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Fifth day

By Hervé HAMON Sofitel Hambourg Alter Wall

The lobby was full of people, beautiful people, as they say, a quality made obvious by a thousand details but above all by shoes – an article of clothing or an accessory can be deceiving, but not a shoe. A bemused chatter arose among these beautiful people, who were not so much shocked as amused, as if the hotel was offering its clientele an unexpected show.

Katz had intentionally not told anyone. He wanted to see how it would go, how the staff would react to a situation that was out of the ordinary – he was not far away, however, ready to intervene should it be necessary. But the staff was experienced, and they indeed proved that the hotel merited its reputation. The staff of a more ordinary, mediocre establishment would have been unnerved. But his hotel – Katz smiled at the thought – was classy, nothing fazed them.

 

Kellerman squinted as he entered the suite. There were too many windows, too much light, even though it was dusk. He rushed to close the blinds, turning on low-lit lamps, here and there, on the night table, the desk, in a corner of the living room. The suite was spacious and calm. The walls were light gray, neutral, not distracting or jarring. Coming from the cage-like place he had been, from the tanks and tunnels, he suddenly felt like infinity was stretched before him. But he didn’t want to indulge in it, he could not let himselfgo. Absolutely not.

The Company had meant well, they had wanted to treat him to a bit of luxury after what he had been through, but the Company had no idea what he needed. He could not relax, have a warm bath, undress, eat. He could not even sleep. And above all, he could not have a drink. Kellerman, like all sailors, knew that the moment for a drink was not in the heat of the action, an action that must be controlled and reasonable. It was not the time to drink, that’s all. He noticed that a bottle of fine wine had been put there for him, displayed in an open drawer. Which he quickly slammed shut.

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