I’m deliriously tired after work today so the second part to the story I started yesterday is not great. But hey, that’s what editing’s for, right? Once I’ve got the whole story written, I plan to spend a lot of time editing ;D Feel free to check out part one here.

2

Like popping pimples

It was turning into the quietest shift Emma had ever worked. She sat in the office to the left of the reception desk, absently rolling around the room on a swivel chair. She plucked chocolates from the half-empty selection box on her lap, not bothering to offer any to Barry. She was the one who’d found it discarded in the fourth floor corridor, not him. Finders keepers, losers weepers and all that shit. Besides, he was far too busy hissing at the CCTV screen, which showed four scenes; the reception desk itself, the bar, the staff entrance at the back of the hotel and a small section of the car park.

And all four scenes showed police officers.

They’re turning our guests away!” he cried, pushing away from the desk and stomping to the door, “They’ll think there’s been a bloody murder! Good god, I can just see the Trip Advisor reviews tomorrow!”

Emma shrugged her shoulders and shoved two pieces of Turkish Delight in her mouth. At that moment in time, she couldn’t have cared less what the guests thought. Her afternoon shifts usually consisted off checking guests in, taking and making phone calls, answering emails, replying to reviews, working the bar, cleaning the bar, restocking the bar, dealing with complaints, hauling suitcases up the stairs (the lift was broken after all, just like everything else), cooking evening meals, washing the dishes from said evening meals so…

…she was currently in heaven. She’d attained her well-earned slice of nirvana and refused to be of any help to the police whatsoever. Sure, she’d led them to the maintenance office on the fourth floor (where she’d found the selection box), but she was enjoying Barry’s suffering and her free time just a tad too much to be of any real help. She didn’t want to say anything that might allow them to leave and, God forbid, let guests in.

Has anything out of the ordinary happened recently?

Well, officer, she hadn’t said, there was a scary-ass lady staying in room 613 a few weeks back and since she left, things have been going from bad to worse. Oh and did you know the maintenance man was headed to that room when he disappeared?

Nah, she shook her head and chewed down a piece of chocolate-coated fudge, they had detectives. They could work it out themselves.

And what are you shaking your head at?” Barry snapped, his hand on the door handle. Evidently, he was about to go “give those bloody officers” a piece of his mind. Again.

Crap. Think, think, think.

You…you speak like you know there hasn’t been a murder,” she said, her voice slightly muffled by a wad of caramel, “He hasn’t been found yet so how can you be so sure?”

His already pink, flustered face deepened a shade or two and, she blinked in surprise, sure her mind was deceiving her, both of his eyes started twitching.

Because this is Cosy Inn Manchester! Stuff like that doesn’t happen here!”

Stuff like that didn’t happen there? Had it not only been two days previous that the hot water tap on the coffee machine had become unhinged, quite literally, its spout twisting upwards like a snake as it shot an impressive plume of boiled water at poor old Karl? The man was currently laying in a hospital bed somewhere, drugged up to the eyeballs – she admonished herself for her chosen idiom. After all, he didn’t have any eyes left! – with second degree burns trailing down his face, a bloodied imitation of tears he could no longer shed.

She reached for another chocolate only to find the box empty. She pouted and scanned the desk for more salvaged food, needing something to distract her from the way in which the maintenance man himself had described the unfortunate incident.

Never seen anything like it,” he had said as Karl was stretchered into the ambulance, “The water, Jesus Christ, I’ve never seen anything like it. It was like a fucking jet hose. It popped his eyes like pimples!”

 

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