Siamese Dreams

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It was said there was a sucker born every minute. For Morris Little this expression was gospel and people had no trouble pegging him as a sad sap.

Morris was also a bit of a nervous mouse when it came to confrontation. He evaded at every opportunity and was a firm believer that retreat was always the best option. This explained why he sold bibles door-to-door. When selling the word of God, folks saved their most colourful language until after he left.

Morris had to admit it, the last couple of years had been prosperous; though not a challenge when his sales territory included the Bible belt. When entering a new town, he made sure to attend church so the locals would take notice of a fresh face. Turns out people were more willing to open their pocketbooks for one of their own.

Rumours of his methods quickly circulated, and many emulated his strategy. One unscrupulous fellow even went so far as to steal Morris' itinerary. The man would arrive in town a week before and by the time Morris got there, sales had dried up.

Had Morris confronted the man or lodged a complaint, he might have been able to hold onto the territory. Despite his wife's advice, he retreated and soon discovered that selling bibles out West was not nearly as rewarding.

This stop had been an unmitigated disaster, people treated him as though he were some sort of leper. Those he encountered would either ignore him or glare. Why such hostility?

Despite the townsfolk's reception, he was taken aback by this mountain town's intrinsic beauty. Right beside City Hall he came across a bridge which ran over a cheerful little creek filled with beautiful turquoise coloured water. As the water reflected the sun, he imagined it being a jewel of immeasurable wealth. Alas like any precious stone, he could only afford to look. His wife, who controlled the purse strings, would certainly attest to that.

As sunset approached one of the locals spoke up from behind him. What was said caught him off guard, not only because he was caught unawares, but there was also a hint of concern in her voice.

"You should probably get a room for the night," the black-haired woman said.

"Why is that," Morris asked.

Unfortunately, the speaker was already a half-block away before he managed to reply. Was she trying to catch the train?

Morris took the advice to heart and inquired at a local inn only to discover there were no vacancies. In a rare act of kindness, the owner offered him a ride to an establishment just outside of town. Since he had little choice, it seemed the sensible thing to do.

When he crossed the golden gates and set eyes on those manicured gardens a sinking feeling set in. This worsened once he saw the French palatial architecture and the swarms of staff with their freshly pressed uniforms. How could he ever afford to spend a minute at the Grand, let alone the night!

Once the car pulled in, a courtier opened the door to let Morris out. The salesman stepped out of the jalopy then looked about, taking in his surroundings. He could hear the flurry of activity within and smell delicious foods being prepared in the kitchen. His senses came alive and Morris prayed that he would be able to spend the night.

When a courtier tried to open the driver side door, the owner raised his hand in protest then rolled down his window to speak. After an exchange of words, the courtier nodded then pulled out Morris' luggage, including a large steamer trunk filled with bibles, the man would surely expect a tip for that! Meanwhile, Morris was led to the main door and upon crossing the threshold was immediately taken aback by the commanding view.

At both ends of the balcony, he saw curved staircases that wound down to the marble floor below. Above, he saw a vaulted ceiling, moulded and painted similarly to the Grand Central Station in New York City. He vividly remembered losing track of time mesmerised by the artwork there and worried that he would do so again.

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