hotel Felix

the hotel Felix near Bevenly and Vermont had many
qualities including an old man in room 101 who never
left his bed and always sat straight upright in his
underwear and he claimed he was the F.B.I and he
arrested me almost every night we drank cheap wine
together.
but Big Benny was best:   the sound of him–about
once a week–was known to all of us:   he’d fall
down the long stairway–32 steps–slowly and with
high dramatics (he had an egg-shaped head and very
long legs) and every time with his last roll he’d
kick out his feet and break the glass in the glass
doorway–the glass which proclaimed:
          HOTEL FELIX
          REASONABLE RATES
and most of us would leave our rooms and go down
smashed and stinking in torn and bereft clothing
with rolled cigarettes in our mouths, asking,
“you all right, Benny?   Benny, you all right?”
and he would be covered with just the proper amount
of vomit and blood and we would circle about him
with our solicitations but my need for another drink
always overcame me and I’d go back to my tiny room
with my girlfriend or we’d go back to the F.B.I agent’s
place and the cops never got Benny and the ambulance
never came and you wouldn’t hear from Benny again until
next time.

There were other people there too and they were quite
as interesting and then my girlfriend died and I moved
five blocks west and six blocks north.