Friday, 17 July 2009

Hilbert Hotel

"It's a Hilbert Hotel," Damian said, looking at the less-than-imposing doors. "They have to have room for us."
Virgil looked at him and shrugged. He was still dressed as St. Thomas of India, having flatly refused to remove any of his clothes in the taxi. Damian had taken the precaution of slipping in some cheek pads and swapping the t-shirt from underneath his overalls to over the top to make sure that any description the taxi-driver saw of the criminals wouldn't be a good match to him. Except for bloody St. Thomas of India in his company.
"Seems like nowhere else does," said Virgil. "Who'd have thought all the hotels would be booked up?"
"Well..." Damian squirmed a little, realising that he should have thought ahead and booked rooms the night before. "I don't suppose anyone starts off a holiday by thinking I wonder if there's a cow-herder's convention happening where we're going. Maybe we should call ahead and check."
"True enough," said Virgil. "Come on then mate, let's get in there and listen to the excuses why they can't let us have a room."
"They're not all excuses, Virgil."
"Oh yeah? The girl who said that all their rooms were closed for fumigation didn't sound too convincing!"
"She was also looking at you like she expected you to burst into flames! That costume isn't helping us."
"Nah mate, not burst into flames. Validate the risen Christ."
"Validate the risen Christ. St. Thomas of India was the guy who didn't believe Christ had risen from the dead until Christ had a chat with him and showed him the holes in his hands."
"What? Doubting Thomas?"
"One and the same, mate."
"What mate?"
"How do you know all this? Not being rude or nothing, but I thought you were thick as a thick thing hidden in custard."
"It was the in the script."
Damian almost said what? again, but the memory of how Virgil had stolen his costume from a local school play nudged him just in time.
"Right Virgil. Right. Let's just get in there and ask for a room."

The receptionist on the desk politely said that there were always rooms available at a Hilbert Hotel, but that it might take a little while to organise it.
"We'll just move every guest up by two room numbers," she said smiling. "We've got an infinite number of rooms, so we can always make space. The only hassle is that when we let rooms out to non-mathematicians they don't always understand the speed at which we need to get things done, so instead of being able to complete the move in exactly one minute it can take a couple of hours. And you should probably avoid the other guests for your stay, they get annoyed about being moved all the time."
Damian nodded, not understanding, and he and Virgil sat down on a red velvet sofa in the lobby.
"It's just a basic understanding of infinity, mate," said Virgil.
"Shut up Virgil."

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