Posted: Sunday, February 23, 2014
RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB “SPOTLIGHT” AUTHOR, Bruce A. Borders was born in 1967 in Cape Girardeau, MO. Bruce’s childhood years were spent in a number of states, including Missouri, Oregon, Wisconsin, and Wyoming. During his high school years, he was a member of the football, basketball and track teams, involved in various non-athletic activities such as school yearbook production and photography, and won numerous awards for his artistic creations. Bruce graduated Valedictorian in 1984. While in school, Bruce held three part-time jobs; a store clerk, a janitor, and a dental technician, working about 60-70 hours per week. After graduation, he became employed full time as a dental technician. Other jobs have included restaurant manager, carpenter, and grocery store cashier. For the past sixteen years, he has worked as a commercial truck driver, logging more than two million miles. At the age of fifteen, Bruce decided to become a writer. He began by writing songs, news articles, and short stories. Eventually, books were added to the list. Over the years, he continued to write and currently has a catalog of more than 500 songs, numerous short stories and over a dozen completed books. He writes on a variety of subjects such as fictional novels of legal issues and westerns. Titles include: Inside Room 913, Over My Dead Body, Miscarriage Of Justice, The Journey, and in The Wynn Garrett Series - Mistaken Identity, Holy Terror, Remote Control, Judicial Review, Even Odds, and Safety Hazard.
Excerpt from Inside Room 913
“I see we are on video,” Cynthia said, eyeing the camera mounted in the corner up near the ceiling.
“Oh, yeah,” Janet said with a dismissive wave of her hand. “The cameras are only on the first level. And there aren’t very many of them. Only four, I think. They watch the main doors and the lobby area. I never really think about them.”
The idea of being filmed while she worked was slightly unsettling to Cynthia. Not that she had anything to hide necessarily, she just felt awkward knowing someone could be watching. It was good to know the surveillance didn’t cover the entire building.
“You won’t even notice them after the first couple of days,” Janet predicted.
Cynthia wasn’t so sure and found herself continually glancing up at the ceiling, self-consciously straightening her hair and fixing her clothes any time she caught sight of one of the cameras. As if the tension of starting a new job wasn’t enough, now she had one more thing to worry about. And then there was the ever-talkative Janet, of course. The upside of that was, since Janet liked to talk so much; it should be easy to find out anything and everything about Room 913.
The slightly ditsy aide may have been a chatterbox, but she was right about one thing, the service elevators definitely were slow. Real slow. And a little scary. The jerky motion and periodic clinking noises reminded Cynthia of an old wooden roller coaster. The kind that was notorious for falling. She grimaced, hoping they didn’t suddenly start racing down some unseen track.
At least they didn’t ride too far at any one time, stopping on each floor with Janet going up and down the hall, blabbing away, rattling off the names of the tenants along with their room numbers.
“Should I be taking notes?” Cynthia asked with a half-worried frown.
“Nah,” Janet told her. “There’s really not that many people here. You’ll learn their names - eventually. Even if you forget, they will remember you. Most of them anyway,” she laughed. “There are a few who have trouble remembering their own name. But almost everyone here is normal - as sane as you and me.”
Deciding to reserve judgment on just how sane Janet was, or was not, Cynthia wisely kept silent.
Oddly, she noticed, many of the doors on the lower levels were open but as they moved on to the higher floors, most of the tenants’ doors were closed. She mentioned her observation.
“The upper stories are hotel residents who can pretty much manage on their own,” Janet explained. “While the lower floors are for the assisted living. They like to use us to run errands and other things. Nothing too strenuous. We might take out the garbage, vacuum, hang a picture on the wall, type a letter, find their meds, or anything else they have a problem with. We’ve even been known to help wash the dishes on occasion. So, you’ll spend most of your time on the first three floors. That’s the people we assist the most. Ha! I guess that’s why it’s called assisted living, huh?”
“Probably,” Cynthia agreed.
“Oh! Did they tell you,” Janet said, “about the guy in Room 913?”
“Sort of, but not really. Only that we were not to go inside - or talk to him.”
“It’s not so much that we’re not allowed,” Janet said. “We can’t. The door hasn’t been opened in years, and even if you try to talk, he won’t answer you.”
“So, you’ve tried?” Cynthia asked. Then she almost laughed out loud. Of course Janet had tried, the girl couldn’t stop talking.
“I’m not admitting to anything,” Janet said.
Cynthia grinned. “Seriously though, the guy never comes out?” Her inquisitive side was taking over.
“No. I heard he hasn’t been out of that room since the day he was put in there way back in the sixties.”
The sixties? Just how old is he, anyway?
“I don’t know if that’s true or not, but I do know he hasn’t been out since I came to work here.”
“Does the man have a name or is he just the guy in Room 913?”
“Oh, I’m sure he has a name,” Janet laughed. “But, I don’t know what it is. Come to think of it, I don’t even know if I’ve ever heard it or not. I don’t remember if I have.”
Probably too busy talking, Cynthia was thinking.
“Everybody just calls him the guy in Room 913. Even Mrs. Kirkwood. You’d think if anybody knew his real name, she’d would. She’s been here for longer than I’ve been alive, like twenty-five years or so. Actually, longer than that probably. I used to think she owned the place but I don’t really know.”
Cynthia held up her hand, trying to stop the incessant chatter long enough to get in another question. “If the guy, whoever he is, hasn’t been out of the room, and no one has seen or heard him in all these years, how do we know he’s even alive? I mean, how long can he survive without basic things like food, new clothes or,” she made a face, “soap?”
Janet was chomping at the bit, eager to answer, but strangely waited until Cynthia had finished. “He is alive. We deliver a tray of food every single day and it always gets eaten. We pick up the empty tray the next day. Come on,” she urged. “Let’s go up to the ninth floor and I’ll show you.”
As they headed back to the elevator, the girl continued her banter. “We also deliver other things he needs, like razors, stamps, and envelopes - all sorts of things. Oh, yeah,” she added, “and soap!”
“How do you know what he wants if no one is allowed to talk to the man?”
The elevator was making its slow ascent as Janet explained. “He leaves a note sometimes, with the empty tray.” She went on, relating more unimpressive details of mostly useless information.
At the risk of opening a verbal Pandora’s Box, but wanting to find out as much information as she could, Cynthia waited for Janet to take a breath. Quickly then, she asked, “So how did Mr. Man In Room 913 end up here? And who pays his rent? He can’t have a job. So, is he some rich guy? And isn’t someone, somewhere, missing him? Somebody out there must know who he is. No one ever visits him? Doesn’t he have any family?”
Janet gave her a sideways look and frowned. “You sure ask a lot of questions. You training to be a private eye or something?”
“No,” Cynthia said, wondering why Janet seemed so hesitant all of a sudden. “They are just normal questions that anybody would have, I would think. Aren’t you a little curious?”
“Well, no. Not really,” Janet said. “Most of what you asked I already know.”
“You could share some of your vast knowledge,” Cynthia said pointedly. The sudden tight-lipped behavior seemed totally out of character from what she had seen in the short time since meeting Janet.
Thank you Rave Reviews Book Club for voting me this week’s “SPOTLIGHT” AUTHOR! And, a huge thanks to all the members who agreed to host me on their site!
Bruce A. Borders
Inside Room 913
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