"The Baker" by Josh Miller (Baker Hotel Story)

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  1. Oct 8, 2009 #1

    Jared

    Jared

    Jared

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    <meta http-equiv="Content-Type" content="text/html; charset=utf-8"><meta name="ProgId" content="Word.Document"><meta name="Generator" content="Microsoft Word 11"><meta name="Originator" content="Microsoft Word 11"><link rel="File-List" href="file:///C:%5CDOCUME%7E1%5CJared%5CLOCALS%7E1%5CTemp%5Cmsohtml1%5C01%5Cclip_filelist.xml"><o:smarttagtype namespaceuri="urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:smarttags" name="State"></o:smarttagtype><o:smarttagtype namespaceuri="urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:smarttags" name="place"></o:smarttagtype><!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <w:WordDocument> <w:View>Normal</w:View> <w:Zoom>0</w:Zoom> <w:punctuationKerning/> <w:ValidateAgainstSchemas/> <w:SaveIfXMLInvalid>false</w:SaveIfXMLInvalid> <w:IgnoreMixedContent>false</w:IgnoreMixedContent> <w:AlwaysShowPlaceholderText>false</w:AlwaysShowPlaceholderText> <w:Compatibility> <w:BreakWrappedTables/> <w:SnapToGridInCell/> <w:WrapTextWithPunct/> <w:UseAsianBreakRules/> <w:DontGrowAutofit/> </w:Compatibility> <w:BrowserLevel>MicrosoftInternetExplorer4</w:BrowserLevel> </w:WordDocument> </xml><![endif]--><!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <w:LatentStyles DefLockedState="false" LatentStyleCount="156"> </w:LatentStyles> </xml><![endif]--><!--[if !mso]><object classid="clsid:38481807-CA0E-42D2-BF39-B33AF135CC4D" id=ieooui></object> <style> st1\:*{behavior:url(#ieooui) } </style> <![endif]--><style> <!-- /* Style Definitions */ p.MsoNormal, li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal {mso-style-parent:""; margin:0in; margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:12.0pt; font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman";} p.MsoHeader, li.MsoHeader, div.MsoHeader {margin:0in; margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; tab-stops:center 3.0in right 6.0in; font-size:12.0pt; font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman";} @page Section1 {size:8.5in 11.0in; margin:1.0in 1.0in 1.0in 1.0in; mso-header-margin:.5in; mso-footer-margin:.5in; mso-paper-source:0;} div.Section1 {page:Section1;} --> </style><!--[if gte mso 10]> <style> /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:10.0pt; font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-ansi-language:#0400; mso-fareast-language:#0400; mso-bidi-language:#0400;} </style> <![endif]--> The Baker
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    <o:p>By Josh Miller
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    </o:p>
    The old hotel towers above the otherwise bland <st1:state w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Texas</st1:place></st1:state> town. There are many miles before the town is reached, but it commands the skyline as well as any matriarchal monarch resident should. The streets are lined with errant tuffs of inuring grass, beacons that signal neglect to an outsider. Lively buildings surround the ghostly plot, indifferent to the pseudo post-apocalyptic structure. The Baker Hotel is a dying artifact of our glorious past, a tarnished relic in majestic decay. The grand Mineral Wells landmark was built in the thriving wealth of a lifestyle that has since been abandoned. Now the empty halls, the empty rooms, are tombstones dedicated to disrepair.

    The property is well fenced, save for one hole made as an entrance. The swimming pool is cavernous, Olympian in size and grandeur. A narrow canyon of concrete leads into the garage, itself under the expansive pool. Under the garage lie a few levels of basement. The smell of heat and mildew are at once upon me. Continuing toward the western side of the property leads me into the laundry room. A tyrant of a machine stands in the dark, a clothes washing machine. Rusting and resting in decades of filth, the once technologically advanced mechanical device now only watches with a glazed slumbering gaze as I pass by. The illumination of my flashlight sheds the black of my forward path. An elevator that once carried the likes of stars immortalized in black and white film, only now sits in a possible eternal slumber. The entrance into the main structure is but a short spiraled stair case. Below the incline is a maintenance room. Full of evidence of a decadent past, it is but a glimmer of what made this old hotel animated. In one corner, a shelf lined with small pistons and rods, obviously for some small internal combustion engine. Along the floor, there are pieces of paper; stationary, tickets, work orders. They once fulfilled a need now unneeded, unwanted, and unnecessary. The doorway at the climax of the stairs is not forgiving. A fair bit of coaxing does not dislodge the enameled steel barricade. With a large amount of force, I manage a small opening. Once a hand can fit through, I grasp the table, large and metallic, and struggle to manipulate it. After several gallant efforts, the door submits. The giant mass of metal is placed back against the door. It is a show of respect for the seventy-year-old beauty. I now stand in what was once the kitchen, but now it is a murky empty collection of lightless rooms, it feigns little evidence to suggest its former life. Leaving the empty cooking area, I ascend another set of narrow stairs and enter many smaller rooms. They are all indistinguishable from the last, and only serve as a dark passage into the lobby. They were once important business offices, but now they are simple areas of little mystery.
    <o:p> </o:p>
    I enter the grand lobby. Three massive rugs lay on the floor, the cascading light shinning through glassed in windows. The sun floods its cosmic energy through the translucent panels, offering a pattern of luminescent vision that is in stark contrast to the silent shadows lurking beyond the grasp of sight. The main staircase is divided into two; each side flanking the elevator doors, and up onto a large languishing landing. Walking in the dusty hallway, not knowing what is living and breathing just around the corner, I am wise to keep my focus. Visitors explore the hotel daily, sometimes as many as one hundred people in a day. With nearly three-hundred-thousand square feet of space, encountering another living person would be a rare occasion. The staircase leads up and onto the guest floors, and ultimately to the sparsely outfitted rooms. The staircase is cramped. Evidently, space was at a premium, and the hotel staff needed little space to perform their duties. There are 14 floors in total, many simply repetitive and most reserved for the guests. The second floor is reserved for a medical office, however, the most interesting area within is the spa. Steam bath contraptions, still in one piece, line one side while massage tables sit idly by, mechanical in feature, and far from the sanitary white they once were. The hallways are eerie passages into musty repositories. Mildew is the scent of notice, and is found in abundance. In its prime, the Baker housed thirteen miles of carpet within its walls, most of which now is hidden by decay and debris. The Baker suite, located on the tenth floor, is palatial. Composed of many separate rooms, including a bathroom boasting a Hopi swastika adorned floor tile, it is for the most part complete. Vandals relieved the suite of its bathtub and the crystal door knobs are now absent. Within a wood paneled cabinet sits a hidden compartment. Built during prohibition, its intended purpose could be assumed to keep some sort of alcohol out of open sight. A large recreational gymnasium room leaves an impression on me. It is air conditioned, but no basketball goal is in sight. The hardwood floor is rotting away as the avalanche of ceiling falls on top of it. The ballroom, so aptly named the Cloud room, with its deteriorating wooden dance floor, offers the best landlocked aerial view in town. The surrounding buildings all seem miles away, their rooftops adorned in black tar. The trees seem to only hide the abandonment, the shear age of a passed time that leaves little in the mind that is not clouded in depression. The old Baker hotel sits glumly. Atop its highest pedestrian floor, in the ballroom, looking up toward the sky affords me a view of the clouds, if only in an artist’s conception. The wind dances through the broken windows, ushering in the cool air. Opposite of the dilapidated stage, sits the elevator shaft. Powerless, its lift, still many floors below, signifies yet another constant at the baker. The absence of necessity, the ironic Spartan existence, the life removed, and the hopelessness of history. The dissension through the suffocating stairwell takes longer than the ascension. The absence of natural sunlight is absorbed in artificial light emitting diodes.

    The cloaked entrance needs no equivalent exit. With the empty streets as my only witnesses, I descend the front stairs and step out into the open air. I glance over my dust covered shoulder, the Baker jutting up from the broken and aging concrete. The exploration might never be the same again. The Baker is in a constant state of change, whether from vandalism, or the earths volatile natural elements. Some untold number of years from now, the Baker will possibly be alive only in the memory of its funerary guests, those that knew the Baker only after its doors had officially closed. It lost its livelihood decades ago, and now it sits patiently in a perpetual purgatory. Awaiting a docile declaration of rebirth, the Baker erodes persistently while in hibernation. Hope for preservation is in ravenous order, a consistent existence if only in vain.


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  2. Oct 8, 2009 #2

    vwracer14

    vwracer14

    vwracer14

    RKC Awesome Member

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    Is Josh Miller that popular of a name,or did Vegetable write that?
     
  3. Oct 8, 2009 #3

    Jared

    Jared

    Jared

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    Yes, Vejatabul wrote it.
     
  4. Oct 8, 2009 #4

    phrog fixer

    phrog fixer

    phrog fixer

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    My son went in that hotel last year and took some pics of the inside. Its was one of the nices hotels in Texas at one time. Its to bad that its not being used.
     
  5. Oct 8, 2009 #5

    vwracer14

    vwracer14

    vwracer14

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    Never knew he was that skilled of a writer.