“That’s it?” Kitty asked, staring into the Presidential Suite of the Chateau Laurier.

“You sound disappointed. It’s the best suite in Ottawa,” Stephen informed the girl.

“No, I mean, that’s it? We’re here, already? We didn’t even take a hundred steps, but we’ve covered a thousand miles. We weren’t in the tunnel more than a minute.”

Looking at his watch, Stephen said, “Look at this.” Kitty did. It was stopped. “That’s a twenty thousand dollar Rolex. Stopped dead, the second we went into the tunnel.”

“And it will start running again, the second we step out of here, into there.”

“Apparently so. Let’s find out,” said the King of Horror, walking into the suite’s living room, overlooking Parliament Hill. He turned to see Kitty materializing as she strode into the room, out of thin air, and announced, “The watch is working again.”

“That’s weird,” Kitty said, before turning around and disappearing back into the tunnel. In a second, she was back in the suite. “Nothing. I feel nothing. No different. You would think there would be a gust of wind, or a flash of lightning. Or… something. But nothing.

Stephen followed suit, stepping back into, and back out of the tunnel. Then pointing at his watch, he said, “Check it.”

“It’s the same time we left, plus the few seconds you were in here. That’s wild. Go back into the tunnel, and stay there for a minute. Count to sixty in your head, then come back in, and see what time it is.”

Stephen did. It was the same time he left. “It’s true. The tunnel is timeless,” he concluded.

Kitty wandered into the bedroom, and laughed out loud, “Pink champagne on ice!” Looking up, she lamented, “But, no mirrors on the ceiling.”

“I have it from a reliable source that it was taken out after the Stones were so fucking high that they were trying to snort coke off it, when they played here in the 70s.”

“Them and the First Lady.”

“And Castro,” Stephen chuckled.

“There’s only one bedroom in here,” Kitty said.

“Oh, relax, you have your own suite,” Stephen assured her. “C’mon, let’s get downstairs and check in.”

Stephen stopped in mid stride, as they passed the men’s wear shop on the ground floor. “You see something you like in there?” Kitty asked.

Ignoring the question, King walked into the shop, and asked the clerk, “Do you have pants, and shoes that will go with the pink shirt in the window?”

The clerk smiled, and answered “We have a wide selection of pants and shoes that will go very well with that particular shirt, sir.”

“Pink,” Stephen said.

“Pink?” the clerk asked.

“Pink. Pink shoes, pink pants. Do you have any?”

“You’re in luck. We do, but they’re in the back. Give me a minute, please.”

Kitty stood back, and watched Stephen walk to a rack, and take every pink shirt from it. The clerk returned with a stack on shoe boxes and pink pants. Stephen picked three pairs of the same shoe, all the store had in his size. He checked the sizes of the pants, found his size, and left the rest. He showed the clerk the measurements of the pair that he kept in his hands, and said, “Can you have the rest of these altered to my size, please and thank you? I’m in the Presidential Suite. King’s the name. Stephen King.”

“Yes, sir. We can have that done for you by tomorrow.”

King disappeared into a fitting room, and emerged a minute later. He sat on a stool, put a pair of his new, pink shoes on, and strutted around like a cock rooster, admiring himself in the mirrors.

Wildly amused, Kitty said, “I have to admit, you’re pretty in pink. You reinventing yourself?  Queer Eye for the King of Horror Guy?”

The King of Horror smiled at Kitty and announced, “I will no longer tolerate being referred to as a white man. You can call me Pinky, from now on!”

“Okay, Pinky,” Kitty laughed, wondering if the massive, festering mess of looming dementia inside Pinky’s head was festering faster, and looming larger.




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