There was already someone in there.
Did they see me come in?
Have you ever ended up in someone else’s hotel room?
Over the past few weeks, I’ve been traveling more than usual. I’m helping to scout locations for a TV show, helping a company I used to work for in LA.
This sounds far more glamorous than it actually is.
However, what it lacks in luxury it more than makes up for in fodder for future murder stories.
A couple of weeks ago, I flew into Milan and checked into an airport hotel by the airport. Another member of the team was to arrive the next morning, and I had the rental car to pick him up and drive to our ultimate destination.
The hotel seemed clean and pleasant, and the desk staff was kind about my inability to speak any Italian beyond “Grazie” and various items on an Italian menu.
I took the elevator up to drop off my bag, waving the key card in front of the reader, which flashed green and clicked the lock open.
But when I turned the handle and entered, I froze. The bed was rumpled, what looked like pringle crumbs all over the sheets. The TV was on, playing a program I can’t now remember. Perhaps because it was in Italian?
This was far more disturbing than I would have imagined, if imagining the scenario not in a hotel, or in someone else’s room.
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I scrambled out of there as fast as possible, horrified that the occupant might find me there, standing stupidly with my bag.
What if they’d just gotten out of the shower? What if they were getting dressed? What if, god help me, they’d been having sex?
After riding back down the elevator, I waited in the line for check-in again.
The desk person raised an eyebrow.
I felt embarrassed, as if I’d broken in or done something shady.
“Um. There’s already someone in this room,” I said, putting the key back on the counter.
His eyes widened. “What?” He turned to the computer and began typing furiously.
“Or,” I added. “If someone is supposed to have left, they haven’t.”
He apologized profusely and offered me my choice of items from their snacks and later an Aperol spritz at dinner, on the house. Or hotel, as it were.
They gave me the room across the hall from the one belonging to someone else.
I was tempted to spy on it, see who I might have run into if I’d lingered a bit longer, but there are no peepholes in hotel doors, at least not in this hotel. I worried all night that someone might check into the hotel and burst into my room by mistake. Perhaps the error was systemic?
As I read and went to sleep, an idea began to percolate. Not for the current mystery I’m writing, but a future one in the series. The list is getting longer all the time.
What if you checked into a hotel room and there was a body on the bed?
What would happen then?