Saturday, November 15, 2008

Season One, Episode Seven: The Brother Hotel

Markus Bentley was munching the marzipan he had brought with him in the bag. He was lying in bed, Charlo' by his side.
‘What do you know about the Brother Hotel?’ he asked.
‘That's the place we met, remember? The Q bar? The hotel was just across the road.’
He was reflecting.
‘You're not awake yet, are you?’ she asked.
‘You didn't answer my question. What do you know about the Brother Hotel?’
‘I know it's expensive. I know I have out-of-town friends who can actually afford to stay there once a year. I know they have a restaurant that's supposed to have quite a reputation.’
‘What about the people there? Do you know any of them?’
‘I used to have an aunt there who cleaned the rooms. Who ironed clothes for guests. She died five years ago. What is it, are you going to rob the hotel, like Ocean's Eleven?’
‘I just want to know who works there. Who stays there a lot.’
‘Was it something that guy said you just visited?’
Markus took another bite out of the marzipan.
‘He said I should be looking at the hotel.’
‘Looking for what? You've got issues, haven't you?’
She looked away from him and reached out for the Chinese statuette of the three old men.
‘Don't touch that,’ Markus said.
‘What is it? I'm not going to break it, they're cute,’ Charlo' said while she lifted the object off the night table.
‘Put that back,’ he ordered. ‘It's not a plaything. It's not a toy. It's the only thing my sister left me.’
‘Your sister? What happened to her?’
She put back the statuette, he stopped eating.
‘She was killed.’
Charlo' touched his arm.
‘Why? By whom?’
‘That's what I'm trying to find out,’ he mumbled. ‘Let's head back to the Brother Hotel.’
‘I need to go and put that gun back at the range or they'll start asking annoying questions,’ she said.
‘You go to the range, I'll go to the hotel.’
‘Can't it wait? It's like five in the morning, the hotel will be dead, even the party animals will have gone to bed.’
Markus sat upright in bed, his head between his hands.
‘This is something I have to do, do you understand. It's like a woman having to give birth at the end of her pregnancy. It has to happen, so please, don't stop me.’
Charlo' mumbled something but she let him prepare first. He waited for her and they left the motel together before splitting up.

Markus had been sitting outside the Brother Hotel for an hour before the sun rose. The cleaners, gardeners and breakfast waiters had arrived already, some of them by bus, some in cheap and second-hand, sorry, pre-owned, cars. None of them had paid a lot of attention to this man with scruffy blonde hair sitting on a bench under a palm tree on the street. They often had partygoers sleeping off the alcohol here before heading for cooler climes.
Markus looked up at the hotel. The only thing memorable about it was the flat panel fixed to the side of its top floor with a whole in the middle. Markus felt like he didn't want to stand underneath when an earthquake hit.
Otherwise the hotel was just another modern building. A concrete box with glass windows. Nothing more. And yet it held the secret to his sister's death. He needed to visit it on his own. Without Charlo' breathing down his neck. He'd better do so before she returned from the shooting range.
He had left the bag in the car, afraid a man with a bag walking in would attract too much attention, especially from hotel staff looking for tips.
Markus walked behind the hotel, in the direction of the pool. A couple of workers were fishing leaves out of the water, while a woman was rearranging the lounge chairs. None of them nodded a greeting to him, he guessed because he looked too cheap to be a guest at the Brother Hotel.

NEXT: Markus Bentley enters the Brother Hotel in Episode Eight, on this blog before December 2.

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