“Hello? Excuse me? Are you working, or…?”
“Be right with you.”
The man waited till the woman behind the booth finished making notes in her magazine. She clicked her pen loudly before asking: “Yeah, can I help you?”
“I was wondering where was a good place to go close to the hotel?”
The woman beneath the sign: Information laughed in his face, “In this town? Why don’t you go back to your room and read a book,” and she went back to her magazine article, “10 Ways to Tell If He’s Cheating.” She had circled numbers, 1, 3, 4 and 6.
“Excuse me, Miss? This is the hotel Information Booth, right?”
Margaret shook her head, cleared her throat and answered, “It could be.”
“Right, then, I’m looking for information on somewhere interesting to go, cultural, historical. Somewhere I shouldn’t miss if I’m here.”
“For you?” Margaret sized up the man on the other side of the counter. “For you, I’d say go downtown, go to Salome Road.”
“Ok, what’s there?”
“Whores. Lots of whores.” She returned to her article, #7: He frequently goes out without inviting you.
Across the counter, the man laughed nervously. “No, no, thank you. Not for me. I was thinking somewhere more historic, cultural.”
“Right, it’s the oldest profession in the world and what better way to get into the culture than to fuck it?”
“You are- is there a manager here? I’d like to speak to him.”
“The manager’s a her and she’s away for the afternoon.” Margaret was lying. Her manager, Bill, was in the next room, arranging a filing cabinet.
“You’re a horrible person and really in the wrong job. Instead of Information, you should be under a sign that reads: Bitch,” the man got in, before turning for the door.
“Enjoy your stay!” Margaret called after him, before returning to the article. She was on question #8: He frequently changes plans, when the phone rang. It was her fiance apologizing for not having been able to come over the night before; he had gotten home very late from work and he wouldn’t be able to meet tonight either, more work stuff.
Margaret hung up, removed a lighter from her purse and lit the magazine on fire. She sat silently watching it burn in the garbage can till the smoke set off the sprinklers, bringing Bill out of his office to fire her for burning one magazine too many.