Mirrors on the ceiling,
The pink champagne on ice
And she said 'We are all just prisoners here, of our own device'
And in the master's chambers,
They gathered for the feast
They stab it with their steely knives,
But they just can't kill the beast
Last thing I remember, I was
Running for the door
I had to find the passage back
To the place I was before
'Relax,' said the night man,
We are programmed to receive.
You can checkout any time you like,
but you can never leave!
The Final Chapter
Tiffany left my room soon after we agreed to go to the feast together. I was looking forward to spending another night with her and if the meal was going to be at all as magical as the dance the night before, I was going to have the time of my life. I found a red, silk, pearl snap button shirt in my bag and a pair of tight fitting bellbottoms that would makeup my wardrobe for the night.
Tiffany knocked on my door at about nine o'clock and we left the room at about ten o'clock. The time in between was well spent. There was something about her and there was something about the hotel that made my whole body feel like it was in a constant bliss. I wanted to seize this as much as possible before we headed off to the feast.
We showed up at the master's chambers, which was on a side of the hotel that I didn't even know existed, a few minutes later. To get there was had to zig and zag through countless hallways and go through even more doors that weren't labeled. It seemed like something of a labyrinth.
The chamber itself was a huge room that, from the outside, you wouldn't think would fit in the hotel. It was very dimly lit and the only sources of light were twenty or so candles that stretched up and down a long dinning table and five or six torches that hung on the walls. The table was a dark, hard wood that was covered in a blood red tablecloth. Twenty or thirty chairs lined the sides of the table and only two were empty, which were filled by Tiffany and myself. At the head of the table the Captain sat in a 1600's style outfit with a smile on his face.
"Hello Jack, Tiffany. Glad you could come and join us", he said from his side of the table.
I pulled Tiffany's seat out and let her sit down before I took my seat next to her. There was a large feast going on complete with turkey, dressing, wine, and all the food that I'd ever wanted to eat. Everyone had plates in front of him or her and most had already filled them with large amounts of food; Tiffany was started to grab some.
I looked up and noticed a man looking at me from across the table. I smiled and he smiled back. Holding my hand out, I introduced myself.
"Hi", he returned the favor. "I'm Josh." He reached over and grabbed some pink Champaign that was kept on ice. "What did you want to get from this place?" He said it and instantly his face turned pale as if he knew that he'd said something horrible.
"Josh!" The captain raised his voice for just a moment and then his smile returned, making him look lovely again.
"What did he mean?" I said. I needed answers and if I didn't get them I was going to leave. I was just too old fashioned to be led around by the collar without asking any questions.
"Jack, let me be frank with you for a moment. An old friend of mine built this hotel and he left it to me. I quickly found that the Hotel California was much different than any other place I'd ever been to. I was scared at first, as I'm sure you will be once I tell you the truth but everyone gets past the fear and learns to embrace it."
This got me very curious. I didn't get scared very easily but he said that everyone get past the fear, meaning that everyone has been scared of it at sometime or another. The question was, what was it?
"What are you getting at?" I realized that Tiffany was placing her hand on mine as I spoke. My gaze shot down to our hands and then back up to her eyes. She looked like a child. She wanted me to know but she wanted me to accept whatever I was going to hear next.
"Magic isn't quite the word for it. I always thought of the word magic as a childish thought. Don't get me wrong, this place is very special, but I wouldn't say magic. Anything that you desire, anything at all, this hotel can give it to you. You want love and acceptance; you get love and acceptance. You want attention and material things," he looked at Tiffany, "and then you get attention and material things. Whatever it is that your heart truly desires, you can have."
"I don't want anything. I don't like handouts." I said. That was true and I'd gotten that from my father.
"I know you want love. You wanted love and you found Tiffany. Did you smell her perfume from miles away from here? Didn't you know that there was something here that would make you feel whole? We all did, and that is why we are here. That is why we do not leave. I can give you anything if but you must stay here."
"I want to see my kids again", said Josh. He seemed to be on fire with things that he shouldn't say. The captain's eyes darted over to him and it appeared that Josh started to get ill right before my eyes.
"Some of us haven't completely accepted the compromise that is taken if you want anything."
"That is slight contradictory isn't it?" I said. "Compromise and having anything."
"Nothing is free Jack."
Tiffany rubbed my hand and I turned to look at her in the eyes. It was hard to swallow what I was hearing but it made perfect sense. That would explain everything.
"Listen Jack. It isn't perfect here because we all had to give up something to be here but it is very worth it. We all gave into our desires and in a strange way we are prisoners here of our own device. We choose to stay here and I truly do love you, and that wasn't even one of my desires. If you choose to stay you can have me forever to hold."
It was a tempting offer. Anything that I ever wanted, but with one small price, I couldn't ever leave. I wasn't sure that I was ready to give up everything to have everything. I really did love Tiffany but I wasn't sure of anything any more. My love for her could have been synthesized from the hotel. Nothing was certain anymore.
"I can't", I whispered to myself as I looked down at Tiffany's hands.
"What did you say?" The captain looked hurt and shocked, as did everyone else at the table.
"I can't stay. I have to leave", I said as I stood up from my seat.
"You are going to give up all of this? You are actually going to give up true love with someone like Tiffany? You are going to give up paradise and Utopia?"
"Yes, I am." Even as I said the words they didn't sound right. It was like watching a movie that you've seen thousands of times before and suddenly the last line changes to something different. It didn't feel right to say that I was leaving but I was thinking too much to follow my heart.
"Please Jack, don't leave me", Tiffany said as a tear rolled down her cheek. Her makeup ran with a black line down her face as she spoke, making my heartache.
"Come with me Tiffany!" It sounded like a good idea in my head. "If you really love me you will come with me we can be together forever. We don't need all of this to be happy. All we need is each other."
She sat frozen, looking at me for a moment or two as she stopped crying. Her soft blue orbs turned to look at the captain who was looking back at her. They weren't speaking but it felt like words were being exchanged back and forth. She looked back at me and stood up. Just as I thought she was coming with me she opened her mouth to speak.
"I'm not going to leave my home", she said as she walked over to the captain.
I suddenly felt very weak at the knees and I thought that they would buckle right under me. The last thing I remember I was headed for the door. Something was trying to get me to stay and I knew that I had to find the passage back to the place I was before. I needed to find the world that I left behind. I needed to find the world that was reality. I didn't want to in my heart but I knew in my head that I had to get there before it was too late.
I opened the large green door that was in between me and the hall outside. Stepping outside I felt a wave of energy and power sweep over my body, almost making me fall over. It was close to a painful orgasmic feeling that I couldn't even start to explain. I had to brace myself against the wall to keep myself from falling over. The hairs on my arm and back of my neck stood up as someone place their hand on my shoulder from behind.
"Come back to me", said the captain.
"Get off of me!" I yelled it as I spun around to take a swing that the captain's jaw. He stepped back with ease and I landed on my ass. The place that he placed his hand on my shoulder burned as if hot needles were touching it. It was an aching pleasure. I knew that I could make it stop and I could get anything I wanted if I would just accept them. The Hotel California wanted me and I wanted it.
I got to my knees and then to my feet and noticed that my vision was messed up. It was blurred but more like it was moving around. I had to fight through it to find my way down the hallway that seemed like it stretched on forever. The floor seemed to move out of from under me a few times and I landed straight on my face.
Somehow I finally got to the front lobby where I met the night man working the counter. The closer I got to the door the worse I felt. Suddenly the night man spoke out and all the pain went away.
"You can check out any time you like but you can't never leave!" It sounded too clear. The words bounced around in my head like an echo and I didn't fully understand what he meant but I wanted nothing more than to turn back around, make the pain stop and let the pleasure ensue.
I pushed through the last bit of pain and blasted myself through the door. The pain hit my like a Mac truck and I fell to my back. And just like that, it was over. The pain left my body and the pleasure was gone. My body felt deprived like I was going though withdraws from a harsh drug.
Sweat dripped down my face and stuck my hair to my head, my muscles ached and shook, and my whole body felt stiff. I got to my feet and started walking down the small path that led back to the real world and the feel of the air hurt my skin. The gravel road looked evil but I kept walking down it.
I ended up in New York after a few months of hitchhiking. I didn't have a cent due to the fact that I left all of my stuff in the Hotel California. I had to pick up odd jobs along the way but I wanted to put as much distance in between California and me. I thought that would get rid of the feelings that I had about the hotel.
I finally figured out what the night man meant about checking out and leaving. They are two, very different things when it came to the Hotel California. I walked away from all the pleasure that I could ever imagine, and I walked away from eternal life. The captain lied to me about one thing; the hotel was magic. Regardless of whether or not magic is a childish word, that is what the Hotel California was and is.
Every night that I go to sleep I go the hotel and it is as if I am there again. I attend whatever party it is that they go that night and there is nothing I can do about it. I see Tiffany dancing with boy after boy and I see her looking for me. She must know that I'm there but she also knows that she can't see me.
As I tell you this story I am headed to California. After a year and a half of hiding and running from my dreams I've finally gotten past the fear. Everyone does you know? I see it all too clearly now. The Hotel California gets everyone in the end and there is no use in fighting it. It might be evil but there is no use in fighting what is impossible to beat. I can stab it with my steal knives but I just can't kill the beast. I will see Tiffany again in a few days and my body aches with it already. I don't know how I know the way there and I can't explain it, but my new philosophy is do what you feel without thinking. In the end I was willing to sell my soul to get the things that my heart desired and I wont loose sleep over it. That's what the hotel is good at.
Even now I can hear them calling from far away, "Welcome to the Hotel California".