The Benson:Experiment in Terror 2.5(6)By: Karina Halle
Pam laughs. “You’re right about that. And it was the same kind of outcome. Back in 1934, Portland was hit hard—really hard—with this strike. I think it was called the West Coast Waterfront Strike? Anyway, there was the strike, his ship was basically inoperable, and he lost a lot of money. Really fast. According to the records, he was kicked out of the hotel because he couldn’t pay his bills. Not for this room, not for any room here.”
“And what happened?” I push.
She sighs and rubs her face quickly, looking uneasy for the first time tonight. Lines appear on her youthful face.
“He wouldn’t leave. He was kicked out several times, out on the street even. Publicly humiliated. All unshaven and messy, like a vagrant. He said people were after him, wanting money and that he was afraid for his life. Then the hotel staff found him. Dead. Hanging in the maid’s laundry room, from a noose made out of towels. The strike ended two days later. How is that for irony?”
She smiles at me, but it is forced and I can’t be bothered to return it. The story stirs something in my gut.
I look up at Dex and see that his attention is back on the other room again.
“What is it?” I ask him. I can’t help myself.
Pam’s attention goes to him, and we all look over but see nothing.
“The guests who have seen him,” she puts in, her voice low, her eyes on the partition, “they say they see a man pacing anxiously in the other room there, muttering to himself. Once he notices you, he tries to say something or write something down. But no words come out and as the guests get more scared and confused, the ghost gets frustrated. Sometimes he disappears, sometimes he rushes at the guests and then… poof.”
“Well doesn’t that make for a memorable stay,” Dex comments underneath his breath.
Pam giggles nervously at his lame joke and then gets up. “I’m afraid I will have to leave you two now. Duty calls.”
Dex lowers the camera and touches her arm lightly, causing her to pause mid-bustle. It’s obvious she wants nothing more than to get out of the room. I have half a mind to join her.
“Where is the laundry room?” he asks.
Pam looks down at her feet quickly. “The laundry room? Why?”
“Well, we aren’t ignoring the place where the man hung himself. With towels, mind you. I mean, I can make a swan out of towels, but a noose?”
“I’d show you, but I really must—”
She looks at me for support as he reaches forward and plucks the keys out of her hand.
He holds up the keys in front of her face. “Just tell us which key will get us into the laundry room and we’ll have no problem finding it on our own.”
“Dex,” I begin, not wanting him to step out of bounds. He can be relentless sometimes.
He ignores me and flashes Pam a smile that usually makes me weak at the knees. “Come on, Pammy, you know you want our little show to succeed here. Parker would want us there. Give the man some closure.”
Her mouth twitches while she thinks it over. Dex gives her a quick wink and she blushes slightly. I can’t help but roll my eyes again.
“All right,” Pam mumbles and takes the keys from him. She goes through them in a blur and pops one off the ring and into his outstretched hand. “It’s in the basement. This will open the freight elevator at the end of the hall and take you right there. But I want this back, OK?”
“But of course.” He grins and closes his hand over the key before she has a chance to change her mind.
She looks at me and I give a little shrug.
“We won’t wreck anything or scare the guests,” I say. I want to add, “We promise,” but I know we can’t promise anything. Destruction and fear seem to follow Dex and I wherever we go. That is the nature of the ghost hunting business, even one that’s only on the Internet.
I can see Pam isn’t comfortable with the situation, but she doesn’t say anything else. She just leaves the room and shuts the door behind her. The movement causes the dust to fly off of the nearby lamps.
I slowly let out my breath and look at Dex. He’s watching me carefully.