initiate fettuccine protocol

the hotel receptionist
is professionally bright
the plush corporate death
of his surroundings
he wears a large yellow badge
on his lapel
but I’m too scared
to lower my eyes
to read it

ask me anything he says
anything at all

is there somewhere nice to eat
I say
for some reason
putting one hand on my hip
then regretting it
but too self-conscious
to lower it again

depends what you mean by nice
he smiles
unnaturally still
like a chameleon
whose disguise
for the fly
is a suit and tie

I see a flicker of distraction
like his attention
is divided
50% to the smile
50% to the pushing of a button
beneath the desk

and that badge
that badge is probably
a camera
(admissible in court)

I don’t know,
he says
what do you normally eat
do you like fettuccine?
is that the kind of thing?
there are some italian places off the high street
do you like italian?

yeah I say so long as it’s easy

italian’s easy
he says
VERY easy
try the italian places he says
if you like fettuccine

he’s said fettuccine so many times now
I feel tangled

Oh my god
the sly dog

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