Secret Breakfast

Every morning Zelda stops in at the hotel for her morning paper. The first time I saw Zelda, I remember wondering if she was recovering from a stroke. If not from something else. She’s partially blind in both eyes from some accident or another she says, and some of the muscles of her face are paralyzed, causing her difficulty with speech. Zelda is old. She’s had her name for decades longer than the video game. She walks every day, though. And she’s outgoing. I struggle sometimes to understand the woman but she’s outgoing.

Paul, a town car driver, I also see daily. Paul arrives to the hotel at around three am. Three hours before Zelda. Like myself, Paul works through a separate company contracted by the hotel. Half of his work is at Memorial Hospital. The other night Paul says, one of the doctors at Memorial paid for his wife a ride to the airport, then he requested the same driver to deliver him a woman. An escort. I know this because they ended up here last night. It’s where they spent it.

Hotels have secrets. This is somewhatly obvious because the internet. But there’s one hotel secret I know that Mental Floss doesn’t know, and it’s that in hotels with free breakfasts, false guests are a regular occurrence. Damn straight they are. Suck on that, Mental Floss. Hotels where the majority of their guests are one night stays. Passers through town and business people. I learned this from a bellman, who learned it from a comedian who was his guest and confesses to doing it. Scamming free breakfasts. This comedian, my bellman friend says, does it touring on highway.

Working in security, to survey surroundings is a part of the job. I sit in the front of this lot, and I attend to it. Any guest that comes here, if relevant to my task, I survey them. That’s basically people watching. I would anticipate it, but alas, cannot, knowing it does not happen. We don’t serve free breakfast. It happens elsewhere. Best Western. Econolodge. Ramada Inn. Any hotel that offers a free continental breakfast. These are hotels that have their breakfasts scammed.

I imagine I might do this. If I were traveling and it were morning. Honestly. Fuck it. I’d do it. We don’t have free breakfast. People scam us but not our breakfasts. Minibar charges, once disputed are routinely removed. Where there’s a window there’s someone passing through it. The only regular scammer at this hotel, to everyone’s knowledge is Zelda. She gets a free paper every morning.

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