Haven’t read parts one, two and three? No worries! Click the below links to catch up.
The Maintenance Man meets his maker
Barbara, the hotel’s general manager, sat at her desk, her previously white jacket covered in the orange juice she’d just spilled all over herself. She was a self-confessed caffeine addict, but following the whole Karl incident, nobody had really felt like standing in front of the coffee machine long enough to make themselves a drink. The maintenance man hadn’t actually found any faults with the machine, though. He’d simply called Karl’s ‘mishap’ (he’d actually used the word ‘mishap’! Like he’d just dropped a teapot on the floor or something as opposed to being blinded) a ‘freak accident’. Still, guzzling down the fluids of the machine that had irreparably hurt Karl was essentially fraternising with the enemy, or so Barry had told them at the staff meeting the next morning. With a stiff nod from Barbara, he’d slapped an ‘Out of order’ sign on the fully functional machine, stating that they needed to show Karl some solidarity and forego coffee. How could the man sue if he knew his colleagues were abstaining from caffeine on his behalf?
“He was found where?” Barbara now whispered, the dripping of orange juice onto carpet seeming like a scream in the heavy silence following her question.
The police officer sitting opposite her glanced at Emma, who was stood beside Barbara, a jug of juice clasped firmly in her hands. She frowned at him and shrugged her shoulders, a gesture she hoped roughly translated into “What the fuck you looking at me for? You’re the police officer.” She was simply there to pour juice.
He sighed and tugged the hat from his head, well and truly flustered if his ruddy cheeks were anything to go by. He bent his head and analysed the suddenly fascinating carpet. Despite being well into middle age, he obviously hadn’t seen anything quite like the scene that had greeted him and his officers on the roof. Emma felt a shiver trickle down her spine as she thought of the young officer who had come barrelling down the stairs, screeching – literally screeching – his face streaked in crimson. He had collapsed before the front desk, his words jumbled and nonsensical. Emma had caught one word, though.
“On the roof,” he finally said, looking up at Barbara.
Barbara leaned back in her chair, the leather creaking beneath her, and ran a hand through the grey waves of her wiry hair.
“And…and you say something attacked him? Attacked and killed him?”
He nodded, motioning for Emma to pour him another glass of orange juice. She took pity and dutifully complied.
“Like a guest?”
The police officer sighed and looked over his shoulder, towards the door. Satisfied that it was firmly closed, he turned back towards the general manager.
“Unless you had Edward Scissorhands staying with you, then no.”
Barbara shrieked, clapping a hand over her mouth.
“You mean, an animal did this? Impossible! We only allow dogs on the first floor!”
Another look towards the door. The officer replied in a hushed voice that was barely audible above the trickle of orange juice being poured into his glass.
“This is off the record, okay?”
He didn’t say anything until both Emma and Barbara had nodded.
“I don’t think a dog did this. I’m thinking something much bigger.”
Barbara promptly burst into tears, sobs wracking her large frame.
“But this is Cosy Inn Manchester! Stuff like that doesn’t happen here!”