and all they were doing is spending it on whores; why couldn’t she take some of that? Ah well, looks like it time for work.

Another day wallowing in the doldrums of the middle-lower class, another day as a faceless jester set in public for the amusement of the masses. What am I doing here? Lizzy thought, It seems that my life has fallen off of its cycle, I got a flat in the wheel of my life. There is no climax anymore, all I do is sit here on my throne of unsubstantiated glory handing out room keys to plump aristocrats. I hate me. I hate my life. As Lizzy paged inattentively through the local gossip columns a dark man swept through the entrance. I say swept through because the man seemed to glide across the carpeting, maybe it was the flowing clothes and billowing cape, but it still was a dramatic entrance. Lizzy looked up, surveying the strange man; he had a Billy Dee Williams as Lando Calrissian look about him. Who wears capes, honestly? Lizzy cooed to herself, I bet you his name is ‘Baron Overgart’ or something like that. The man hovered over to the reception desk, catching Lizzy’s eye and motioning with his fingers the number 2. So you want a room for two hours then? Lizzy said to the stranger. No darling, said the Baron, I need a room. I am in town for the next two days and I heard this was the best place in town. I’m James by the way, James Russo.

She didn’t notice until now but as Lizzy followed Jim into the elevator she noticed that he clutched to a metal briefcase. Upon further inspection she realized that he not only clutched it, but had the case securely handcuffed to his wrist. Lizzy started to itch. The elevator soared up to the 7th floor where Lizzy had placed James. The 7th floor was by far the nicest in the whole hotel. It boasted the fastest service and cleanest surroundings to go along with plush carpets and a soft hallway lighting. Here you go, Lizzy said as she turned to Jim. Room 739, thought you might like it. Thought I might like it. Jim smoothly echoed back. I see you know my tastes. I like that in a woman. Lizzy tightly clenched her fists behind her back as Jim looked her up and down, finally resting his gaze on her eyes and slowly smiling. It was a very unpleasant smile, the kind of smile that makes you feel like you got drenched in oil and then rolled around in the sand. I hope it is to you liking, Lizzy barked, trying her best to keep calm but failing utterly. It’s one of our nicest rooms, Lizzy said, looking no longer at Jim’s eyes but more towards his hands. Well thank you…Lizzy it is right? Jim said, playfully fingering Lizzy’s nametag. Yes that is right, Lizzy shallowly refrained, backing away from The Barons grasp, but now I must take my leave of you. I am needed down at the front desk. Remember, if you want anything or require any assistance to call our 5-star room service. With that said Lizzy turned and headed back to the cool comfort of her marble existence.

Some guys just don’t have a clue, Lizzy said to herself as she took up her post behind the front desk. A couple of hours passed and Lizzy had almost completely forgot about her encounter with the Lando Calrissian wanna-be, almost being the key word. Lizzy was drifting off to sleep, no one had come in to the hotel since Jim and it didn’t look like anyone was going to. The streets were dead quiet, not even the occasional car would pass by. Lizzy got up out of her chair in an attempt to keep herself awake, and in doing so knocked a pile of complimentary lighters off the desk. Shit, just my damn luck that this kind of bullshit would happen to me, Lizzy mumbled. Stooping down in a half-hearted attempt to retrieve the scattered lighters Lizzy fell herself. YOU STUPID ASS WHORE! Lizzy screamed, the yell echoing off the stone walls and reverberating the windows. That’s quite a set of lung you got there, a voice said from the elevators. I wouldn’t go as far to call you a whore though. Lizzy rapidly turned to the voice and rested her hand on the bat underneath the desk. No need to do that, the voice proclaimed. It’s only me. Stepping into the dull gold lighting James ‘The Baron’ Russo showed himself, holding up his arms in a sign of timid surrender. You won’t be needing to club me to death, tonight at least. Very funny, Lizzy said, pushing her hair out of her face and behind her ears. To tell you the truth I am kind of glad you came down here. I was starting to get spooked. Oh my God, did I just say that? Lizzy thought to herself, mentally cursing her stupidity. Oh really now, Jim said surprisingly. I got the notion that you couldn’t stand the sight of me.

Jim knelt down and started picking up the lighters as Lizzy righted her chair. Thank you, Lizzy said, maybe you are a gentleman after all. James just looked up and smiled. Lizzy sat back down behind her desk and Jim leaned over the counter. He didn’t have his briefcase with him, Lizzy noticed, but instead was wearing a beautiful gold watch. I see you admiring my watch, Jim said. It was a gift from my wife. Did she get it for your anniversary or something? No, said Jim. She got it for her other ‘husband’ and I took it from him. I guess it’s not really a gift but at least I didn’t have to pay for it. Still chuckling Jim got up and walked over to the door. Sure is quiet out there tonight. I don’t ever remember it being so quiet before. You know what, Lizzy said, neither have I. It was an odd site, seeing two complete strangers standing at the wide glass doors of the Windsor Hotel; both looking out into the streets in complete silence. You know I think I am going to go back up to my room. The Baron said as he walked over to the elevators. Goodnight, and if I don’t see you again, Goodbye! Goodnight, said Lizzy. I hope you sleep well.

The rest of the night was fairly uneventful. No one else decided to come in to stay the night and Lizzy got some well-deserved sleep, using the registrar as her pillow. Morning came with the usual hustle and bustle of early-morning workers. Lizzy got on her tattered leather jacket, one that she considered ‘retro’, and stepped out into the world. Not wanting to take the tram home Lizzy decided to walk. It was only a couple of miles and after sitting at that desk all night she needed the exercise. Lizzy stopped at the corner tap café for a coffee and a muffin and continued her walk home. After an hour she finally reached her building. Stepping inside Lizzy thanked God that she would finally get some sleep. Opening her door Lizzy dropped her coffee. I’ve been robbed! Lizzy screamed, her gaze falling on the overturned bed and smashed chairs. The contents of her dresser drawers were strewn about her apartment. Wh—wh—WHY!. WHY WOULD SOMEBODY DO THIS! Lizzy cried. What have I done to deserve this? Wiping away her tears, realizing that would do no good, Lizzy started to clean. Nothing had been stolen except for a picture of her and her ex-boyfriend. After two hours of cleaning, Lizzy fell asleep on a pile of clothes.

She awoke again to the blaring alarm clock; head pounding and a throat so dry it made the Sahara look like the Florida wetlands. I guess I have to go to work, Lizzy said. Being seated behind the great marble sarcophagus made Lizzy seem at home; a lot more at home than home feels now. On the desk, sitting right in front of Lizzy was a Polaroid. Lizzy picked it up and laughed. It was a picture of James, dressed up in his cape, sitting on Lizzy’s chair. I went from hating this man to wondering when he will come down, Lizzy thought. God I hope he comes down. Lizzy tried to occupy her time by walking the floors making sure everything was in order. On no less that four occasions did she pass The Barons door, wishing that he would hear her and come out to say hi. Her plan did not work, and after hours of walking up and down the dark hallways Lizzy went back downstairs. Halfway to her desk she noticed another picture right where the one of James had been. Lizzy rushed over excitedly, wondering what James had left her this time. When she got the picture her look of excitement quickly turned to horror. It was not a picture of James but instead it was the picture of her and her ex-boyfriend that had been stolen from her apartment.

Lizzy slowly turned around. Hello…is anyone there? Lizzy said in an increasingly shaky voice. This isn’t funny. Don’t make me call the police. Lizzy ran behind the desk and grabbed the bat, clutching to it as if it were her lifeline. As Lizzy slowly backed away from the desk her foot crunched something left on the padded carpet. Moving her foot and reaching down Lizzy’s hand came up with a shimmer of gold. It was James’ gold watch, the one that he took from his wife’s lover. Lizzy’s breathing became short and sharp, it seemed as if the temperature had dropped thirty degrees. James are you there? Lizzy inquired. If you are this isn’t funny, I’m really getting scared. There was no reply. Walking over to the elevators, Lizzy quickly stepped inside, still clutching her bat. Steadily punching the number 7 Lizzy prayed for a miracle. Please let James be in his room, please God! Reaching the 7th floor Lizzy timidly stepped out. The hallway was darker than she had ever seen it and the air seemed heavy, almost becoming its own entity. The padded carpet quieted Lizzy’s steps as she approached room 739. It was the moment of truth. Pulling the keycard from her pocket Lizzy slowly unlocked the door.

It felt as if a warm spring breeze brushed over Lizzy’s face. It was comforting; calling Lizzy to come inside without a care. She stepped through the door and looked around. There he was, lying facedown on his bed. Is he dead? Lizzy thought, as she walked over to James’ side. When she got closer she realized he was still breathing, his chest was moving up and down and Lizzy could hear shallow breath sounds. James…James, are you okay? Lizzy asked. Her voice came out as a dull echo, as if muffled by the warm presence of the room. James didn’t respond, he just lay there breathing. What’s going on? What am I going to do? Thought Lizzy. If he is dead what am I supposed to do? Lizzy knelt down next to James’ sleeping form, slowly turning him over she noticed a piece of paper. Pulling out the piece of paper she read it out loud.

Dear Lizzy,

I am sorry for what you have obviously discovered in my room. Please do not try to revive me because there is no hope. I do not wish to come back to this world for my sins have deemed me unfit for living. I am sorry that you never got to know who I really am. I saw you noticed the briefcase I had attached to my wrist the first time we met. I read your mind and I am sorry. The case is not filled with money but with instructions; instructions on how to carry on living my legacy. Please do not hate me, simply take the case and read my wishes. I am sorry for doing this to you but it must be done.

Take Care,
James Russo

Lizzy sat on the floor, not quite sure what to make of the situation. James lay on the bed, dying and with no hope of salvation. What the hell is going on? Lizzy said. This is some freaky shit I got myself into today. Composing herself as best she could Lizzy got up and walked over to the edge of the bed. Sitting there was the metal briefcase with a piece of paper containing the combination. Lizzy picked up the case, turning it over in her hands, inspecting it for any signs of what it could contain. I guess that the only way to know is to just open it. Lizzy sighed. Setting the case back down on the bed Lizzy entered the combination. The lid rose in a puff of compressed air. Inside were pictures and an old fashioned skeleton key. Lizzy picked up the pictures, examining them closely. One of the pictures showed a gate with the word ‘Keeper’ in gold lettering, and on the other picture was a flash of dazzling white. I have seen that gate before….or was it only a dream? Lizzy asked herself. What is this supposed to mean? Why can’t this fantasy, mystery crap ever be straightforward? Lizzy glanced for one last time at James and walked out of the room with the briefcase. Goodbye friend, I didn’t know you for more than a day but you have affected my life. With that said Lizzy closed the door and headed back downstairs.

Setting the case on the desk with a disconcerting ‘clang’ Lizzy sat down. She sat there, just staring at the briefcase, wondering what those pictures could mean. Sitting back Lizzy stuffed her hands into her pockets in frustration. There, in her left pocket, was the picture of her and her ex-boyfriend. Lizzy took the picture out and stared at it. As if she never looked at the picture before she saw details that were never apparent to her. The picture was taken at a family picnic right outside of Washburn, Minnesota, and right over her shoulder was the grainy image of a man. The man was standing on a hill with his hands raised to the sky. Lizzy looked to the top of the picture and barely made out the outline of a gate. Lizzy slammed the picture onto the desk, left in silence save for the rapid beating of her heart…

To Be Continued…


The following comments are for "Room: 739 Pt. I"
by Akira

This was a fairly quick write. I was basically focusing on description and character development. In part 2 I focused a lot more strongly on dialogue.

( Posted by: Akira [Member] On: May 7, 2004 )

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