31 January 2013

Report on Sample 717 Continued (Part 2)

Following on from here:

Just a short walk from the station Edrig noticed a Vacancies sign in the window of a small hotel and so he wandered in to attempt to book a room.

He showed the note about his voice to the lady behind the counter at reception. A nice lady, he thought, about the same age as he must appear to her, and then he managed to say, 'A room please.'

'We only have a double. Is that OK?'

'What is a double?'

'A double room. A double bed. No rooms for one only.'

'Oh... A room for two?'

'Yes, a double bed.'

'Oh...'

And Edrig thought for a moment, feeling rather uncomfortable at the same time as somewhat intrigued, then, uncertain about his language, he wrote in his notebook:

Who will I have to share the bed with? A lady?

The lady behind reception looked at these words, then looked at Edrig, taking in his rather odd clothing beneath the dark jacket.

'I think you might be best to try elsewhere, she said. Along the road.'

'Oh? Elsewhere? Ah...'

And realising what she meant he turned to go before he stopped, looked back, and asked, 'Pole dancers. Do you have pole dancers in Perth?'

'Try elsewhere,' the lady said very firmly, pointing along the road.

So he wandered along in the direction she had indicated until arriving at what appeared to be another hotel, which he entered.

There was another lady behing the counter at reception. Another nice lady, he thought. And so he showed her his note and then asked for a room.

'Have you been referred?'

He didn't understand this, so just looked puzzled.

'Referred,' the nice lady repeated. 'This is a hostel hotel. Our clients are generally referred to us. Have you been referred?'

Edrig had no understanding of what the issue was, but suddenly he had what seemed like a good idea. He pulled off his rucksack, reached inside, and pulled out a wad of 20 pound notes.

'I have money,' he said. 'Do you have a room?'

The lady looked at the wad of cash, perhaps a thousand pounds or so, and then she looked at Edrig, pondering that he was either simple or foreign or perhaps both.

'People here don't have money,' she said. 'Are you sure you want a room here. It is very... eh, basic.'

'Yes, a room please.'

'You will have to share bathrooms and toilets.'

'Share? With ladies?'

'No. We have Ladies and Gents, but nothing in the rooms.'

'Do you have a room?'

'Do you want a single room for yourself, or to share?'

'Yes. Myself. A room for myself.'

'OK. Said the lady. How long for?'

'Don't know.'

'Well give me two hundred... eh two hundred and eighty in advance for the first week and I will give you a room.'

'Two hundred and eighty?' Edrig was trying to figure out what that meant, but he just offered her the wad to take what she needed from it, which she did.

Then came the issue of filling out the residency form, on which he could just about figure out what was required.

For Name, he wrote Edrig Man.

For Nationality, he wrote Arab, remembering what the man in the train had said to him.

For Previous or Permanent Address, he wrote No

The nice lady looked at this and furrowed her brow, then she just sighed a little, placed the form in a drawer and said, 'OK. Here is your Key. Room 7, up these stairs.' Then after a pause she added, 'Many people have problems here you know. Drink. Drugs. Problems. You take care with your money.'

'Ah yes,' said Edrig. I will,' while not at all clear about what he was agreeing he would do.

'Oh well,' said the lady, rather giving up. 'Good luck.'

'Thank you.'

And Edrig thought of the question of pole dancing, but he decided not to ask. He was feeling very pleased with himself at his apparently successful command of the basic language. Given the large capacity of his young brain, he was learning very quickly. It all seemed rather easy, he felt.

Edrig found his room to be small and shabby with a thin layer of dust almost everywhere and a musty odour in the air. He opened the window that looked out onto a small and untidy grass area at the rear of the building and he pondered that the standards of cleanliness on Sample 717 left much to be desired, at least in this hotel. He noticed a small television with approval however, realising that watching this might be of great assistance in his learning of the language. In the small wastebasket he found a green bottle with an orange label that read Buckfast Tonic Wine. He made a mental note of this, for he felt he might be in need of some sort of a tonic.

Meanwhile... far away, Adrig was looking at his location monitor screen and muttering, 'Perth? What is Perth? Why Perth?'

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