Παρασκευή, 1 Σεπτεμβρίου 2017

THE FOUR LANTERNS - THE GRAND OPENING

Jenevier served himself and Alfred a small glass of Pedro Ximénez with tamarisk of eighty- three years of age. He kept if for special occasions and tonight was surely one of them. He wore his velvet tuxedo with the white pocket square. He raised his glass for a toast.
“We did it, my dear Alfred! Let’s drink now before our guests arrive. To the Four Lanterns!”
Alfred smiled.
“Let’s hope for a good season” he said looking at the reception hall. His suspenders with the tentacles were shining under the light of the huge chandeliers. 
The hotel had truly been transformed. Within a month of unstoppable work the place had nothing to do with its former self. The exterior space had now an exotic garden with huge trees with strange foliage and colorful birds singing and talking only during the night. In the foyer they had removed the tanks with the giant squids and the space became more open. In the dance hall on the terrace they had placed the big mirrors they had brought from the famous antique shops of Venice and they suspected that they would become a big hit tonight. In the rooms, on the top floors, and in the restaurant new wallpapers were installed with the parallel satellite worlds, a deal for which Alfred had worked hard. New personnel was hired to meet the needs of the season and tonight they all shined in their all- white latex suits. 
Jenevier lit the entrance’s new neon lights and looked at his watch. Three minutes to midnight. 
“Delpi, open the doors. Gerard, tell the sea lions to start playing their contrabassoons. It is time!” he said and left his small glass under the bar counter. 
Dominus Abandone’ was the first to enter holding his invitation with one hand and a tall belle, wearing a seahorse mask, with the other. 
“Jenevier, I only have compliments about the spot. How did you come up with the idea of transferring it under the sewer? Brilliant, a brand new glamorous hotel under the shoes of the city’s unsuspecting passers-by. I congratulate you without having seen anything else yet. I was sure I could rely on you.”
“Thank you very much. We only did our job. Help yourself with a first drink at the bar. Our guests will arrive any minute now.”
The guests arrived impressed by the renovation of the place. They were fascinated by the fact that, according to the invitation, they had to follow the coordinates and lift up the heavy sewer cap at the most central junction of Brananson City and, by going down thirteen steps, open the door and magically be on the terrace of a multi-story hotel with its eight huge mirrors, the exotic plants and the big bar in the center, giving them a unique city view from above.
And the guests arrived. The old and loyal clients of “The four Lanterns” were obviously moved with a lot more gray hair and wrinkles. The tiny astroboy carefully walked between the leaves of the plants and stood on the edge of the bar, staring at the six-finger tailor, who had arrived in a dress embroidered with thread from the stars. Even the fisherman had arrived with Cassiope, who was now in her seventh life, from the remote island of the cats, although he was a bit late and tired from the long trip. They had invited new clients of course to see the new facilities, people who deeply respected. They all drank and danced and congratulated the owner and the manager. And as time went by, the good spirit and the laughter and the talking was more intense. Jenevier, pleased with the result, looked at Alfred and clapped his hands twice. The groom discretely went behind the big mirror and pushed a button. The lights from the chandeliers were lowered and the orchestra’s bassoons silenced. The voices and the laughter gradually lowered and only the rustling of the foliage of the trees was heard on the atmospheric terrace. 
Dominus was the first to approach the mirrors and cried out of surprise.
“But, how can it be?” he whispered. “My friends, get closer, it is worth it” he shouted still remaining in front of the bar’s big mirror. 
They gradually  squeezed in and were astonished with the sight. Just a few screams of admiration and fear were heard but no one was going away. It was as if the mirror had tied them up with a chain and did not leave them escape. They were puzzled because, when they looked in the mirror, they did not see their reflection but something completely different. They were in awe because they saw wild animals or prehistoric creatures or people with different faces in different sex in different eras or in some cases they only stared into the void. And it was as if everyone was remembering a deeper part of himself that very moment of identification of the former self, the past. It was as if they vaguely remembered, as if they knew that this was their real face, their truth. The more they looked at it, the more they tried to establish an inner dialogue with their reflection. Others had tears in their eyes, others stayed silent, and others talked to themselves as if they were crazy. It was their moment, the most intimate.

“Our special guests, let us step into the buffet restaurant and let us guide you through the rooms. Come along, follow Alfred, the night has just begun!” Jenevier enthusiastically broke the spell.

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