November 11, 2011

The Formula – Chapter 1

This is a chapter of a writing experiment I’m undertaking for what I hope will be a novel someday. I know the basic premise, the title, and a few things about the main character. The rest is being written without much of a plan. The book started with this post. You can click on The Formula – A Novel under Categories to see the entire set of chapters to date.

Jake’s left eye slowly opened as he was awakened by an uncommon sound in the city of sin. Rain was pummeling the hotel window. The blackout blinds kept the room in near total darkness, but the sound of rain was unmistakeable. A groggy glance at the large bright orange numbers on the digital clock a few feet away announced that the hour was 10:38 a.m.

Gurgling sounds were coming from Jake’s stomach. He hadn’t eaten since the previous afternoon on the plane. He picked up the phone next to the bed. It seemed that immediately upon pressing the room service button a familiar voice on the other end greeted him.

“Mr. Maxwell, I see you’re staying with us again. A pleasure to have you here. How may I help you? Our records indicate you tend to prefer a breakfast of scrambled eggs, whole wheat toast with butter and assorted jams, plain yogurt with a side of blueberries and black coffee. Is that what you’d like this morning sir?

It was times like this that made Jake realize how much technology had changed our lives. And with the huge sums of money that flowed into this town the higher end hotels could afford to incorporate the most advanced technology available to ensure their guests were treated well.

“Nice to chat with you again Julian. Always nice to hear a friendly voice in the morning. Yes, that breakfast sounds perfect.”

“We’ll have that to you within 30 minutes. I’ve taken the liberty of loading your favorite newspaper on the tablet on your nightstand sir. I also see that you dropped off some laundry and dry cleaning with the concierge late last night. It’s ready. I’ll have that delivered to your room also, now that we know you’re awake. Anything else Mr. Maxwell?”

“No. As usual, you folks are amazing. Thanks for taking good care of me.”

“Our pleasure Mr. Maxwell. Call again if you need anything else. Have a good day.” A gentle digital buzz replaced Julian’s voice as the call disconnected and Jake hung up the phone.

As Jake began to slowly push himself out of bed, he suddenly remembered he wasn’t in Las Vegas alone. Mike was supposed to fly in from New York to meet him. They hadn’t hung out in a while and they were overdue for a friendship recharge. To call them best friends sounded awfully high school, but that’s what they were and still are. Being in each other’s presence had a very calming effect for both of them.

Rather than scan today’s paper, Jake decided instead to reach for his own tablet inside the rolling bag he called home most of the time. A few taps and the customized homepage appeared presenting Jake with his current email. A message from Mike was near the top.

“Jake. I made it in spite of the storms back east. I got the last flight out of LaGuardia before they shut down the airport. I’m at the hotel, probably on the same floor if you’re in your usual suite. Text me when you want to meet. I’m totally free. This is a rare relaxing trip this time. No obligations except you (aren’t you lucky).”

A few more taps on his phone and Jake sent a text asking Mike to join him in his room for breakfast. Jake picked up the phone again and called Julian.

“Yes Mr. Maxwell?”

“Julian, please double my order for breakfast. I’ll be having a guest join me.”

“If you mean Mr. Crowe, he already had breakfast, but I’ve taken the liberty of making sure you have plenty of coffee for two. And I’ve added some assorted fruit just in case Mr. Crowe would like some of that.”

“Julian, if this hotel ever lets you go, they’re insane and I promise that I’ll hire you.”

“Hopefully it will never come to that Mr. Maxwell, but should it, I’ll take you up on your kind offer. Enjoy your day sir.” Again, the same digital buzz ended the conversation just as Jake heard the doorbell to his room ring.

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