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Topic: Doors (04/05/04)
TITLE: La Casa De Puertas
By Dave Alt
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“Yes she told me.” Ray Toller replied, looking over the wealthy businessman. He wore a standard suit and tie and looked like any other successful industrialist his age; thinning brown hair, glasses. His only distinguishing features were the portly nature of his body and a small scar under his left eye.
“I fail to see why you want the religion section reporter to cover this story however.” Ray said as he sat down. “I thought you were turning this family mansion into a tourist attraction, a guided tour attraction. How does that have a religious angle? Are you going to make it into a church?”
Jack laughed, though it seemed to be rather humorless. “No, nothing of the sort. I take it you noticed the doors to this house on your way to my office?” He said it more as a statement than a question, and Ray nodded. He had counted no less than a dozen doors on the outside of the house as he walked up to the main gate.
Two were actually set in the second story as if the builder had planned for the second level to contain more rooms than it ended up having. Ray could not have imaged that the doors up there were actually functional and able to open. Then he had been ushered into the house itself by a traditionally garbed butler and he knew they even the doors on the outer walls of the second story had to be functional.
The walls inside the house contained doors, a lot of doors. Every ten feet or so the walls were interrupted by entryways, all of which had doors set in them. Skinny doors, fat double-doors, short doors, mahogany, oak, metallic, intricately carved … each door had a unique feature so that no two were alike. Some were closed, but others were slightly ajar or even fully open.
“There are a thousand doors in this house Mr. Toller. That’s why my father named it ‘La Casa De Puertas.’”
“The House of Doors.” Ray translated, being somewhat fluent in Spanish. “But don’t the doors destabilize the walls? That many doors in load bearing walls would …” But Jack cut him off before he could finish.
“The frames are all made of steel or iron Mt. Toller. That makes up for the lack of structural integrity - makes up for it and more actually. This house had withstood the ravages of nature just fine over the last several decades.”
Ray sat for a moment digesting that. “I take it there was a religious reason your father built so many doors here then? Is that why you wanted me to come here and do the story on it?” The big man nodded.
“Indeed he did have a spiritual reason for it. He felt that every religion was a doorway to Heaven you see, and so he built this house to reflect that. Each room has at least four doors that lead to it, many ways to get to where you want to go. It was his dying wish that the house be turned into a tourist attraction, to give people something to think about regarding the afterlife.”
“Interesting.” was all Ray could think to say about that. His usual reporters instincts failed him for a moment. Being a rather devout Christian himself such a philosophy held little attraction for him. He felt there was but one way to Heaven.
“Mind if I take a look around?” He asked at last. His host nodded. “Of course, of course. Right this way.”
Jack led Ray through a different door from the one he had entered the office by. Through three stories of house they tramped, with Jack pointing out the variety of door types. Most had some unique feature that his host was proud to explain. Each room was decorated tastefully yet richly.
On the third floor were expensively decorated bedrooms, as befitted a wealthy man. Even here there were doors every ten feet or so, most either open or slightly ajar. One whole wall however had closed doors.
Curious about this bank of closed doors, he tried to open one and found that it wouldn’t budge. “That’s the safe room.” Mr. Ormund explained. “Unlike the other rooms of the house, it only has one working door. All the others are mere fakes, facades if you will.”
“I’ve heard of safe rooms. They’re designed to keep bad people out while keeping you safe.”
“Indeed. My father was a wealthy man. If someone ever broke in he could dart in there and be safe.”
“So there isn’t any safety in the other rooms?” Ray asked.
“Of course not. Thieves and murderers could get at you from any door at all. That’s why he felt the need for the safe room. Why do you ask?”
“Well it’s just interesting that there is only one room that is truly safe here. One room only has but one door to get in. Only one place where bad people can’t come.” He paused to see if his host would take the bait, but he merely waited for Ray to continue.
“The spiritual significance of that fact might have the opposite effect on your guests from what you intend to give them.” Ray explained.
His host’s eyes widened a bit at that thought, and Ray smiled inwardly. Let him think on that awhile before he opened this place up as a monument to spiritual relativism. Perhaps some good would come of it. In the end however Mr. Ormund simply added real doors to the safe room and opened the place to tourists as planned. Ray knew that his remark had hit home though, despite the seed he’d planted not sprouting as he’d have liked.