Segment 19: Regional Hills Network (1982)

written, edited, and produced by Viktor Devonne for 2 Night Stay
performed and recorded by Angora Borealis, Danielle Geist, and Fox Squire

special thank you to Kali von Wunderkammer

patreon

transcription:

Good evening this is RHN News; thank you for joining us.  Our top story tonight, a serial killer has come forward when police weren’t even looking for him.  Edgar Theodore Corbin was arrested today after coming forward, confessing to a dozen murders that authorities had not even tied together. 

Sheila Atkins has the story.

In a potentially embarrassing display of negligence from the county police department, they were surprised today when a man in denim jeans, matching jacket, and plaid workman’s shirt entered the precinct saying he was ready to confess.  Confess to what, they had to ask, as no one knew what he was talking about.

Within three hours, they had names and dates to match twelve unsolved homicides in the area. 

viktor sketches 5 colorThe man’s name: Edgar Corbin, a local man who worked in the town’s Hall of Records administrative office as a clerical assistant and editor. 

Corbin, showing remorse for his crimes, came clean without any hesitation and even despite several reminders he could—and should—have a lawyer present.

While the authorities have not released all of the names in accordance with his confessions due to procedure in notifying the victims’ families first, RHN’s source claims Corbin admitted to frequently scouting inside and outside of the Gilman Hotel, owned by the Gilman Legacy Foundation and currently run by Clive Baird on site on the foundation’s behalf.  They have declined a statement at this time.

There is no direct connection, our source says, for the victims in this case other than their proximity to Corbin.  There is no evidence that he stalked, researched, or even knew much about the victims, instead relaying the experience of their murders as a cathartic impulsive one. 

Corbin is being charged with twelve counts of murder at present, and the victims go back as early as 1978.  He stated the only reason he ended up at the Gilman Hotel for his final set of murders was merely because he needed a place to stay.  His home, the apartment complex Klein Estates, was foreclosed on late last year, and left many of its residents on the street.  While Corbin floated from place to place, he found himself at the Gilman Hotel a number of times, during which he felt an unholy need.

Dr. Marcus Davenport, neuroscience professor, explains:

 “There are of course several factors that can coalesce (co-a-less) to bring out these outcomes, but there’s usually a combination of organic-neurological issues combined with mental health issues, and substance abuse.”

Mr. Corbin entered the police station on Thursday morning after what he referred to as a “spiritual awakening.”  He provided the police with items from the victims he collected over the years, and spoke of a savior that met with him after a dark night of the soul at the Gilman.

“Sometime delusions are a way for someone to cope with the horrors they have done, in addition to what may be an undiagnosed or untreated traumatic brain injury or mental health issues such as PTSD or schizophrenia.  This, combined with drug use, may have sent this man on something of a vision quest.”

Others are unconvinced, citing Corbin’s potential for securing an insanity plea.  District Attorney Mitchell Clarkson has been notably unmoved by such petitions, as viewers may recall in the Duncan Osgood murder case from early last year.

For now, Edgar Corbin is behind bars, and those who were potentially to be his next victims, will never know how close they came to a monster’s random selection process.

Shelia Atkins, Regional Hills Network reporting.

Thank you, Sheila.  And now, what kind of breakfast cereal is most likely to cause irreversible —

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events, locales, and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental. Unless stated, all characters and material is the work and property of Viktor Devonne and White Elephant Burlesque Corp.  
Music: “News Theme 2” by Audionautix is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution license (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/) Artist: http://audionautix.com/  … theme: Cherry Blood by Miss Cherry Delight (used with permission)

Segment 18: Amateur Hour, Second Seating (Room 304 in 1981)

written, edited, and produced by Viktor Devonne for 2 Night Stay
performed and recorded by Nina La Voix

patreon

transcription:

gilman-logo-new-transparentA man of indeterminate clarity entered the lobby.  About 25, he was dressed in a finely tailored, beautifully crafted tuxedo jacket, an undershirt best suited for bedtime four nights earlier, and just about the most tattered yellow and white checked corduroy pants one could imagine any moment would slide off his taut frame.  You however could not see his partially revealed backside, as he wore a large swath of burgundy velvet curtain for a cape.

He hobbled, noble as a king and waving an imaginary cob of corn, sweeping a small porkpie hat from the crown of his head.  He delicately mimed a moustache above his bare lip and swooped low to meet the gaze of his proprietress.

“My dear wench,” his voice King Arthur, his gait Charlie Chaplin, “wouldst thou have a room for these weary bones?”  

Betty Egan, who did not get paid enough for this, raised her eyes over the ebony rims of her glasses without moving her head past the book she was reading.  Bent over the desk for the last hour or so, learning new words from William S. Burroughs, she adjusted herself into a straight line and slid the paperback down to take in the full scene.

“Sir,” she deadpanned, blinking slowly.  Her lips formed a curt, no-nonsense brick-red frown.

“A-ha! Well met!” the man cheerfully exploded with recognition unknown to her.  “Well met indeed!” He bowed gracelessly but with decent intent. “Maiden of the inn, I do request your services!”

When Betty woke this morning, it can be assumed, she had no expectation to wait upon Geoffrey Chaucer doing a bad impression of Stubby Kaye.  Bemused, she straightened up, and took her glasses off as she sucked her tongue. Finally she spoke, “Sir, do you have a reservation?”

“A reservation?” the man said with a touch more volume than appropriate, receiving a number of glances from the dozen or so people in the lobby, sitting reading a paper or waiting for the elevator.  The hotel was busy for the time of day, with all of the temporary residents of the room giving an observer the conclusion of each being part of the same insurance convention that weekend. 

Betty stabilized herself on her heels, closing her eyes and heaving an unimpressed gust of sigh to the ceiling.  “Yes, sir,” having no part of the game the man was playing, “A reservation for a room this weekend. I need your name.”

The man leaned back gently, perhaps taking in proper view of this insubordinate peasant who clearly did not know who he was.  He clucked and pressed down on his chest, pulling forth a semi-wilted posy and handed it to Betty, who betrayed a momentary shyness at the gesture.

“Sir Edward Manly the THIRD,” the man proudly puffed, “At your insistence.  I believe my cleric called forth early for a room in the house. With a fire, if you do so please.”  Sir Manly extended a finger and swiped the desk gently, to then rub his thumb against. He gave a slight sound of pleasure upon observing the cleanliness of his night’s lodging.

Betty smiled, all but defeated, and reached for her ledger and flicked the pages to the date she desired.  “Mister…” she looked up and gave a patronizing smirk, “Excuse me. SIR… Edward Manly…”

“The Third,” the man before her interjected absentmindedly, as he turned and twisted to look at the room.  He bowed generously for the guests who were quick to turn away when they matched eye contact.

Betty, pulled at the bow of her white high collared blouse—she had been inspired by the recent photos of Margaret Thatcher–with one manicured finger as she found his name in the register.  “Yes. We have you down for a 1pm check-in.” She gave a quick look at the clock to confirm he was right on time, if not in correct century or state of mind.

Sir Manly gave a boisterous huzzah of accomplishment, and the necks of everyone else retreated into their collars like embarrassed turtles.  At least a few of them searched their conscience whether they should rent a room a hotel that would have such a figure also on the list.

The unusual man returned his hat to his feathery orange head of hair, and he twirled his cane like a veritable silent film star.

Betty gave another once-over to her visitor and with a newfound sense of hospitality—someone must have been watching–she warmly smiled and turned to find a key to match the room he would be staying in.  She pressed the cold metal token into his extended hand. “Room 304,” she said a little louder than necessary, a performance.

Betty said quietly as she pushed the key forward on the desk, “How is that for you?”

Sir Manly gestured widely, “Delightful, fair m’lady!”  He dashed for the key and held it up, “This shall be a grand visit I am certain!”

Betty’s face fell back to its traditional disdain.  “Yes,” she groaned. More loudly, she went on, “Now, our bellhop is otherwise engaged.  Shall I escort you to your room to make sure all is in order?”

“A true honor, it is!” Sir Manly said, somewhat losing his affectation and merging into cockney.  He extended his arm in a crook shape to indicate convoy.

Betty rolled her eyes and gritted her teeth into a halfhearted smile.  She stopped short when she made the turn around the registration desk. “Your… bags, sir?” Her voice went to gravel.

Sir Manly’s eyes widened.  “Oh! To be… to be… to be fetched anon, of course!  I never travel with luggage.”

Betty’s smile gritted that much more and she motioned sharply towards the stairwell.  “I’m sure the gentleman prefers the simpler method of walking than using those newfangled machinations.”  Her jaw was in danger of permanent clench.

Sir Manly swung his cape and headed forward.  “Delighted!” he bellowed.

“Mr. Farrell,” Betty called to the small room to side of the desk, “I will be showing our guest to his room and will return shortly.”

“Mmm,” grunted a gruff voice from the open door.  “Yes.” A man of nearly 90 came forward. His grey hair had long abandoned his scalp to further reside above his ears.  His weathered face, partially obscured by large framed black glasses, showed signs of longterm disappointment. He stood guard at the register, his mouth making slow, involuntary twitches, and looked right through any remarkable activity before him.

As Betty and the strange man walked towards the stairs, the disquiet of the room slowly dissipated and congenial chat resumed.

Alone on the stairs and walking with a deliberate, labored pace, Betty snapped her head to her companion and growled, “What ARE you doing, Kenny?”

“You told me to come at 1 o’clock…” murmured the man who in more contemporary diction for an autumn in 1981.  

“I DIDN’T ask you to talk like Walter Ralleigh and dress like, like….”

“Buster Keaton!” smiled Kenny broadly, “But I didn’t have the right jacket, so, I went with–.”

Betty’s hands went to Kenny’s wonky tie as she turned into an ice cold Faye Dunaway..  “Now you listen to me. You fuck this up and I will sell you the fuck out. None of us will get what we came here for, and I’ll deny ever meeting you.”  Her hazel eyes narrowed, recalling the last six months it took her to get to this moment. “Dost… thou… comprehend?”

“Sure thing!” Kenny squeaked, his oxygen substantially limited.  “You said eccentric  after all!”

Betty let him loose and they walked up another stair, “I said ‘fucking crazy,’ you moron.  People ignore crazy people. They don’t ignore eccentric people. Eccentric people don’t fly under the radar.”

Kenny sheepishly admitted his mistake in the semantics, “Right.  I did sort of miss the boat on that one.”

Betty grimaced and pushed forward, talking to the air in front of her.  “And where is your goddamn luggage? You’re checking into a hotel for a weekend, trying to not be suspicious, and you don’t bring a bag.”  As they neared room 306, she pointed. “That’s his. You’re next to him.”

Kenny gave a thumbs up, “Great, do the rooms connect?” 

Betty popped the key into the lock for 304.  “No, this place is prehistoric; the walls are solid,” Betty grimaced, “You’ll have to use the hallway to get in unfortunately.  But I chose the third floor because most of the convention guys are on the fourth and fifth. There’s only a few even on this floor occupied, and they’re all down the other hall.”

The door opened, and Betty stood to the side to let her wider, bizarre friend in first.

“Nice digs,” he exclaimed as he walked in a few feet and stood still.

Betty pushed him forward and closed the door, “Yeah, terrific, I’m glad you like it,” she huffed.  She turned to face him, pretend presentation remote in hand.

“Ok, pay attention.  I have a workman uniform in the closet for you already.  Mister Gilberto has already called the front desk to say his sink is dripping.”

Betty sauntered around the room, mindfully adjusting the components of the room to her liking, from the blinds to the way the telephone was facing.  “You’ll need to come to the lobby for the work order. It’s important that you come downstairs first. Hopefully no one will recognize you from your one-man-show at check-in.” 

Kenny’s eyes followed her, his neck jutting forward and watching her mouth move.  He found it easier to take direction that way.

Betty continued, as she fluffed the couch pillows, “Who did you register with?  Did you talk to anyone?”

“Old guy,” Kenny said, “I called yesterday.”

“Right,” remembered Betty, “so it wouldn’t have my name attached to the booking. Did you use that stupid accent?”

“No, that came to me today!” Kenny said, his proud, innocent face catching the light through the window.  Betty softened as she looked at him. She was hard on him, but he wasn’t great at consistency. The paint job he had done on her apartment earlier that summer showed he still struggled with attention to detail.  

“Good.  Your name on the worksheet is Leonard Talbitt.  If anyone asks your name, you have to use that.” She lifted Kenny’s arm to find his wristwatch.  “It’s 1:15 now and the convention’s got the ballroom from 5 to 10. You’ll need to lie low until then.  ‘Sir Manly’ is in his room for the night. No going out even for ice. You got that? ”

Kenny nodded again.  “Do we have time for a little… a little, uh…” Kenny trailed off, but pushed his midsection forward like a juvenile and swung his hips.

Betty’s eyes permitted a small twinkle as they followed his thrusting hips, “Don’t sell yourself short.” Her smirk was the devil.

“Well, not, uh, little you know,” Kenny laughed.  He jutted forward, obscenely, his boyish charm on full display. He could go from zero to eight and a half in sixty seconds.

Betty shook her head, and marveled at her patience for such a stupid man, but he was making a good case for why she let him stick around.  He was the plan, he was the fall guy if needed, but for right now, he was the break time special.

Letting the caramel-colored blazer hit the floor and the pussycat bow come undone, she pushed him backwards and watched him squeal in delight as he hit the bed’s marshmallow comforter.  She stuck her index finger at him and her face went stern. “Don’t talk during it,” she said authoritatively.

… 

A quick sink shower later, Betty had redressed, and was about to leave when she turned to Kenny, still naked in the sheets, and looking both amazed and proud of himself.  Betty picked up the recently discarded purple Maidenforms that matched her bra, from the foot of the bed. “Another thing,” she said, hooking her thumb into them and stretching them slightly.

Kenny looked up from his primitive fascination of his own body parts and gave a vacuous smile, perhaps ready for a treat.  

“Wear these when you do it,” Betty gave a naughty eyebrow arch and let them panties slingshot to Kenny, who caught them like a prize, and let out an unsophisticated giggle, playing with the feel of the satin.

Betty checked her bow in the full length mirror and came to the side of the bed.  Grabbing Kenny’s slacked jaw for a moment, she gave him a quick kiss. “5 o’clock,” she repeated from before.

Kenny’s fervent eyes went to the clock radio.

“No.  Right now its quarter to 2,” sighed Betty “You come downstairs at 5.”

Kenny nodded enthusiastically. “I’ll be there–and in uniform!”

Betty muttered, “That’s great, Kenny.  You do that.” She made her way to the exit and struck one more pose from Cat on a Hot Tin Roof for effect, and closed the door behind her.

Kenny stretched his lithe, angular body across the bed and smiled.  So far, so good; this beat house painting.

Kenny called room service at about 3, and despite Betty’s icy response to Sir Edward Manly’s request, he still got his chicken wings.

From 3:30 to 4, Kenny stared at the shadows on the ceiling, which both looked like refracted light and ominous clouds made from smoke.  His mouth fell open in wonder as he contorted his body in different positions to make out all the faces and imagery hidden in the ripples of plaster.

At 4:30, Kenny dressed himself in the dark workman’s uniform over the lavender underwear Betty gave him, as best they would fit.  He dug into a pocket of his Chaplin coat and found a fake mustache that he had gotten from the magic shop, peeled the adhesive backing, and carefully placed it over his top lip more or less evenly.  

He then practiced walking differently in the room for several minutes and talking at a lower register.  “Hello. (cough) Hello. Hell-oh! I’m a workman working here on the third floor of the Gilman Hotel. I’m here to work on your pipes.”

In the hallway, he looked forward to walking by other guests to test out his new stance and voice, but none were around.

He walked with a slight dance down the stairs, feeling his Dick van Dyke fantasy.  Catching Betty’s eyes from the front desk when he was in view, she nearly sunk into the floor.  She mouthed, “Take that off,” and pointed on her face where his moustache would be, but all he did was wave.

He approached the front desk and spoke in an stilted and affected deep voice, “Hello, young lady,” his smile broad and stupid, “I’m here to fix your leak.”

“Don’t wink, don’t wink,” Betty thought.  He winked.

Betty pushed the work order towards him, her lips tight and glare in full effect.  “Room 306. Sink won’t stop dripping. Guest is out of the room right now, so if you can get it taken care of before 11.”

“Yes, ma’am!” he cheerfully growled in a voice he was having trouble sustaining.  “I’ll get right on that!”

Betty swallowed quiet rage and craned her neck to see if Mr. Farrell was in proximity.  “If I’m not back at the desk when you return,” she said more loudly and slowly and altogether more towards the side of her than at Kenny, “Mr. Farrell will take the finished work sheet from you.”

“Yes ma’am!” Kenny grinned, and took the work order and started to walk away.

“Sir,” Betty called out with quiet desperation.

Kenny turned, smiling, “yes, ma’am?”

“The key.” Betty held out the key for room 306 and furrowed her brow.  Maybe she should’ve asked the man who put her new carpet in, instead.

Returning to the quietude of the third floor, Kenny strutted towards the room next to his own and knocked.  Hearing no one inside, he took the key and let himself in. The room was dim from the blinds catching nearly none of the already fading outdoor light.  Finding a light switch, Kenny then looked all around him.

The room, the layout similar to his, had the single chair draped in an empty garment bag, a series of notes and papers on the desk, and pairs of black linen socks scattered about.  He put the work order paper down on the tall side table by the door, and moved in like a classic cat burglar, having studied the moves from reruns of Mission Impossible. 

Finding his way into the bedroom, Kenny hummed the familiar theme to himself as he opened drawers and dramatically snaked his neck around.  Soon he had found what he was looking for: a thin luggage bag, marked D.K., was stuck between the bed and the end table. Managing to pull it forward with only one major scratch on the leather, Kenny rested the bag on the mattress.  About to go for the zipper, he heard the noise of a doorknob being rattled. His eyes turned to saucers and he instinctively held his breath, his body going in a stiff, straight line.

The sound ceased, and the doorknob went still for a moment, but soon the replacement was a quiet, irritating scratch of something in the keyhole.  

The lights in the room flickered long enough for Kenny to look aimlessly upward, before they went out completely.   

Now in the dark, Kenny dove onto the floor, his hand still wrapped around the bag as he began a methodical crawl across the floor, the sound of the bag providing a telling whoosh against the carpet every few seconds.

Kenny reached the bathroom, and he pulled himself up to reach the lever and nearly fall in, a small thud against the tile.  He was about to struggle to close the door when he heard the sound of a latch opening and the room’s main door slowly creak open.

Kenny slunk into himself as best he could.  His left arm was still outstretched, holding the handle of the bag towards the leaky sink.  He was afraid to turn in any direction, which would no doubt make another sound. He did make note, however, that he had really scratched the hell out of the side of that bag, though.

For a few moments, it was eerily quiet.  Kenny did not hear anyone enter, and he did not hear the door close.  From his limited view on the tile floor, the hallway light gave a soft wash to the bed room, and the bathroom door was about six inches open.  Twisting his neck, he tried to survey the rest of the bathroom behind him for any escape route.

The sudden change in light got Kenny’s attention as suddenly that soft wash no more and the sound of a door closing was audible.  He held his breath again, his heart pounding against the floor at such a force he was certain someone would feel the reverb.

“Mr. Kelly?” came a low voice, just above a whisper, from the other room.  Kenny pulled his lips inward and bit down on them. Another few moments of silence were interrupted by a rustle of paper.

“Mr. Talbitt,” the voice now said, still at the same distance at before, but louder and more confident.  It was no longer a question.

Kenny squeezed his eyes tightly and concentrated.  He had heard that name before, but he couldn’t remember where.  Flashes of his sexual escapades came forward, and Betty’s voice from earlier came into frame, “Your name on the worksheet is Leonard Talbitt.”  She looked pretty in that slice of memory; she always had the expression of being annoyed at herself that she was so turned on.

Oh, shit.  Kenny was Mister Talbitt.  He weighed his options for the splits of seconds if he should answer.  He heard footsteps in the next room, moving across the carpet. Kenny was in the throes of contemplation regarding his boyhood days taking taekw ondo and what he might remember from it when he was interrupted.

“Mr. Talbitt,” said a man again, plainly and calmly, this time standing over him.  Kenny lifted his chin upward as best he could without moving the rest of his strained body.  He saw a youngish man, but older than him. It was pretty dark, but he saw what looked like dull brown hair on the top of an unexceptional frame.

His face was near expressionless, minus that of a slight curve on the left of his mouth, like he was biting the inside of his cheek.  His nose, somewhat out of place on the rest of his face, slowly inhaled and his eyes, like stinging blue sapphires, stared cruelly downward.  Kenny grunted, his body in discomfort from his pose, “Hi,” he let out.

Nearly simultaneously with his greeting, he felt his head snap backwards from the impact.  He felt it in his upper back before his face, almost like the breaking of his nose needed to catch up with the rest of his body.  The blood however had spread to his eyes, and he could feel something wrong with his mouth, like a tooth was loose, likely several.  Without the time to attempt a second salutation, the center of his face had caught up with the pain and he recognized the difference between the impact of this unremarkable man’s shoe and the porcelain of the bathtub he was next introduced to.

His beautiful, soft face now felt like it was in separate pieces, and he could not tell if the room had gotten even that much darker, or if his eyes stopped working, certainly inconvenienced by the shattering of his orbital bone.  He gagged as pressure was then placed on his throat. He tried to bring the rest of his body into the struggle, attempting to coordinate some flailing arm gesture into a proper strike attack. However, he was having a difficult time hearing and was so distracted by his body’s insistence to instead go to sleep.

When Mr. Talbitt was dead, the unremarkable man let him go, leaning back and letting the rush continue to flow through him like it had the time before.  Feeling he was now alone, he let himself breathe at full volume, nearly gasping from the exhilaration.

When time had passed to make the scene less interesting to him, the man lifted his body off the tile floor and glanced around, eventually settling on turning the light switch on, which brought forth a full view of the carnage below.  The man staggered slightly, his hands pulsing and head throbbing with his now dissolving passion.  

He didn’t like looking at the people after it was over, so the man instead observed the rest of the of the room, seeing the sprawled out arm that hadn’t let go of a thin, scuffed up carry-on bag.  The man gingerly kicked the bag on the floor away from the body and it made contact with the base of the toilet, the contents shifting slightly.  

The unremarkable man pulled out some lemon scented wipes and dragged them across the rim of the tub and a part of the floor.  He would take care of the door knobs when he exited. He picked up the work order and folded it into quarters and slid it into the back of his jeans, and then he left.

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events, locales, and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental. Unless stated, all characters and material is the work and property of Viktor Devonne and White Elephant Burlesque Corp.  
Music: Scratch the Itch (Quincas Moreira) & Pirouette (Asher Fulero) are licensed under a Creative Commons; Attribution license  https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/ … theme: Cherry Blood by Miss Cherry Delight (used with permission)

Segment 12: Historical Record part 3 (2015)

written, edited, and produced by Viktor Devonne for 2 Night Stay
performed by Dick Move, Iris Explosion, Seedy Edie, Johnny Caligula, Viktor Devonne, Sarah Tops, and Noctua, with Jack Barrow
engineered and recorded by Dick Move

patreon

transcription:

gilman-logo-new-transparentNARRATOREthan and Joshua Abrams have continued success with the Gilman Hotel in the 40s, enjoying a boost from the war, and the town’s advancements in industry.

LESLIE DAVENPORT, investigative reporter: The Gilman Legacy Foundation has continued to make money, CEO after CEO, and they’re really splitting their time between philanthropic, good for press type work, and also this hotel which, while cute and all, why do they care so much?

LAURA GRIFFITH-KELLY, Gilman Legacy Foundation president: The Gilman Hotel remains one of the foundation’s main priorities because it was a priority of our original figurehead, Lionel Gilman.  It is not a pet project, it is a continuation of one of his great visions: a place to call home when you are away from home.  The Gilman Legacy Foundation, and I, understand this principle.

CHARLY VILLAQUEZ, magazine editor: It does seem a little odd and I think they welcomed the chance to have the Abrams just handle things for a while.  They are well-to-do bachelors, with Joshua known for his work in the shipping industry, and Ethan who has a very successful home renovation and decorating empire.  These are smart, shrewd, capable men and history has chosen to sort of rewrite their contributions to these eccentric millionaires who bought a hotel for a lark and ditched it as soon as disaster struck.

NARRATOROne of the first things that they lost was a friend.  One of the longterm guests of the hotel, Natalie May Dashett helped create a series of radio jingles that welcomed sailors, families, and newlyweds to the location.

They really were enterprising in their marketing; they wanted it to be a destination hotel.  And they succeeded.

Dashett would eventually abandon them, leaving an alleged tab, and a hole in their trust.

DAVID HANDLER, authorShe was a Hollywood actress who got in trouble with the studio.  I wouldn’t exactly call her famous.  When she saw her chance to leave, she took it. 

viktor sketches 2 color
Natalie May Dashett sketch by Fishy Business

NARRATOR: While the Gilman Legacy Foundation counts Natalie May Dashett as one of their hall of fame guests due to her success in radio and a burgeoning film career, her absence also left questions.

FELIX SCOTT, contributing reporter: She disappears.  No trace.  Another one gone.  And No one cares.  No one questions it.  No one investigates the hotel.

GRIFFITH-KELLY: Miss Dashett was a prized guest at the hotel.  I have heard the stories about her, but as far as the foundation is concerned, she was a friend of the Gilman, and she left due to personal family reasons.  The film industry wasn’t for her, the business wasn’t for her.  We certainly aren’t going to fault her for that, and I consider her debt to the hotel, if any, paid in full due to her work with us.

DAVENPORT: Natalie leaving upset the brothers.  In Ethan’s diary, he called it a massive betrayal. 

NARRATOR: Ethan Abrams’ diary, which was published in the 80s, is set to be republished next year with more information about his time as owner of the Gilman.  Much of the original text was excised from the first printing, and assumed meddling of the Gilman Legacy Foundation.

GRIFFITH-KELLY: I don’t know anything about that.

NARRATOR: The diary gives one of the few glimpses of a horrific evening in 1954.  While neither Abrams brother was on location, Ethan discusses the aftermath and trauma of on December 6th.  It was the date of mayor-elect Lucas Byron’s inauguration celebration.

News from home shook me to my core.  I leave for the hotel tomorrow morning.  The entire second floor ballroom has been nearly snapped in half, with patrons of Byron’s party falling to the lobby floor.  I have been informed that nearly all of them are dead.  Joshua is chartering a plane from Switzerland, but I will likely be there before him.  I cannot imagine setting foot on such a sight.  William likely crushed.  Devastated. 

NARRATOR: The William that Abrams wrote of, identified in other passages of the diary as his lover, was in fact killed in the disaster.  One of the rotating head waiters of the hotel’s restaurant staff hired, William Fenton  was working the party when a tremor brought the second floor to a screeching halt.

HANDLER: The structure beneath the ballroom floor gave way.  It happened in such a way where reports indicate it was an earthquake or some sort of gasline explosion, but it was centralized to that single room.  No other floor was affected; in fact no other part of the second floor was affected.   It is weird.  I’ll give you that. 

NARRATOR: In later examinations, and studies done by structural engineers and analysts, the exact way the ballroom cracked and shattered is physically impossible, and despite all efforts to explain, the Abrams were left with an insurance nightmare.  The Gilman Legacy Foundation representatives stepped in and handled many lawsuits quietly, and when someone attempted to goad the press into sensationalism, their complaints would go quiet almost as quickly.

From the diary of Ethan Abrams:

The building stands.  I expected that I would come to rubble.  One is able to quite comfortably get around, despite the wreckage.  The ballroom has been fractured, creating small islands, preserved by the beams of the hotel.  Guests in the middle of their waltz given an unholy end to their evening. 

NARRATOR: The number given to the press and public is that of 214 souls lost.  This comprised nearly two dozen service people who were staffed for the event and were in the ballroom at the time, or in the lobby and affected by the debris and victims falling from the ballroom above.  Other guests and service people who were just outside of the room on the same floor, or in the kitchen quarters, were unaffected, and in fact only heard the commotion and panic of the guests who survived, not the incident itself that caused the disaster.

DAVENPORT: It’s a panic.  The bellhops are seeing the sky fall down.  People are bloody, scrambling down the stairs screaming, running out on the streets, expecting to the see the end of the world, but everyone else is fine.  They assume it must either be a gas explosion or it’s an earthquake, or something that everyone else is experiencing.  But no one else is.  Just the Persephone Ballroom.

NARRATOR: The disaster gives signs of both and implosion and an explosion,   with the floor ripped in twisted gashes, like vines. 

VILLAQUEZ: One major figure however isn’t in the ballroom, but he is included in the tally of 214.  The mayor-elect, himself, Lucas Byron was found dead in his bedroom with a woman not his wife.  They’re in bed, and they look like they’ve been in an earthquake.

SCOTT: The rest of the hotel is unaffected.  The walls are fine.  Not a single guest knew anything happened until they heard the screams from the ballroom.  No one on that floor even heard it happen.   How did someone on the sixth floor, in fact two someones, have injuries from the tremor when no one else did.  And if they were in the ballroom when it happened, how did they get to the sixth floor penthouse, take off all their clothes, and still get in the mood to (bleep) until they succumbed to their injuries?

NARRATOR: The mayor’s wife, Verna, survived the accident by nature of her being on the second floor terrace with other guests of the hotel.

VILLAQUEZ: Story goes that Verna Byron didn’t even run back in when the guests were screaming.  Everyone who was with her did, but she stayed on the terrace.   The police happened upon her; she has just stayed sitting on a bench while all hell was breaking loose and the other guests were coming out of their rooms to find out what happened.

NARRATOR: Dr. Rebecca Mortinelli–

DR. REBECCA MORTINELLI, PSYCHOANALYSTShock can come in many forms.  What was probably happening in Verna Byron, although I have not studied any doctor’s records on her, may have been a temporary paralysis that prevented her from getting up.  Knowing her husband, her friends, she could not face it.

NARRATOR: The Abrams would leave the Gilman the following year, with the suggestion it heavily affected their relationship.  Ethan would go to Chicago and Joshua would relocate to Europe, constantly on the move.  Within the decade, the legal aspects of the accident would be all but a memory and the hotel acknowledged those lost with a solemn memorial when the ballroom was refinished.

VILLAQUEZ: The inspection on that ballroom floor probably took at least five different independent companies. 

NARRATOR: More hits would continue.  The press coverage was overwhelming but the guest registry was bleak.  Longterm guests would move out, saying they could hear the accident in their sleep, despite not having heard it when it happened.

During one of its frequent dry spells, in 1975, three young broke into the construction site of the Lucretia Coridor, located on the 5th floor and temporarily blocked off.

DAVENPORT: One of the tenants of the Gilman Legacy Foundation is that the hotel is kept in consistent working order.  The Lucretia Corridor was shut down for almost four months in the winter of 1974 into 1975.  The guest list was still pretty low so it was low priority.  The lights were going out all over the floor, issues with the pipes, and there was no active property manager.  So it was days before a maid discovered them.

NARRATOR: Three unrelated young men between the ages of 19 and 23, were found with gas tanks and matches, with the consensus made by the police department that they were there to burn down a portion, or all of the Gilman hotel for unknown reasons.  Despite one major scorch mark on one wall, the rest of the hall was untouched, and the floor, despite being coated in gasoline did not ignite.

SCOTT: These kids weren’t known by the hotel staff as guests, and they somehow get in with gas tanks, all the way to the fifth floor, unnoticed, or let in by an employee.  But instead of torching the place, they decide to burn it only  a little bit and then hang themselves altogether in a dark hallway  with rope they apparently decided to also bring.  for kicks.  because why?

NARRATOR: The police ruled it a joint suicide, with the intent that they would hang themselves as the fire caught on, but it failed to.  One of the young men, Anthony Martinez, was the son of Carolyn Maitland-Scheer, grandniece of the ill-fated Calvin Maitland, who dubiously owned the hotel in the 20s.  She maintains she has no idea why her son was at the hotel that evening, and declined to participate in this program, except with the following written statement:

The Gilman Hotel remains a subject of pain for my family.  I have no interest in continuing to revisit old wounds, but know this: my son Anthony had never been told about the hotel, never been brought to the hotel, or lived fewer than 20 miles from the hotel, ever.  I continue to relive the pain of the last decision he ever made.   While he was drawn to that location with his friends, he had no malice in his heart.

viktor sketches 5 colorNARRATOR: Mrs. Maitland-Scheer declined to sue the Gilman Legacy Foundation for the accident, despite rumors she met with attorneys.

In the midst of a Hollywood love affair of haunted house books and poltergeist blockblusters, the Gilman received notoriety for its alleged connection to the supernatural, and what was widely referred to as the ghost of Denise Schonheit.

The hotel received a bump in interest when serial killer Edgar Corbin turned himself into authorities in 1982, having stayed at the Gilman off and on for two years, and chose his victims in the area while he stayed there.

DAVENPORT: So Corbin says he used the hotel as a cover, somewhere to stay when he was looking up people to kill.  The Gilman legacy foundation tries to cover up that he was staying there, but he came to the police station; he said what he did, how he did it, where to find them, and what room he was in so the cops can find his stuff. 

NARRATOR: Via Corbin’s official police statement,

WhenI was sitting in my room, I would shake and cry.  I wanted to stop.  I knew I had to stop.  But I kept going out and finding them.  I was afraid to stop.  But I heard her.  I heard her voice and she would say to me, “Don’t hurt them anymore.”  And I saw her.  I saw the true face of innocence.  I cried.  I knew I could never hurt anyone else ever again.  Because she would know.

NARRATOR: Corbin, who confessed to the murder of 7 people, was not even on the suspect list of authorities, and led them to his stash of trophies taken from his victims, which was left at the Gilman.  The Gilman Legacy Foundation lodged a formal complaint against the TV network BloodstainD for its heavily fictionalized TV movie featuring a serial killer fitting Corbin’s description being a ghost in the hotel he used to scout victims.  Corbin in fact did not die at the Gilman; he died in prison in 2004, and while Corbin was forthcoming to the details of his murders, it is unclear if he ever killed anyone at the hotel itself.

viktor sketches 1 color
Requiem sketch by Fishy Business

Also in 1982, and presumably unbeknownst to Corbin, proto-darkwave and synth-metal band The Last Boys holed up in the hotel for weeks at a time, writing and recording the demos of what would become their first album. 

After achieving considerable success at home and abroad, the Last Boys would become most known for its connection to the Gilman, when lead singer Requiem was found dead of a purported overdose, several years after their initial booking.

VILLAQUEZ: Requiem became known for their shock rock antics.  They played into the “Hail Satan” trends of the 80s, courting opinion that they sold their soul, that they were a vampire–

DAVENPORT: In 1986, the hotel stops accepting new guests except for the longterm residents—basically people using the hotel as an apartment building, which it got into the habit of doing because it wasn’t making a lot of money except in longterm guests, or 1 night… or 1 hour guests…

GRIFFITH-KELLY: The Gilman Hotel was never closed to guests in the 1980s.  This is a story that persists despite the foundation’s insistence. 

SCOTT: They were shut down for health code violations.  It’s a verifiable fact.

GRIFFITH-KELLY: I’m sorry; I don’t know anything about that.

VILLAQUEZ: February 15th, 1986.  Requiem is staying there.  They quit the band, they quit the tour.   One night they get ahold of some bad smack and the next day, the headlines say “Rockstar Dead.” 

GRIFFITH-KELLY: I would also like to make sure we mention that in 1982, the Gilman Legacy Foundation helped sponsor the productions at the Diamond Pond Community Playhouse.

NARRATOR: Coming up,

DAVENPORT: They saw an opportunity–

GRIFFITH-KELLY: We aren’t looking to erase history–

HESPERWOLF, spiritualist: I knew when the phone rang who he was.  I knew why he was calling. 

NARRATOR: … when we return to Historical Record: Secrets and Skeletons.

Segment 3: First Date (1982)

written, edited, and produced by Viktor Devonne for 2 Night Stay
recorded by Matt Storm
performed by Faux Pas le Fae

patreon

transcription:

viktor sketches 5 colorsketch by Fishy Business

“You’re going to drive me to drink,” she laughs. they clink glasses.

They’ve actually been sitting in this bar for about 2 1/2 hours. Between them, they’ve lost count on cocktails they may have ordered; but she knows she started with wine and somehow she’s moved onto whiskey.

He’s a traveler. Salesman? She’s not entirely sure what he does for a living; somehow they just skirted the issue entirely this whole time, but she knows she’s told him an awful lot about her.

She said everything about her trip to San Diego, how her mother found that uranium in the backyard, and brought up her great uncle and how he used to raise cocker spaniels in Wilmington.

She’s not used to flirting anymore. She was an expert once; it was all she knew how to do for a while. But she thought after weeks of quiet loneliness that she would give it a try tonight and, boy, did she luck out.

He’s got dark brown hair. It reminds her of fur; it’s dense and like a deer’s hide. His face reminds of her of that actor she can never remember the name of because he’s never listed in the first six credits. But she’s seen his smile, a little crooked on the left; knowing too much. He’s been taking bets all night, and she’s let him win every time. But he’s a gentleman; she knows he’s letting her think she’s ahead.

The nose. Yeah, it doesn’t quite match the rest of the face. But it’s a good nose on someone else, so why not on him. He’s got strong shoulders; if he didn’t play sports in college, mores the pity. His eyes look through her and back again. She has to restart her sentences sometimes because she gets lost. He assures her it’s fine.

Her dress is too tight, she knows her mother would suggest, and she was regretting all the lavender sequins until he complimented her on it. She chose it over the poofy one. She didn’t want to look like Atlantic City had let her out for conjugal visit. The fishnets however, well, old habits die hard. Those were part of the uniform for fifteen years, and she had no intention to letting them go now, especially if she was going on her own now.

So far she’s avoided talking about her marriage. Somehow she managed to keep her wits among her to avoid that topic. She doesn’t want to seem eager, new to the game. Well, new again; back in play. But even having this verbal dance for hours now, she stopped wondering about 45 minutes ago what he sees in her.

He laughs when she needs him too; he has a follow up question every single time she thinks that they’ve gone silent too long.

The cigarette smoke wisps as it envelopes the breath between them. They started off further apart, but the chair swiveled, and she found herself even closer on those terrible bar stools with the back that just missed your flesh, with the slightest implication of support.

She hasn’t dare look at her watch where the clock over the bar; she just wants this Friday night to last as long as it possibly can. Well, at least this part of the night in this bar. She doesn’t know if he’s going to invite her up to his room or if she will invite him to hers. They haven’t made it that far yet. But she knows it’s coming; that awkward “when I see you again sometime,” or “you have a good night, unless you wanna come up for coffee.” They’re at a hotel. She doesn’t have coffee. But maybe in the morning, they can get some. There’s that cafe next to the lobby. They call it cafe but they only have coffee and doughnuts til 11am.

He’s laughed again at something she said; she has been comforted by the absence of self-consciousness this whole time. What is it about this man that puts her at ease. She swore years ago that she would ever let her guard down like this. But he’s nice. Attractive, but not intimidating. Those eyes; hazel or maybe green. no, she’s been looking long enough at them; she knows they’re hazel.

It looks like the dance is ending. she goes for her purse, and he puts his hand on her shoulder. She’s not sure why she didn’t wear a sweater tonight, but her bare shoulder shivers at the touch. He murmurs something about an early morning. She figures she’s going to bed alone again. Him, to sleep six hours before a conference or a convention or, wherever he’s in town for.

Wrong. He extends his arm towards her, ready to take her hand into his. An escort to the elevator? No, they take the stairs. Slowly. Drunkenly. She doesn’t know how much she’s had. Her eyes glance to the door she knows is hers for the next three days; but he hasn’t slowed down. They go up one more flight.

Must be after midnight. She doesn’t want to be shy. She wants to go for it; she wants to finally do what she promised on her 42nd birthday she would finally fucking do when she felt like it. And he seems so nice. Attractive, but not intimidating. And those eyes. What was that actor’s name?

As the door clicks open, she becomes a silhouette slowly wandering aimlessly into this darkened room, the corridor light providing only reference points, so she knows where not to stumble. The bedroom of the hotel is very similar to hers; she can figure out where the desk is, where the extra chair might be, and where the mattress is.

The window is open and the curtains allow for just enough moonlight to make her feel so beautiful. He closes the door behind him. She sits quietly, waiting for him to make his move. Her breath tightens. His hands tighten. She feels dizzy; something is wrong. He’s doing this wrong. Something is wrong. She wants to tell him but he has his hand over her mouth. He has to know this isn’t right.

The moonlight is dim. She can’t get up. It’s over so quickly, it must have taken hours. Birds are already gathering themselves into discordant snippets of sounds.

She is over them now. She looks at their figures. He’s crying over her, apologizing. He’s saying some girl’s name, but not hers. He’s apologizing to someone else over her body. She makes a note to remark on that failure in courtesy, but there are no more words to say.

For someone who made her feel so beautiful, he has reduced her to a monstrous shell. Sloppy. Maybe his first time. No, second or third. She observes the signs of ritual. That was her gold bracelet, and an earring that made it into that wooden box he had kept under the bed. They joined other trinkets. That necklace was pretty; it looked more expensive than hers. How many of them were once owned by someone 43 and divorced, on their first try out again. How many of those women looked at him and just couldn’t quite place that film almost-star. You kept imagining him talking to Kathleen Turner like that was a hint.

She’s alone again. Another man, her limp body in his arms, has left her alone again. He looks, skyward, either for judgement or for peace. His eyes look through her.

Those eyes. Maybe they aren’t as remarkable as she let herself believe. Dull, almost.