I love my hotel room.
It was not designed for me, I know.
It was designed for a tired businessman with sacks of dollars, a Saluki and two mistresses.
It is puzzled by me and I by it.
It wants to know why I am not watching the business news.
It wants to know why I have no laptop and no mobile phone, nothing that will drive me to stand by the window talking to Bill and Bob and Jon and Ahmed, looking out on Dubai’s nightscape with the unseeing eyes of the cliché.
Room 1654, this is for you.
Room, you are larger than my home.
Room, you have running water all twenty-four hours. I wake sometimes in the middle of the night and dabble my fingers in the flowing streams.
Room, you offer me a view of the city, a view that spreads out before me like a gold souk.
Room, you have paintings. Four of them. Two in the bedroom and two in the bathroom. I would study those paintings when I am on the pot but they are behind my head.
Room, you cost 1950 dirhams a day, not inclusive of a 10 per cent municipal tax and a 10 per cent service tax.
Room, I can barely sleep here because I can’t bear to think that I might waste even one dirham of that rental.
Room, your lights. There’s one near my bed, near my head which turns itself on if I touch it. I touch it. I touch it again. I touch it on, off, on off. I’m a pervert.
Room, your air. It’s cool, it’s clean, it’s air as air can never be but ought to be. I have a cold and a running nose now. My system is not used to this.
Room, your bed. Should you be so yielding? Have you no self-respect? Come, let me go.
Room of four pillows, room of a minibar emptied on my arrival because I have no credit card, room filled with chocolate bars and pistachio nuts I should be a fool to eat at those prices.
Room, I’m going to bed now. You should sleep too. Stop looking at me, room. And please, this transparent door to the bathroom, this picture window to the shower? I’d like some privacy please.
Room? Room? Keep this between us? But I’m going to take the soap, the shower gel, the shower cap, the pencil, the pen, the envelopes, the writing pad, the tea bags, the coffee powder sachets, the extra sugar, the soft slippers and one big fat white virginal towel.
The preceding is from the new Freeman’s channel at Literary Hub, which will feature excerpts from the print editions of Freeman’s, along with supplementary writing from contributors past, present and future. The new issue of Freeman’s, a special edition featuring 29 of the best emerging writers from around the world, is available now.