Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/view_item/item_id/2291270-Gunsmoke-and-Rose-Petals
Rated: E · Chapter · Mystery · #2291270
A woman is murdered in a posh hotel room.
The conference had lasted for three days and by the time it is over, I am exhausted and my right hand is still wrapped around a pen from signing autographs. At least it still felt as if it were. The front door of the Hotel my manager booked me into had one of them spinning doors like a merry-go-round. God, I hated them things

Finally, I made it through without losing my Lunch and Dinner all over the floor. The man behind the front desk did not seem to know I stood before him, His nose is stuck ins between the covers of a book. I smiled at recognizing the title and Author. I tapped the bell and he did not move one bit. Was he dead or frozen in time because of the book being that good?

After a minute more had passed I reached over the counter, yanking it out of his hands. This action moved him into the first movement I saw him perform. Jerking his head up he yelled out, "What the Hell was that for?"

"I believe my manager has reserved a room in my name. His name is Harold Jessup. I am checking in."

He typed in Harold's name. "Yes, Sir. Here it is. Room 69. That is going to be on the ninth floor. Will you please sign the register and I will get your code key for you. Have you need assistance with your bags, Sir?" He turned and got the code key out of the box for room 69.

"No, thanks. I usually travel pretty lightly and have only these two bags. I can handle them.?" I reached out my hand to await the code key.

As he handed me the key he noticed the name I had signed in the register. He swallowed hard and cleared his throat. "Pardon me, Sir. I did not recognize you. It is a pleasure having you stay in our Hotel. I enjoy your books."

"I kind of figured that out when I walked up. Here is your book back. Enjoy the rest of it."

"Oh. I will for sure. Are you in town for vacation r business, Sir?"

"Business. The last two nights I had been staying across town, but that Hotel had a fire last night and so, here I am tonight."

"I heard about that. Terrible, just terrible. If I can make your stay with us more enjoyable just ring the desk."

"I will and thanks." I headed for the elevator thirty feet away, punched the button for the ninth floor, and waited for the doors to open. I saw him pick the book back up and continue reading. I smirked at the thought of when he finally noticed the inside cover. I quickly signed it while he grabbed the code key. The doors opened and I stepped inside. I listened to the music playing over the speakers. Yup. Same crummy crap all of them play.

My room was nicer than some and left much to be desired by others. At least the bed was firm enough, large enough and the tv worked. The bathroom is adequate and would do the job. The room came with a coffee maker which I would put to use for sure Not knowing how long I would be up yet I made a pot before using the shower. Once done and dressed in sweats, my usual choice for relaxing, I opened my laptop and checked my emails.

An hour later I started feeling tired despite the half a pot of coffee I had consumed. I logged off and shut down, turned down the ringer on my cell phone, and set it by the tv. I opened the curtain a couple of inches and off went the light. The bed felt wonderful beneath my aching back and hips. I drifted off to sleep as best I could with the constant running of the toilet.

The nerve-wracking toilet did not compare to the four gunshots at 3 a.m. that came through my room's wall to imbed into the headboard above me. I woke in an instant. A moment later I heard slamming doors and running feet down the hallway. then a high-pitched scream that could have come from either a lady or a man. Needless to say, I was not getting any more sleep that night I joined the others in the hallway outside my neighbor's room and waited for the police to show up.

You would think that when someone hears a gunshot, the Police would show up within minutes. Nope, not in this case. I guess they did not like this part of town. I understand it is a part where more crime happens, but someone was shot. Finally, after twenty minutes two Detectives and three uniforms show up. Immediately they started shoving everyone back down the Hallway out of their way. No one gave them any trouble and cooperated completely.

The Nightshift manager stood there trembling. Nothing like this has ever happened on his watch before and he had no clue of what the hell to do. One of the Detectives asked to see the register book to see who the occupant's name is. He said he would go get it immediately and went downstairs to get it. He took maybe five minutes and he handed it over very nervously. His hands shook and sweat dripped down his face.

The lead Detective ignored him for a moment as he read down the names until he came to Room 67. Sylvia Gold was registered for the room. Having checked in two days ago. That name seemed familiar and he could not recall where he had heard it before. But, given time it would come to him. He turned it over and over in his mind until it finally dawned on him.

A two-bit faded actress and singer trying to make a comeback. "Do you if she was expecting anyone? " He asked the Manager, a smallish man who wished he was anywhere else at the moment.

"Who knows? I do not pry into my guest's business." He replied back a little louder than normal.

"I'd say she was," I spoke up from the back of the crowd.

Turning around he looked over everyone, "Who said that and why?"

Stepping forward the crowd parted a little for me to squeeze through. "I did, Sir. The Rose Petals all over the floor and the bed."

"What about them?"

"Nobody makes that kind of mess to clean up later unless they were expecting someone for a Romantic evening. Any of the ladies here can tell you I speak the truth. Them Rose Petals are a pain in the ass to clean up." All the ladies there agreed with me by nodding their heads.

"What Room are you in, Mister?"

"Room 69. Next door. The shots came through these thin walls and embedded in the headboard above me."

"We will have to check that out. Did you get a look at the room and the body? Did you touch anything?"

"I did look them over. Quickly. And to my knowledge, no one touched a thing."

The Detective looked over the crowd again before speaking another word. "Did any of you people see or hear anything? If not, then go back to your rooms, you'll just be in the way." He pointed at the Manager and me. "You two stay."

The rest of the guests strolled back to their rooms on that floor muttering to themselves about the rudeness of the Detective and his lack of compassion. They probably would not think that way if they had to put up with what he did on a daily basis. After a while, the gruesomeness of Death did not bother you much anymore. I knew Soldiers that became hardened that way and I did as well to some degree.

The Detective pointed at the Manager and told his Officers to keep him around, then looked my way and said,"Let's check out your room."

I lead the way next door. Opening the door up and turning on the lights, I walked over to a chair by the window and sat down. He could see where the bullets had come through the wall, fairly close together. Chipped paint and plaster littered the floor.

"And you were where? Show me by laying down on the bed." I did and pointed over my head to where the four had struck. "Okay. you can go back and sit down in the chair." He then looked around being nosey. He saw my laptop on the table and my badge from the conference laying next to it. Picking it up he studied it and asked, "Why are you in my town, Sam Stone?"

"As you can see by the badge you are holding, I was at the Writer's Conference and Book signing."

"So, you are a Writer." Not a question a statement.

"Yes, Sir."

"Are you popular? What kind of Writer are you?"

"I like to think I am. I write Mystery Novels."

"And you make a living doing this?" Obviously, this guy was not a fan or even a reader.

"Yes, I do indeed make a living at it. How much longer is this going to take as I have a train to catch later on for New Orleans and another Book Signing."

"Change your travel plans. You might be here a few days until we clear this shooting up. Did you touch anything in the other room?"

"No, Sir, and to my knowledge, no one else did either. Since getting back to sleep right now is out of the question, may I get dressed?"

"Go ahead." He stepped out into the hallway, leaving the door partway open.

I quickly shaved, leaving the goatee in place that I had started a few weeks ago, and liked the look it gave me. I dressed in my Brown tweed suit. The Detective came back into the room and said the Crime scene photographer was there to take pics. Could I leave for a bit?

Picking up my laptop and phone I headed out to track down the Manager. I asked him if I could get some coffee in the Hotel's Cafe. He said he had already called the Kitchen and a big pot was brewing. It was on the house. I told one of the Officers where I would be. I rode the elevator down to the first floor and walking in I noticed I had not been the only one to think the same thing. At least ten people were waiting at different tables for coffee or their beverage of choice.


Sitting down in the corner kind of away from the others I set up my laptop and called my Publisher and Agent letting them know what was going on. My Agent said he could put the book signing off for a few days only. All I could say was I would try to make it. When asked if I knew who had been killed I hesitated. i knew, but could not say at that time. I did not want to end up in a cell downtown somewhere. I hung up the phone after seeing the cook bring out the large coffee pot and a heaping plate of doughnuts. I grabbed a cup and three doughnuts. They were day old, but nobody seemed to mind one bit.

I tried to concentrate on getting some work done, but my mind kept going back to replaying the scene of the crime in my mind over and over again. Who had Miss Gold been expecting? A Guy or perhaps a Lady? Nowadays things were not as strange as they had been many years ago. Why the argument? Not the person she expected? Drugs? Money? Only time will bring out the truth.

As I sat there working on my latest book: The Skeleton's Sword, a news flash came over the tv about another killing. One quite similar to the one that took place upstairs. But the killing of Miss Gold had not been released to the public yet. Unless someone here called the news station. Whoever did should know that was a big no-no and you could get into trouble for that. It would be considered interfering in the investigation of an ongoing Police case. Jail was not out of the question.

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