The Hotel Detective - A short story in three parts.

Zombie or Post Apocalyptic themed fiction/stories.

Moderator: ZS Global Moderators

Post Reply
User avatar
Stercutus
* * * * *
Posts: 12121
Joined: Wed Feb 10, 2010 8:16 pm
Location: Bouncing in to Graceland

The Hotel Detective - A short story in three parts.

Post by Stercutus » Thu Feb 15, 2018 7:19 pm

This is part I the same universe story to accompany this one:
viewtopic.php?f=113&t=121200


The Hotel Detective

Nathan Greenhaw checked in to The Bastion Hotel under the watchful eye of Jacob McFalls. Jacob had already heard of the battle that had taken place at Yellow 22 but did not yet know all the details. He was making certain that their guest had not made some sort of incidental contact with a Rager that could lead to bad things happening for the hotel. The farmer had blood all over the left sleeve of his jacket, but it didn’t appear to be “his” blood. Nathan wasn’t showing any signs of turning so things would likely be ok.

Jacob was familiar with Nathan as the old farmer would come in to town several times a year to arrange to contract to sell his chickens and the various things he and his brother grew on their considerable acreage a few counties away. Jacob thought he stayed at The Bastion every time he came to the city and he always paid for his room up front in silver. Sometimes during a stay, he would arrange to have a woman sent to his room. Jacob knew practically every guest of the hotel who were repeat customers and their habits. It was fair that he should, he had lived and worked at The Bastion as head of security for nearly 30 years.

The Bastion was built in 1862 during the Civil War. Originally it had served as a small stone fort for the garrison that Tennessee had provided to protect Chattanooga from invading Yankees. Forty years after the war had ended an aspiring hotel owner and German businessman moved to the area and believed it would make the perfect hotel. He spent a small fortune renovating it and placing a stone garden in the courtyard. When finished he had a 64-room hotel named The Stone Fort, with a German Restaurant inside less than 2 blocks from the train station. Things went well until passenger rail traffic died after WWII. Once the passenger trains stopped running and people and businesses began moving to the suburbs the hotel fell in to disrepair and eventually closed it’s doors in the late 70s.

About five years before The Flare another European aspiring hotel owner (this one a nice French Lady in her mid-40’s named Giselle) arrived and noticed the urban renewal projects ongoing in the city and decided to make a go of it. She purchased and renovated the decrepit hotel, brought in a nightclub, a storefront hair salon and a luxury goods store and then renamed it The Bastion. The downtown area was still a bit rough around the edges, so she decided she needed some extra security.

At the time Jacob was a patrolman on the Chattanooga Police Department looking for moonlight work. They arranged a deal where Jacob would take a guest room for free and he would serve as armed security a few hours a week when he was off duty and be on call if there was a problem. This arrangement was perfect for the 25-year-old policeman and they were more than two years in to the deal when The Flare hit.

Giselle Lebeau seemed to have a soft spot for the young cop. She treated him more like a wayward son than an employee while at the same time respecting his opinions on the things he knew about. Life and women were the two things she was convinced he did not understand so well.

When Jacob looked back on it the years leading up to The Flare were the best of his life. He was young and had plenty of extra money. Being the acting head of security at the night club meant that he never lacked for dates. Living at the hotel meant maid service, gym, free food, free parking, free internet… free everything just to keep the drug addicts out and stop kids from tearing the place up. This allowed him to engage in his favorite off duty activities of gun collecting and competing in three gun matches without finical hinderance. Occasionally, there was a belligerent drunken guest to deal with; but they tended to be rare.

Things changed overnight after The Flare hit. When the wheels fell off the donkey cart everything came apart hard and fast. Early on after the lights went out the department had told their officers the reason for the power failures and everything else. Badly worried about how things would go he had convinced Giselle that they needed to secure The Bastion as well as they possibly could, boarding up the windows once again and reinforcing doors. He also convinced her that she needed to move herself in and let the staff and their families in to the hotel for their safety. It turned out to be a wise move. Within three days there was no safe place on the planet.

The first few plague years were awful. No electricity, searching for food, clean water and scrounging for everything. Cannibalistic Ragers were everywhere and uninfected regular people had turned to killing one another over a sack of canned goods. Estimates vary but likely 75% of the population of the planet became infected with the Flare Plague, were eaten outright by the Ragers or suffered some other related fatality in the first three years.

It had been a long slow climb out of the morass the following 24 years, but things were starting to look better. Due to geography Chattanooga was a natural transit hub for much of the South with the exchange of cotton, corn and livestock being the primary trade. Land, river and rail routes snaked through the mountains and provided the people of the city with outsized wealth. This meant more and more visitors over the years once the hotel was operational. These days The Bastion tended to fill up before and after each growing season with considerable traffic.

Giselle was now approaching seventy but still ran a tight ship. The older staff from before The Flare were fanatically loyal to her as she had shepherded them through one of the worst times in all human history and they were coming out of it on the other side. Jacob had wondered early if the French woman would crack once the apocalypse swung out in full force, but she turned out to be made of much stronger stuff than her interior decorating skills he thought should indicate. When they were struggling to find food, she knew where to look, when raiders tried to hold the city hostage she could negotiate them down when the worst hit she was always at her best. She treated her employees equally with dignity and respect and knew how to handle things, at least things not related to security which is why she had hired Jacob.

Thirty years into his job Jacob was a very different man than the moonlighting street cop that he once was. He had dealt with everything from whacked out survivalists trying to appropriate the hotel for themselves to Ragers, raiders and even terrorists during early reconstruction. These days with the return of wealth and resources to the city his biggest challenges were con-men, thieves, pick-pockets and fraudsters of all types trying to ply their trade on his guests. Many people who came to the city carried significant amount of wealth with them in the form of precious metals and other valuable that could easily be converted to other forms. This made the wealthier guests of the hotel obvious targets for larceny. A hotel with a reputation for not protecting it's guests was a hotel that would soon go out of business.

The City of Chattanooga had stood back up it’s police department years ago, but their officers and detectives were not as knowledgeable or as experienced as Jacob was. They also did not know many of the out of towners that would come to visit and who might be a problem. In fact, their investigators would occasionally call on Jacob when dealing with someone visiting from outside the city in hopes that he would know what a particular visitor might be up to, he often did.

Jacob gave the nod to the desk clerk who finished checking in Nathan and then went on a walk about the hotel. He walked the grounds three times a day at different hours and in varying light conditions to make sure everything was secure and nothing had changed that he was unaware of.

The hotel kept two guards on duty always. One sat on a tower in the roof and observed the comings and goings from all entrances and exits and wrote them down in a log. The other stood near the front door and served as the muscle back stop to the doorman. If he need be, Jacob had six more guards to call upon in an emergency. If they could not resolve whatever was happening the police would have to be summoned. He had not summoned the police in ten years. Convinced that all was well he then entered the hotel restaurant for his nightly meal.

The restaurant was something of a huge luxury in the post electronic age. There were less than ten actual restaurants in the entire city including the Railroad Cafeteria where most of the rail company employees dined daily. Le Coup de Sifflet was Chattanooga’s premiere dining experience. During the plague years that meant good food that would not make you sick and came from reliable sources. It may not have been everything Giselle had dreamed of when she opened the place but there was no disputing it was now the best in the city, if not the entire state.

A huge stone fireplace kept the place warm without having to rely on Chattanooga’s electrical grid that still functioned poorly. A piano had been brought in and some aging minstrel would bang away at Led Zepplin or Nirvana classics as best as he could remember while people supped, and the older crowd thought about a better bygone age. The service was second to none.

Most guests of the hotel dined here and many of the local business leaders would bring clients and others in to impress them with the best the city had to offer. During the busy Saturday nights Giselle would put on one of her fanciest dresses and play hostess to the upper crust of the city. She seemed to revel a bit in the idea of in their upside-down world at playing a dystopic Rick Blaine.

Jacob checked in with the host and noted that Michael Scott had taken the private dining room for the night. The railroad bigwig was likely celebrating their victory over raiders at the hands of the Thatch Brothers. The Thatch Brothers had stayed at the hotel on their arrival in the city for a few weeks prior to being hired on by the Railroad Company. They tended to drink a lot when not flying and were somewhat unrestrained in their approach towards women, lots of women. Kind of how Jacob used to be when he was their age.

“Youth is always wasted on the young”, he mused.

After Jacob ordered dinner a younger baggage handler entered the restaurant looking around. This was out of the ordinary. Spotting Jacob he approached the table cautiously.

“Mr. Mcfalls, Madame Lebeau told me to come get you immediately. She says there is a huge problem that she needs to discuss with you in her office.”

“She is in her office?”

“Yes.”

“I’ll be there after dinner.”

“I was told to wait, bring you with me and make sure you come right away.”

“Seriously? do you know what she wants?”

“I am not certain but I think one of the guests is dead.”
From this day to the ending of the world,
But we in it shall be rememberèd—
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother

User avatar
91Eunozs
ZS Lifetime Member
ZS Lifetime Member
Posts: 1881
Joined: Sat Dec 31, 2011 8:16 am
Favorite Zombie Movies: All of them!
Location: Hill Country, Texas

Re: The Hotel Detective - A short story in three parts.

Post by 91Eunozs » Thu Feb 15, 2018 9:48 pm

Nice!

Where’ve you been hiding all this talent?
Molon Latte...come & take our coffee order
Doctorr Fabulous wrote:... It's fun to play pretend, but this is the internet, and it's time to be serious.
zengunfighter wrote:... you don't want to blow a tranny in the middle of a pursuit...
woodsghost wrote:... A defensive gun without training is basically a talisman. It might ward off evil, but I wouldn't count on it.

User avatar
bodyparts
* *
Posts: 123
Joined: Sat Jan 25, 2014 9:25 am
Favorite Zombie Movies: land of the dead
Location: sw , mo

Re: The Hotel Detective - A short story in three parts.

Post by bodyparts » Fri Feb 16, 2018 8:55 pm

well done thank you . looking forward to reading moar of this new universe!!

idahobob
* * *
Posts: 372
Joined: Mon Apr 19, 2010 9:20 pm
Location: Idaho

Re: The Hotel Detective - A short story in three parts.

Post by idahobob » Sat Feb 17, 2018 7:22 am

Nice! :clap: :clap:

Now, please bring on some MOAR! 8-)

Bob
People who are rather more than six feet tall and nearly as broad across the shoulders often have uneventful journeys. People jump out at them from behind rocks then say things like, "Oh. Sorry. I thought you were someone else."

User avatar
Stercutus
* * * * *
Posts: 12121
Joined: Wed Feb 10, 2010 8:16 pm
Location: Bouncing in to Graceland

Re: The Hotel Detective - A short story in three parts.

Post by Stercutus » Tue Feb 20, 2018 12:20 am

Part II

These were dangerous times. People died with a much greater regularity than before the Flare. Jacob mused that life expectancy was likely in the low 40s but there were no official statistics to support it from the central government. People with the resources to stay at the Bastion tended to live a lot longer than the street urchins who crowded the slums. Occasionally a guest of the hotel did die. When that happened the police and undertaker were called and did their thing.

If Giselle was calling for him right away the corpse likely didn’t appear as the result of influenza or a stroke. Dinner would have to wait. Jacob checked his pistol load on his waist holster, made sure he had his notebook and a pen then asked the bellhop where the deceased was located. It had been three years since anyone at the hotel had died from anything other than natural causes. In that particular case a man had caught his wife abed with someone other than himself. He emptied a pistol magazine at the couple killing both and then waited calmly for the police to show up.

Many murders went unsolved. Between guarding the city walls, patrolling the city and trying to keep crime in check the police didn’t have the resources to investigate every crime. There was still no police lab established although there were discussions of building an annex at the hospital compound. DNA testing wasn’t feasible. If the crime occurred in the poorer section of town the body might not be found for a few weeks, if ever. When someone of means was killed, that changed things a bit.

They did not have to go far to the body. It was in the second stall of the men's room of the toilet. A guard was at the men's room waiting for the police to show up. Jacob went in and examined what he could see. A man was bent over the toilet face first
on his knees and clearly dead with a number of knife wounds in the back. Blood had seeped out in a single streak towards the There were wounds around the neck that looked like possibly bite marks. There was blood all over the walls and some on the ceiling.On a hunch Jacob removed the lid from the trashcan and looked inside. There were six bloody towels on top.

Arriving at Giselle’s office in the outer room Jacob noted that she was in her angry panic mode that came about on rare occasions when something seriously was amiss. She never ranted or raved merely became tense, overly formal and obliquely rude. There were four other people in the office with her. Franklin the night shift guard on call stood near the door and the others were seated at the small conference table. Franklin had his rifle slung in front at low arms.

Seated at the table were three frequent guests that Jacob recognized. Closest to Giselle’s right was a man named Wren Teller. He was an assistant to the deputy head of the State of Tennessee Secretary of Commerce. The 40 something year old portly, balding man was a bureaucrat of the first order. His boss was a real heavy being responsible for coordinating trade and commerce for most of the Eastern part of the State. Seated next to him on the other side was a younger woman named Diamond Jade. Stripper jokes always went through Jacob’s head whenever he saw her. The young kids these days wouldn't understand.

Diamond was the furthest thing from a stripper. Not only was she six feet tall and muscular, she had inherited the largest distillery in Chattanooga from her father (who was also a retired professional basketball player from before the Flash) and she made an extremely popular corn whiskey that was sold everywhere, including the bar at the hotel. She frequently dined with clients at the hotel and Jacob was on friendly terms with her. The last person at the table was kind of a surprise as he was out of place. Jimmie Thatch Jr sat there nervously tapping his foot underneath the table.

Giselle was engaged in a highly animated conversation with Teller.

“You must lock down the hotel, there is a Rager on the loose.” The nervous man sputtered.

“Mr. Teller if there were a Rager on the loose in the Hotel, there would be a Rager loose in the hotel. He would be evident from his foaming mouth and running around trying to murder and eat people.”

“Somebody has been murdered! And where are the fucking police? Don’t tell me you think your man here is going to solve this ‘mystery’ it is pretty damn clear what happened.”

Jimmie started; “Well now I’m not so sure it would be a Rager they don’t sneak around you know and…”

Teller cut him off he was practically shaking with anger; “They are pretty good at hiding when there is a threat about. That is why we still have them. I have heard reports of some even talking understandably.”

Jacob spoke loudly to Giselle interrupting their conversation; “Who is dead?”

“Don Chaplin that is who, my boss who I can tell you Nashville will be very displeased to find out about him being murdered.”

“I’m sorry for your loss sir.” Then he continued to Giselle; “Can I speak with you alone for a minute please?”

Giselle seemed happy to step back in to the inner office for the moment.

“What happened and why are all these people here?”

“Mr. Chaplin was found dead in the toilet of the private dining room. He was supposed to have a private dinner with Diamond but she said he never showed up. Mr. Junior was in there to take crap and he saw blood underneath the stall and he kicked the door in and found him. Teller reported him missing to the front desk about an hour and half before dinner call. He has been frantic looking for him for the last two hours.”

“Why is Teller saying it was a Rager?”

“Mr. Chaplin was stabbed many times. He has many bites around his neck and shoulder. I put the hotel on soft lockdown and called the police. No one goes in or out without being recorded in the book. But no one has seen such a Rager. You need to find out who would do this thing…. quickly.”

“I’m on it. I need to speak quickly with each of them separately. Also send two guards to find Mr. Greenhaw. Tell them to use caution but to avoid deadly force. Have him brought to my office and put under guard.”

“Oh my God, do you think he is a Rager?”

“Nope.”

“…. Then why are we getting him then?”

“Out of an overabundance of caution.”

“Ragers are always shot on sight. Can there be too much caution with Ragers?”

“He’s not a Rager”; Jacob insisted.

“You. You always do this. You think I am a fool or something. You know something don’t you?”

“I know Greenhaw is no Rager. The rest… we will see”

“Who do you want to see first?”

“Send in Teller, do you mind if we you use your office?”

“No, I kind of prefer it.” and then she was out the door calling for Teller.

Teller arrived a few moments later sitting down next to the desk in a huff. Jacob was amazed that nearly 30 years into Armageddon bureaucrats were still bureaucrats. He wondered how the fleshy man had survived in the early years and realized that Teller was likely in his teens then and a very different person 25 years ago. His latest information on Teller was that he was slated to take over a local office in Chattanooga once the State built an office here. If that happened he would become kind of a big deal locally and probably intolerable. He had worked as Chaplin’s strap hanger for at least five years. He was a pain in the ass to the hotel staff with personal requests but that wasn’t a crime.

“Mr. Teller, again I want to tell you how sorry we are for this great tragedy to strike. The police have been summoned and will do their best with their limited resources to deal with this event. I am a former policeman and often provide them assistance with these matters. It would be of great help if you could tell me what you know happened. Of course, you don’t have to answer any questions, however it would likely provide great assistance. I noticed that you arrived today around 2PM coming from the train station. Could you tell me what happened from the time you noticed Mr. Chaplin missing?”

“Mr. Chaplin asked me to meet with him at 3PM in his room to go over the new Whiskey Tax plan proposal we were working on. I went to his room and he was not there. I went back to my room and tried again about 20 minutes later. I then went down to the desk and had them call him and try to locate him. When he could not be found I knew there was something wrong. I begged them to do something. They did nothing. I am very disappointed in your staff here.”

“I understand. I will do my best to speak with the manager about the staff. I should have been summoned as soon as there was a problem.”

“Mr. Chaplin was clearly killed by a Rager. He was bitten all over the neck! Why are we sitting here? We need to find the Rager and stop him.”

“I have sent guards to deal with a potential Rager as of this moment. As soon as he is found we will let you know.”

Teller seemed greatly relieved by this. “Ok, but if he hurts anyone else your hotel will be responsible.”

“If you don’t mind me asking what is this tax you were working on?”

“That? It is a 100% levy on all alcohol. They are trying to discourage drinking and the State needs the funds.”

“100%? Won’t that cause other problems like people stop buying it and start making it themselves?”

“No, we did a study that shows that people can’t reliably make liquor on their own.”

“Ah, and that will stop them?”

“More than likely.”

“Thank you will you send in Ms. Jade please?”

“I will but I can tell you she didn’t have anything to do with Chaplin being murdered if that is what you are thinking. She was really mad about the tax but they were working things out. She was there to meet with him to discuss the details but I don’t know what they were. I don’t think he was going to change anything though.

If anyone was involved it would be that pilot. Chaplin had a plan to ban the use of armed aircraft for civilian use. That would have put those boys out of business.”

“Interesting were they aware of this?”

“Probably, I know the train company was aware.”

Diamond Jade was one of the richer citizens of the city. Getting the distillery running again proved a huge boon for trade in the city. Almost half the alcohol she produced was sold for medical or commercial purposes. Alcohol filled a lot of roles that other things were not available for. Most of it got drank though.

Jade was an Amazon. Her father had been a legendary fighter in the city during the early years. At over six and half feet tall and close to 300lbs the former NBA power forward had walked the streets for years carrying a huge claymore sword lopping off the heads of Ragers and anyone else who posed a serious problem. He had died at home of a heart attack nearly ten years ago and half the city went to his funeral.

“Diamond it is good to see you again. I am not sure what your relationship was to Mr. Chaplin; but I understand you were here to meet him about a tax bill.”

“Yeah. That son of bitch was trying to work me for some gold. He wrote me to meet him for dinner at 5PM today. He wanted 10 ounces to crush his tax proposal. Not only that but that little shit Teller wanted to seal the deal in the bedroom. I told him I can bring some gold but you know I don’t go that way, so the other thing wasn’t happening.”

“Wow, so Teller was brokering a deal between you and Chaplin to kill the tax proposal?”

“Those morons have got no clue what it takes to keep the distillery up and running. I think their plan was to try to bring it up every year and then milk it for more gold.”

“Did you see Chaplin or Teller at all today?”

“No.”

“Did you bring the gold today?”

“I did.”

“That is a lot in one spot. Do you need an escort to get home?”

She chuckled; “I already have an escort. They are outside. Do you still need me?”

“No, I don’t think so, as always a pleasure. The police may want to speak with you, so if you would stick around.”

“I’ll just sit in the lobby out of the way.”

“Can you send in Junior?”

The young Texans had caused quite a stir on their arrival to the City. While there were occasional private aircraft and some government aircraft did visit the city on occasion most private planes did not have machine guns or drops bombs. After today with their success at routing the raiders the boys would likely be in high demand in the sky and on the ground. The paper had done an interview with them earlier in the day at the airfield and was going to put them on the front-page tomorrow. If Chaplin was planning on trying to shut them down, then he would have had an uphill battle. Junior still looked a bit nervous which was odd for the normally happy go lucky pilot.

“Junior can you tell me what happened?

“We were having a private party in the private dining room. I got up to go pee and when I got to the bathroom I noticed some blood seeping out from under the stall. I asked the dude a couple of times if he was ‘ok’ and it was deathly quiet in there. Finally, I just kicked the door in. There was blood all over the stall and dude was dead with his pants around his ankles. Looked like he had been taking a leak in to the sit down and someone had come up behind and then knifed him in the back. Then I noticed the bite marks….”

“Where were the bite marks?

“All over his neck and around his shoulder.”

“Did you know the man?”

“I never saw him before. I heard who he was later.”

“Where were you today around 3PM?”

“I was at the airfield with my brother. We were doing maintenance on the planes. I got out of there around 4:30. We came straight here.”

“Anyone see you besides your brother?”

“The guard at the airfield saw us leaving I am sure. The newspaper people left around 2PM”

Jacob paused trying to figure out how to phrase the next question. “Ok, I have never seen you this nervous before. What is going on?”

Now it was Junior’s turn to pause. “Look I never see the dead up close. It was kind of unsettling.”

“Bullshit.” Jacob replied.

“Ok, ok it won’t matter either way. When I kicked the damn door open I stumbled a bit. I fell forward. I touched him. I got blood on my hands. His blood. I washed it off really quick and I don't feel different.”

"Did you slip on the blood?"

"No there was no blood near the front of the stall, just the one line going from the body, I just got clumsy for one damn second...."

“He wasn’t a Rager.”

Junior seemed greatly relieved by this information; “Are you sure?”

“I am absolutely certain. Whoever killed Chaplin was not infected.”
From this day to the ending of the world,
But we in it shall be rememberèd—
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother

idahobob
* * *
Posts: 372
Joined: Mon Apr 19, 2010 9:20 pm
Location: Idaho

Re: The Hotel Detective - A short story in three parts.

Post by idahobob » Tue Feb 20, 2018 8:08 am

Excellent post! :clap: :clap:

Keep 'er coming, please! 8-)

Bob
People who are rather more than six feet tall and nearly as broad across the shoulders often have uneventful journeys. People jump out at them from behind rocks then say things like, "Oh. Sorry. I thought you were someone else."

User avatar
91Eunozs
ZS Lifetime Member
ZS Lifetime Member
Posts: 1881
Joined: Sat Dec 31, 2011 8:16 am
Favorite Zombie Movies: All of them!
Location: Hill Country, Texas

Re: The Hotel Detective - A short story in three parts.

Post by 91Eunozs » Fri Feb 23, 2018 10:19 pm

Ditto!

Always enjoy a good mystery...love the twist with this one.
Molon Latte...come & take our coffee order
Doctorr Fabulous wrote:... It's fun to play pretend, but this is the internet, and it's time to be serious.
zengunfighter wrote:... you don't want to blow a tranny in the middle of a pursuit...
woodsghost wrote:... A defensive gun without training is basically a talisman. It might ward off evil, but I wouldn't count on it.

Zimmy
ZS Member
ZS Member
Posts: 960
Joined: Tue May 29, 2012 11:11 pm
Favorite Zombie Movies: 28 Days later, Return of the Living Dead
Location: Trinity City, Texas

Re: The Hotel Detective - A short story in three parts.

Post by Zimmy » Sat Feb 24, 2018 8:03 pm

I like your pitch and detail. Proofing was almost perfect.

Please continue!
Boldly going nowhere

User avatar
Stercutus
* * * * *
Posts: 12121
Joined: Wed Feb 10, 2010 8:16 pm
Location: Bouncing in to Graceland

Re: The Hotel Detective - A short story in three parts.

Post by Stercutus » Wed Feb 28, 2018 9:25 am

Part III

Sufficient Information has been provided above to discern the identity of the killer or at least form a solid hypothesis. I will post the identity of the killer and the epilogue in a few days. If you know who it is feel free to post below. If you need more clues to confirm or rebut a hypothesis continue below. After finishing our tale below there should be no doubt.


“Junior you understand that the police will consider you to be a suspect. I may be able to help you. I had heard rumors that Chaplin was shaking down various interests to peddle his influence in Nashville. I don’t suppose he was putting his hand on your wallet as well?”

Junior paused a minute as if thinking his situation over and then seemed to decide to go for it.

“His little toady had mentioned something about how unhappy his boss was that we were in the employ of the railroad. He did kind of imply that the bad feelings would go away if a ‘donation’ could be made in the right places. After today though I don’t think it was going to be a problem. We saved a bunch of people in that ambush today and the paper is writing up a nice story about us. I don’t think people around here would take it if Nashville tried to get rid of us. Even if they did we could just find a job somewhere else so piss on him.”

“I kind of figured it was something like that. But surely you are comfortable here? The company has put you up in a nice place and you get everything you need. I’d hate to have to move and start over somewhere else.”

“It is nice here and we have put in the hours. But no one is going to drive us off now. I didn’t kill Chaplin and I think you know that.”

“It does seem unlikely. I suppose you can vouch for the location of your brother earlier today?”

“For what is worth of course I can. Are thinking that someone that Chaplin was shaking down maybe got tired of it eh? Decided to ‘cut’ a different deal? I din't like speaking ill of the dead but the guy was a dick.”

“Maybe. I appreciate you talking to me. I have to go speak with someone else now. Please if you don’t mind waiting here in the outer room. The police will almost certainly want to talk to you as well.”

As Junior showed himself out Jacob realized that it was urgent to speak with Nathan Greenhaw before the police arrived. He found himself hurrying to his own office. He remembered Greenhaw having a large Bowie knife on his off-hand side of his waist at check-in. Given everything that he had figured so far it very well could be the murder weapon. He met Giselle in the hallway incidentally.

“Please, the police should be here any minute. If you could meet with them and talk to them and get them to meet with our guests, especially Mr. Teller. I am sure he can get a good rant started that will delay them for an hour if they get caught up in it. Not that I need an hour just a few minutes.”

“Ah, so we have figured out what happened?”

“Yes, it was the butler.”

“I see you have jokes now. An important man dead in our hotel and you find it so funny…. You know no one under the age sixty will get your dumb joke.”

“Fifteen minutes, tops.”

“Go and desert me at my hour of need. I’ll pretend like you were tired from entertaining the ladies and needed a rest and are just now getting up.”

Jacob shook his head with acceptance and walked down the other corridor to his office as Giselle headed for the lobby to meet the police. Teller was standing in the hallway with a look of spiteful anger on his face. He was glaring at the hotel guards with a hand on a Glock pistol in his waistband. He seemed to have decided that he could not fight past the guards safely. But he had no problem addressing Jacob directly.

“I hear you have the killer in your office. Why is he still alive if he is a Rager?”

“I don’t think he is a Rager, we just want to make absolutely sure everyone is safe. I don’t even know that Mr. Greenhaw killed Mr. Chaplin but it needs to be investigated. I need you to go back to the lobby. The police should be there by now and they will really need you to talk to them about what happened here.”

“I am telling you some of the Ragers are different now. Some of them walk around till they get hungry, kind of like vampires then their rage gets out of control. We should just end this now, let me go in there and shoot him in the head and that will be the end of it.”

“If this is the case then it is even more important that he be kept alive, so they can study him at the hospital. If he needs to be put down, I’ll do it myself.”

Jacob’s answer seemed to incense the pudgy civil servant further. He white knuckled gripped his Glock and then seemed resigned to the situation.

“You know the State is going to be really unhappy when they see how you run things down here.”

“I don’t work for the State. I imagine the police will find out who the killer is very quickly. If it is Mr. Greenhaw he will be punished.”

“I wouldn’t want to be in your shoes.”

“Is that a threat sir? I only ask because I have heard much of your deceased boss's vague threats towards people’s livelihood lately and how these things get resolved. I am not sure how the State would see your role in all that. Perhaps not favorably?”

“You have no idea what you are talking about. You are about to get yourself in trouble, more trouble than you can handle. Keep talking smart guy and maybe the State might decide that this hotel is too dangerous to keep open what with smart talking security guards who can’t even keep their guests safe from being knifed in the back.”

Jacob looked at Teller. He gave him the look of a man that had seen far too much violence in the world and had learned the ways in which to deal with such violence. It was a smile, the smile of an assassin.

Without another word Teller walked off in huff towards the lobby. Jacob was glad to be rid of the man for the moment. He nodded to the guards and walked in to his office to find Greenhaw sitting in a chair in front of his desk. Greenhaw looked non-plussed and exhausted.

“Mr. Greenhaw I apologize for the brusqueness of the guards in bringing you here. You seem a man of straight and deliberate thought, so I will go to the point. A man was murdered in the hotel and an eye of suspicion has been cast upon you. I’d like to clear it up as quickly as possible.”

“Who died?”

“A man named Don Chaplin, did you know him?”

“Never heard of him.”

“He was a high level bureaucrat in the State Government. Can’t think of any reason why you should know him. They don’t make it out to the farms much.
Since you arrived at the hotel what have you and who have you seen and talked to?”

“I was pretty exhausted from the trip, the battle and then being stuck in quarantine for hours. I went to bed and was planning on sleeping through the night until your men came and got me. I didn’t talk to anybody other than the hotel clerk.”

“Have you had any contact with a Rager in the last 72 hours?”

“What? Are you serious? No, no Ragers. Besides if I was infected it’d be pretty noticeable by now.”

“Can you account for your Bowie knife?”

“Yeah, it is in my room. They wouldn’t let me bring it with me.”

"But you didn't speak to anyone else or see anyone else?"

McFalls paused a bit and then thought through the proper decorum of how to address his next question.

“Ok, look I need you to be perfectly honest with me. Understand we respect the privacy of our guests and our guests are human beings with needs that need to be met. I need to know in the strictest of confidence of course if there was no one else you talked to?”

Now it was Nathan’s turn to pause. He seemed a bit embarrassed but went on anyway.

“Ok look, I’m 64 years old, my wife is long deceased and I do get lonely. So yeah, I met a young lady outside the train station and she met me at my room about an hour later. She stayed about a half hour then left. She forgot her bag and came back to get it about an hour later. She said her name was Sylvia, I don’t know what her real name is. If you can find her though she can account for where I was most of the day here. After that I did go to sleep till your men awoke me.”

Jacob had to admire the old man’s stamina. He had spent half the morning fighting off a band of raiders then had the energy to perform in the bedroom. He hoped he was doing that well in 15 years.

“I really appreciate you talking to me. Is there anything else you can think of? Anything odd?”

“Well the whole day has been on the weird side. Between being ambushed by raiders, saved by WWII Ground Strike Fighters and being accused of being a Rager kind of puts the cap on it. I have been getting a lot of looks today, feels weird. The word of the ambush spread pretty quick. I’d make a piss-poor Rager anyway.”

“Why is that?”

Greenhaw put his hand up to his mouth and looked like he was throwing up in his hand for a second. He then showed Jacob a full set of dentures. Jacob smiled.

“I was kind of wondering about that. I’m going to say that puts you in the likely ‘not it’ category. I’d like you to stay in my office under guard though. It is for your own safety.”

“I guess I can do that.”

Jacob had two more things to take care of before he could be certain. First he sent a guard to the blue light area outside the train station to find "Sylvia". He then worked his way back to the lobby where Teller was giving an animated account of the murder, the hotel and anything else that he thought the police might listen to. Jacob spotted the police lieutenant who was being quite patient and suggesting that they move to a more private location and Jacob gave him a wave. He then spotted Diamond. She appeared to be headed for the exit. He moved quickly and caught her at the door.

“Please don’t leave so fast the party is just getting started.”

“This isn’t really my scene.”

“I understand, but the police may not.”

“I didn’t kill the bastard.”

“Maybe, but I did have one more question.”

“Ok McFalls go ahead.”

“Explain to me again how you knew what time to meet Chaplin.”

“I told you, he sent me a letter. Well, actually two letters. He first sent me a letter saying to meet for lunch. I wrote back and told him I could not meet till three. He then said his train would not be in till later and changed the time to five.”

“Excellent. Can you wait here a second and not move? I need to tell the police who it was that killed Chaplin.”
From this day to the ending of the world,
But we in it shall be rememberèd—
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother

User avatar
bodyparts
* *
Posts: 123
Joined: Sat Jan 25, 2014 9:25 am
Favorite Zombie Movies: land of the dead
Location: sw , mo

Re: The Hotel Detective - A short story in three parts.

Post by bodyparts » Sat Mar 03, 2018 6:56 am

thank you for sharing this with us . i have very much enjoyed it . the butler did it , never trust the bureaucratic butler ! my guess is teller ?

User avatar
91Eunozs
ZS Lifetime Member
ZS Lifetime Member
Posts: 1881
Joined: Sat Dec 31, 2011 8:16 am
Favorite Zombie Movies: All of them!
Location: Hill Country, Texas

Re: The Hotel Detective - A short story in three parts.

Post by 91Eunozs » Sat Mar 03, 2018 9:47 pm

I really, really want it to be Teller, but all evidence points to the Amazonian warrior.
Molon Latte...come & take our coffee order
Doctorr Fabulous wrote:... It's fun to play pretend, but this is the internet, and it's time to be serious.
zengunfighter wrote:... you don't want to blow a tranny in the middle of a pursuit...
woodsghost wrote:... A defensive gun without training is basically a talisman. It might ward off evil, but I wouldn't count on it.

User avatar
flybynight
* * * * *
Posts: 2173
Joined: Sun Dec 01, 2013 12:30 am

Re: The Hotel Detective - A short story in three parts.

Post by flybynight » Sun Mar 04, 2018 4:28 pm

It's obvious The answer is right in the story
Sufficient Information has been provided above to discern the identity of the killer or at least form a solid hypothesis.
“Yes, it was the butler.”
It's always the butler ( or Colonel Mustard. But he's not mentioned of course ) :awesome:
As of now I bet you got me wrong

John Titor was right

User avatar
Stercutus
* * * * *
Posts: 12121
Joined: Wed Feb 10, 2010 8:16 pm
Location: Bouncing in to Graceland

Re: The Hotel Detective - A short story in three parts.

Post by Stercutus » Tue Mar 06, 2018 2:05 am

Part the Last

McFalls moved over to the police lieutenant, a younger man with odd moniker of William Williams while keeping a close eye on Teller. If he had gauged the man correctly things were about to get ugly. Being in the lobby in front of a dozen people including police from both the local and the State agency would be invaluable.

“William I think I can help you a bit with what has happened if you could give me a listen?"

“I’d like that but first tell me if there is a Rager loose in the hotel? Mr. Teller here seems to think so.”

“There is not. Mr. Teller is saying that because he really, really wants someone to kill Mr. Greenhaw. I have Greenhaw under guard in my office. If he goes Rager on us he will be put down. Right now he is enjoying some tea.”

A look of surprise began to supplant the anger on Teller’s face.

McFalls continued; “You see Chaplin was murdered by someone carefully and coolly planning out the killing including someone to blame it on. Greenhaw was going to be set up for the murder. Paint him as a Rager and he gets shot on sight. Cleans everything up nicely and he never gets to prove his innocence. In fact, the killer might even get a medal for ending a threat to public safety.”

Williams seemed a bit surprised by this turn. Murder plots were unusual. Most homicides were over drunken brawls, affairs and hardened criminals getting rid of their competition. A murder plot was rare and tough to untangle but most often involved large sums of money.

“Ok go ahead and explain what you think has happened. But keep in mind it is just your opinion.”

“I had first believed that Chaplin was in town to extort money from a number of business owners in…”

Teller interjected; “Now wait a goddam minute! You are not going to smear Chaplin’s name his body isn’t even cold yet….”

“You are absolutely right…” McFalls cut him off. “Chaplin wasn’t extorting money: You were. You see no one that was being extorted actually talked to Chaplin directly; but they all talked to you. You were his assistant and handled his mail as well. How easy it was to change his letters, collect the money and satisfy your perversions all the while Chaplin is none the wiser while you steer him in to doing what you needed done in the office.”

“You are really asking for it McFalls, why the hell would I kill Chaplin? I am getting promoted and taking a job here dumbass.”

“I figure Chaplin found out about your side business of influence peddling and was going to have you fired. No more head office job in Chattanooga, you probably get fired yourself. He must have figured it out before you arrived in town. Perhaps brought it up to you on the train from Nashville?”

Teller looked at Williams; “This is all bullshit you can’t buy any of this.”

Williams considered for a moment; “I don’t hear a whisper of evidence. Just a lot of winded speculation.”

“When they arrived in the city they would have been in quarantine with Greenhaw. The tale of his battle would doubtless have spread by then. You talked with Greenhaw about it, found out he was staying in the same hotel as you. A smart man would have seen Greenhaw talking to a hooker outside the train station and come up with a plan to pay off the hooker a little extra to get in his room and get his knife. Then she brings it back later after she ‘forgets’ her bag. He is none the wiser. Then you start your bullshit stories about Ragers walking around intelligently. Find Greehaw and shoot him.”

“It's true about the Ragers; but never mind that. Your whole story is crazy. An imaginary hooker would know it wasn’t me that had done all of that. Try and find such a person.”

“I already did that. She is right behind you.”

Near the back entrance to the lobby Sylvia was standing next to the guard that he had dispatched. She raised a hand and pointed at Teller. “It was just like he said that man….”

“Oh hell no! You really think this is going to work…”

McFalls addressed Williams loudly and firmly; “You better grab him before he goes…”

“Like hell you’re going to grab me!”

Teller had reached his limit, his hand went to his gun, the Glock began appeared and began moving in slow motion upwards. When the gun was still pointed at the floor a shot split the air and red hole appeared in Teller’s forehead. Teller dropped his pistol, staggered forward a couple of steps and he then dropped like a sack of potatoes on the marble lobby floor. Jacob holstered and was glad it was over.

*****

It took several hours to get statements from everyone, for the police to collect the evidence and call it a night. Teller’s incriminating actions and the Sylvia’s witness had sealed the deal for the case. The state would likely be unhappy about the situation but well satisfied with the merits of the case.

Eventually Jacob sat down for dinner with Giselle in her office; beef and burgundy and the beef was exceptionally rare. While Jacob was famished Giselle was a bit off of her appetite.

“Jacob, you know you are really are a son to me… you can tell me anything it stays between us. You know I never ask you silly questions but… why Jacob? Why did you kill that man?”

“He pulled a gun it looked like…”

“That isn’t what I meant, and you damn well know it.”

“I wondered. I wondered if you knew.”

“Teller was far too ignorant an animal to have planned out such a thing on short notice. Besides I guess you knew that Chaplin was corrupt all along. There is no way you would have missed that.”

“For thirty years I have protected you and this hotel from everything to packs of wild ragers, to bandits, to thieves after the silver. Surely you didn’t think because the robbers were wearing nicer clothes and bathed more regularly that I was going to suddenly stop? When I found out that Chaplin was squeezing you not only for a free room but some cash donations as well his days were numbered.”

“You took a huge risk. Did you think about what would happen if you got caught?”

“I wasn’t going to get caught. Have a little faith.”

“Didn’t you tell me that all criminals always think that?”

“Ok, yeah. I mean things did go a little sideways. I cleaned up the bathroom as best I could. I didn’t expect Junior to run in there and kick the stall door open. I thought we would ‘find’ the body keep it quiet and I get rid of Greenhaw, ‘problem solved’. When Teller started running around the hotel like an idiot I figured a self-important man with a temper like that would go off the rails quick. He really self-identified as a patsy early on so I changed the plan on the fly, it seems to have worked. Consider it a public service. If that man had taken a position of power in this city there would have been no end to his corruption.
“No one is going to shed a tear over those two around here. The hotel’s reputation is intact. We even salvaged Chaplin’s reputation so the State can blame it on an underling gone awry. A dozen witnesses including several policemen saw Teller melt down, it’s airtight.”

“Did you really bite him?”

“Of course not. When Greenhaw was here two years ago he visited the dentist and had his dentures made up. I simply borrowed them for a bit. Teller would never have known that but if the police had checked it would still fit in there somehow.”

“Oh, that is really disgusting. What about Sylvia?”

“She gave a sworn statement and she’s thrilled that I paid her enough to get out from underneath her pimp. She knows better than to talk. Besides, you don’t turn on the guy that solves problems the way I do. Last I checked her plan was to join a nunnery.”

Giselle laughed for the first time since Chaplin’s body was discovered; “A nunnery? Well then maybe she will take a vow of silence.”

“Look, I love you like a mother, I would never let anyone harm or take advantage of you. I won’t get caught but if I were to get caught I’d take the blame and tell them whatever it took to thrown them off you.”

“I know.”

“In the end all that really matters is we survived another crisis, albeit a small one.”

“If we are going to live in a civilized world again we can’t solve all our problems through violence.”

“We won’t. Just when we need to. Come on, dinner is getting cold.”

Giselle seemed to regain some appetite.

The roast beef was delicious and very rare.
From this day to the ending of the world,
But we in it shall be rememberèd—
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother

idahobob
* * *
Posts: 372
Joined: Mon Apr 19, 2010 9:20 pm
Location: Idaho

Re: The Hotel Detective - A short story in three parts.

Post by idahobob » Tue Mar 06, 2018 9:42 am

That was a VERY good story! :clap: :clap:

I hope that you have more of 'em for us!

So..........Thank you, thank you, thank you! :awesome:

Bob
People who are rather more than six feet tall and nearly as broad across the shoulders often have uneventful journeys. People jump out at them from behind rocks then say things like, "Oh. Sorry. I thought you were someone else."

User avatar
91Eunozs
ZS Lifetime Member
ZS Lifetime Member
Posts: 1881
Joined: Sat Dec 31, 2011 8:16 am
Favorite Zombie Movies: All of them!
Location: Hill Country, Texas

Re: The Hotel Detective - A short story in three parts.

Post by 91Eunozs » Tue Mar 06, 2018 11:56 pm

Thanks!

Awesome twist...well done.
Molon Latte...come & take our coffee order
Doctorr Fabulous wrote:... It's fun to play pretend, but this is the internet, and it's time to be serious.
zengunfighter wrote:... you don't want to blow a tranny in the middle of a pursuit...
woodsghost wrote:... A defensive gun without training is basically a talisman. It might ward off evil, but I wouldn't count on it.

User avatar
bodyparts
* *
Posts: 123
Joined: Sat Jan 25, 2014 9:25 am
Favorite Zombie Movies: land of the dead
Location: sw , mo

Re: The Hotel Detective - A short story in three parts.

Post by bodyparts » Fri Mar 09, 2018 9:30 pm

:D
very well done !! love the twisty twist !! enjoyed it a great deal , thank you very much !

Zimmy
ZS Member
ZS Member
Posts: 960
Joined: Tue May 29, 2012 11:11 pm
Favorite Zombie Movies: 28 Days later, Return of the Living Dead
Location: Trinity City, Texas

Re: The Hotel Detective - A short story in three parts.

Post by Zimmy » Fri Mar 09, 2018 10:35 pm

Thanks a bunch. I fingered the bureaucrat, personally.

It’s nice to be wrong sometimes.
Boldly going nowhere

Post Reply

Return to “Fiction”