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Welcome to Another Notch, the podcast about writing prompts. I try to get thoughts on paper and stretch ideas until they become stories. If it inspires you, then go write somrthing! If my writing needs help, then, please…help. The whole idea is to make me a better writer, and that’s the point.
Here’s today’s writing from a random prompt I found on the internet. A con man who convinces people they’ve been abducted by aliens and takes their money…is abducted by aliens.
As always, I write what I can in one day’s time and what ends up on the table is a rough first draft of however far I got into the story. These are not finished stories. Perhaps, one day, I’ll get around to finsihing some of these stories. In the mean time, I think I’m benefitting from the practice. So, keeping that in mind…
…here we go…
DId you ever wonder about that secret government base called Area 51 and how a certain portion of the population seem to have had life-altering experiences such as being abducted by aliens, being “probed” by aliens, and generally just being harrassed by aliens? Have you ever thought about how much of that stuff may have some grain of truth to it or some basis in reailty? Well, the truth is…there’s not as much reality to it as some folks would have you believe. And here’s a true story to explain some portion of the crazy stories you may have heard.
Jason Hawsworth was a bartender at the Pradisio Hotel in Las Vegas, about a hundred miles southeast of that popular secret site known as Area 51. He worked late nights at the hotel bar and that suited him just fine. Jason had an occasional side hussle going on in the bar that helped bolster the tips and wages he made in the off-the-beaten-path hotel.
It was two in the morning at the Pradisio Hotel. Jason rinsed highball glasses, swept broken glass and stray ice cubes, and started closing down the bar. He kept a close eye on the guest from Room 228 whose arm was beginning to tire from pulling on the one-armed bandit on the far side of the room. The slot machines actually paid out once in a while and the experienced, prepared guests knew how to keep feeding one until it let loose its holdings. Ya gotta spend money to make money…or so the adage goes. They were the only two people in the bar.
“Sir. Are you gonna want anything else before I close up shop for the night?” said Jason from behind the bar.
The man didn’t hear him. His eyes were heavy. He slumped against the machine with the weight of all the the gin and tonic he had been nursing the past few hours. His bloodshot eyes locked on the screen, his arm grew heavier each time he reached for the handle.
“Ok, then. Hey! One more for the road. Something to celebrate your success!” said Jason as he walked from behind the bar. He had a shot glass in his hand with a clear liquid.
He reached the middle-aged man and reassuringly pat him on the shoulder. The man seemed to stir and come awake, almost. Jason held the shot glass in front of him and smiled a bright and animated smile. A more sober guest may have questioned the complimetary drink but, at this point, anything in a glass is just waiting to meet its just end.
The rumpled guest in his slacks and and sneakers, buttoned shirt and windbreaker, was now heading into complete shut down mode. The gin-flavored dose of Rohypnol Jason put in the shot glass made sure of that.
“There ya go. Easy does it.” said Jason as the intoxicated and drugged man tried to stand. The guest reached out an arm in, as if in protest, as if some portion of his subconscious was aware of something wrong. Jason helped him down into one of the wheeled dining room chairs which he had placed against the wall earlier, with its faux leather cushioning on the back and arms. . The moment the man passed out would never be remembered. The moment he woke up would never be forgot.
With one hand on each end of the back of the wheeled chair, Jason pulled the unconscious man away from the slot machine, out of the bar area, down the hall and up to a storage room near the ice machine under the stairs. He pulled a keychain out of his pocket, found a small brass key, unlocked the storage room and pulled the chair and its passenger inside. He shut the door behind him and the door was locked once more.
Aged fluorescent lights on a motion sensor flickered and came on with a buzz and a dull glow. The room was partially filled with replacements for various room features such as shelves of table lamps with their cords wrapped around their base, larger floor lamps, used coffee machines in various states of repair and cleanliness, and a couple broken televisions.
Jason reached up to a small tissue box on the top shelf of the closest rack and pulled out a fresh pair of latex gloves. He pulled them on and wrestled the man out of the chair and onto a thin, dirty twin-sized mattress laying on the floor. He made a thorough, methodical search of all of the man’s personal belongings, pocket to pocket, and unabashedly tossed everything into a five gallon paint bucket next to the mattress. Wallet, keys, chips from nearby casinos, cash, coins won from the slot machine down the hall. Everything but the hotel room access card went into the bucket. The access card was placed on the shelf behind him. The rest would be sorted through later.
Next was the victim’s clothes. Jason took off the mans shoes, cut and removed the man’s clothes, skivvies and all, and shoved them into an heavy duty garbage bag. He sealed the bag with a plastic zip tie from a bundle next to the tissue box and placed it next to the bucket by the door. The first time Jason had done this part of the process, it was awkward and horrendous. By this time, he had learned to get it over with as efficiently as possible and be done with it.
Jason, kneeling next to the naked guest, reached back and grabbed one of the flimsy folded hotel bedspreads from the shelf behind him, unfolded it and let it float down over the body. He paused for a few moments, listening to the man still breathing in his drug-induced slumber. That was a good sign.
He got up, stretched, and stepped around an old newspaper rack, exiled from the lobby years ago, and pulled out a folding wheelchair stored between the shelf and the wall. With a quick yank, the wheel chair expanded and, in less than a minute, Jason had the unconscious guest arranged comfortably covered with his blanket, sitting quietly, waiting to be taken away.
A sleeping man in a wheelchair being pushed down the hallway after two in the morning would hardly be noticed by anyone and, if it were, it wouldn’t look suspicious. Jason peeled off the latex gloves and tossed them in the plastic bucket with the man’s belongings. He left the bucket and, opening the door, he peered out and looked up and down the hall. No one. He grabbed the man’s room access card off the shelf.
Jason commandeered the wheelchair, navigating it through the storage room door, around the corner, passed the ice machine and the stairwell, and up to the elevator doors. A quick trip in the elevator and he and his passenger were on the sexcond floor. He stopped at a maid’s closet and pulled out his brass key to step inside and grab a clean hand towel. Thirty seconds later, they were in front of room 228.
Jason swiped the access card in the door slot, the lock flicked open, and he gripped and twisted the knob with the bar towel. He nudged the door open, careful to not touch anything, and rolled the chair and his victim inside. The access card went back into his pants pocket.
Jason carefully laid the man on the bed and then firmly pulled the wrapped bedspread from him. He wadded this up and tossed it into the seat of the empty wheelchair. The man as haphazardly spread-eagled, prone, face down, and snoring into the clean bedspread beneath him. Jason shook his head and chuckled at the image that entered his mind of what it would be like for this guy to wake up hours from now, wondering what had happened.
Using the hand towel once more, he pulled the door open, rolled the wheelchair into the hall, and pulled the door shut behind him with a click. He stopped along the way to drop the bedspread and the hand towel into a half-full housekeeping cart in the maid’s closet. He rode in the elevator and returned the wheelchair to its folded position behind the rack shelf in the storage room.
Next, he spent a few minutes going through the contents of the five-gallon bucket. Adding up all the casino chips, cash, slot machine fodder and such, there was about four hundred and thirty eight dollars. Then, he pulled all the debit and credit cards and the man’s driver’s license. He pulled an old digital pocket camera out of his jacket pocket and snapped images of the cars, front and back. The cards were tossed back into the bucket.
He put the digital camera back in his jacket pocket and carried the bucket down to the front desk. A young woman wearing a hotel name tag was sitting behind the desk, engrossed with her phone.
“Hi, Sandra. What’s up with you?” he said. She glanced up and back to her phone.
“Not much, Jason. Just waiting for six. This place is dead. I can’t wait to go home and sleep.” Sandra said to her phone.
He walked with the bucket behind the counter and to the console not occupied by Sandra. Sandra seemed to notice nor care that he had a bucket. He pulled the phone out of his pocket and began scrolling through the images to bring up one of the credit cards. He tapped the mouse to bring the computer console to life and brought up a browser. A couple minutes later, he had four large pizzas ordered at the 24-hour Pizza Hut down the street. He used the images on the digital camera to get the credit card numbers, name, and security digits. He used the image of the ID card for zip code to verify the card. The first one he tried was declined. He swiped through the images and entered another number. The second card worked. The pizza would be ready to pick up in about twenty minutes. Glancing at the ID once more, he noticed the man’s name was Edward Kepler.
He reached into the bucket and found the man’s car keys and put them in his pocket. Then he stepped back into the office behind the front desk. He brought another console awake by tapping its keyboard and proceeded to go through and delete all of the hotel’s security camera recordings on the DVR. Then he did a hard boot on the camera system. This would give him an additional four to five minutes of no recording for him to be able to get off the property.
He found a box of heavy duty trash bags in a filing cabinet. He pulled one out, whipped it open, and poured the contents of the bucket into it. He twisted the bag shut and placed it in the bucket, carrying both back down the hall.
“Good night, Sandra.” he said.
” ‘night.” she said, still glued to her phone.
He stopped at the storage closet to place the bucket back where it had been. He took the first garbage bag, the one with the man’s clothes, and carried it alongside the second one out through a side door by the ice machine to the parking lot.
Jason reached into his pocket to find Mr. Kepler’s car key’s and began pressing the button on the key fob to find his car. After seeing the flashing lights of an eight-year old Oldmobile, he quickly strolled to the car, opened the door, tossed the two garbage bags inside and climbed into the driver’s seat. He revved the engine to life and quietly rolled out onto Elvis Presly boulevard.
He drove three blocks and found an all-night laundromat. He pulled in around the alley, grabbed the garbage bags, jumped out and pulled open the sheet metal door of the dumpster sitting there. In went the bags, and Jason was back in the Olds, cruising down the street.
Five minutes later, Jason was parking the car in front of the Pizza Hut. He ran inside and picked up the pizzas. He wolfed down a couple slices on the way back to the hotel. Parking in the same spot where he found the car, he closed the windows, grabbed the key fob from the ignition and carried the pizza boxes into the hotel. He was very nonchalant and calm as he was aware this portion of his excursion would actually be on the video footage retained by the DVR.
He hopped on the elevator, pizzas in hand, and headed back up to room 228. He pulled the access key out of his pocket, swiped it, and stepped into the room, closing the door behind him.
“Where is everybody, Eddie? What happened? Why are you…naked?!” said Jason, laughing.
Edward Kepler groaned and suddenly realized he was in his hotel room…and naked, as described, and someone had been narrating this to him… No! Someone was in the room with him! Who in the hell was that? And why did it smell like pizza in here?
He opened his eyes and glanced back at the voice. A man in slacks and light jacket sat at the desk in his room, eating a slice of pizza out of an open box, from a stack of pizza boxes.
“For Christ’s sake, Eddie. Put some clothes on. What happened while I was gone?” said Jason, grabbing a bath towel from the bathroom and tossing it over Edward Kepler’s exposed torso. He took another bite from the pizza and went back to the desk to pick up the remote and turn on the television.
Alright! Thank you for joining me in this little glimpse into the world of a character who is obviously a psychopath. I wish I had found the time to get on paper a bit of the concept for the ending, where the guy get a taste of his own medicine, but time restraints led to me trying to get this episode out in a reasonable time. If I waited until I completely finished every writing prompt exercise to put out an episode, I may never get out any new episodes.
That’s today’s writing prompt. I’ll be back with more. Be sure to subscribe if you find this interesting. Thanks for listening and thanks for your feedback. This is Kurt Copeland. Keep the momentum and take your writing up Another Notch.