Hotel Roku-Jyuu-Kyu- Chapter 1
The sky was a dark gray as Sachiko trotted up the alleyway to the rear entrance of the hotel. It was a nice respite from the summer heat of Tokyo, but it forebode a storm of equally unpleasant nature. The housekeeper’s heavy ring of keys jingled as she shuffled effortlessly through the silver and brass trinkets.
As she entered the long, dull hallway, the familiar smell of bleach and washing detergent crept up her nostrils. The final load of bedding from the afternoon shift had been dried and set out to be ready to replace that which had been used. The closer had left three hours previous, leaving those who would end up paying for an overnight stay to their own devices. Nobody finishing up their business would have to meet face to face with an employee or another paying customer.
The Roku-Jyuu-Kyu was a Love Hotel after all. Discretion was their main business, followed only by their accommodations. They accommodated, for the most part, couples. The term love was simply an obfuscation for what actually happens inside. At hourly or overnight rates, people could easily and affordably take time away from their busy lives to find comfort in another’s presence.
If you don’t fully understand, let’s no longer dance around the issue: A Love Hotel is for sex. Occasionally, you get a traveler on a budget, or drunk wandering in to sleep off his intoxication, but for the most part, the demographic is horny couples wanting a sanctioned place to get each other off.
Sachiko made her way down to the front entrance where the displays showed off the selection of rooms available. Some of the screens remained dark, meaning that they were either still occupied, or ready to be cleaned. Anyone who needed to check out would be awoken by the buzzer, a rude but effective wake-up call. Most overnight occupants were likely already on their way out, having jobs and real life obligations to take care of.
The outside of the building was a dull white stucco, devoid of the glossy windows of other buildings. The name of the hotel was displayed plainly in Roman letters over the front entranceway, appearing to be no more interesting than any of the other buildings around. A few blocks down, one could possibly make out Tokyo Tower, but from this end of the Minato district, little more could be seen than the endless towering office buildings where salary-men toiled endlessly for their thankless jobs.
Sachiko scrubbed away at the glass and stainless steel of the lobby’s display with her damp rag. It seemed as if the hormones themselves leaked out from the finger tips of the clients who feverishly tapped away at the console to choose their room. The smudged finger prints and streaks of sweat always got worse during the summer months as well. Luckily, each room was equipped with a shower for these disgusting people to wash off before smooshing their bodies into each other.
She peered up at the digital clock up on the wall. 9:37 in the morning. Her colleague would be showing up at the changing of the hour to help turn down the rooms. From there, without a doubt, the first few customers would wander in around noon when they opened their doors. With the rain on its way, no doubt a few more than usual would stop by just out of convenience.
Sachiko finished sweeping and mopping the front entrance way. It shined with a welcome glow, but it was doubtful anyone would pay much attention to any of that. She noisily dragged the wheeled bucket and mop back down the hallway and into the back room full of cleaning supplies. The computer mounted on the wall listed off the room numbers where people had stayed and needed cleaning. A few came in late the previous night, only having payed for a one hour slot. Most leave even before the one hour is up, likely out of awkwardness or boredom of their partner. These stays generally have the least offensive messes to clean up.
The phone in Sachiko’s pocket hummed against her thigh. She quickly pulled it out and flipped it open to reveal her coworker’s number flashing on screen. “Sachi? Gomen.” The young woman apologized with a stuffy voice. “I came down with a summer cold. I can’t come in to work today.”
Sachiko looked up at the computer screen once again. “Oh, I’ll be fine here. Just get some rest. I’ll try and stop by before my next job starts.”
“Thanks again, Sachi.” The call ended with a click.
After shoving the phone back into her pocket, Sachiko retrieved the rolling hamper from the side of the room and piled it up high with fresh bedding and a few extra comforters.
Changing sheets in the hotel was a white-glove affair. Specifically a white, disposable, vinyl glove one. Most guests are to confine their messes to the washable porous materials of the room. Hard surfaces are simple enough to clean with a bleach wipe, give or take a few. There were trade secrets to cleaning up most offensive- slick, sticky, or otherwise- materials, whether organic or from a bottle. Nothing surprised Sachiko anymore.
Just an hour before the hotel would open, the lone housekeeper began flipping the rooms from the first floor up.