Authors: RA Chandler
She wrinkled her nose then flared them, took a deep breath and said, “Coco knows that kind of thing.”
“Did she know he’d be in this hotel?”
“I'm trying to figure out why a guy like that would come here, it’s a quiet place with rules. So I can’t think why someone would come here to get a piece of him.”
“Well you can do you figuring out elsewhere,” she said and removed her t-shirt.
I stared; it seemed the thing to do with when presented with lovely breasts.
“Yeah I sleep naked,” she said slipping out of her thong to reveal and perfectly trimmed bush.
I averted my eyes from her striking bosom and said to her face, “good night sweetie, keep the door locked and the heat up.
There was a man waiting at reception, I saw him from time to time. He had a thin face, was in his fifties and had manicured hands that were rapping away on the counter of the reception desk. Quinn was behind the desk standing to attention like a scolded corporal, he didn’t look well. The thin faced man looked like he’d just come from the hotel restaurant dressed in a dinner jacket and cravat with a diamond pin in it.
I smiled at the cravat wearing man when I got to the desk. “Marley One’s keys, there’s also a broken mirror,” I said passing the passkey to Quinn.
Then I turned to the other man.
“I assume you're here to speak with me Mr. Carter.”
“What happened Mr. Fields?” he said in with a slightly effeminate voice, a voice that said I know I'm not going to get the truth but I have to go through the motions before I take any action.
“Marley One and a couple of his boys thought it would be good to keep the residents on the eighth floor up. I knew there was some support staff on five but they went home at 1.30 because the company pays them so well. A couple of girls looking for a hustle managed to get rooms on the same floor as Marley One. They used their charms to introduce themselves and the hall entertainment was part of the act to get invited into the room for some more fun. The plan I think was to drug the girls and abuse them, I don’t think that was part of the girls hustle. Unfortunately I could only maintain the peace and avoid further discord by getting a little tough.”
“There appears to be blood on your cheek,” he said and handed me the handkerchief from his breast pocket.
I cleaned my face. “So I got the girl back to her room, it appears the other one was waiting for something. His boys waddled off; although I think they had intentions to come back because Marley One had order up some hookers and turned the music back up. Anyway he didn’t want to turn it down and glassed me, so I gave him a slap and he pulled a gun and shot at me. Here his Dessert Eagle.”
I took out the gun from my pocket and deposited it on the counter, then put the spent shell next to it. “So I gave him little more medicine and encouraged him to leave this fine establishment.”
Carter sighed and spoke as though I were a child who’d got a disappointing grade, “well I see your usually modus operandi is in full effect.”
“He shot at me,” I heard myself saying again. “Bullets kinda hurt if they don’t miss.”
Carter’s furrowed eyebrows became more furrowed. “You don’t throw any guest out of this building without consulting me; I am the hotel director, not you.”
“I should have consulted the police, but I was told as a point of my contract that I should not call the police unless someone is dead and then only if they died of natural causes. Apparently the place is like the House of Parliament and no one is allowed to die in it. So when the little shit tried to kill me I took what I believed to be appropriate action. I'm not paid to get shot at; I am not on the president’s personal detail.”
“Well Mr. Fields,” Carter said. “Well here’s something to ponder. This hotel as you know is owned by a large conglomerate, the controlling interest is owned by Mr. Grover W. McKinley. He also owns the Hummingbird club at which Marley One will be headlining on Thursday, it’s the opening night and they are trying to corner a particular demographic. He believes it has been ignored for too long and investing in a popular club with this demographic specifically will encourage a higher yield than the previous owners could get. That’s why Mr. One was kind enough to bestow his custom on us. Now what should I add?”
“From hence forth I am to be cast into the wilderness, a scourge…”
“Enough of that,” he snapped.
“Very good, I bid you goodnight.”
He turned and walked to the elevators and the lift attendant took him up to his apartment.
I looked at Quinn.
“McKinley, really?” I said. “From what I know of the man he’s not stupid enough to think this place and the Hummingbird would get the same kind of customers. Do you think Carter actually asked Marley One to come here?”
“Guess so,” said Quinn.
“Then why not put his dumb ass and buddies up in the clouds with a whole roof terrace to fuck about on. He’d pay more, be as loud as he wanted, and call up a gang of whores. It makes no sense putting him on a floor with residents and people with flights in the morning. And why in god’s name did Hobart let those girls get so close to him if he knew the score?”
“I don’t know.”
“Well it’s my last night,” I said. “Wonder how much trouble I can get into before I leave. Imagine that, losing a decent job because I wouldn’t let someone shoot me and I put the hotels reputation first. I’ll miss these happy times.”
“We’ll miss you too,” said Quinn.
“Ah shooks, you're goanna make me well up,” I said playfully.
“Well I’ll miss you in a week; my brother has a lodge up in Monticello.”
“You never mentioned any siblings before.”
“Yeah, he doesn’t do New York often, used to think he was going to be heavy weight champion of the world.”
I nodded, “well I’ve only got five hours of the shift left, might as well make sure this place is secure before I wonder off into the great beyond.”
“I’m off in the next thirty minutes, anything you need before I go?”
“Yeah, put the gun in the safe and call the cops about it when you get back, tell them security found it and you assumed they had called it in already. The last thing you want to do hold a gun that’s killed someone.”
Quinn took the gun and locked it away.
I looked at the receipt I’d taken from the bag in the girl’s room; it was made out to Gloria Jefferson, Apt 69, Dodell Apartments, 227 67th Avenue in Pomonok.
“What you got there?” said Quinn on his return.
“Gloria Jefferson, one of the girls on the eighth came to party with the Marley One.”
“Well more like set his ass up on some kind of rape charge, twisted fuck would probably over obliged though.”
“Drugged the other girl and was going to get all medieval and shit on her.”
“You goanna look into it.”
“In case they try it elsewhere?”
“What do I care?”
“The hotel will pay you.”
“Under what guise?”
“You know technically speaking you get a months’ notice?”
“Well I’ll write a termination of contract letter with your notice period and advance you your holiday pay which is an extra month wages because you never take any.”
“Aren’t you a private detective?”
“Business has been slow…”
“What else you got to do?”
“So why not pass the time while you’re trying to drum up business.”
I tucked it into my wallet and looked around the lobby. I’d miss this place but it looked like I had a new job, if that’s what I could call it.
Sometimes principles are too expensive. They can cost you money, dignity and pride. But being true to one’s self isn’t something you can put a price on, being free from the metaphorical master’s whip means setting the pace of you own work and rewards.
After leaving the college I’d had dreams of becoming Spenser, Marlowe or Easy Rawlins, solving people’s problems for money, but I needed my P.I license first, so that’s why I found myself at the Mayflower Hotel not too far from JFK, as the chief of security.
I’d been hired because I had a look, a pent up tension that looked like I could release all of my potential energy at once and go off like something from the Manhattan Project. I was a lean, strong specimen of man whose ancestors picked cotton in the South and cut sugar cane in the Greater Antilles. My face was usually bright, but on a work night it slowly turned to stone. They liked me because I was an ex-investigator for the D.A with a gun license who could be trusted not to steal the hotels silverware.
It was late, about two in the morning, but a few guests were still mulling around the hotel lounge waiting to take expensive conquests to their rooms to spend more money in their room’s mini-bar. I’d caught many a man chained to their beds hours after they should have checked out, too embarrassed to report being robbed after a blowjob in case their wives used it in a court of law.
“Getting late,” said Veronica the night receptionist.
“Yep,” I said. “Soon enough I’ll be out of this place.”
“Private detective work.”
“You don’t sound too infused.”
“I like the work, but poor humble people don’t hire detectives, poor people don’t need someone they pay to confirm infidelity and the like.”
“So why not change the target demographic.”
“Yeah that means…”
“I know what it means sweetie.”
“Well why not aim for the rich folks? They have a far larger amount of disposable income and usually acknowledge they have to pay a premium for good service. Paychecks will be higher but perhaps not as frequent.”
“It’s an interesting concept…”
“It’s not a concept, it’s a business model. Get them to pay more for a better more personal service. Offer a money back guarantee, I know Quinn’s got you on some kind of adventure, why not use it to network.”
“You should be in charge of my presidential campaign.”
“Anything else you want me to do for you?
I don’t like working with beautiful women, it’s distracting and inconvenient, especially when they are smart too. Veronica was twenty-two, Latino and had a nice round ass and C-cup breasts. When I say Latino I mean Selma Hayek, not Jennifer Lopez. This was inconvenient, because I had run out of reasons to go behind her desk and slide past her looking for something. She let me rub myself on her ass for paperclips, staples, memo pads and flyers, next I’d have to ask her to join me in the boiler room to check the plumbing.
The night cleaner, had his industrial vacuum cleaner, floor polisher and disinfectant sprays ready for action. The rules were that he wasn’t permitted to clean the lobby and ground floor corridor areas until three, so he busied himself wiping tables, turning off lamps in unoccupied areas and ogling Veronica. I felt bad for him, they were about the same age, but she was in her second year of a political science degree and he had dreams of owning a restaurant. There was nothing wrong with his dream, but it didn’t impress Veronica. Neither did his scrawny physique, I’d caught Veronica trying to sneak a look at me in the changing rooms after a gym session. She liked tall dark men, with defined trapezium and lats. I kept a mental note to myself that I needed to succumb to her attempts to seduce me, wait until it was about four in the morning, disable the security cameras in the reception area, slide behind the counter and hitch up her skirt, it was a matter of principle now.
Watching the cleaner chase cobwebs I yawned and listened to a low distant melody somewhere in the lounge area of the bar-restaurant. It sounded like Trey Songz or Usher, some tune about losing a lover or getting caught cheating. The sound annoyed me, the area was closed so I ventured down the corridor to see if the staff had neglected their duty and forgotten to turn the sound system off.
I was frowning or at least I thought I was, the feeling on my face was structured like a frown, but it passed, it always passed. I looked at my hands; the palms callused from lifting heavy weights, and smiled. I liked the fact that I hardened skin from weight training; I’d worked hard for my six pack, pecs and big arms. I wasn’t going to win Mr. Olympia and I wasn’t a freak of nature NFL player but I was strong and looked solid enough to deter only the drunk or high.
My nicely polished patent leather shoes carried me to an arch way that acted as the doorway to the lounge, and stepped onto the redwood flooring. The music was much louder now, annoyingly so, but the brunette who looked like Alicia Vikander, didn’t seem to be bothered. She just sat on an oversized leather couch and sipped a tall glass of Baileys. She had a remote in her hand and changed the track to Tinashe
. She was curled up with her bare feet under her and had populated the couch with most of the loose pillows from other couches as though she were in the midst of a lumpy duvet.
She didn’t turn her head when my shoes met the flooring, so I took the opportunity to look her over. She's was tall, about five foot nine or ten inches, green eyed and high cheek boned. Her breasts were about a 32C, and she was slim, owning a fabulous pair of legs with a great ass. Her legs were shown off by short denim shorts, her dark tanned and very flat stomach was on display as she reclined because her t-shirt was designed to lift. I was behind her and could see down her top at the rounded mounds of her breasts loose in an untied bikini top, the temptation to slip my hand down was overwhelming.
“You going to stare all night or say something?” she said opening her green eyes and looking at me directly.