Tonight we’ll murder someone in Room 14. It’s a little game we play to keep ourselves amused on slow weekends. There have been too many slow weekends and our bed-and-breakfast needs a boost we can’t get from pumpkin festivals and cut flowers. Unsolved murders work best. In addition to keeping us out of jail, an unsolved murder will lend more mystery to the inn than a fully adjudicated affair, unless . . . unless the convicted killer was hung and swore before they hooded her to wreak her vengeance on Room 14. Your thrill-seeking guest needs a ghastly image or a poignant doomed love story or both. If you can hint that the victim might return at night to beg the help of your overnight guest to avenge the slicing of her vocal cords and her brutal slow slaying with a corkscrew, a double with private bath can go for 4, 5 hundred a night. That might be enough to get us to the holidays. My sister isn’t sure she can go through with the corkscrew. That part we’re still working on. Research doesn’t say so, but they’re squirrelly couples mostly, who’ve driven some distance. They don’t tell anyone where they’re going, so they’re hard to track. Whatever horrors they’re leaving behind, they’re drawn by the unfamiliar smell of something delicious beyond the grave that’s just beginning to rot. You’re not going to get this couple any other way. My sister says we need more time to plan, but I say the girl in Room 14 is traveling alone. She paid with cash and gave us a fake ID. It’s the middle of July and business won’t pick up until October. I tell my sister the tale of the murdered innkeeper is also popular. She doesn’t think that’s funny.

Copyright © June 28, 2007 David Hodges

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