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    Every morning, Gustave Bones followed a strict and precise routine. 

    First, only after waking to his alarm, he would acknowledge morning had arrived by peering out the window and joyfully greeting the Last Resort’s sun. He had specifically chosen this biome of the Vast because it had a sun to greet, unlike the one his good friend Howard worked for—that one was always dark as the resident hotel’s guests were, ah… how did Sophia put it? 

    Goth Emos? 

    Anyhoo!

    Afterwards, he would unmake and make his bed. He didn’t sleep, obviously, just like any other functionary of The Vast, but he’d read in an Earth magazine once that healthy individuals made their beds every morning, so that was that.

    Finally, after changing into one of his nine identical uniforms, he would delicately take out a medium-sized, infinitely large red box containing every single one of his bowties. 

    Today feels aquamarine, he thought to himself as he opened his box and… and…

    KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK!

    He was now banging on the employee bedroom door. 

    “Ladies?! Are you there?! It’s an emergency! Wake up!”

    When more knocking went unacknowledged, he privately asked for the forgiveness of his crime and slammed open the door. 

    Ladies! Wake up!” he yelped, clutching his chest. “My bowties! They’re all GONE! GONE, I TELL YOU! Stolen! Robbed!”

    The girls did not react to his plight, but mostly because they weren’t even there. The bedroom was as empty as the two bunkbeds, devoid of his two prized employees—prized because they were the only ones, to be clear. 

    “Ladies?” he asked, stepping into the room and finding something about it was very strange.

    To start, today was the girls’ day off, which meant that Sophia should still be in bed, snoring the hours away. And yet she wasn’t!

    Following that, the room was not tidy at all. Assorted papers and arts and craft material littered the floor, and the desks, and even the ceiling somehow! Both girls were relatively tidy—Ramona moreso than Sophia—so the idea that they’d leave their room in such a state was nigh unthinkable. And yet there it was!

    Finally, and most horrifically of all, was Ramona’s bed. Besides being the more diligent employee of the two, she was also a stickler for morning routines, which included the very important step of making her bed. AND YET IT WASN’T MADE!

    Rattled to his bones, he stepped out of the room and closed the door, trying his best to keep calm. Whoever had stolen his bowties had doubtless stolen the girls as well.

    Well, maybe not. That was silly. 

    They had to be somewhere around the vicinity. Where else could they go? Exploring? On their day off? Nonsense. Well, maybe Ramona, but Sophia? Nonsense. 

    He cleared his throat and knocked on the hotel walls. 

    “Lady Resort! I need your help at once!”

    A nearby portrait of a dog sprung to life, the canine turning to the concierge with a quizzical expression. 

    “Ah, there you are!” he said. He cleared his throat and tried to speak clearly and calmly. “Listen, we have an emergency. My bowties are missing—”

    He cut himself off, appalled by the dog’s sudden bored yawn. 

    “Don’t you yawn at me! That IS an emergency! And stop chasing your tail!” When the dog stopped, making a great show out of it, he continued, “As I was saying, my bowties are missing, as are Sophia and Ramona!”

    The dog gasped theatrically, placing a paw over its mouth. 

    “Yes, I know, I know! It’s awful. Now, do you happen to have any idea where the girls are? Or my bowties? Any clue or—”

    He gasped when the dog nodded. 

    “You do?! About my bowties?!” The dog nodded. “And the girls?!” Another nod. “Oh, wonderful! Where are they?!”

    The dog blinked once, twice, and then shrugged. 

    “What? I thought you said you know where they are!” A nod. “Then where are they?!” A shrug. “Make up your mind, will you?”

    Without even answering, the dog ran off into the painting’s horizon, its tail wagging to and fro. Riled up, Mr. Bones grabbed and shook the painting.

    “Come back here! Lady! You come back here right now! At least have the decency of bringing the dog back! I don’t want landscapes in my hallways!”

    When Lady Resort did no such thing, he stomped off. Well, at the very least he knew the girls weren’t in immediate danger, which would be promptly corrected the second he found them. 

    Upon reaching the lobby, he was surprised to find not the soon-to-be-reprimanded girls, but a fellow ferryman waiting in the middle of the lobby, his bony hands on his hips. Surprisingly, the fellow skeleton was not wearing a traditional ferryman uniform, but a very stylish kilt. 

    Interesting! Perhaps the hotel he was assigned to was Scottish? It was a little inappropriate that he was wearing nothing but a kilt, yes, but oh well!

    “Oh! Hello!” greeted Mr. Bones, immediately putting on a friendly front. “Welcome to the Last Resort!”

    The ferryman did not reply. In fact, he did not move at all. 

    Strange fellow, he thought. 

    “Hello?”

    When again the ferryman said nothing, Mr. Bones walked around him, quickly realizing that this ferryman was not only a fake, non-sentient skeleton decoration, but he was also wearing— 

    “My bowtie?!” gasped the concierge. And his rare neon-magenta polka-dot one, too! “What is the meaning of this?!”

    He ripped it off—by which he delicately untied it and took it off but it was with a ripping-it-off kind of attitude at heart—and found a note stuck to it. 

    MR. WEE BONEY LAD

    Instantly, he knew not only who’d stolen his bowties, but also why the girls were missing. 

    It was because the thief and the girls were one and the Vastforsaken same. 

    It was upon this realization that he reminded himself that, as a concierge, he was the paragon of propriety. Therefore, hollering the name of his employees would be very bad form. 

    Instead, he settled on grumbling to himself as he took the skeleton and put it behind the front desk. 

    “This will have to do for now. I suppose I’ll just be a man of little words today.”

    That done, he marched off towards the kitchen, intent on finding out from Grandma Bertha if she’d seen the criminals. 

    Upon reaching the kitchen door, he was surprised to hear Bertha animatedly talking and giggling to someone. A guest, perhaps? He peered in and had to use every ounce of self-control not to shout indignantly. 

    The elderly ghost grandma was there, yes, giggling herself away like a schoolgirl as she talked to ANOTHER fake skeleton. This one was leaning on a counter in an outrageously flirtatious pose, wearing sunglasses and an apron that said, in big bold letters: Kiss The Cook. 

    And to make matters worse, he too was wearing yet another one of his bowties!

    “Oh, hush now, Gussy,” Bertha said, turning back to her soup in a coy fashion. “You know we can’t do that! Though I guess… I could make bone soup!”

    She burst into a high-pitched cackle, her chef hat bouncing on her head with each laugh. 

    “Bertha!” Mr. Bones demanded. “What are you doing?!”

    With a ghostly ‘oooooh’, the cook turned to him. “Oh, hello, dearie! I’m just flirting with this handsome fellow!”

    “Yes, I can see that, Bertha,” he said. “Where are they?”

    “Who?”

    “Who?! The criminals who did this, that’s who!”

    “Oh, the girls!” Bertha said, chuckling jovially. She then shrugged her shoulders. 

    “You don’t know where they are?”

    When she shrugged again, Mr. Bones let out an exasperated grunt. “Unbelievable,” he muttered, stomping to the skeleton. 

    He removed his bowtie, revealing yet another note under it. This one said: 

    MR. HOT BONES

    He scrunched the paper in his hand and then made a show out of throwing it out. 

    “Really!” he exclaimed. “I have half a mind to fire you all!”

    “Fire me? But you can’t! I’m a guest!” she replied followed in short order by a high-pitched ghostly cackling. “A ghost guest!” The cackling intensified. 

    “You’re insane, is what you are,” he muttered under his breath, making his way to the exit door. “Bertha, if you see them, let them know to find me at once. Understood?”

    “Oh, yes, dearie, but—” She waggled her ladle at him. “You should keep that temper in check! You don’t want to be a… hot bone!”

    Her cackles could be heard well into the hallway, in spite of his loud stomping. Where could they be?! 

    He crossed a hallway intersection, headed to the guest wings, but stopped upon noticing the rec room doors were closed. This was highly inappropriate, as the rec room should be open for guests always, but what really rattled his bones was the hastily-made sign taped to the doors. 

    YOGA CLASS 

    Now, Gustave, he thought to himself. We are a concierge. We stay calm no matter the situation, do we not? We do. 

    With that in mind, he opened the doors and almost threw a fit at what he saw. Several rows of sweating guests were all struggling to stay completely still, imitating the position of the fake skeleton leading the class, itself posed as though it were a cat arching its back. 

    The skeleton was also wearing a disguise; this one a very poor attempt at imitating a ‘70s Earth American hippie, complete with an awful mustache, sunglasses, bandana, matching psychedelic pants and shirt, and a necklace made out of bowties tied together! 

    “Guh…Gosh,” said one guest to the other, trembling from the strain, “d’ya think we’ll be… phew… changing positions any time soon? Don’t know how he does it, but… phew… I can’t hold this any longer!”

    After dispatching the guests with embarrassed apologies and reassurances that yoga class would continue at a later point, Mr. Bones retrieved his precious bowties from around the neck of Mr. Zen Bones. He then continued his search, finding in the process more skeletons which included but were not limited to: 

    – Mr. Hotter Bones, who was dressed as a fireman climbing out the window;

    – Mr. Bonehead, who was just a head being used as a book divider in the library;

    – Mr. Bonesarazzi, who was dressed up in photographic gear and snapping pictures of;

    – Mr. Marilyn Boneroe, whose femurs were bared as his white dress billowed up;

    – Mr. Big Bones, who was dressed as a bodybuilder being crushed by weights in the gym.

    One after the other he hid them away, until he had no less than twenty skeletons stashed away in his closet. He still had no employees, even though he’d searched the entirety of the hotel’s rooms save for guest rooms. 

    There was just no bloody hint of them, up until he was in the attic searching behind the boxes of Christmas decorations for hiding employees when he heard something thump on the roof. Quick as he could, he rushed down the stairs, past the lobby, and straight outside, where a quick glance upwards revealed his coveted prize. 

    Sophia and Ramona, standing on the roof and working at shoving a Santa Claus-dressed skeleton down a chimney that wasn’t there yesterday. 

    Not for the first time, Mr. Bones’ now-somehow-whiter bones rattled like a spicy maraca. The concierge’s legs began to stretch and stretch until he truly looked like death’s ferryman, towering over the two women, too busy dealing with their Santa to notice him. 

    “Maybe we overstuffed him,” mused Ramona, watching as Sophia tried again and again to inch the chubby Santa down the chimney. “We can just ask the hotel to make the chimney bigger.”

    “No, I got it,” Sophia said between strained grunts. “Come on, man! Five more inches!”

    A-HEM!”

    The women froze in spot before slowly turning to look at their very miffed employer. One, two, three seconds passed before someone reacted, in this case Sophia: 

    “Oh, fuck! It’s the police!” she gasped before turning to the Santa and trying to pull him out. “Quick! We can escape through the chimney!”

    “Hey, boss!” Ramona said cooly, offering him a charming grin. “How’s your morning been so far?”

    Mr. Hot Bones?! Bonezarazzi?! Wee Boney Lad?!” 

    “Fun, right?” Ramona asked, to her credit maintaining a happy, chill façade. She gestured to the skeleton Sophia was still trying to yank out of the chimney. “Have you met Mr. Santa Bones?”

    “Wait, Rae,” Sophia said, completely ignoring the pressing concierge at hand. “I think it’s stuck? Lol, fuck.”

    “See, I told you not to shove it like that, but you never listen!” 

    “Yeah, yeah.

    “Ladies!”  

    They turned to him again. 

    “What!” Sophia exclaimed. “It’s Halloween! You told us to be creative!”

    “Not at my expense! And on top of it all, you took my BOWTIES! My bowties!”

    “See,” Rae whispered to Sophia, “I told you we should have just made them ourselves.”

    “It’s not the same, though!”  

    “And don’t even get me started on how disrespectful this is towards our guests!” he continued. “Like the yoga prank! They were stretching there for who knows how long!”

    Soph snorted. “Wait, really? They didn’t realize it was fake? I’m sorry, but that’s kind of hysterical.”

    “Nothing about this is hysterical!”  

    “Wait, wait, wait!” Ramona said, holding her hands up. She looked to her employer with a sincerity only she could muster. “Boss. We’re sorry we upset you. We just… we thought it would be fun to include you in the spirit of Halloween since you’re our best example of someone who knows how to have fun.”

    Soph nodded. “Yeah. It wouldn’t be a Last Resort Halloween without Mr. Bones all over it.”

    “We’re sorry we didn’t consult with you first,” Ramona continued, “but if you want, you can help us make more Mr. Bones-approved skeletons!”

    And just like that, Mr. Bones’ non-existent heart grew five non-existent sizes. 

    “Why, girls…” He wiped his eyes which were dry because he couldn’t cry but the intent was what mattered. “I would be honored!” 

    “Really?” they asked. 

    “Yes, I would,” he said with a grin that quickly turned upside down. “But don’t EVER touch my bowties again. Am I clear? You are to return the rest immediately!”

    “Yeah, sure,” Sophia replied just as Ramona exclaimed, “You got it, Boss!”

    And thus he went on his way, a terrible day turned into a rather bright one. The girls watched him go, and it wasn’t until he’d disappeared within the hotel that Sophia spoke. 

    “I can’t believe he bought that,” she said with a snort. 

    Ramona turned to her. “What? What do you mean? I was being genuine!” 

    “Oh. Uhhhhh.” She avoided Ramona’s stern gaze by focusing back on Santa Bones, still stuck halfway down the chimney. “Anyway, I think we should leave him like this. It’ll probably be fine, and it’ll double as a Christmas decoration once that rolls around.” 

    Moments later, Mr. Bones re-emerged from the hotel, headed towards the distant bus. 

    “I’ll be right back, ladies! I want Fililioni from the Haunted Hotel to come and see this. He’ll have a hoot!”

    “See you later!” Ramona yelled, her pleasant waving halting at Sophia’s suddenly whiter-than-usual face. “What’s wrong with you?”

    “Uhhhh? Mr. Hottest?”

    “What about Mr. Hottest?” Ramona asked. She then blanched. “Oh my God. Sophia. Soph.” She buried her face in her hands. “Please tell me you did not actually put him in the bus.”

    To be clear, Mr. Hottest—also known as Mr. Hottest Boning Bones—was a skeleton completely nude save for a single red bowtie that was in a very unflattering position inside the hotel’s yellow bus.  

    Sophia backed away, raising her hands. “Hey, you suggested it!”

    “Sophia!” Ramona gasped. “Sophia, I was joking! It was a joking suggestion! Oh my God.” She turned to the horizon, watching with horror as Mr. Bones stepped into the bus. “Oh my god! Oooooh. My. God.”

    “Look, I thought it was funny!”

    “It’s hysterical,” Ramona said, despairingly, “but that doesn’t mean you should have done it!” 

    “Chill, it’ll be okay,” Sophia said coolly. “It’s not like he can fire us, right? He literally needs us to make this hotel function. That said, I think the both of us can hide inside the chimney if we manage to get chubby bones out.”

    LAAAAAADIES!” came the bone-chilling scream. 

    “Quick!” Ramona shrieked, turning to the Santa and practically ripping his outfit off. “If we break his bones, we can shove him down faster!” 


    I thiiiink? This counts as my first actual attempt at original fiction that is longer than 600 words lol Was very stressed about it, but I think it did okay! I really do love the LR characters, so hopefully I’ll do more stories with them soon!

    _____

    Tipjar!

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    1. Blue_Paladin42
      Nov 3, 22 at 7:26 pm

      Mr. Hottest :lunawheeze:

    2. Naduran
      Oct 14, 22 at 10:52 am

      Oh my god.

      The puns.

      The ending!

      Thank you Mono, I really needed a good laugh

    3. Peppermint Snow
      Oct 14, 22 at 6:49 am

      So happy to see more Last Resort!

      “Oh, fuck! It’s the police!” she gasped before turning to the Santa and trying to pull him out. “Quick! We can escape through the chimney!”

      absolutely killed me.

    4. Anonymous Guest
      Oct 13, 22 at 4:00 am

      This was so fun! The girls dressing up the skeletons using Gustave’s ties was hysterical and the different variations made it even funnier. Sophia’s nonchalant attitude and Romona’s attempt to include her boss in creating more appropriate decorations really showed their characters well.

      You should definitely include this in the comic !

    5. A Deer
      Oct 13, 22 at 3:39 am

      Never mess with a skeleton’s bowties. Lesson for the afterlife. And probably the presentlife too. But now I’m thinking of bowtie noodles. Can Mr. Bones eat despite the lack of a digestive track?

      Enjoyed the humor in this – and the chapter title. Mr. Bones is a fun character. His character came through the prose really well. Felt like I got a good impression of him from that. The resort being a character is interesting too. Lady Resort has me wondering what all can happen with a sentient building as a character. Just glad my place isn’t alive – I like my alone time. Bertha, Ramona, and Sophia were also great. It’ll be cool to read more of them. The interaction on the roof was a nice payoff. And the last part with the skeleton on the bus was the cherry on top. Sophia seems like she’ll be causing a bit of mischief. Mr. Bones might think ‘bit’ is an understatement. Thanks for the story! Needed some humor tonight. Enjoyed reading this.

    6. SigmasonicX
      Oct 12, 22 at 7:30 pm

      This was a lot of fun! Nice to get a semi-longform story with these characters. When I was reading the draft, I hadn’t noticed the progression of Hot Bones -> Hotter Bones -> Hottest Boning Bones, lol.

    7. Cynewulf
      Oct 12, 22 at 7:26 pm

      Man this was just a delight from the first words

    8. Gearcrow
      Oct 12, 22 at 4:06 pm

      This was entertaining not just because it’s genuinely good, which it is, but because it’s fun to read some Last Resort stuff again. Excited for you to do more of your own original fiction! Also, the dynamics on the roof between Ramona and Sophie are great. Ramona keeping calm while Sophie is trying desperately to flee through Santa Bones into the chimney is excellent.

      “Oh fuck, it’s the police” – best line.

    9. ShadowLDrago
      Oct 12, 22 at 3:36 pm

      Every morning, Gustave Bones followed a strict and precise routine. 

      Gustave Bones. What a fantastic name.

      Finally, and most horrifically of all, was Ramona’s bed. Besides being the more diligent employee of the two, she was also a stickler for morning routines, which included the very important step of making her bed. AND YET IT WASN’T MADE!

      If I could, I would post the Rarity fainting gif.

      A nearby portrait of a dog sprung to life, the canine turning to the concierge with a quizzical expression. 

      Best character.

      It was because the thief and the girls were one and the Vastforsaken same. 

      Ah, so this is that kind of story. I need to do more research on Last Resort.

      “Oh, yes, dearie, but

      She waggled her ladle at him. “You should keep that temper in check! You don’t want to be a… hot bone!”

      Eh, 3/10.

      – Mr. Marilyn Monbones, whose femurs were bared as his white dress billowed up;

      I’d have gone with Marilyn Boneroe, myself.

      “I can’t believe he bought that,” she said with a snort. 

      You, madame, are a chaos gremlin.

      1. @ShadowLDragoOct 12, 22 at 3:39 pm

        oh my GOD that is a much better variation for the marilyn thing , i am putting that in rn;

        also thank you for reading!!! i’m v chuffed you gave this a shot ^.^