“Things got out of hand,” Seth began explaining. “One of the customers got belligerent and started beating one of our girls pretty bad. Somehow she got the upper hand and whacked him over the head with something. Don’t remember what it was, but it killed him.”
“Cold-hard dead,” Danny concluded.
“Whatever, but he was dead. Gertrude came to the room and saw the mess. She didn’t panic. Actually she acted pretty cool.”
“Where did you come in?” Danny asked.
“She called me to the room. We worked out a plan.”
“Stuff him in the bathroom wall?”
“Pretty much, yeah,” Seth nodded. “You see, we couldn’t call the cops because it would’ve brought unwanted attention to the hotel. We couldn’t afford that. Business would’ve gone kabloowee. So we decided to protect the hotel.”
“By stuffing him in the wall?”
“It was perfect. The guy was a nobody Marine who liked to beat up on girls. We had it all planned out.”
“Gertrude and me,” Seth answered. “I stuffed him in the wall and Gertrude sent the girl out of town . Told her never to comeback. Just go disappear. Told that poor girl she might get into trouble if she didn’t leave — gave her a thousand bucks of Gertrude’s own money to go make a new life. Never saw that poor girl again.”
“So that’s where the leaks came in?”
“Yeah, we had ’em all the time. It was perfect. On the pretense of a leak, I took the room out of commission for a few days while I stuffed him in the wall and repaired the hole.”
“John Traiger know bout this?”
“He did. Had to decommission the room for a while. Yeah, he knew about it. Wasn’t happy about it, but he knew.”
“I assume Jimmy wrapped the body?”
“He did. To keep it from smelling. Did a good job from what I saw. Never did have any complaints from any guest after we rented the room again. This time to regular customers.”
“You were head bellhop in 1966?”
“I was. But I was also had worked in maintenance. I knew what I was doing. Plus I had some pull around the place. Other people knew what was going on. We had to protect the hotel. We covered each other’s asses.”
“The girl who killed him. Where is she these days?”
“Does it really matter?” Aaron said piping in for the first time. Danny remained quiet. He shuffled some papers around and moved on.
“The body in the privy pit? Anybody care to elaborate?” Everybody looked at each other several times. Finally Aaron spoke up.
“That was sad, real sad. A customer had some sort of problem and killed that poor girl.”
“Obviously you know something. Care to expound?”
“Happened in 1951. I’ll never forget it. Some Marine went bonkers and killed that girl. Gertrude heard the ruckus and went to the room. She was lying on the bed drenched in blood. The Marine was cowaring by a wall, crying like a baby. He was naked. He knew what he had done. Gertrude walked up to him and slapped him on the head and then threw a blanket over him.”
“She knew his commanding officer. She got on the phone, called him, and told him to get his ass down to the hotel this instance.”
“The Marines hauled his butt away. I understand he was on the next boat to Korea and he never came back alive.”
“I put her in the pit. They had just torn down the old wooden privy building and were putting a new addition over top of it. The pit had been backfilled with dirt. I buried her under some of the backfill and put some old debris over top to make it look natural. They finished the addition and nobody was to the wiser.”
“Do you remember her name?”
“I’ll never forget it. Marilyn. I’m sorry I didn’t know her last name. I did say a short prayer after I buried her. But from what I understand, she came from a broken home. Her family didn’t seem to care about her, and she didn’t seem to care for them.” Danny again shuffled his papers and went on to another topic.
“Do any of you know about the body in the boiler?” Again everybody looked at each other waiting for someone to speak. Seth Adams finally spoke up.
“Another sad story. A Marine went crazy and started beating up this girl. He beat her pretty severe. Somewhere along the line, she found a knife and stabbed him in the heart. He bled out at the foot of the bed.”