One Night On The Job


Well, by golly! Here I am again with another short story part fiction part truth. I liked the way Lady Cash handled the story about Lady and Cash so I gave St. Bernard Peter at the gates of Doggy Heaven (The Pearly Dog Gates) another visit to see if I could take Lady for a few days. Bernard said he didn’t think it was possible because Ladies earthly body had already turned to dust. I said, “Come on St. Pete, Can’t she come in another form?” He replied, “I don’t have anything here but I’ll check one of my other domains and let you know in a day or two.”

I’d have to wait but I knew he’d come through because he was a good old soul. So, while waiting, I decided to write the introduction to our short story. For several years I worked as the graveyard engineer for the Hilton Hotel in Salt Lake City. Many crazy and exciting things happened during these years. So I thought it be fun to tell you about a night in the life of a graveyard engineer. Well since my memory is not as good as it use to be, and since I told Lady everything that happened to me, who would be better to tell the story then she. Of course I’m using this as an excuse to spend some time with her but it’s a pretty good one. What do you think?

Two days have gone bye and St. Bernard decided to visit me right in the middle of a real good dream. (Dreaming about a voluptuous red head, the two of us alone on a deserted island.) He told me that arrangements were made for Lady to come back but she’d have to come back as a mouse. I said, “That’s OK but what does Lady think about that.”

“She won’t like being a mouse but that’s the best I could do. Come up to the Pearlies tomorrow at noon and I’ll have her calmed down and ready to go.” I thanked him and went back to the sweetheart in my dream.

The next day when I arrived at the Pearly Dog Gates I overheard Lady complaining to St. Bernard. She said; “Dang it Bernie! I want to go visit my Big Daddy Cash, but I hate mice can’t you do better then that?”… “That’s it! If you want to go it’s a mouse you will be.” when I went through the gate I said to her, “Ha. Ha. You’re still my Lady even if you look like a mouse. By the way you make a real cute mouse, a white one at that.”

We had a real nice visit the rest of the day and stayed up most of the night talking about the story that we were about to write. It was really strange having my lady back as a little fluffy white mouse. She was still my Lady though, no matter what form she took. Finally she cuddled up by my cheek and we both went to sleep.

The next morning I couldn’t find Lady any where. Where could she be she knows this story’s important to me. I searched and searched all over the place then I saw my stray cats pacing back and forth outside of my work shed. Oh my God I thought they got my Lady. When I approached the shed I heard her scream, “Cash, get these damn cats away from me.”… “I’m sorry Lady! I forgot that you were in the body of a mouse.”

“Ya got that right dam it; I’m the one who’s supposed to do the chasing. Come on Big Daddy get me out of this mess.” I shooed the cats off and picked her up, put her in my shirt pocket and returned to the house. (Not a creature was stirring not even a mouse.) “Come on my Lady, let’s get busy, I only have 7 days to write this story. I hope you didn’t let those little cats ruin your day.”

We started by making a list of the 10 most exciting things that took place on my graveyard shift at the Hilton. This was really tough because just about every night something new and exciting happened. My intent was to use the best of the list in one night of work at the hotel. I asked Lady if she thought it could be done and she said yah it should be fun. The next several hours we reminisced on the hundreds of stories that I shared with her through those years. Finally we had a pretty good idea of what to write about but day one had gone bye and we hadn’t yet started.

“How’s my cute little mouse?” “Oh shut up Big Daddy.” Ha…Ha…Ha…Ha…Hee…Haw. This was crazy but fun.

“Cashman do you think that you could arrange to work a graveyard shift one more time at the Hilton.”… “I don’t know why not. I’ll call John Bailey the Director of Engineering and see if he can set it up for me. It should be real easy because everybody hates working graveyard.”… “You’ll have to hide me in your pocket. Do you think that will work?”… “Sure it will work and you can run free in the shop because no one goes in there at night.” …”Great! Let’s do it.”

I called John the next morning and he said he was happy to hear from me. He just happens to have a man off sick so he could use me on Saturday night. Tomorrow is Saturday so I told Lady to get plenty of rest during the day so she’d be able to stay awake all night. I told Lady that while I worked she could write and maybe we could finish our story in just one night.

Where are you hiding Lady? Its time for us to go. The graveyard shift starts at 11 and I’d like to get there early so that I can visit my friends in the break room and find out what’s gone on during the day. Usually I can find out in a few minutes more then what most of the people that have been there all day know. The best information comes straight from the horses’ mouth and the best place to get it is where the horse has his oats. A few minutes in the break room and I know everything I need to know about the who’s, where’s, when’s and why’s that cover the events of the day. Although it prepares me for most surprises there’s always something unusual arises. That’s why I love the job so much, because no matter how well you’re prepared something new and different will happen. I really love it when I can solve a new unexpected dilemma.

Well, I tucked Lady comfortably in the pocket of my jacket and we were on our way to what was really going to be the most exciting night I ever spent on the job. We arrived at the hotel a little before 10:30 and were amazed to find the place completely surrounded with fire engines and police cars. On the roof was a man with a child in his arms threatening to jump no body could get to him because somehow he had blocked all the doors that led to the roof. In order to help this man we had to get on the roof and the engineer that I was relieving was new and had no idea what to do. We had to find a way through or around the doors to the roof and time was our enemy. It just so happens that I had worked on the air control and I new of a vent leading right to the roof that a man could crawl through so without hesitation I decided to make the crawl I didn’t have time to get anyone’s permission because there was no time for red tape. When I reached the roof I could hear the man screaming something to the people below. Thank God I was able to get on the roof and stay out of his view. I was just a few feet from him but I didn’t dare show myself or make myself known. For sure it would have startled him and who knows what. I had to make a plan to somehow get to the man and the child and get them to safety before they became aware that I was there. This is when a miracle took place, the child broke from the man and jumped back on the roof and when the man tried to retrieve the child I was on him like a hawk on his prey. This all took place just twenty minutes into my shift. I’d forgotten about Lady who was still in my pocket. I reached in and got her and with a sigh of relief I said thank God my dear Lady your safe. Come on girl lets go down to the shop so you can run around a little bit.

The phone was ringing when we got to the shop, it was the PBX operator, she said she’d been trying to get me for the last twenty minutes and that she had several calls that all needed immediate attention. I told her that I was sorry but due to an emergency I hadn’t been able to pick up a radio yet. She said that the guest in 526 had lost the key to her suit case and needed it opened ASAP, and the guest in 1819 was really angry because his TV quit working right in the middle of his favorite movie, and the guest in 729 had a 1099 (a 1099 is a plugged up toilet), and the kitchen clean up crew was having a fit because there was a broken pipe spraying water all over the place. I hung up the phone and with a grin on my face and a little bit of a chuckle said; “Well Lady it looks like I’m back where I belong.” I had retired a few months ago and up until now I hadn’t realized how much I missed the place. I said; “Lady make yourself at home here in the shop while I go and take care of these problems. When I get back we’ll talk about this book we’re going to write.”

It took me a little over an hour to make the guests happy and repair the broken water line. I was on my way back down to the shop when I heard this.Clang-Clang-Clang…Clang-Clang-Clang. Dam it, it’s a fire alarm and I just got rid of the fire department, twice in one night this can’t be happening. The alarm monitor is in the PBX room so the operators relay the message to the engineer as to the approximate location of the problem. “Engineering, engineering the problems in the third floor mech. Room.” This message repeated several times as I was making my way to the third floor. From the stairway on the third floor I noticed smoke coming out around the laundry door. I grabbed the extinguisher from the hallway wall and rushed into the laundry not knowing what to expect a laundry cart was totally in flame so I extinguished it as fast as I could then called PBX to have the operator call the fire department and try to stop the trucks from coming. Too late! They were already here. The fire was started by greasy and oily rags left in a laundry cart, that self-combusted.

I was in the elevator on my way back down to the shop when I got another call from the operator. “Cash the Lady in room 420 lost her diamond ring down the bathtub drain. Can you help her?”….”I don’t think so but I’ll go there anyway and see if there is something I can do. “When I got to the forth floor I didn’t have to go to the room to find the guest she was out in the hallway crying and carrying on in a hysterical way. I tried to calm her down the best that I could. I put my arm gently around her and said, “Come on Maim let’s go to your room and see if there is anything I can do.” I was very gentle with her and finally convinced her that I would do all that I possibly could to recover her ring. I took all the hardware off the top of the drain and shined my light down the drain to see what ever I could see. Much to my surprise there was the ring about two feet down on the side of the drain pipe. I don’t know what was holding it there some kind of miracle, I suppose. Now the real miracle was to retrieve the ring without making it fall. I wasn’t to sure that it could be done, but I’d at least have to try. I straightened out a wire clothes hanger and made a small hook at the end. I had to get it down pass the ring without touching it, almost an impossible task. I touched the ring and it began to fall I shoved the wire down and jerked it back at lightning speed I new for sure that I had failed. You won’t believe it; I don’t, and when I pulled the wire out there was the ring on the hook as plain as can be. St. Bernard Peter must have been watching over me. “Engineering this is PBX, Engineering this is PBX.”… “This is engineering what you need.”… “The guest in 1809 needs to see you right away.”… “TEN FOUR”

1807 to 1811 is our Presidential suite so I knew right away that I had a VIP, not that it mattered to me, I treat all guests alike. VIP’s can be a little more demanding then other guests. I knocked and a beautiful lady opened the door holding a towel over her mouth. “What’s wrong maim? Can I help you with anything?” She seen my name tag and addressed me as Cash… She said, “Oh Cash, If only you can.” she removed the towel from her face “I bit into an apple and my tooth broke in half. What in the world am I going to do?”… “Is it your real tooth or a partial?”… “Neither, it’s a crown.”… “Is it porcelain or acrylic?”… “I think its acrylic.”… “Well, I think you just may have got the right engineer for the job. I was a dental lab. man in the service and I know a little bit about fixing inlays and crowns.”… “Oh thank God.”… “Let me go down to our shop and I’ll see if we have any epoxy glue that will work on acrylic. Don’t go away I’ll be right back.”

Lady are you still here? There she was sound asleep in the bosses’ chair. The cutest little white mouse that I’ve ever seen. I was so excited the lady in 1809 is a famous star but she wants her anonymity so I can’t reveal her name. All I can say is that she’s the most beautiful star in the movies today. I found what I needed and returned and fixed her tooth. “Engineering.” My God, Am I ever going to get a break? “This is engineering.”… “There’s a 1099 in room 727.”

So far this had been a very eventful night and the calls kept coming one right after another all through the night. Lord knows I’d had enough excitement for one night but my last call came at a quarter to seven and believe you me this one was a doozie. The room was 511, the guests, two oriental women, the problem, a flooded bathroom. I had just sat down for the first time all night to have a cup of coffee. Water problems are something that you want to take care of immediately because of the massive damage they can cause in a short time. So I forgot the coffee and rushed to room 511. The lady that came to the door was half clad and couldn’t speak a word of English. Normally when I seen the ladies lack of attire I would have called house keeping to back me up but I knew that their shift ended at six and the day shift started at seven. What the hell the place was flooding and something had to be done so it was all up to me. I rushed into the bathroom and low and behold there was the other lady stark ass naked standing in the tub. I know that the oriental culture is much different then ours so I drew the shower curtains closed to hide the naked lady. Even though I was embarrassed as hell I proceeded to stop the flooding water. There was about two inches of water on the floor and I knew if I didn’t get it up it would damage the room on the floor below. I grabbed a towel and started mopping the floor, trying all the time not to look at the tub. All of a sudden I felt something brush against my leg and turned Oh my God there she was down on all fours as naked as a jaybird helping me mop up the floor.

What a night! I don’t think that Lady and I can top this story so I guess I’ll have to find something else to write about

Lady was given seven days leave of absence from her job as a Doggy Angel in Doggy Heaven. So I decided to take the few days we had left to enjoy each others company. I told Lady that the time we had left was hers and that we’d do anything that she wanted to do. “What do you want to do first my Lady/”… “I’d like to go to the park and chase all the ducks back into the pond, BUT LOOK AT ME; I couldn’t chase a flea up a tree. Gee, as a mouse I can’t do anything that I really want too do.”… For the next few days we had each other and that was the best of times.

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