Student or Learner
This is the second and the last part of my short story, Strawberries. Please, would you proofread it.
I then returned to the reception desk and my crossword with a feeling of well-being and deep satisfaction. The way the Sheik treated me and his large tips made me feel proud of myself and my profession. Some of our guests treat us as we were air, some even abuse us when they return to the hotel dead drunk, and some are so mean with their tips that one wishes to give them their money back to spare them pain they must feel when they part with their coins. The Sheik was different. He exuded kindness, style, erudition and generosity. He was a world citizen and I envied those who worked for him.
About one hour later, my telephone rang. I picked up the receiver and could hear the Sheiks pleasant voice who asked me if we had strawberries in our restaurant. “Of course,” I answered, although I was not sure if had them at all. Our manager always said to us never to say “No” to a guest. “Even if they wanted goat milk,” he would say, “give them cow milk. They would not notice the difference anyway.” So my answer was almost automatic.
“Could you, please bring us two bowls?” the Sheik asked.
I went into the kitchen and opened the fruit cupboard. There were all kinds of fruit inside, but not a single strawberry. I opened two large fridges but to my consternation there were no traces of strawberries either. I started to panic. I had to find strawberries somehow or face a total humiliation.
The reputation of our hotel was more important than anything, even than my own life. It would be such a disgrace to have the Sheik talking with his friends one day and telling them of a hotel which was not able to serve him strawberries in the middle of the night. Indeed, it would be better to be dead than become the object of shame and derision!
My mind was working rapidly. I could ran to another hotel and ask my colleague there to lend me strawberries from their kitchen, but at the same time I knew that he would let me wait for many minutes, pretending he had gone in the kitchen searching for them and then return with glee to tell me that there were no strawberries.
I had to act immediately. I darted back to the reception desk, opened the bottom drawer, picked up the hammer, which I kept in the case that someone would attack me, put on my jacket, pulled on the gloves, pulled the cap down and rushed into the street. I ran around the corner where the supermarket stood. I did not care if someone was watching me or if there was a burglar alarm inside, which could wake up the neighbourhood.
I bent and smashed the shop window twice. The shards of glass flew around my head, but they did not hurt me. I slipped into the semi-darkness and hurried passed the food isles to the fruit counter. My heart pounded with excitement when I saw dozens of strawberry cartons. I grabbed a plastic bag, filled it with two cartons and rushed outside slipping through the same hole.
The burglar alarm was not activated or it did not exist at all, and the silence was absolute and the street empty. I came into the kitchen panting for breath. I threw off my clothes and my hammer, took two bowls from the shelves and filled them with strawberries, which scent wafted in my nostrils. I adjusted my tie and my shirt and went up with the lift to the fourth floor. The Sheik welcomed me again with a smile and let me come inside. His wife was sitting in the sofa and watching a film on TV.
She was wrapped in a blue blanket with the name of our hotel embroidered in yellow. I put the tray on the table in front of her. She said, “Thank you. They smell wonderful.” And she picked up one and let it melt in her mouth at the same time uttering moans of delight. The Sheik opened his wallet again and this time he gave me three banknotes. I thanked him profusely and he patted me on my shoulder and said, “I’ve always respected dedicated workers.”
When I returned to my desk and took out the banknotes from my breast pocket I almost fainted with shock. There were 500 Euro, 50£ and 100$. As I was enjoying my luck, I could see the police car with a blue light racing down the street. But I did not care. Now I was ready to go into prison if they ever caught me and sent me to the court.
In the morning the manager arrived, pale and dishevelled as if he had spent the night outside. The first words he said were, “Did he arrive?” When he heard my answer, he fell on his knees, pressed the palms of his hands in front of him and shouted, “Thank you Jesus, thank you Muhammad, thank you Buddha, thank you Almighty.”
He told me that he wanted to call me, but his wife worried for his health, had hidden his mobile phone.
However, the absence of news did not make him feeling better. On the contrary; he had a disturbed sleep and horrible nightmares in which he was drowning again and again and shouting for help which never came.
When I left the hotel the mist was still drifting over the hills and fine rain moistening the town. Cleaners in orange suits were sweeping the streets, prettifying them and preparing them to take numerous guests from the whole world. I was scurrying to my little flat and my bed. I needed to get a proper sleep and prepare myself to another night with the Sheik and quirks of fate.
Thank you so much for correcting my mistakes.
I wrote, "some of our guest treat us as if we were air" because I did not know better phrase in English. Actually, I wanted to say ..treat us as if we were nothing.
In another sentence I wrote, " I bent and smashed the shop window twice", but probably I should have written "I bent down and smashed the shop window..."
I do not quite understand what is wrong with the sentence, "Cleaners in orange suits were sweeping the streets, prettifying them and preparing them to take numerous guests from the whole world."
Could I rephrase it into the following sentence:
Cleaners in orange suits were sweeping the streets, prettifying them and preparing them to receive numerous visitors from the whole world.