I will begin with my story.
My name is Jonathan Michael Walsh. I am currently fifty-seven years of age, which has become more evident as of late with the sudden appearance of gray hairs. My wife, Cheryl, has gotten endless amusement from their growth, constantly reminding me of my newfound status as an “elderly man” by today’s standards.
I am the owner of the Fleur de Champagne Hotel in Riverside, Massachusetts. It came to me through my inheritance seventeen years ago when my parents took their leave of this world in an unfortunate accident, which I will not go into detail about just yet. Since their untimely departure, I have maintained this facility to the best of my abilities, always keeping the place exactly as they had left it. It was entrusted to me for a reason; I dare not shame their memories by running their home into the ground through reckless negligence.
The hotel itself is a marvelous place, built somewhat precariously on the bluffs overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. For this reason alone our business thrives, attracting all sorts of beach goers, water athletes, and your run-of-the-mill vacationers or honeymooners. As grateful as I am for this fortunate life, it can be rather repetitious. Each day my alarm sounds at precisely 6:05 am and is greeted with my waiting palm. Over the years I had grown an immunity to sleep, more often than not finding myself awakening from my nightly slumber before the terrible clock can work its magic. Nevertheless, I refuse to rise before it plays its vile tune, choosing instead to wait for the scheduled time to begin my day.
My day starts how I imagine it does for millions of others. I stand up, stretch, brush my teeth, take a shower, and get dressed. My wardrobe consists entirely of monochromatic clothing as is necessary for the job that awaits me downstairs. As I straighten my tie and fasten my watch, I always make sure to give my sleeping beauty a soft peck on the forehead. Cheryl, unlike me, has absolutely no trouble sleeping.
I make my way through the kitchen to retrieve my daily dose of black caffeine, greeting the few employees I see as I go. My Executive Chef, Ms. Melanie Chance, had been working with my family for twelve years now and I could not be happier with her performance. She was masterful in the kitchen, a skill which I always silently envied, never having learned for myself how to make anything more than buttered toast. She was also a dear friend of Cheryl’s, the two of them frequently coordinating to take their lunches and dinners simultaneously to share the daily gossip with one another. Ms. Chance was a remarkably bright woman for her age, if I may say so myself, and I often wondered where she had come to obtain such otherworldly wisdom.
My shoes clicked and clacked against the tiled floors as I progressed to the front desk. It was one of my favorite sounds in the world, making this ten second walk one of my favorite parts of the day.
“Hello my dear!”
“Mister Walsh, good morning!” Emily replied, her perfectly white teeth beaming at me. She sat at the front desk with a book discretely hidden from any passing guests, much to my delight.
“How are you, sweetie?” I set my mug atop the wood and began cleaning my glasses, yet another tiny fragment of my daily routine.
“I’m just wonderful, Mister Walsh. I just got to chapter twelve here, and I think Lucy’s about to shoot her husband!”
“Yes, well, ah, suppose you’ll just have to pick it up tomorrow,” I said with a nod. She rose from her chair and returned the book to my waiting hands before politely saying her farewell for the day. As sweet as she was, her naivety often mirrored that of the dumb blonde stereotype. Perhaps she was the reason such stereotypes endure, I mused. Regardless of my feelings towards her level of intelligence, it was still admirable that she was managing to work her way through college here as opposed to some seedy gentlemen’s club, and I was glad to have her as a member of my team.