Part Seventeen – The Forth Night in Three Acts
Part Seventeen, Act One – Room 202
“I think that deep down you are a sad man Ken.” Bill said. “You think this thing with Amber is going to solve all of your problems, but it won’t Ken. You are just trading one set of problems for another set of problems and until you meet your demons head on, they will continue to torment you.”
“Really Bill.” I said staring at the Vicodin bottle, “You should have been a preacher.” I smiled at him. “A man your size would scare the hell out of anyone.”
“Funny, Ken, but you’re not answering my question. Why are you at The Stanley Hotel?”
“I told you Bill, I’m thinking about retiring near here.” I answered. “I’m making a little trip to see Devil’s tower and Mt. Rushmore and then heading back to Birmingham.”
“What hotel are you staying at in Wyoming?”
I got up and walked to the bathroom. “I don’t have reservations. I was just going to wing it.” I explained.
“How many of those have you taken while you’ve been here?” Another question from Bill.
“What is all of this?” I snipped, “Why all the questions?”
“Do you want me to tell you what I think, Ken?” Another question.
“Please just spit it out Bill.” I finally lost it, “Jesus Christ, what is your problem?”
“I think you came here to kill yourself Ken.” Bill said sternly, “I think you have been saving those pills for that very thing.”
“You’re nuts.” I said, “Why would I do something like that?”
“What do you have to hope for?” Bill bellowed as he stood from the edge of the bed. “You don’t trust anyone and I think you hate yourself.”
“Get the fuck out of here Bill.” I yelled. “You’re talking out of your ass.” I opened the door and pointed. “You have been analyzing me since we met. Enough already!”
“Why don’t you let me hold on to those for you?” Bill said as he walked to the door.
“Fine.” I answered, “Take them and get the fuck outta here!” I threw the pill bottle at him and they quickly disappeared in his fist.
“I’ll check in on you after the show tonight.” He said, “I didn’t mean to upset you, sometimes I’m too honest, I guess. But I like you Ken, and I’d hate to see anything happen to you.”
“Whatever.” I replied as I slammed the door behind him.
“Why are you so pissed?” I thought to myself as I plopped down in a chair. “Because he’s right?” Bill was right, even though I didn’t want to admit it, he had sensed my plan from the beginning. I had planned to take a handful of pills on my last night in the hotel, but that was before I met Amber. Now, I didn’t know what I was going to do. I felt as lost as ever, and found myself wishing I hadn’t given the pills to Bill.
I walked over to the bed and laid down. Before I fell asleep, I started thinking of the white spirit dog, “Inner conflict.” I thought, “You sure got that right.”
At exactly two o’clock, I was jarred awake by a crashing sound coming from the inside of the room. I looked up and found the television cabinet had been knocked over. The television had landed upright on the floor. Its screen was cracked, but I could see the reflection of a swirling white light in the cracked screen. It looked like a mini galaxy of stars was spinning over the damaged area of the floor. Then I saw the white poodle slowly take shape. He turned to face the bed and growled.
I rolled to the other side of the bed to escape, but the bed was now up against the wall. There was no escape. The dog casually jumped on the bed and again growled. I was helpless, then I thought of what Bill had said, “What do you have to hope for?” I suddenly thought of my daughters, and of Amber and the hope I had for all of them. With a new-found strength, I grabbed one of the thick pillows and shoved it toward the dog just as he lunged for my throat.
I was quick to make it to the door before the dog blocked my escape again. I opened the door and the dog jumped and crashed into the open door sending the edge of the door banging into my forehead. I pushed against the door and stepped into the hall, closing the door behind me. My ears were still ringing from the blow to the forehead and I felt warm blood dripping down my face. I turned toward the staircase and looked back over my shoulder in the direction room 202. I saw the small galaxy float into the hall from under the door. Before the poodle had fully formed, I rushed down the staircase to the lobby and then down to the basement level.
I stopped to catch my breath in the rear courtyard of the hotel. Again, the swirling of stars and the white poodle appeared. I grabbed one of the metal chairs and threw it at the poodle before he had the chance to jump on me. The chair went crashing into his head. His white fur turned red as blood poured from a gash above his right eye. “Touché, you French bastard.” I said as I backed toward the waterfall. I threw another chair, but this time the poodle grabbed the chair in midair. I cringed as I heard his teeth bite down and shatter on the metal chair. With a quick flick of his head, he tossed the chair aside. I was walking backwards toward the waterfall, tripped over the edge, and fell into the pool of water at the bottom of the waterfall. A fraction of a second later the poodle was on me. I managed to get my hands on the dog’s throat was holding his snapping jaws mere inches from my neck. Just then, I heard the howl of another dog. This one seemed far off. The poodle shook out of my grasp and walked backwards clearly afraid of what it had heard. Another howl. It seemed to be coming from the top of the waterfall. I looked in the direction of the noise and saw another group of white swirling stars at the top of the falls.
As I stared up at the lights, I saw another dog taking shape at the top of the falls. It was a golden retriever, and looked just like my dog Tim. The retriever jumped to the bottom of the falls splashing water in my face, and then took another leap toward the poodle. His jaws came down on the poodle’s muzzle in a quick bite and the poodle instinctively rolled on its back in a submissive position. The retriever gently grabbed the throat of the poodle and held it for a second. Then he released his grip and the poodle disappeared in a flash of light.
I realized I was still sitting in the pool of water when retriever turned toward me and started wagging its tail. I stood up and took a step forward, “Tim.” I said, and the dog rushed to me. Tears started running down my face and I began sobbing like a child. I started scratching his favorite spot, right on the top of his head. I stopped for a second and Tim pushed up on my hand to indicate he was not through with the petting session. I smiled at the gesture and put my face next to his. He licked at the tears on my cheek and slowly backed away from me. Tim turned to towards the swirling stars that had just appeared behind him and then back at me. I heard him whine and he looked like he was trying to decide something. “It’s ok boy.” I said. Tim gave a final wag of his tail, turned, jumped into the swirling stars and with a flash, disappeared.