The Shining

Part Two. Closing Day Chapter 10. Hallorann


The cook didn't conform to Wendy's image of the typical resort hotel kitchen personage at all. To begin with, such a personage was called a chef, nothing so mundane as a cook-cooking was what she did in her apartment kitchen when she threw all the leftovers into a greased Pyrex casserole dish and added noodles. Further, the culinary wizard of such a place as the Overlook, which advertised in the resort section of the New York Sunday Times, should be small, rotund, and pasty-faced (rather like the Pillsbury Dough-Boy); he should have a thin pencilline mustache like a forties musical comedy star, dark eyes, a French accent, and a detestable personality.
Hallorann had the dark eyes and that was all. He was a tall black man with a modest afro that was beginning to powder white. He had a soft southern accent and he laughed a lot, disclosing teeth too white and too even to be anything but 1950-vintage Sears and Roebuck dentures. Her own father had had a pair, which he called Roebuckers, and from time to time he would push them out at her comically at the supper table... always, Wendy remembered now, when her mother was out in the kitchen getting something else or on the telephone.
Danny had stared up at this black giant in blue serge, and then had smiled when Hallorann picked him up easily, set him in the crook of his elbow, and said: "You ain't gonna stay up here all winter."
"Yes I am," Danny said with a shy grin.
"No, you're gonna come down to St. Pete's with me and learn to cook and go out on the beach every damn evenin watchin for crabs. Right?"
Danny giggled delightedly and shook his head no. Hallorann set him down.
"If you're gonna change your mind," Hallorann said, bending over him gravely, "you better do it quick. Thirty minutes from now and I'm in my car. Two and a half hours after that, I'm sitting at Gate 32, Concourse B, Stapleton International Airport, in the mile-high city of Denver, Colorado. Three hours after that, I'm rentin a car at the Miama Airport and on my way to sunny St. Pete's, waiting to get iota my swimtrunks and just laaafin up my sleeve at anybody stuck and caught in the snow. Can you dig it, my boy?"
"Yes, sir," Danny said, smiling.
Hallorann turned to Jack and Wendy. "Looks like a fine boy there."
"We think he'll do," Jack said, and offered his hand. Hallorann took it. "I'm Jack Torrance. My wife Winnifred. Danny you've met."
"And a pleasure it was. Ma'am, are you a Winnie or a Freddie?"
"I'm a Wendy," she said, smiling.
"Okay. That's better than the other two, I think. Right this way. Mr. Unman wants you to have the tour, the tour you'll get." He shook his bead and said under his breath: "And won't I be glad to see the last of him."
Hallorann commenced to tour them around the most immense kitchen Wendy had ever seen in her life. It was sparkling clean. Every surface was coaxed to a high gloss. It was more than just big; it was intimidating. She walked at Hallorann's side while Jack, wholly out of his element, hung back a little with Danny. A long wallboard hung with cutting instruments which went all the way from paring knives to twohanded cleavers hung beside a four-basin sink. There was a breadboard as big as their Boulder apartment's kitchen table. An amazing array of stainless-steel pots and pans hung from floor to ceiling, covering one whole wall.
"I think I'll have to leave a trail of breadcrumbs every time I come in," she said.
"Don't let it get you down," Hallorann said. "It's big, but it's still only a kitchen. Most of this stuff you'll never even have to touch. Keep it clean, that's all I ask. Here's the stove I'd be using, if I was you. There are three of them in all, but this is the smallest.
Smallest, she thought dismally, looking at it There were twelve burners, two regular ovens and a Dutch oven, a heated well on top in which you could simmer sauces or bake beans, a broiler, and a warmer-plus a million dials and temperature gauges.
"All gas," Hallorann said. "You've cooked with gas before, Wendy?"
"I love gas," he said, and turned on one of the burners. Blue flame popped into life and he adjusted it down to a faint glow with a delicate touch. "I like to be able to see the flame you're cookin with. You see where all the surface burner switches are?"
"And the oven dials are all marked. Myself, I favor the middle one because it seems to heat the most even, but you use whichever one you like-or all three, for that matter."
"A TV dinner in each one," Wendy said, and laughed weakly.
Hallorann roared. "Go right ahead, if you like. I left a list of everything edible over by the sink. You see it?"
"Here it is, Mommyl" Danny brought over two sheets of paper, written closely on both sides.
"Good boy," Hallorann said, taking it from him and ruffling his hair. "You sure you don't want to come to Florida with me, my boy? Learn to cook the sweetest shrimp creole this side of paradise?"
Danny put his hands over his mouth and giggled and retreated to his father's side.
"You three folks could eat up here for a year, I guess," Hallorann said. "We got a cold-pantry, a walk-in freezer, all sorts of vegetable bins, and two refrigerators. Come on and let me show you."
For the next ten minutes Hallorann opened bins and doors, disclosing food in such amounts as Wendy had never seen before. The food supplies amazed her but did not reassure her as much as she might have thought: the Donner Party kept recurring to her, not with thoughts of cannibalism (with all this food it would indeed be a long time before they were reduced to such poor rations as each other), but with the reinforced idea that this was indeed a serious business: when snow fell, getting out of here would not be a matter of an hour's drive to Sidewinder but a major operation. They would sit up here in this deserted grand hotel, eating the food that had been left them like creatures in a fairy tale and listening to the bitter wind around their snowbound eaves. In Vermont, when Danny had broken his arm
(when Jack broke Danny's arm)
she had called the emergency Medix squad, dialing the number from the little card attached to the phone. They had been at the house only ten minutes later. There were other numbers written on that little card. You could have a police car in five minutes and a fire truck in even less time than that, because the fire station was only three blocks away and one block over. There was a man to call if the lights went out, a man to call if the shower stopped up, a man to call if the TV went on the fritz. But what would happen up here if Danny had one of his fainting spells and swallowed his tongue?
(oh God what a thought!)
What if the place caught on fire? If Jack fell down the elevator shaft and fractured his skull? What if-?
(what if we have a wonderful time now stop ft, Winni fred!)
Hallorann showed them into the walk-in freezer first, where their breath puffed out like comic strip balloons. In the freezer it was as if winter had already come.
Hamburger in big plastic bags, ten pounds in each bag, a dozen bags. Forty whole chickens hanging from a row of hooks in the wood-planked walls. Canned hams stacked up like poker chips, a dozen of them. Below the chickens, ten roasts of beef, ten roasts of pork, and a huge leg of lamb.
"You like lamb, doe?" Hallorann asked, grinning.
"I love it," Danny said immediately. He had never had it.
"I knew you did. There's nothin like two good slices of lamb on a cold night, with some mint jelly on the side. You got the mint jelly here, too. Lamb eases the belly. It's a noncontentious sort of meat."
From behind them Jack said curiously: "How did you know we called him doe?"
Hallorann turned around. "Pardon?"
"Danny: We call him doe sometimes. Like in the Bugs Bunny cartoons."
"Looks sort of like a doe, doesn't be?" He wrinkled his nose at Danny, smacked his lips, and said, "Ehhhh, what's up, doe?"
Danny giggled and then Hallorann said something
(Sure you don't want to go to Florida, doe?)
to him, very clearly. He heard every word. He looked at Hallorann, startled and a little scared. Hallorann winked solemnly and turned back to the food.
Wendy looked from the cook's broad, serge-clad back to her son. She had the oddest feeling that something had passed between them, something she could not quite follow.
"You got twelve packages of sausage, twelve packages of bacon," Hallorann said. "So much for the pig. In this drawer, twenty pounds of butter."
"Real butter?" Jack asked.
"The A-number-one."
"I don't think I've had real butter since I was a kid back in Berlin, New Hampshire."
"Well, you'll eat it up here until oleo seems a treat," Hallorann said, and laughed. "Over in this bin you got your bread-thirty loaves of white, twenty of dark. We try to keep racial balance at the Overlook, don't you know. Now I know fifty loaves won't take you through, but there's plenty of makings and fresh is better than frozen any day of the week.
"Down here you got your fish. Brain food, right, doe?"
"Is it, Mom?"
"If Mr. Hallorann says so, honey." She smiled.
Danny wrinkled his nose. "I don't like fish."
"You're dead wrong," Hallorann said. "You just never had any fish that liked you. This fish here will like you fine. Five pounds of rainbow trout, ten pounds of turbot, fifteen cans of tuna fish-"
"Oh yeah, I like tuna."
"and five pounds of the sweetest-tasting sole that ever swam in the sea. My boy, when next spring rolls around, you're gonna thank old..." He snapped his fingers as if he had forgotten something. "What's my name, now? I guess it just slipped my mind."
"Mr. Hallorann," Danny said, grinning. "Dick, to your friends."
"That's right! And you bein a friend, you make it Dick."
As he led them into the far corner, Jack and Wendy exchanged a puzzled glance, both of them trying to remember if Hallorann had told them his first name.
"And this here I put in special," Hallorann said. "Hope you folks enjoy it."
"Oh really, you shouldn't have," Wendy said, touched. It was a twenty-pound turkey wrapped in a wide scarlet ribbon with a bow on top.
"You got to have your turkey on Thanksgiving, Wendy," Hallorann said gravely. "I believe there's a capon back here somewhere for Christmas. Doubtless you'll stumble on it. Let's come on out of here now before we all catch the peenumonia. Right, doc?"
There were more wonders in the cold-pantry. A hundred boxes of dried milk (Hallorann advised her gravely to buy fresh milk for the boy in Sidewinder as long as it was feasible), five twelve-pound bags of sugar, a gallon jug of blackstrap molasses, cereals, glass jugs of rice, macaroni, spaghetti; ranked cans of fruit and fruit salad; a bushel of fresh apples that scented the whole room with autumn; dried raisins, prunes, and apricots ("You got to be regular if you want to be happy," Hallorann said, and pealed laughter at the coldpantry ceiling, where one old-fashioned light globe hung down on an iron chain); a deep bin filled with potatoes; and smaller caches of tomatoes, onions, turnips, squashes, and cabbages.
"My word," Wendy said as they came out. But seeing all that fresh food after her thirty-dollar-a-week grocery budget so stunned her that she was unable to say just what her word was.
"I'm runnin a bit late," Hallorann said, checking his watch, "so I'll just let you go through the cabinets and the fridges as you get settled in. There's cheeses, canned milk, sweetened condensed milk, yeast, bakin soda, a whole bagful of those Table Talk pies, a few bunches of bananas that ain't even near to ripe yet-"
"Stop," she said, holding up a hand and laughing. "I'll never remember it all. It's super. And I promise to leave the place clean."
"That's all I ask." He turned to Jack. "Did Mr. Ullman give you the rundown on the rats in his belfry?"
Jack grinned. "He said there were possibly some in the attic, and Mr. Watson said there might be some more down in the basement. There must be two tons of paper down there, but I didn't see any shredded, as if they'd been using it to make nests."
"That Watson," Hallorann said, shaking his head in mock sorrow. "Ain't he the foulest-talking man you ever ran on?"
"He's quite a character," Jack agreed. His own father had been the foulesttalking man Jack had ever run on.
"It's sort of a pity," Hallorann said, leading them back toward the wide swinging doors that gave on the Overlook dining room. "There was money in that family, long ago. It was Watson's granddad or great-granddad-I can't remember which-that built this place."
"So I was told," Jack said.
"What happened?" Wendy asked.
"Well, they couldn't make it go," Hallorann said. "Watson will tell you the whole story-twice a day, if you let him. The old man got a bee in his bonnet about the place. He let it drag him down, I guess. He had two boys and one of them was killed in a riding accident on the grounds while the hotel was still abuilding. That would have been 1908 or '09. The old man's wife died of the flu, and then it was just the old man and his youngest son. They ended up getting took back on as caretakers in the same hotel the old man had built."
"It is sort of a pity," Wendy said.
"What happened to him? The old man?" Jack asked.
"He plugged his finger into a light socket by mistake and that was the end of him," Hallorann said. "Sometime in the early thirties before the Depression closed this place down for ten years.
"Anyway, Jack, I'd appreciate it if you and your wife would keep an eye out for rats in the kitchen, as well. If you should see them... traps, not poison."
Jack blinked. "Of course. Who'd want to put rat poison in the kitchen?"
Hallorann laughed derisively. "Mr. Ullman, that's who. That was his bright idea last fall. I put it to him, I said: `What if we all get up here next May, Mr. Ullman, and I serve the traditional opening night dinner'-which just happens to be salmon in a very nice sauce-'and everybody gits sick and the doctor comes and says to you, "Ullman, what have you been doing up here? You've got eighty of the richest folks in America suffering from rat poisoning!" "'
Jack threw his head back and bellowed laughter. "What did Ullman say?"
Hallorann tucked his tongue into his cheek as if feeling for a bit of food in there. "He said: `Get some traps, Hallorann. ' "
This time they all laughed, even Danny, although he was not completely sure what the joke was, except it had something to do with Mr. Ullman, who didn't know everything after all.
The four of them passed through the dining room, empty and silent now, with its fabulous western exposure on the snow-dusted peaks. Each of the white linen tablecloths had been covered with a sheet of tough clear plastic. The rug, now rolled up for the season, stood in one corner like a sentinel on guard duty.
Across the wide room was a double set of batwing doors, and over them an oldfashioned sign lettered in gilt script: The Colorado Lounge.
Following his gaze, Hallorann said, "If you're a drinkin man, I hope you brought your own supplies. That place is picked clean. Employee's party last night, you know. Every maid and bellhop in the place is goin around with a headache today, me included."
"I don't drink," Jack said shortly. They went back to the lobby.
It had cleared greatly during the half hour they'd spent in the kitchen. The long main room was beginning to take on the quiet, deserted look that Jack supposed they would become familiar with soon enough. The high-backed chairs were empty. The nuns who had been sitting by the fire were gone, and the fire itself was down to a bed of comfortably glowing coals. Wendy glanced out into the parking lot and saw that all but a dozen cars had disappeared.
She found herself wishing they could get back in the VW and go back to Boulder... or anywhere else.
Jack was looking around for Ullman, but he wasn't in the lobby.
A young maid with her ash-blond hair pinned up on her neck came over. "Your luggage is out on the porch, Dick."
"Thank you, Sally." He gave her a peck on the forehead. "You have yourself a good winter. Getting married, I hear."
He turned to the Torrances as she strolled away, backside twitching pertly. "I've got to hurry along if I'm going to make that plane. I want to wish you all the best. Know you'll have it."
"Thanks," Jack said. "You've been very kind."
"I'll take good care of your kitchen," Wendy promised again. "Enjoy Florida."
"I always do," Hallorann said. He put his hands on his knees and bent down to Danny. "Last chance, guy. Want to come to Florida?"
"I guess not," Danny said, smiling.
"Okay. Like to give me a hand out to my car with my bags?"
"If my mommy says I can."
"You can," Wendy said, "but you'll have to have that jacket buttoned." She leaned forward to do it but Hallorann was ahead of her, his large brown fingers moving with smooth dexterity.
"I'll send him right back in," Hallorann said.
"Fine," Wendy said, and followed them to the door. Jack was still looking around for Ullman. The last of the Overlooks guests were checking out at the desk.