As if on cue, a man stood - - appeared behind the desk. He was short and stocky, with a round, doughy face.
"May I help you?"
His voice was friendly, even effervescent. Johnny couldnt help but feel chilled by it.
"I'd like a room, please. One with a window-view, if possible."
The man smiled.
"May I take your name, sir?"
The man nodded, and thought for a moment.
"Hmm...That would be 205! There we are!"
The man plucked a key from the wall behind him, and handed it to him.
"We kept your room ready for you, Mr. DiVincenzo!"
"Excuse me?" Johnny asked, puzzled.
"The one thats been reserved for you."
"Oh, there must be some mistake, I only just heard of this hotel when I saw an advertisement for it on the way into town."
The mans face darkened. His smile changed to a scowl.
There has been no mistake."
The friendly voice had changed to a bitter, scraping town.
"Room 205. Dial the phone if you need anything."
And before Johnny could say anything else, the man quickly turned, and stormed out of the room through a door adjacent to the entrance.
He picked up his bag, and started for the elevator. At least he wouldnt have to tip anybody.
The room was quite large, much larger than what Johnny was accustomed to. After sleeping on a small wooden cot, surrounded by twelve other marines, each snoring, passing wind, talking about girls they had fucked with great vigor, just about anything would've been adequate. Johnny had locked his door, to avoid any confrontation with the clerk. He couldnt help but find it odd - - not only the sudden attitude swing the clerk had, but also the informality. The clerk hadnt asked for Johnny's signature, amount of time he was staying, or even for the rooms rent. He began to worry, thinking that he'd get ripped off badly, losing his shirt on the first day to town.
He dismissed the thoughts. Whatever happens happens.
Johnny sat down on the bed, and kicked his shoes off. A nap was in due order, after the long drive. Lying down, and pulling the sheets over himself, he decided that after he woke up, he'd get something to eat, and start his search for a job. Right before he dozed off, he cursed himself for not buying a newspaper.
They were on fire.
The village burned, and shook, and screamed as napalm struck it.
Bullets were flying everywhere, indiscriminately burying into any chunk of matter that had flesh.
Captain Lundegaard was barking orders, pissing in to the wind as the rattle of AK-47s and M16s drowned each word out.
Johnny stood in the middle of it all. His rifle dormant, his grenade untouched. A lost child, in the center of the market, with nobody to hold his hand.
Then it all disappeared.
The heat from the napalm, the stench of shit and vomit, the dry taste of spittle.
He found himself in the middle of a river. The water was ice-cold, but it felt soothing at the same time.
Trees lined the shore, stretching higher than he could see, obscuring the clouds. Everything was completely silent. So silent, it was almost loud, whatever that meant.
There was nobody else around.