Click-whirrrr. I pulled the keycard from the slot and pushed into the hotel room. The day had been long and unrelenting and I felt drawn, hollowed out, barely able to lift my eyes from the industrial-bland carpet. That's why I didn't realize I was in the wrong room until a broad man in stained boxers demanded in strongest language why I was in his room. I staggered and stammered my way out, and once the door slammed on me I stood blinking.

My room was one more down, I'd just stopped too early. I had one foot in my room before I marshalled my wits enough to wonder why my key had worked. Curious by nature, I stepped back into the hall. A soft knock on the door across the hall drew no response. Neither did a louder one, so I tried the key. Click-whirrrr, open.

I had a skeleton key. The front desk had messed up. My heart pounded and adrenaline cleared the smog from my mind. I could go anywhere. Do anything. I had the opportunity to... to...

To what? Everything I thought of was unthinkable. Go take someone's luggage? Obviously not. Even walking in and piercing the fragile privacy of a hotel room was unforgivable, even if I didn't walk in on someone in a vulnerable position. Maybe I could go into unoccupied rooms and... take the soaps? Still theft. Watch TV? I could do that in my own room. Untracked pay-per-view, maybe, but what was the point? (Also, still a kind of theft, even if it really didn't feel like it in my gut.)

Fatigue settle back on me like a lead blanket. A miraculous opportunity for exploration or adventure and... there was nothing to do with it. Nothing moral, anyway.

Back to Plan A: Sleep.

The Champion of Blobbington

Once upon a time, three blobs shared a house. One was big, one was charming, and one was misshapen. When a minstrelblob squished through their town announcing that the Monarch would name Champion the first blob who could bestow upon them the Moon, all three blobs decided to try their luck.

By the time they reached the capital, many blobs had already tried and failed to give their monarch the Moon. The big blob was the first of its household to try. In audience with the Monarch, it stretched up as high as its great size could manage, but it could not reach the Moon. Out of desperation, it threw the Monarch at the Moon. The Monarch ploomped back to earth without reaching the Moon.

The charming blob tried next. Squishing seductively up beside the Monarch, it tried to convince them that they already had the Moon. The Moon, after all, passes through the sky as the property of all blobfolk, and therefore it belongs also to the Monarch. The sophistry did not move the Monarch. Rather than accept failure, the charming blob tried to convince the Monarch that they didn't actually want the Moon. That earned the blob only a disdainful dismissal.

Finally, the misshapen blob approached the Monarch. They did something no contender had: asked why the Monarch desired the Moon?

"To examine it," bibbled the Monarch. So when the Moon next rose, the misshapen blob drew on its experience and shaped itself into a great disk, carefully curved. This brought the Moon into sharp, magnified focus, as though it were beside them.

"You," deblabbed the Monarch, "have earned our admiration and esteem, and are our Champion." The kingdom celebrated, and the misshapen blob's roommates as well.

The reason the Monarch required a Champion, however, is another story.