Dolly Considine’s Hotel

By Eamon Somers

A young writer telling stories about guests in Dolly's hotel—will it get him loved, killed, or both?

Sunday, 1 September 2019

The glass is one-third full, not two-thirds empty.

So, firstly thank you all for your generous belief in me and for pledging your hard-earned cash to make Dolly Considine's Hotel a reality. You really are helping to make my life's ambition a reality.  But wow, what a month it's been. A roller coaster of a month, with a surge of happiness and a feeling of vindication when the percentage goes up, and a horrid dip on the few days when there were no pledges, making me click the refresh button again and again, just in case the Unbound computer has been slow to update.  But I am on an adventure and am loving it.

Here is a short extract to keep Dolly's patient luvvies happy. 

Dolly Considine’s Hotel: July 1983

“Where are you going with those,” Mrs McClean demanded, almost leaping out of the kitchen as he was trying to sneak past with Malone's books under his arm. Her checking-up appearances had become a feature since she’d been given the betraying page from his journal. She reached for “The Heat of the Day” and smiled at the faces of the couple looking into each other’s eyes on the cover. “I wouldn’t have imagined these appealing to the likes of you,” she said.

“A friend of mine owned them, but he's finished with reading,” Julian said smiling. “They're on their way to Oxfam.” Flicking or sniffing the pages had turned up no buttery smudges, no favourite bookmark, not even the fresh laundry smell of Malone’s clothes, and no clue as to why they'd been hidden in the false bottom of his bag.

“Put them in the Kickham Lounge,” she said.  “In the book cabinet. It should be open.” Her eyes scanning down the stack perhaps for signs of his journal hidden in its midst.

 The need to be rid raced him up the stairs so quickly that within one breath he was outside the Kickham Lounge with his nose almost touching the door’s reeded glass, pausing only to let his eyes adjust to the gloomy light inside. He’d been planning on abandoning the books to twelve random benches in Stephens Green; hoping they could inspire stories of twelve separate fates, in the future, maybe.

“You brought me speckled and brown from Ennis,” a northern Irish voice, strong and rich. “But a lift, is a lift, not ownership.”

The lines repeated, and then again, the emphasis moving from the first “lift” to the other “lift.” And then to “ownership,” as if the meaning was being experimented with.

 The woman was in one of the bucket chairs, her pleated brown skirt covering her knees, her dark coat enclosing the back of the chair right to the floor. Her left hand was pressing a book face down against the carpet, her spread fingers keeping it pressed like it was a bird that would fly away if she didn’t restrain it. Her hair was bundled up at the back of her head, a small hole at the centre of the tight knot, like an open mouth that would speak if it was allowed. She lifted and turned her head to look at him. The black streaks of tears on her cheeks visible even in the gloom. Maybe she was wearing too much mascara.

 

 

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