Chasing the Arcade

Ven sat behind his glossy help desk and sighed. He didn’t want to be at work. That was hardly new. He never wanted to be at work. The computer screen on his left blinked at him. A frown creased his very young and very brown forehead, before he turned away from it. I will not spend the entire day filing paperwork for guests. He declared internally. Instead, he stared out the huge windows in the lobby. The windows themselves were lovely, with heavy, detailed frames, etched designs, surrounded by luxurious chairs, and lavish throw rugs leading up to them.

Ven didn’t care about any of it. His eyes were riveted on the casino across the way. Lucky Lady, it was called, had bright lights, flashing signs, and a slight spin the bloated, floating building. It has been weeks, since I was last in the arcade. He thought his eyes almost in tears. A quick glare over his shoulder, at the manager’s office behind him. The only reason he worked here, was because of the free access pass to the Lucky Lady. Other people worked here for the access to diplomats, artists, and politicians who came in incognito. They thought Ven was stupid, and Ven thought the same of them.

The desk ring went off, and Ven forced himself into a bright, vapid smile. A customer is coming, be nice.

A large bobbing form, in dark brown, a long saggy face moved at a sedate pace to the desk. The single eye on its round face focused on Ven. The words floated on the air in front of it.

Ven managed to stop a groan. A race without vocal cords, great. “Hotel Staff, I need you to place me in my assigned lodgings.”

Once again, grateful, for the translator, Ven gave a serious nod. “Of course, honored guest. I will look up your reservation. May I have your name?”

There was a long pause. “Grixt Giffrit, of Greenita Groas.”

Ven blinked twice. He typed it into the computer, and his dismay at the strange alien turned into panic. Nothing could ruin his day more than, having to fix someone else’s mistake. “I apologize, most honored guest, but we appear to not have a reservation for you.”

The words flashed fast, and furious. “This happens to often. I have heard many complaints about your service. Many of Greentia Groas have claimed bigotry on your race, Einlari. I must have the room I reserved. Unacceptable!” Grixt danced back and forth like a child playing with a ball.

Ven bowed his head, schooling his expression into mournful sadness. He lifted his head. “I assure you, honored guest that is not the case. There are many rooms to keep track of, we are only Einlari. Let I tender my deepest apologies at offending you, and inconveniencing you. If you give me room number, I will see if the room is available.”

“The thousand floor, room two, three, nine, and one.”

A few strokes on the computer revealed the worst news so far. The room was occupied. “I apologize, the room is currently occupied. May I provide you a free upgrade to a room on the twelve hundred floors?”

Grixt jumped higher, his brownish skin turning an olive green. “No! No! No! I must have that room. I cannot stay anywhere else. I will lodge a complaint with the International Office.”

Ven eyes widened, as a jittery pain filled his stomach. He had to admit to not care what happened to Aoi, his home world. However, if Grixt did that, he would be fired, no more arcade. “I will speak to the other guest right away. Won’t you go to the hotel bar, and enjoy free drinks on the house, while I rectify the situation for you.”

A spin sent him to the elevator, as he went to pinged one the other staff to take over the front desk. He banged on the call button over and over. A happy chime signaled the large doors opening. Ven had always hated the elevators. They were shiny, black, and filled with irritating music, the manager called soothing. The ride was short, as he could feel himself floating a bit.

He clambered onto the conveyer to take him to the section where room two thousand, three hundred, and ninety-one was. There were several aliens on it with him. He ignored them, they ignored him. The trip was as fast as the elevator, and he jumped out, making the quick trip to the room. Ven shoved his finger into the communicator button. “I am sorry to bother you, honored guest, but I need to speak with you.”

A minute or two passed before the imprinted metal door swung inward. A reedy voice reached his ears. “Come in.”

In a rush of fast steps, Ven made in to only stop suddenly, and stare. It was one of the few races he recognized. An ancient, powerful race called the Runnil. Tall, with a sparse frame, large antler on its head, with striped brown and red fur. His, as Ven could tell from the antlers, face was long, narrow, with big, round brown eyes. A bit of worry came from behind the awe. Runnil were telepaths, the most powerful anywhere. He didn’t want anyone, walking around in his mind.

“How can I assist you, Einlari?” Runnil language was a quick chain, followed by translation.

Ven took a hard swallow to get rid of the silence. “I came here to beg you a favor. Another guest, Grixt Giffrit, of Greenita Groas, wishes to have this room. There was a mistake with the reservations. I will be more than willing to get a better room, if you would help me by allowing him this room.”

Runnil stepped toward Ven. He felt a light pressure on his mind.

And against all the policy of the hotel, Ven threw up his hands, and shouted, “No.”

The alien stepped back, and gave him a long look. “I merely wanted to understand why it matters so much to you. I can feel the distress leaking out. I am puzzled, because due our earlier interaction, you have a great deal of disdain for the Lucky Lady Hotel. “He seemed to smile, at least as far as Ven could tell. “If you give me an honest answer, I will even act as if it was my idea to change rooms, therefore saving you from any reprimand.”

At first, Ven was angry. Runnil had walked around in his head, and checked around. But, on the other hand, the offer was great. He frowned a bit longer, ran his hand through his hair. “Alright. Truth is I only work here, so I can get into the casino for free. I eat the cheap eats, check out the naked shows, and hit the arcade.”

Runnil let out a long sound which was a cross between, a hoot, and a yelp. “I appreciate your honesty. I will go with you, and resolve this issue.”

The relief hit Ven so hard, he nearly toppled over. He had to smile. I hope the rest of the day isn’t as half as exciting.

 

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Filed under Amon, Single Shot Stories

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