“So, what should I put for the address?” the chubby boyfriend, introduced as Trevor, asked. He stared at Brenda with glazed, muddy brown eyes.
“Excuse me?” she replied. She raised her head to answer his hundredth question.
“I don’t really have an address. I never filled out a job application before. Do I put where I stay in Ada sometimes, or my girlfriend’s place here in Neosho?” he continued, tipping his head in the direction of the petite new housekeeper, Allison.
Allison swallowed some emotional soup but said nothing.
“Just put where you want your mail to arrive,” Brenda said. “I really need to get this paperwork done.”
Trevor was not impressed with her professional needs.
“Well, I just don’t know. I never had a job, so this is all new to me.” His pasty white face was covered with perspiration, oozing oils, and a film of dust from the hot, Missouri summer streets.
Brenda attempted to ignore him now, busily typing in statistics for the general manager’s monthly report. She had just completed training for the assistant general manager position at Neosho Residence Inn. They were building a new Sheraton, another Marriott property, at the other end of the main drag and she hoped to be promoted to that General Manager position when it was completed in two years. She had worked in the hospitality industry all over the country since she was thirty. She would turn forty-three this May.
A sigh escaped her pretty, pouting lips.
“What?!” Trevor glared at her, raising his voice so all the lobby could hear him. “Am I bothering you?”
He emphasized this question by slamming his fist down on his application.
“Do you have a problem with me because I am dating Allison? Is that it?”
“Please, lower your voice,” Brenda whispered, leaning over the front desk to calm him down by staring gently into his crazy eyes.
“I am not shouting!” Trevor roared. Now heads were turning to watch the drama unfolding in their hotel lobby. One blue-haired senior woman began fanning herself with her visitor’s guide.
“Hey, pipe down,” Glenna, Brenda’s head housekeeper and favorite employee said. She had been passing the desk on her way to the laundry when she caught this last blast from old Trevor.
She turned to glance over at Allison standing helplessly behind the front desk. They exchanged meaningful looks, which Brenda made a mental note to investigate later.
In the meantime, strange things were taking place in Trevor’s soul, evidenced by a little prancing in place and some random arm flings.
“Sheeite! You are just like my last job…judging me and acting all high and mighty!”
Spit was starting to fly from his foaming mouth and his eyes were beginning to bulge like a severe thyroid problem had evolved right there in her hotel. Not good.
“I am confused,” Brenda let slip, “I thought you said you never had a job before…”
Trevor began jigging up and down, for all the world looking like the world’s oiliest marionette. A weird, humming moan began issuing from his throat. Brenda was reminded of her neighbor’s rabid-like pit bull, and she inched back a bit in self-defense. Allison inched with her, a little whine singing out from her own throat.
“If you will just finish the application over in the dining area, Allison can take a few minutes to help you finish filling it out,” she offered the jittering boyfriend in a professional tone.
Allison started to step around the desk to guide Trevor to the area indicated when a fresh storm began to swell his sails.
“Oh, hell no!” he announced to one and all. “You motherf*s are not going to put that on me. Like I can’t fill out your damn application by myself. What do you think I am some moron or something?”
His decibel level now was reaching people out on the front walk. Brenda’s maintenance man, Tim, slipped through the automatic doors and glided over behind Trevor.
“Keep it up, fat boy,” he growled. “The cops are on their way.”
Trevor whirled around, smashing into Allison, and sending her reeling. This caused Tim to grow about four inches and loom over Trevor, prepared to end this nonsense once and for all.
“Tim.!” Brenda was almost hissing, “Don’t do it.”
Tim bristled but rocked back on his heels.
“O, no, no, no, no way!” Trevor sputtered in response to the news that officers of the law of the great state of Missouri were rushing towards him at some unfathomable speed.
His feet stopped dancing and began pedaling rapidly towards the doors. Bursting into the summer glare, he crashed into his little Pinto, which he had left running – for some bizarre reason – at the curb. The key fob in his jeans pocket must have been accidentally depressed because the doors suddenly locked. Trevor spent frantic minutes alternately clawing at the door handle and screaming for the Pinto to let him the f* in.
Inside, Brenda suddenly snorted in a knee-jerk amusement at these antics. The little cavalcade of onlookers moved as one person towards the glass doors and windows to watch the conclusion of this unexpected entertainment.
Trevor’s head shot up at the sound of police sirens careening toward him in the distance. He shot one more forlorn look at his running car, then began racing like a madman down the boulevard that led out of town. His long, greasy braids were hip-hopping to some tune as they streamed along behind him. His loose britches began slipping downward, causing one hand to grip his back pocket, the other flailing over his heated head.
Brenda could not help it. A grin spread over her lips, over her cheeks, and wrapped around her soul. She began laughing merrily and simply returned to the front desk to finish her paperwork.
Glenna draped an arm over Allison’s dejected person and escorted her out to the Pinto, her car as it turned out, to ask the police to please unlock it for her as she could not afford a locksmith. They grudgingly did so as they took the complaint and then drove off in pursuit of the confused and irate Trevor.
“Meth heads,” Tim sighed as he joined Brenda at the front desk, “Gotta love ‘em.”
“Do I now?” Brenda hummed a bit as she clacked away at her keyboard.
“Are we safe at long last?” the blue-haired granny inquired when she sidled over to join them.
“Of course!” Brenda assured her. “Here, a free coupon for a coffee and muffin at the bakery across the street - for your trouble.”
“Does this kind of thing happen a lot?” another guest asked, after receiving the extra towels he had come down for twenty minutes ago.
Brenda gazed straight-faced into the gentleman’s eyes and lied her head off.
“Never! That was completely out of character for our peaceful little inn.”
Her smile warmed the man, as did her sparkling eyes. This was her bailiwick – her forte – making people feel safe, welcomed…heck, downright loved here at their brief stopover on the road to their lives elsewhere.
This was her kingdom – Residence Inn, Neosho MO…assistant general manager - Front Desk.