Boilerplate Special –
The Marquis Haltham hotel had withstood nearly one hundred years of earthquakes, vicious rain and wind storms coming in from the Pacific, and an every changing political landscape in the middle of San Francisco. She wasn’t the Ritz-Carlton or the St. Francis, but she was splendor and grace that rose from a town torn apart during the big one that devastated the town in the early part of the 20th century. All fourteen hundred rooms had a story to tell.
Deep in her bowels sat a bored and vigilant worker who watched her gauges and valves to insure guests were keep comfortable in their high priced and elegant rooms. Sammy crawled on his knees and looked carefully into the room that was closed off from the noisy boilers by a metal grey door with a huge window where one could see into the room. The walls matched with thin metal walls with large windows. It separated the poor occupant of the room from the massive tanks and large pipes that filled the basement and their ever present hum. The worker thumbed through a paperback novel of some sort occasionally looking up to check to see if the gauges marked in changes in pressure or temperature and then went back to his reading.
Sammy looked carefully up over the sill of the window to make sure his victim was totally immersed into the world of his novel. Sure that he had become enveloped in some mystical trance created by the author’s words, Sammy took his clenched fist and hit hard three times against the metal wall that divided the room from the rest of the basement facility and quickly dipped his head so the victim wouldn’t see him. In the cacophony of the boiler noise Sammy’s deep laughter was lost, but it didn’t matter. The victim came rushing out the door in a panic looking at the boilers until he saw Sammy sitting on the floor laughing. His panic quickly turned into a scowl.
“Dammit Sammy, you nearly gave me a heart attack! That wasn’t funny! You know damn good and well that is the sound of the boilers about to explode.” Alan fumed.
“Don’t give a crap. You were easy pickings tonight. How was she tonight?” Sammy asked. “Give you any trouble?”
“Been a fairly quiet night. Had three guests call about clogged toilets. Thankfully, the honeymoon suite was quiet. I am tired of kinky couples forgetting keys to their handcuffs. But, then there are the ones who pretend they lost the key and the woman has to sit naked and exposed to you while he looks on and infers you can do whatever you want with his slave and bride. I hate those sick jerks living out their kink fantasy while I have real work to do. Why the hell they believe that since it is San Francisco, everyone is sexually available?” Alan shook with disgust. “Oh, just so you know, the manager has been on the rag over something and driving the front desk nuts. Harry needs some Midol or something. Maybe a visit to Castro Street.”
Alan laughed. “Speaking of which, did I ever tell you about my solution to the handcuffed slave girl bride?”
“No, what do you do?” Sammy asked. Alan reached in a drawer and pulled some sort of chrome thin metal piece, lifted his shirt, and slipped it around his waist.
“I show the guy this and say to him that my master who is twice as big as he is makes me wear a chastity belt. Sorry.”
“Oh, that is sick and demented.”
“But, it works. Shuts him up real fast. No master wants his face pounded in on his wedding night.”
“What if it is a normal call?”
“Oh, then I throw this back into the toolbox and fix the toilet or whatever else that needs repair.”
Sammy and Alan bid each other good night and Sammy began his midnight shift. While reading an article in the Examiner about the Winchester House’s latest Halloween tours, the phone rang.
“Engineering. Can I help you?”
“Yeah, front desk here. The gentleman in room 517 needs assistance. The radiator in his room is venting steam. Can you check it out?”
Sammy grabbed his toolkit and headed upstairs. He knocked on the door of 517 and a woman answered. She was about five nine, Sammy’s height, and dressed nicely. The moment he heard her voice, he could understand the front desk’s assessment that it was a man in distress.
“Thank you for coming. The radiator is venting steam and I can’t go to bed until it fixed.” she said. Sammy could tell it was a man’s deep voice. He could also see that he had an adam’s apple. He thought to himself that it was just another kinky guest. Maybe he should have borrowed Harry’s chastity belt trick. He went over to the radiator and saw that the temperature regulating valve needed replacing. He turned the bypass shunt and closed the valves going into the radiator and let it cool for a few minutes.
“Easy repair, Ma’am. Will take about twenty minutes. Then you will be right as rain.” She sat down in the chair nearest the radiator to watch and crossed her legs and adjusted her skirt. Sammy couldn’t resist looking at him while he worked. He was trying to figure him out. Obviously, the guest realized it. He sighed heavily, and began to speak.
He spoke to Sammy with a cautious tone, “You want to know why I am dressed like this, don’t you?”
“None of my business, Ma’am. I am sorry for looking.”
“It’s all right. I understand. I am flying out in the afternoon to Thailand. They are going to change me into a lady. They will redo my face, my voice, enhance my boobs, and then give me a vagina.”
Sammy carefully studied her up and down and tried to figure out what they would do, but he didn’t quite understand. He stopped working for a moment. Curiosity really was overwhelming him.
“Okay, I am game. Why? I mean, why do it? You were born with perfectly good plumbing. Why mess with it? After all, this is San Francisco. Guys do it together all the time without surgery.” It was an honest question and the room guest smiled at Sammy’s down to earth question.
“Because my brain needs it. Because I need it. I want my outside body to match what I feel inside. Don’t think I haven’t asked myself the same questions you are about to ask or will think to ask a thousand times or more.” She looked out the black window for a moment at the San Francisco skyline.
“What does your family and friends think?”
“That I am nuts. That I should just accept what the good Lord gave me and be done with this nonsense. My folks are asking themselves what they did wrong. My siblings find me an embarrassment. And, my friends, well, most of them said don’t call them using language that I don’t like to repeat.”
“Doesn’t sound like you have a lot of support.”
“No, I don’t. That is why I am going to have it done in Thailand. I figure there, I can go through it all in peace.”
“Does anyone here know you are going?”
“No, they think I am on year long break from teaching traveling the world. I won a half a million on a scratch off lottery while visiting friends in Texas. I am using that to get a fresh start.”
“What do you teach?”
“Seventh grade math. Although, when I get back, I will be teaching third grade, I hope. I will have to find a parish that is more accommodating to a transgender.”
“Where do you teach?”
“Baton Rouge, Louisiana. West Baton Rouge parish district right now.”
Sammy continued his work. Pulling off the temperature valve, he pulled out a new one and began to install it. “Are you going to be staying here when you come back?”
“For a couple of nights, why?”
“I would like to see how they did?”
“No inspecting the plumbing, though.”
“Oh, I didn’t want to do that. I have just never seen a before and after of someone like you. Do you mind?”
“As long as you don’t treat me like a freak. Do you need to know the details?”
“No, I can check the computer downstairs. I will know your name and when you are due back. Everything is working now. My name is Sammy Fuller, just so you know. I have worked here about three years. I am the lowest man on the seniority totem pole. Have a nice night, Ma’am.”
Sammy left and went downstairs. He looked up her reservation on the hotel’s computer and saw when she was coming back. Her name was Alice B. Carter. He checked his schedule and he saw that Alan was on duty that night with Frank. He would give Alan a call and see if they could switch.
A month and a half later, Sammy knocked on Room 372. Alice answered the door. “Remember me, the plumber? Is the room to your liking, Ma’am?”
“Very much so. This is a lot nicer than my last room. Were you responsible?” Sammy was immediately struck with how good she sounded now. The pitch and timber of her voice was nicely female now. He could tell that some healing was still there, but much better than before.
“Yes, we just finished renovating this floor. I made sure they gave you one of these rooms. I supervised the upgrades myself. How was your upgrade?”
“You tell me?” She twirled around in her dress. She looked wonderful, he thought. Very pretty. Nice curves. The cleavage was inviting and full. The Adam's apple was gone. The face was far more feminine than before. The make up perfect. The eyes dreamy. He found her face to be a very pleasant face. And the hair was nicely styled too.
“Lovely. You look very pretty. And frankly, if I hadn’t known, I would be giving you more of a glance that might cause you to slap me.” Sammy ventured.
“Thank you for your honesty. And if you do look at me that way, I promise, I will slap you.” She giggled.
“Have you had dinner yet?”
“No, are you asking me out on a date?”
“Well, yeah. There is a nice bistro up the street here. I am off until midnight. And, I don’t want to get slapped. I am not into pain.”
“Give me a minute or two to get ready, please. I would love to have dinner with you. Are you buying?”
“Yes. I am buying. I’ll wait in the corridor for you.”
When she came out, Sammy offered her his arm. They went down the elevator and didn’t go out the lobby arm in arm so the staff didn’t see anything. Then, on the street, he offered her his arm again.
“You’re cold. Here.” Sammy took off his jacket and put it around her. “This isn’t like Thailand or Baton Rouge. It gets cold here in San Fran.”
“I can see that. The air smells wonderful.” After a block and a half, Sammy opened the door for her to go into the bistro. They got a table for two in a corner. She sat down and crossed her legs, adjusted her skirt. He noticed how shapely the legs looked.
“Keep that up and I will slap you.”
“Sorry, it is just that you look amazing.”
“That is what $60,000 of plastic surgery and treatments will do for a lady.”
“Well worth the investment, if you ask me. But how about the person on the inside? How is she doing?”
“She is happy. She is content.” A waiter handed them menus and she began to look it over. She casually said, “How did you know I would say yes to dinner?”
“Here, I have a present for you.” Sammy reached into his pocket. “Here is the valve I replaced before you flew out to Thailand.” He pointed to a part on the valve. “This set screw was deliberately turned so it would leak steam. It didn’t take me long to figure that out. I knew you needed to talk to someone. That is how I knew you would say yes to dinner. And, I don’t mind. We all need someone to talk to on occasion. I like your company, to be truthful.”
Alice hung her head down and then looked back at him. He was smiling. “Thank you for understanding. This hasn’t been easy on me. Why did you not mind last time, if you don’t mind me asking?”
“Most times I get called up to a room pulling this stunt, the individual or the couple have some sort of sex game in mind. Getting me there is part of some fantasy that frankly I don’t share. But you, when I saw it, needed to talk. I could tell you were hurting. So, I ignored the real reason for your radiator problem and let you talk.”
“That was very kind of you. Thank you. But why now?”
“Because you are afraid to go home. Don’t think I didn’t notice you extended your stay here by one night. And, even though I am in the big city, I still am a country boy who was taught to care about ladies.”
“Where are you from?”
“Eunice, Louisiana. I got rid of my accent when I moved here. I heard yours when I came up that night.”
“Ever think about going back home?”
“I met this lady recently. She seems real nice and pretty. But, like me, she is lonely. I am hoping something can work out.” Alice smiled at his complement and his reference to her.
“And what if it works out?” she teased.
“I will have to maintain her plumbing and keep it in good working order. A man has to do what a man has to do. What can I say, it is my job. Of course, I have to do it right, like a gentleman, or else she will slap me.” She blushed. He blushed.
Later that night, two lonely souls disappeared into the San Francisco fog as it rolled in. They were replaced the next day when the fog rolled out by a couple holding hands, walking together, very happy, and no longer lonely.
Laissez les bons temps rouler!
Copyright © 2017 by AuP reviner
If you liked this post, you can leave a comment and/or a kudos!
Click the Thumbs Up! button below to leave the author a kudos:
And please, remember to comment, too! Thanks.