A Lover of Silver
I’m not a morning person. So when Liz opened the curtains on the sliding glass doors at the Marriott Hotel the light hit my eyes like a hammer. My first thought was to strangle her.
When she began singing a rap song called Big Pimpin I was sure strangulation was too good for her. I opened one eye and let the eye follow her gyrating around the room.
She was naked. I thought she looked much younger and prettier last night, but then that was after I had lost count of the scotch and sodas. Margret the third party to our tryst was obviously gone. I made a mental note to check my wallet.
I pulled the 200 count Marriott sheet over my head and plopped a down pillow over that. Didn’t work. To ensure it didn’t, Liz sat on my side of the bed bouncing up and down while she rapped shushing sounds replicating I knew not what. The rocking motion didn’t bode well for my stomach.
It was no use. I had to get up to make certain I didn’t lose last night’s overpriced dinner.
I stumbled to the bathroom with a pillow over each ear, and closing the door hoping it was soundproof, I dropped my pillows and emptied my bladder of last night’s liquor. After a sigh and the customary jiggle, I moved to the large mirror to see if I still had hair. I had never had hair hurt before, but I was happy to see there was still some there. Dropping my robe, I got in the shower and let the hot water ease my headache.
When I got out of the shower, I stood facing the mirror again. On the fogged-up glass, I squinted at a cryptic message in bright red lipstick. Since I didn’t wear lipstick and Liz wore some garish purple, this message, it struck me, had to be written by the third party to our party. It read, “I want my share.”
This message helped me to wake up.
Someone had obviously come into the bathroom while I showered. Was it possible that Margret was back and wanted to party again, or was it my little rapper playing tricks? When I heard the bedside radio loudly echoing Liz’s funky rap music, I thought it a good idea to question the girl about her age once more, and her choice of music. I brushed my teeth, pulled my bottom eyelid down to look at my bloodshot eye, checked the lengthening hair in my nose, shaved quickly, cut myself, took the towel to continue drying my revived hair, and went to find answers.
What I discovered was that Liz could no longer provide answers. She was quite dead. Her youngish body lay naked on the bed in a spreading pool of blood. A cloth napkin was on her breast with something underneath holding it upright. Like a fool, I removed the napkin to find a steak knife from last night’s room service meal protruding from the left side of her chest.
Normally I consider myself a person with a strong constitution. My constitution came up in the form of bile from last night’s meal. When that exited through my nose it burned like hell. I blew my nose on the towel to clear the remnants, sat down in a red upholstered chair, stared at the girl, and a room now in tatters. For several moments my mind could not cope with what I was looking at. I felt I had come from the bathroom into someone else’s suite. I ran a trembling hand through my damp hair.
Was this Margret’s doing?
I hardly thought tiny Margret could carry out such a deed, she was only slightly more of a woman than Liz. How could she do something like this without making noise? How could I have not heard a thing? I wiggled my finger in my ears to check for water in case the shower had impeded my hearing.
Apparently, after killing Liz, Margret or someone had tossed the room, emptying drawers ripping up the bed, and making a general mess. I presumed the radio that was still making that horrible noise cushioned the sounds of what had happened in the room. Why no one had tried for me in the bathroom, I found puzzling. However thinking about it, the steak knife was probably the only weapon in the room. Perhaps if it had been Margret she might have felt my six foot frame would not be as easy to overcome. Dismissing that thought, I wondered if the way things appeared was exactly as intended.
Was this to emphasize the crude lipstick message?
Although puzzling, the message was clear that someone wanted a share of something. What that something was I had no idea. Had someone else been in the room intent on robbing us while I was in the bathroom? Or had Margret left the room and come back while I did my morning business?
Searching the room with my bloodshot eyes I found no clue as to Margret having been here at all. Not a trace. I turned off the bedside radio, went to my knees and crawled to Liz’s purse. The contents had been spilled and scattered around the bed. I looked for aspirin. None.
There was a blue box containing Midol, which because of the severity of my throbbing headache I was tempted to try.
Rummaging through the other items scattered near the empty purse I found a purple lipstick in a long faux gold tube, nail polish, a key ring with several keys, a photo of a small freckled boy, and miscellaneous match books. No wallet, and no identification. This was not going to be easy to explain to the police.
I sat back in the same chair and considered calling my partner at Wilson & Ledbetter Communications. Henry would probably be on his way to the agency by now, but thinking about it he would be of little help.