The Reginald By Brian Hughes
Monday, February 15, 2010
Rated "R" by the Author.
Kelly - the doorman for The Reginald - slept with the wrong tenant.
Kelly was a Doorman at The Reginald; but what he really wanted was to own his own building. So he started taking nighttime Architecture classes. When no one was looking, Kelly would steal some time studying from his textbook. It was buildings like The Reginald, or The Enclave, just a few blocks south, which so fanned the flames of his desire of what buildings in the great metropolis should be: a masonry of brick upon brick, steel frame, metal cladding, and Art Deco tapestries all over. The Reginald was built just before The Depression and was the resting places of dignitaries and Hollywood stars. Most notably, Franklin Delano Roosevelt stayed in Penthouse 2004 on his visits to New York, and Fidel Castro was known to have a quick fling with a Rockette in suite 1931. It’s spacious halls and red carpeted floors reminded Kelly of his favorite movie The Shining.
For the most part, Kelly enjoyed the tenants and found them a likeable bunch. At years’ end Kelly was often doused with generous tips. It wasn’t a bad job, it paid the bills. Kelly felt indebted to his Uncle, who himself was a doorman for 43 years, using his connections to nab Kelly the position. The tenants Kelly favored the most were the old timers. Media mogul Jon Hewitt, who restored The Reginald to its original grand beginnings, made headlines when he decided not to buy out the older tenants of the building, but to keep them there free of charge. Hewitt was only too happy to eat the profits, responding to what he called “the pillaging of our National treasure – the Senior Citizen.”
Carroll Dickey was an ex World War II vet and Kelly’s favorite tenant. “Mayor Carroll” as he was known, was as big a baseball fan as Kelly was, and would often ride Kelly up and down when his beloved Yankees went on a losing streak. Carroll was an ex Brooklyn “Bum” who, when The Dodgers left town, became a Met fan – a common rebellious stance of most Dodger fans hurt when the team flew West.
Every afternoon, Carroll would take a walk over to Madison Square Park, read his paper and feed the pigeons.
“The Kansas City Royals are going to mash the Yanks,” he’d say to Kelly.
“Gomez is going to hurl a two hitter against them tonight.”
“The Royals are in last place! They stink! Come on …!
Carroll had a way of becoming increasingly vitriolic and graphic with his language when he spoke about something he disliked. He’d grab Kelly by the arm, and with a menacing look he’d whisper:
“The Royals are going to grind the Yanks up in a meat grinder, you see: a meat grinder – until their spleen and liver and entrails are pouring over their belts and onto their pinstripe suits.”
“And when the Royals are through grinding those rich cocksuckers, they’ll eat their innards and shit them out right on home plate in front of a television viewing audience. And it’s going to make the news and everything!” And Carroll would have his say and be out the door.
Kelly also had to deal with unwanted visitors. A binder of photos and descriptions was kept behind the desk of such characters. The city was in the midst of the holiday season and it seemed like half the building was away. Kelly had been working many graveyard shifts. He sat at his post, his eyes at half mast. He felt a mean piss coming on. The pages from his text book started bleeding together and the words and lines began crisscrossing each other. Maybe he should hit the head, he thought, throw some cold water on his face.
He radioed Louie the porter. Louie was a huge history buff; for three hours before his shift, you could find him on the third floor of The New York Public Libray on 40th street, leafing through the latest history release. “I blew it,” he’d say, “I could have been a retired History professor by now.”
Mandrik Carlsson opened the front doors, walked down the steps and was swiftly moving toward the elevators. He did not give so much as a glance to Kelly. He was gruffy and tall with salt and pepper hair and a prominent handlebar moustache.
“Uhhh, Mandrik. Uhhh … excuse me! You are … wait. You are no longer allowed in this building!” Kelly hurried over to the elevators and found Mandrik stairing at the second car. It was almost as if he were looking through it. “Come on, Mandrik. Don’t, you know, make this difficult. It’s cool, come on.” Mandrik rolled his head to the side and gave Kelly a smirk, then a manacing smile. The elevator arrived and Mandrik rode it up.
Kelly, under normal cicumstances, was a “nervous nelly.” He paced briefly. He was not allowed to leave his post, unless someone was there covering for him. “Shit, man. Where the heck is Louie?” he said aloud.
“I’m right here,” Louis said with a smile that lifted his entire putty-like face.
“I have to take a wicked piss Louie – can you cover me for a few?”
“Sure … sure … sure.” Louie noticed that Kelly had hit the button on the elevator. “The bathrooms are downstairs.”
“I know where they are, Louie – give me a break, huh?”
“I don’t know anything,” Louie said as he walked over toward the doorman post.
I’m not allowed to go up like this, I could get canned, Kelly thought as he rode the elevator up to the fourteenth floor. I should just call the cops, let them handle it. I should turn my back on this. What if Mandrik knows. If he knows, he’ll kill me.
Kelly was walking toward the apartment. “Mandrik? Mandrik?” Soon he was at door 14R. He knocked. “Mandrik?” The door swung open and Mandrik stood there wearing a skin tight flowery dress, eyes bulging from his sockets.
“Come in here you mother fucker!” hissed Mandrik as he grabbed Kelly by his tie and neck and flung him forcibly into the living room of the apartment. Kelly collapsed and just missed cracking his head on a big glass coffee table. Mandrik grabbed an envelope full of photos and threw them hard into Kelly’s face. “The balls you have to come up here, where I used to live, and tell me not to come here! After fucking my wife!”
“Calm down, Mandrik, calm down, she still loves you! She doesn’t want me!”
Kelly backed up against the big bay window. Mandrik grabbed a steak knife and lunged at Kelly, who had begun yelping. The site of a bedraggled Mandrik approaching him with a knife and wearing a dress, was almost too much for Kelly. He couldn’t even scream. He was on the verge of passing out. Mandrik had the knife at his throat:
“I’ve been to prison. I’ll go again, it’s no skin off my balls, got it! You don’t know her name, you don’t know what she looks or smells like anymore. You got it prick?”
“Yes, yes, I got it, yes.”
“Not one more word to her – EVER!”
Mandrik picked Kelly up and kneed him in the ribs several times. Holding him upright, he punched Kelly twice in the face, then let him drop hard to the floor.
There were knocks on the door. “Is everything okay in there?” a neighbor asked. “Is everything okay? Do you need me to call the police?”
“No! Go the fuck away!” yelled Mandrik as he raised the bottom portion of the dress to his nose and smelled. She would come back to him, he was sure of it. Placing the steak knife back in the kitchen, Mandrik grabbed his Adidas bag and left.
Kelly was bleeding on the carpet and moaning. Tears fell from his eyes. “I don’t want to be a doorman, I don’t want this shit. No. Why? What the fuck? What the fuck?” Kelly started slinking across the floor towards the door. “I just want my own building … my own building … MY OWN FUCKING BUILDING!!!! He screamed, bursting into sobs.