I wonder what that was like.
And when he was young, he was employable, and so he went out and got a job, as one does. And his job was as a restaurant manager at a swanky hotel in downtown Vancouver which isn’t there anymore…well, the hotel is, but the company isn’t, if you catch my drift. It’s exactly the same hotel, it’s just the suits have all been changed.
But not the suites; they are all just exactly the same.
Although the sheets would have been changed, I would imagine. If I imagined things about the sheets of hotels which I cannot afford.
Which I don’t.
And one day, the chief restaurant inspector and, indeed, Vice President of the whole hotel company, the Suit di tutti Suits, was visiting, restaurant-inspecting, and, indeed, quite possibly Viceing or Presidenting as well (I didn’t ask; didn’t want to know). And so Stephen NotThatOneNotTheOtherOneEitherButThatOne was showing him around.
And he showed him the restaurant. And he showed him the kitchen. And he showed him the freezers. And he showed him the entrance to the stairwell. And he showed him, because it was there and because the Inspector wished to Inspect simply everything, the basement.
Now, did I mention the plates? This restaurant, it wasn’t just foodie, as many restaurants can often tend to be. No indeedy not. It was not merely foodie: it was artsie as well. And to express its artsiness it had commissioned, at quite a considerable cost and to, naturally, an even more considerable deal of publicity, bone china plates, hand-painted by individual artists. Collective artists were, one supposes, deemed too hostile to capitalism to work on plates for business dinners.
And these plates, they were indeed works of art and priced accordingly. And, as Stephen NTONTOOEBTO was leading the VP-Inspector towards the stairs back up to the restaurant, he happened to look up.
The VP-Inspector, also, looked up.
And they saw a common or garden wheeled metal cart, the kind hairdressers load up with dryers and curlers and sprays and things, the kind that bartenders load up with bottles and glasses and obscure forms of garnish, the kind that kitchens load up with dirty dishes.
It was loaded.
Bearing a Three Kings-worthy load of approximately $17,000 in handpainted plates, it was slowly succumbing to the embrace of an accursed combination of momentum, unfortunate floor slope and gravity. Yes, it was thundering stairward at a pace which was, quite frankly, better than that which your basic VP-Inspektor or, indeed, your basic Stephen could muster on a typical day, even if they had not been a full floor below, staring up the bare concrete staircase at it.
Things looked inevitable, as they inevitably do at some point.
They looked at one another.
They looked up the stairs.
They looked at one another.
The front wheels left the staircase.
I never did find out what happened to the cart after that; whatever it was, there were certainly no witnesses.