Skolnik Page 23
endless quarts of ice cream as he half lay on his king size easy chair and watched bowling on ESPN. And then to sleep on his king size bed.
     Tom was honest on the whole though he'd stolen from a few guests when the opportunity presented itself. And once a drunken guy had handed him a hundred dollar bill instead of a five. And once he and a few of the hops had rolled a drunk behind the hotel at three in the morning. But that was in his younger days. He didn't go in for the rough stuff. He preferred to work with his head. The hotel belonged to a chain now and had been remodeled and upgraded and Tom had thought he might make captain but the new management had passed over him and that had embittered him somewhat though they told him how much they appreciated his long service and hoped he'd continue there for many years to come. The hotel had been a favorite of ballplayers once and once he'd spotted some Seattle Sonics on the subway who he knew were

staying at the hotel and they looked lost so he took them there himself and they couldn't thank him enough and they had stood in the lobby together for a quarter of an hour just shooting the shit and he told Flo about it and the other hops and was still telling the story today and lots of other stories about the ballplayers and the women who followed them around and people listened because he was on the inside like one of those reporters who hangs around politicians and can give you the lowdown on everything and you can't contradict them because they're there. Once some guy had come sniffing around the station and Tom had wanted to tell him off but was lucky he hadn't because he turned out to be some vice president in the chain, he'd asked them all kinds of questions, and one of the hops got fired the next day, and once Flo got her face messed up by one of her johns and Tom wondered where her pimp was but he never came around and the whole thing was a mystery until she told him the john was a sadistic cop.