The Motel by David Macfie
The motel was set back from the main road out of the city. It wasn’t large, twenty four rooms altogether. The reception office was placed in the middle of two wings of rooms and the parking area separated the rooms from the traffic. The neon signs on poles at each end of the parking were broken – maintenance didn’t seem to be a burning issue elsewhere either. It was about twenty five past one on Thursday afternoon, when a beaten up sedan pulled into a parking just by reception. It joined only five other cars, so the motel wasn’t busy.
A tall, rangy man climbed out, and straightened his greying hair with a large powerful looking hand. He was wearing casual clothes, but looked tough rather than urbane. That was even without the gun nestled in a holster at his belt. He sauntered to the door, pushed it open, strolled up to the desk and flashed a badge. He addressed the corpulent, middle-aged man, who was lounging there.
“Mister McGiver, I’m Fletcher from the city police department,” he said in a strong, but quiet voice that was clearly used to being heeded. “I’m here to investigate the murders.”
Just then, the relative silence was broken by the sounds of passionate love making. Fletcher found it distracting and not much of a turn-on, but McGiver had obviously been waiting in anticipation. His face flushed and his breathing quickened. Fletcher looked at him with distaste.
“Come here often do they?” he asked, with no hint of embarrassment at the obvious pun.
McGiver looked embarrassed.
“They’re here twice a week, on Tuesdays and Thursdays,” he said, trying to tear his attention away from the increasing volume of the action. “I’ve never seen her. He comes in to collect the keys and they leave them in the door, when they’ve finished.”
“Do you recognize him?” asked Fletcher.
“No, I’ve only ever seen him here.”
“Hmm,” mused the detective. “That’s odd. Can you point out the car they use?”
“It’s the silver-grey convertible, but the top is always up when they’re here.”
Fletcher went to the window and scribbled the license plate number, into a small notebook.
“Are they always here at the same time?”
“Yes. They arrive at about ten past one and get right down to business. They have stamina, I’ll give them that. The noise starts around ten minutes after they get in the room and goes on for at least twenty five minutes. It sounds like they’re having a really great time.”
“Have any of your staff seen the woman?”
“Not her face. She always wears a floppy hat and sun-glasses.”
“Do her clothes look expensive?”
“Not over the top expensive, no. Smart, but not so that they would get your attention.”
“Were they here this Tuesday just passed?”
“Yes, as usual.”
“Which unit were they in?”
McGiver checked his booking ledger. “Number ten,” he replied.
“Ok. Enough on them,” said Fletcher, decisively and checked his watch. It was nearly ten to two. As if on cue, the passionate noises increased in volume and tempo until they reached a rousing climax. It was followed by what seemed like a deathly hush, after the length of the performance. It was only moments after Fletcher stationed himself behind the curtain that the couple rushed out of the room, dashed to the car and drove off. Fletcher noted his observations of the two, then turned back to McGiver.
“Mister McGiver, I’d like to look inside that room and number ten. Then I’d like to go to number twelve, where the murders took place.”
McGiver fetched the keys and led the way. Fletcher detoured to his car and collected a black case. Then he examined all three rooms, including the toilets. In the room just vacated, he lifted fingerprints and collected cigarette butts and hairs and anything else that might provide evidence of the identities of the love-makers. Number ten had been cleaned after the passionate couple had left on Tuesday, so there was nothing much there. But Fletcher did notice a glitter in the sunlight that streamed in the door. It was a small diamond ear stud, jammed behind the leg of one of the small bedside tables. He lifted it with tweezers and placed it in a small plastic bag, then the two moved to the scene of the crimes.
Number twelve had been locked since the discovery of the murdered elderly couple and forensics had already been there, so there wasn’t much else to find. But Fletcher still took his time looking at everything. Then he puzzled McGiver by also checking all round the perimeter of the rooms. Finally he was finished.
Then, as an afterthought he looked at McGiver,
On Tuesday, were the love-birds as noisy and enthusiastic as usual?”
“Yes. I was trying to do the accounts and couldn’t concentrate at all.”
Fletcher thanked McGiver for his help and drove away, leaving a very flustered motel manager. “Why didn’t he ask me anything about the murders?” McGiver was thinking.
The following Tuesday, Fletcher returned with two police officers in an unmarked car. They arrived at one o’clock and hid in the toilet next to reception. They heard the man enter and book a room. It was ten past one, as usual. As soon as he had left, Fletcher and the officers emerged and asked which room the couple were in. McGiver told them and the three hurried there. In short order the couple were handcuffed and bundled into the unmarked vehicle.
McGiver rushed outside.
“What are you doing?” he cried.
“I have just arrested the man for the murders and the woman as an accessory to the crime. We matched their DNA to stuff forensics found.”
“But that’s impossible. They were in their room, screwing each other’s brains out the whole time. I heard them.”
“No, you heard her doing a very convincing simulation. He climbed out the toilet window and went to number twelve behind the building. Nobody saw him creep round the side and in the door of number twelve. He killed the two old people by suffocating them with the pillows from number ten. They must have seen the mayor’s wife, as she came in, and they had to avoid the scandal.”