The "Lobby Boy" gently lifted the antiquated record disk from the Victrola Talking Machine and bowed to us.
"Thank you friend Klauss, that was a veearey loveley song." Pilot finished his dance with flabby Engie.
"Why did you name it Klauss?" I asked Pilot when he approached us.
"Because that is his name, you sour blueberry. Don't be so lemonadey. He is mostly harmless to blueberries. Unless they're mean Dr Engie who take away his Bee. He once punched Engie, you know." Pilot responded.
I stared at the "mostly harmless" aberration before me. "Hey 117, is this thing going to try to eat us when we turn around? What do you think?" I asked my scarf. The scarf remained silent.
"Who's 117?" Pilot inquired. "I see no friends with G-label 117." He spun his head, as if considering every single object in the room.
"Never mind." I scratched my chest in annoyance. The Biomatrix was not responding. I wondered why.
Captain sat on the other side of the couch humming "DON'T YOU BE AFRAID IF HE SHOULD VISIT YOU." The mug was standing on the coffee table nearby, steaming slightly. Its red heart was facing me. I felt an unnerving stare coming from it. I tried to shrug it off, but it didn't work. I moved closer to Captain on the couch. The heart of the mug followed me, sliding ever so slightly along the black rim.
"Stop staring at me like that!" I shook my fist at the mug, bumping into Captain.
"...I'LL TELL YOU WHAT TO DO." Captain hummed, turned and stared at me.
Pilot looked at me. "Klauss" looked at me. The Mug looked at me. I was only able to endure their silently judging stares for a couple of minutes.
"I'm going now." I got up and walked into the bathroom, feeling their stares on my back. I stuck my head from the doorway. Everyone still looked at me. I went back inside the bathroom and opened up the tap. The tap made a terrifying, deep "GURRRRHWRLLGGG" wailing sound. A single black drop of liquid came out from it, hanging on the edge of the tap. I quickly spun the tap back to shut off the irritating sound.
The black droplet fell, disconnecting from the tap.
My eyes followed the droplet’s flight, only to realize that the droplet wasn’t going anywhere. It was floating right above the sink as a perfect, little, black sphere. “Huh?” I stared profoundly at the droplet. “What the heck?” I asked, lowering myself down to look closer.
It didn't hit the sink. I glared at it. “Come down!” I demanded.
The droplet simply hung in mid-air, taunting gravity. "I am not crazy, you know." I told it. The black sphere silently hung in the air. "Fine! FINE! Do whateeeeeever you want!" I proclaimed, turned away from the sink, nervously grabbed a white towel for no particular reason and exited the bathroom.
"AH MONSEIGNEUR SNIPPEY HAS FINALLY CHOSEN A TOWEL! BEACH TIME IS UPON US, I RECKON!" Captain proclaimed and grabbed my shoulder.
"I am not taking that elevator again, just so you know." I pointed at the slanted elevator.
"WHAT A GRAND IDEA! THE STAIRS ARE A MUCH HEALTHIER OPTION FOR OUR KNEECAPS!" Captain waved to the stairwell hole.
Pilot rolled Engie down the stairs on the shopping cart. It loudly banged and clanked on every step. If Engie ever wakes up, he's going to have a thousand and one bruises, I estimated. My thoughts were interrupted by a clear, fire-seal wall on floor 12. The wall was at least 15 inches of thick, reinforced glass. Floor 12 looked pristine. I wondered why it was sealed off. It looked suspiciously too clean, in fact. I noticed a banner inside. "UNCONNECTABLES WELCOME!" I tapped at the glass wall. It didn't budge. Clearly, I wasn't welcome.
"Don't do it, Snippey. This floor is not a good place to stay forever. It has no wi-fi. You'll get bored quickly. Pilot waved at me. Captain marched on, not stopping. I followed them down.
The next stairwell platform was covered with bottles of Coke. As Pilot pushed the cart through them, they rolled further downstairs, banging on all the steps, making a terrible cacophony. I looked at the glass wall on floor 11. It was bending outwards, covered in cracks. There was nothing but bottles therein. Countless amount of bottles were squished against each other in a strange and bewildering pattern, leaving no air gaps in between. I stared at the composition of pressurized chaos and went further down the steps.
The glass wall on floor 10 presented a vista of a building ripped apart. The scenery was that of devastation and flying pieces of debris, walls and broken furniture that endlessly spun about as if it was held up by an invisible high-speed carousel. I could see cloudy, gloomy sky all the way through the torn-up building. "G-DAMN!" I swore, staring at the scene of a perpetual, miniature storm.
"LET IT GO, LET IT GO. I AM ONE WITH THE WIND AND SKY" Captain sung, pulling me along.
The next glass wall said "Floor 7". "Wait. Where did 8 and 9 went to? What just happened?" I asked, feeling very confused.
I felt like quickly running upstairs to check the floor number, but Captain held me by the shoulders tightly and spoke: "SOMETIMES IT'S BEST NOT TO INSTIGATE THE UNIVERSE."
"Leggo!" I flailed and tried to get out of Captain's tight hug. "I need to know what happened!" I whined. I pushed. I kicked.
Captain did not let go. I was relentlessly pulled along downstairs. The feeling of "needing to know" passed as we reached floor 6. Floor six looked very, very dusty behind the glass seal-wall. I felt a sneeze coming on just by looking at it.
Floor five looked pitch black behind the glass wall. There was however a tiny, flashing, multicolored light somewhere deep in its bowels. I blinked. It stopped flashing and I could not find it again.
"LATE FOR THE DISCOTHEQUE, YET AGAIN." Captain sighed. I almost slipped on a Coke bottle in the dark.
I yelped when we reached floor 4. The glass wall was crawling with roaches from within. It was incredibly creepy.
"Roach-con." Pilot said.
"DON'T GO IN THEIR BALL-PIT! I HEARD IT'S VERY, VERY SMALL." Captain nodded.
"Dats wat happens when you overspend your convention's budget and have inexperienced coordinators." Pilot added.
Floor 3 was actually on fire. I saw clouds of smoke and flicker of flames behind the fire-proof glass. I was surprised at how well the fiery inferno was contained on this floor. But for how long would the fire-seal last? I did not want to come back to this Hotel.
Floor 2 had pulsating, black mold all over it behind the glass seal.
"You are one wild, party animal. Don't spread yourself out too thin." Pilot spoke. I think he was addressing the mold.
We crossed the Hotel on the first floor and went out the back. The pool in the back was for some reason filled with keyboard letters. I wondered who and why would bother to fill an entire pool with letters.
"I FEEL LIKE ALPHABET SOUP, TONIGHTE." Captain must have noticed that I was contemplating the pool.
Pilot unlocked the back doors by banging the shopping cart with Engie on them repeatedly. As the doors shot open, I gaped in surprise. Behind them, was an open, vast landscape that looked like a parking lot that abruptly ended and turned into a sandy, frozen beach. Gloomy, thunderous skies concluded with a beautiful, orange beach sunset. The frozen ocean sparkled. Leviathan tanker-ships loomed in the distance like islands of twisted, black metal.
"A beach?! How? Whaaa?" I uttered in shock. Captain was right. I refused to believe my eyes.
This was impossible. I remembered a view of landlocked Paris from the Eiffel tower. This beach could not be here. How and when did it get here? I felt my mind sliding sideways.
I looked at the frozen Ocean in front of us.
A tilting, rusty Billboard in front of us had a drawing of "Stupidfox and friends" on it and stated: "PARADIS PLACE".
When we crossed the barrier between parking lot and beach I felt an odd tingling sensation in my spine. I looked at the air above us. It shimmered ever so slightly.
I looked back at the Hotel, noting miniscule changes in the atmosphere between the parking lot and the beach-front.
"PARA... DISPLACE." Captain read the sign, making an odd pause in the wrong place.
Somehow, this was an explanation of everything and made it all better for me.
We explored the beach and found a somewhat intact Tiki-Bar. Pilot set out to "Make us cocktails." This part of the beach was littered with electronic trash that must have washed out from one of the tankers in the distance. Keyboards, modems, cds and other antiquated electronic equipment glittered all over the place, frozen solid amidst the still, icy waves.
I felt calm relaxation overtake me, as I sat on my towel, staring at the sunset. After a while, I noticed that the sun did not go down like it should. I chose not to complain about it. Even though the ocean was frozen, the sand of the beach felt warm. I stretched out on the towel, looking up at the purplish clouds that were slowly rolling across the sky, lit up by the perpetual sunset.
Lost in my daydream, I felt someone tagging at my towel.
"Pilot, quit bothering me." I mumbled.
Someone yanked the towel from right under me, throwing me sideways into the sand. I angrily got up. It was a ginormous King-crab.
"Give me back my towel!" I shouted at the King-Crab, mostly angry that my moment of relaxation was totally ruined. I grabbed the end of the towel, trying to get it back.
The King-Crab refused to let go of the towel. It pulled me along with it across the beach, retreating sideways, and clanking at me with its giant pincers. After a few minutes of being dragged across the beach, bumping into electronic trash, I let go, crashing into the sand. Pilot giggled at me from the Tiki-Bar, dropping a martini.
Captain seemingly paid no attention to my fight with the Crab, lounging on a lonely, semi-intact, beach-chair.
I dragged myself towards the Tiki-Bar.
"What'll be it, chief?" Pilot inquired, playing the role of a merry barman.
"Tell me... how did you meet Captain?" I asked.