The Summer Caretaker at the Overlook Hotel Asks for a Raise, by David Guzman
I first want to say what a pleasure it is to be back as the summer caretaker for the Overlook Hotel. The grand architecture, its beautiful location in the Colorado mountains, the pleasant staff and clientele; it’s truly an honor to work here.
I must be upfront, though, and tell you I’m here to ask for a raise. There are a few factors that come into play. As I understand it, the winter caretaker position pays just as much as the summer position. And that’s just not fair, since the job of summer caretaker requires much more work than that of winter caretaker. In addition, our winter caretakers tend to murder their families and kill themselves halfway through the winters. So this year, I’d like to ask for a raise in pay in addition to the typical cost of living increase.
I’ve been willing to put up with this discrepancy for nearly a decade. I guess I thought that surely it would be noticed that my job entails many more duties, and that the winter caretakers kill their families every year. On my watch I’ve got the maintenance of 310 rooms, a grand ballroom, a hedge-maze in constant need of upkeep, and much more — it’s an 80 hours-a-week job. Meanwhile, the winter job is basically a few hours a week running the boiler and monitoring the hotel grounds. Important work, yes, but not too demanding. Also, there’s this thing that happens where the winter caretakers are driven mad and they slaughter their loved ones before taking their own lives. Clearly the two jobs deserve different pay grades.
And with all due respect, sir, I think you’ve neglected to recognize that once the winter caretaker has killed himself and his family, none of his work gets done for the rest of the winter. Indeed, the winter caretaker does not have many duties, but when those few duties aren’t attended to, they add up. That means I have to fix snow damaged areas, repair down electrical wires, and supervise a crime scene decontamination crew. Only then can I turn my attention to my summer responsibilities. And, might I add, during none of this do I contemplate murder of any kind.
I realize that the winter caretakers are up against some unique challenges: long term seclusion, isolation from the outside world, a manipulative hotel that can supernaturally manifest itself as physical entities in the material world. You add to that, sir, your proclivity for hiring struggling writers with past substance abuse issues, none of whom have groundskeeping experience, then sure, the winter job is quite daunting. But frankly, caretaking duties have suffered. As have the innocents helpless to escape the torments of an ax-wielding madman in an evil, snowed-in resort.
I’m sorry. It’s not my place to offer a performance review of any fellow employee. Instead, let me speak to my own qualities: I’m punctual, hardworking, and psychologically stable. The summer season has its own challenges, and time and again, I’ve risen above them, and have never taken a life during my tenure. And I’d like that recognized with a raise. Now if you’ll excuse me, I must go back to assisting the police in a murder-suicide investigation.
What’s that, sir?
No sir, it’s the murder-suicide that happened at our hotel. Not a different one.
The Humor Section features a piece of original humor writing each week. To submit, send an email to Brian Boone.