With a wobble and a jolt, the hoover springs to life.
Now, this hoover does not need to be switched on for it to be on.
Clunk, clunk, clunk.
Up the stairs it goes. Carried by someone who is not necessarily important, although without them there would not be a story at all.
‘’Ok everyone, back to work!’’ hollers a rather grumpy looking woodlouse. His hard shell, wrinkled with experience, has a coating of dust which to the trained eye resembles that of a waistcoat.
Hoards of dust mites, louses and even the odd centipede scurry around preparing themselves.
‘’5 seconds until go time and Walter, it’s going to be a busy one’’ booms a familiar voice, echoing up towards the now confused but still grumpy woodlouse, and his employees.
‘‘You three, go help the Colin.’’ Walter gestures the three closest bugs towards the opening, who do so without question.
‘’2.5 seconds to go’’ bellows the voice of Erwin the earwig ‘’Seriously guys, it’s the back bedroom today. Be prepared!’’
The mites, louses and pedes hastily head to their start positions. Most are manning the welcome desk, even more have gone to help Colin the concierge, others are stood as close to the walls as they can muster. Walter, on the other hand, is ready and waiting.
With a click, the hoover lets out an almighty roar. Suddenly guests begin to fly up the suction pipe and swarm the reception, wiping themselves off and each looking for a member of staff for help.
‘’Mel, come back here this instant!’’ shouts the father from a flock of fleas, the child in question hurries back to her family at the sight of the woodlouse. Walter smiles his warmest smile at the child, who then proceeds to cover her face with her long hind legs.
‘’Welcome to your local Hotel Hoover, the finest this side of the street… if I do say so myself!’’ begins Walter, just about loud enough for all to hear. ‘’I am Walter, the manager of this fine piece of machinery. Please make your way over to the check in desk and form an orderly queue.’’
The family of fleas quickly jump away, ignoring Walter and his towering appearance. Behind him an argument has erupted between Dustin, a dust mite who seemed to have been helping a little house spider with the guest book.
‘’Please sir, all I ask is you sign your name and move on.’’ Dustin pleads, his pubescent face covered in a film of sweat and dirt.
The house spider snatches the book away with one of his eight hands, while one of his others pushes Dustin against another guest (a fruit fly who is already jittery enough without this palaver as well).
‘’And all I am asking you is can I check if my wife has checked in?!’’ growls the spider, all of his eyes narrow. Walter hurries over to try and diffuse the situation, wary of the spiders ever flailing limbs.
‘’Sir, please, if you may check quickly, as you can see we are incredibly busy.’’ Walter pleads, his eyes dart over to the entrance as more guests come flying in.
‘’Sammy boo, I’m here!’’ calls an incredibly sweet voice. With a smirk the spider waltzes away without apologising.
‘’No wonder people hate spiders.’’ mutters Dustin.
Walter who is no longer paying any attention to Dustin, notices a lone ant staggering this way and that way. Trying his hardest to seem professional Walter does his best not to roll his eyes, however strong the urge is.
‘’Can I help you?’’ he asks. The ant turns her uneasy head and tries to focus on who it was that just spoke to her.
‘’That.. That’s some hell of a revolving door you have there, mister.’’ she mutters, as if she was trying to not let more than her voice exit her mouth.
‘’Ah, I see.’’ smiles Walter, bemused. ‘’That, miss, is our state of the art filter system. It helps to keep the riff raff out, for the most part.’’
The ant steadies herself against Walter, who seems most displeased with that sort of interaction. ‘’You need to start selling tickets for it, I swear, I bet‘cha it’s better than any roller coaster there is.’’ and with that she wobbles away, with no apparent direction but away from the hotel entrance.
The filter hums behind Walter as he watches the bizarre ant, probably dizzy from more than just the ride into the Hotel, stop to chat to a reluctant daddy longs legs. His long fine legs seem cramped and bent in an uncomfortable manner, even though he is the biggest guest in the lobby. Dust, hair and carpet fluff wizz through the filter and up a separate tube away from the hotel, although both the mess and the guests end up in the same part of the hoover eventually, ready for expulsion.
The guests have now begun to disperse, just as quickly has they arrived, leaving the reception empty apart from the odd silverfish and the jittery fruit fly (who keeps flying upwards at great speed and bopping his head on the ceiling, over and over and over again). Dustin and Deb slump against the check in desk, exhausted but happy their shift went without (too much of a) hitch.
‘’Great job everyone, please can all guests make way to their rooms’’ Walter orders ‘’you don’t want to be left behind when we are cleared…’’
‘’All members of staff to the hotel entrance!’’ shouts a panicked Erwin the earwig ‘Code T! Code T!’’
Walter and the hotel staff jump to action, running towards the filter and into the cyclone of dust. Unsure of what the issue is, the workers scramble over one another; each trying not to get sucked up the wrong way.
Then, through the haze, Walter spots it.
A little green head, with pin prick eyes and a …a… helmet?
A little toy army man! His head was stuck in the filter, his mouth turned upside down with sadness.
‘’Quick! We all know what to do, jam it!’’ cries Carla the cleaner carpet beetle.
Walter pulls the emergency stop, causing the hoover to jitter and shake, the most horrendous noise shakes the bugs to their core. Which, in turn, meant the hoover was switched off from the outside. With all their might the little bugs push and push, releasing the army man from his dirty shackles. He falls down and away, back to where he came from.
‘’You did it, he’s fine and well, just needs a little wash!’’ laughs Erwin the earwig, there was no need for him to shout up the tube anymore, as there was no more noise to shout over.
The workers cheer, Walter included, ‘’Like I said, great job everyone!’’ he smiles.
‘’Um, excuse me…’’ whispers a nervous voice from behind them all. The fruit fly is no longer flying uncontrollably, he now looks lost and confused and (for use of a better word) knackered.
Walter steps forward, uncertain. ‘’Your room is through that door over there, sir.’’
The fruit fly shakes his battered head, his eyes bounce between each member of staff. Dustin steps back and hides, he has had enough of volatile guests today.
‘’I’ll be honest… I don’t know where I am’’ sobs the fruit fly ‘’or even who I am!’’
Carla giggles silently and slides away, back to her never ending job, causing everyone to else to follow… everyone bar Walter, who sighs a fed-up sigh.
‘’Not to worry sir, follow me, I believe I saw a rogue raisin fly up the chute before’’ states Walter in his most authoritative voice ‘’follow me, oh and try to not hurt yourself again. We do have a reputation to uphold, you know!’’