(This is a crime novel in progress, posted a bit every day for your entertainment.  If you’re new to the site, please click back to the July 16th posting, which can be found in the Archives section of the left column, for They Had the Right to Remain Silent (1), where the story takes off.  Otherwise, if you’re up to speed, we start another chapter.)
They Had the Right to Remain Silent
Richard S. Jachimecki
Chapter (  xxiv )
     THE SHELBY MUSTANG PULLED UP to the circus atmosphere that was the Marquis Hotel. Two Crown Vic Interceptors, a Chevy Impala Cruiser, and two SUV’s — one from the Crime Scene Unit and the other from the Medical Examiner — lined the front curb. Flashes of blue, red and orange danced across the building’s facade, from the lights atop the blue and white marked vehicles. Uniforms tried to keep gawkers moving along, while they also checked guest lists to allow patrons into the establishment.
     Becker double- parked, and left the blue and red strobes alternately darting on top of the dashboard. He and Terrance showed the closest uniformed officer their IDs, and then entered the main lobby. In the center of the marble floor stood a short, balding man with a pencil- thin mustache. Wringing his hands in silence, he noticed the badges and immediately went up to Becker and Terrance. Clique groups mingled throughout the capacious lobby, all chattering about the scene on the fifth floor.
     “I’m the Assistant Manager, you are the Detectives?” he asked, whispering.
     “I’m Detective Marshall,” Terrance said, then pointed toward Becker, who was scanning the lobby’s activities, “this is Detective Becker.”
     “Will you follow me, please?” the assistant said, “I will take you to the fifth floor.”
     They nodded and he escorted them to a service elevator, just off a main corridor, to the left past the lobby.
     “This will be much quicker,” the assistant manager assured.
     Becker observed many of the lobby’s occupants texting on their cell phones. This will be a mess, he groaned to himself.
     On the way up, the assistant wiped the perspiration from his forehead and neck with a kerchief, and watched the numbers to each floor light and fade above the door.
     “This is horrible…horrible!” he exclaimed. “We have four functions scheduled to commence presently and now a flea market going on!” he languished. “Is there any reason this couldn’t be done more discreetly?” he pleaded.
     “Your hotel is a crime scene sir,” Terrance said. “Take a couple deep breaths. We’ll see what we can do.” he reassured.
     The assistant’s breathing slowed down.
     “The manager is in room 535, where this all happened, along with the head of security,” he stated.
     The elevator doors opened and he exited ahead of the detectives, then turned and gestured to the left. As the trio proceeded down the hallway, there were uniformed officers questioning guests at their room doorways. Just beyond, in front of 535, stood a tall, thin man in a three- piece suit, checking his watch.
     “There is the manager,” their escort informed. The assistant made introductions to Manager Theodore Evans.
     “This is totally unacceptable, gentlemen. The Marquis cannot be shown in this light. Do I need to call your superiors?” Evans declared.
     Becker’s neck hairs began to rise.
     “As we informed your assistant, the Marquis is a crime scene right now,” Becker said, “our job is to gather all the information necessary to solve a homicide. Your cooperation in this matter will expedite same.” Becker looked into the doorway.
     “Where’s Security?” Becker said.
     The manager took them into the room, making every effort to avert his gaze as they passed the bed. A blanket covered the waist and legs of the ashen corpse. Its arms outstretched, the dark red mottled skin on the posterior side of the body matched the bloodstained mattress beneath it. A gaping hole was in the chest, and exposed fragments of bones that once were a ribcage. The soulless death- mask stared at the ceiling.
     The room was a hive of Crime Scene techs, taking photos, dusting furnishings for fingerprints, and placing various articles in plastic ziplock bags. The manager led Becker and Terrance to a stocky six- foot figure, who sported brushcut hair and wore a maroon jacket, with the Marquis Coat- of- Arms embroidered to the front of the breast pocket.
     “These are Detectives Becker and Marshall, Thomas. Detectives, Thomas Boyton our Head of Security.” Evans stated, then looked at his watch again.
     “I’ll leave you now, as I must tend to the disarray downstairs. Thomas, please assist the gentlemen with whatever they require.” he said curtly and exited.
     “You’ll be wanting surveillance?” Boyton suggested.
     Becker nodded.
     “When did he check in?” Terrance asked.
     “The room was reserved by an ‘E. Genver’, on Wednesday at 11 AM.” Boyton replied, “The desk clerk at that time isn’t on duty now, plus I’ve spoken with your CSU guys and they said there hasn’t been any identification found so far, on the person of the deceased or in the room.” Boyton reported.
     “That’s where we’ll start.” Becker said. He turned to his partner, “T?”
     Terrance was ahead of him.
     “Mr. Boyton, let’s look at the cameras from Wednesday on.” he said.
     “Follow me.” Boyton answered.
     Becker added, “I’ll check in with the M.E..”
     He pulled his cellphone and keyed the speed dial for the station house.
     “Sergeant, this is Detective Mason Becker, badge 7574…can you hook me with Missing Persons please?…
     “Yes, I want to check if you have any report on a Caucasian male, approximately 30, reported after Wednesday, last name: Golf, Echo, November, Victor, Echo, Romeo…
     “Yes, Genver…
     “No, only a first initial…
     “Echo…
     “Nothing?…
     “OK. Appreciate your time.”
     He snapped the phone shut, “Damn.”
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