May 25th, 2014
When last we met, 1950’s era Hollywood Russell and his current female companion, Stella Warren, have arrived in a hotel just outside of Atlantic City, off-season. The hotel is odd and old, but opulent, in a run down and shabby way. Hollywood’s private investigator’s instincts are sending out feelers, but coming back inconclusive. Stella Warren’s cheapskate instincts have been sending out feelers as well, and pinging right on Hollywood. So far, the pair have encountered little to endear them to the hotel, or each other. But something is clearly wrong…
In this short tease, Hollywood and Stella get their first look at the deluxe suite they booked, and Hollywood peeks behind the curtain.
On the way to their room, Hollywood reflected that he picked the Brigantine Hotel for its price, not its décor. Stella, on the other hand, was not impressed.
“Really Hollywood. I wish you’d picked someplace more romantic for our vacation. I’ve seen more romantic spots in a Peter Lorre film.”
“I’ve seen more romantic women in them too,” Hollywood shot back. He was only half-paying attention to Stella, a fact that Stella had pointedly mentioned to him more than once. As they walked, Hollywood was noticing that not only did they not pass any other people, vacationers or otherwise, but there were no sounds coming from any of the rooms they passed. No loud conversations, no radios, no kids crying.
108 turned out to be a large corner suite. More like an economy apartment than a hotel room, it had a full working kitchen occupying the same space as the bed, desk, and chairs. Down a short hall was a very tiny bathroom, and shoehorned into the hall was a lumpy sofa and a television set. The TV was not viewable from the bedroom, and the proximity to the bathroom made the sofa a less than appealing option.
While Stella examined the stove- and declared “I am not going to cook for you!”- Hollywood opened drawers, peeked in closets, and gave the rest of the place a short but thorough looksee. Nothing. Except that the bathroom was short on towels, there was a damp stain on the hallway rug below a fresh-looking stain on the ceiling, the remote for the TV didn’t work and the room was generally stale and old.
But the room had a view. It was a stunning view and Hollywood turned to Stella and-
“Look at this, Lothario. The TV don’t work.”
The words dried in the detective’s throat and he let the curtains swing back. Cheap hotel or not, it was looking like he was running up a big bill with Stella, and they hadn’t even been to Atlantic City proper yet.