“Who came to the rescue of this damsel in distress?” Danny said being a little sarcastic. He was believing what he was hearing but not liking it. He was actually kind of pissed at their stories and justifications.
“Well, I did. I came to help her.” Seth said again.
“Oh no, she didn’t have anything to do with the girls after her momma died.”
“Nothing at all?”
“I told you when you interviewed me I had nothing to do with the girls after Momma died. You don’t listen very well!” Beatrice said.
“I just assumed you were trying to deceive me?”
“No, I wasn’t. I had nothing to do with the girls.”
“But they kept coming, right?”
“A few did every so often. But nothing like it used to be.”
“Well then, who took care of them?”
“Mr. Traiger did,” Seth said.”
“Mr. Traiger!?” Danny said totally astonished.
“Yes, Mr. Traiger.”
“You’re kidding? I never would have thought,” Danny said, shaking his head.
“Well, he did. They were bringing in some bucks for the hotel when things got slack. Apparently he and Gertrude worked out some sort of deal. I didn’t know the details. I just knew he was the go-to guy after Gertrude died,” Seth said.
“You know about this Beatrice?”
“Yeah, I knew about it. But I didn’t want anything to do with it. I was already working in the dining room, doing well for myself. I stayed out of it.”
“So, the girl — what happened to her?”
“Mr. Traiger did like Gertrude did that other time. He gave the girl some money and told her to take a hike. Don’t come back.”
“Did she?”Danny asked.
“Nobody has seen her since. Don’t know where she is.”
“He put the Marine’s body in the boiler?”
“Yes, I helped him,” Seth admitted.
“He never totally burned up,” Danny said.
“Yeah, we know. Ol’ Bessie gave out sooner than we expected. Another few days and he would’ve been burnt toast forever. Not much we could do except close and lock the doors.”
“So Mr. Traiger told Mr. Boykin, the owner, it would cost too much to move the old boiler at the time?”
“Yep. The longer that old boiler stayed there on the property locked up, the better chance we had for the body never to be discovered. By the way, how did you discover it,” Seth asked.
“We had a hot lead!” Joe said piping in with a bit of black humor.
“Oh,” Seth said, not catching the attempt at levity.
Danny sat quietly for a few seconds, shuffling his notes and papers looking for something he may have missed. Danny was about ready to call it quits when he suddenly remembered something else.
“By the way, I’m curious. Had all of you been staying in touch with each other through the years?” Beatrice spoke up first.
“We did for a while after the hotel closed up. But as the weeks and months passed, we didn’t. Occasionally a phone call here, maybe run into each other at the grocery store here and there but that was about it.
“When we read in the paper about the Marine mummy being found in the wall, we started talking to each other,” she continued. “Then when the girl in the privy was found, we got a little worried. We figured sooner or later somebody would find out about us. But you sort of caught us off guard when you did. We didn’t have our stories all that coordinated. Did you think that?”