When I finally came outside after the longest night of my life, I stood in the middle of the empty street and deeply inhaled the fresh air. What had happened a few hours before was the most unpleasant experience, which I would not want to go through again for all the money in the world. I was thinking about that bellicose man who was probably now sleeping off his drinks and conquering the world in his dreams. It was frightening that he and his generals had so much power that they could destroy the whole world within a few minutes. He did not need a reason for his action. A bad hangover combined with a paranoid thought that the world was against him, could push humanity to the verge of extinction.
I had almost forgotten the President and the unpleasant episode, when one night I came into the hotel and met Mr Goebbels, who was in
agreat distress. He had been expecting a VIP the whole day, a certain sheik, who, for some reason, had not turned up. Mr Goebbels paced the lobby, glanced at his watch every few seconds and muttered to himself. He was worried that the sheik had changed his mind at the last minute, and and decided to stay at the hotel of one of his rivals. That would mean a devastating defeat for Mr Goebbels and he would never forget the ignominy . His exasperation grew with every second. He sat in an armchair, crossed and uncrossed his legs, stood up, gazed at the entrance expectantly, and when nobody appeared, paced the lobby again saying aloud, “I knew the Arabs are unreliable. The’re never on time. Why do I humiliate myself for a few paltry euros? Why can’t I tell them there are no vacant rooms?”
I watched my boss and felt pity for him. Sheiks in this town are treated like a pot of gold, and now when the pot seemed to be slipping away it was heartbreaking to see him transforming himself into a wreck. I believed that before dawn he was going to suffer a heart attack or lose his mind. At a quarter to twelve, he looked at his watch and blanched. “My wife,” he groaned, “if I don’t return home before midnight she’ll apply for divorce.” He darted through the entrance and disappeared into the darkness, without a goodbye.
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