John pondered his own image through the shelves of colorful bottles; this is the closest he’ll ever get to being in a church.
In the reflection, he watched the soulless hotel staff, their smiles all greased up and mechanically ready, greet strangers like automatons.
He wondered if he looked out of place in a bar that in itself, was out of place; a scab of Ole’ England on the dimpled rump of this seaside hole. The hotel’s walls and furnishings were palettes of beige. The staff wore tan pants and maroon jackets, like a stiff ballet of blood clots floating about.
John started to feel vulnerable, something that was new to him. His back felt exposed, he didn’t feel safe. This hotel was so far to the right of predictable, it made it that much more unpredictable, like how a loud sneeze in a library causes the earth to crack wide open.
This was not the kind of place John wanted to start his new life, the first day of new anniversaries.
Then it happened, the sneeze in the library—