The Paranormal Hotel: Holidays Edition

'won't be long now' by Robert S. Donovan

The hotel is messing with my spidey-senses, I think. I had the strangest experience on Christmas Eve. I was in the laundry room and it was coming up on midnight. I was folding some towels and glancing up at the the lobby monitor every few seconds.

I caught a flash of motion, and the impression of a man, just as he strode out of the camera’s line of sight. He had disappeared from my view into the hallway that leads past the vending machines, then the laundry room, on the way to the elevator. Only two details registered. He was wearing faded jeans and work boots. (‘Not exactly an uncommon look around here.) Still, that glimpse of scuffed leather boots made my heartbeat stutter. A cold urge to slam the laundry room door shut sluiced through me. Instead of lunging for the door, though, I froze.

Of course he didn’t come in. In fact I didn’t see so much as a shadow from his passing.

Considering the fact that I hadn’t batted an eye earlier in the evening, when seven rough-looking giants (at least a couple of whom were sporting teardrop tattoos) had invaded my lobby, I find my reaction to this guy’s boots odd. (Is this a Stephen King thing? As I write it up, I am reminded of The Walking Dude.)


My men-folk and I made fudge in four different flavors so we could put together holiday prize-packages for some of the residents at the hotel. One long-timer, Willard, was too appreciative. When I gave him his box of fudge on Christmas night, he enveloped me in a breath-stealing hug, then said he hadn’t been given a Christmas gift in years.

Willard is a big guy … well over six foot, and probably 275 pounds or so. I don’t know how old he is, but I get the impression he and his wife had their son late in life. (The wife died a couple of years ago, after having a major heart attack in the hotel. Willard stayed on, but he did request to be moved to a different room.) The boy is near the age of my son. (I know this because they got their drivers licenses at about the same time.)

Willard is friendly, polite, and pleasant to be around. When I pass his room on my rounds, I often hear him singing Motown songs in a gorgeous baritone. After I gave him the fudge, while he was waiting for the elevator to arrive, he was singing Jingle Bells.

On the 27th, when I worked again, I found out Willard had been taken away by ambulance on the night of the 26th.

I was just getting the news from my manager when Willard and his son returned from the hospital. Willard  came to the desk to say he’d “just had a little heart event thing.” His son stood back from us, but volunteered that his dad’s blood sugar had been way too high as well  which wasn’t surprising, considering how much fudge he’d been eating.

Yes, I do feel like I tried to kill one of my favorites.


Last night, on New Year’s Eve, I discovered a party of folks smoking A LOT of pot in one of our non-smoking rooms. (Another guest complained about the scent in the hallway.) When I got up there, I sniffed my way to the offending room and knocked.

A well-dressed young guy with bloodshot eyes opened the door just a crack. I told him I had to come in to find out if there was smoking going on. He reluctantly allowed me to enter. The air in the room was visibly swirling in the eddies created by the breathing of the ten or twelve people in there. There wasn’t a joint or bong in sight, and everyone in the room had perfect posture and folded hands. They were the guiltiest-looking bunch of 20-somethings I’ve ever seen.

At the time, I was just stunned that they had requested a non-smoking room when they checked in. I made them pay for a-whole-nother room, on one of the smoking floors, but I didn’t kick them out. I left a note for my boss, telling him what I’d done. I was nervous he’d be mad that I hadn’t rousted them completely, but I did not want to be responsible for any of them driving around, stoned beyond reason, on New Year’s Eve.

Today I got a text from my boss, telling me he was pleased with my decision.

Such is life at:


photo credit: Robert S. Donovan Licensed CC BY-NC 2.0 (Attribution-NonCommercial 2.0 Generic)
It has been cropped to square, retaining watermark.
NOTE: This post may have been re-titled and edited from its original form,
for inclusion on The Paranormal Hotel homepage.


4 Comments on “The Paranormal Hotel: Holidays Edition”

  1. I would have been creeped out by the guy on the monitor too. Always keep your antenna up!

    • I’m pretty good about detecting suspicious behavior, I think. Last night (Jan 4th) for example, there were some creepers at the hotel acting weird and guilty. They were definitely up to something so I kept an eye on them.

      The creepers from last night didn’t feel PERSONALLY threatening. More like they were just trying to do a drug deal or, maybe, spend the night in the stairwell. I understand that kind of threat.

      This guy on the monitor, though, was different.Whatever instinct rose up in response to him (who, after all, did nothing wrong) was different. Just so unprovoked. He remains a mystery to me.

  2. zipcoffelt says:

    You certainly work in a weird place with lots of interesting events!! Happy New Year – hope 2015 brings you lots of good and maybe a bit less weirdness.

    • I don’t mind some kinds of weirdness, only the actually dangerous or depressing stuff. So let’s hope for less of THAT kind, and even more of the good stuff.

      (Do you remember Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman? Sometimes I feel like her.)

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