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Sunday Serial: Haunted Bones-Chapter Eleven

Sunday+Serial%3A+Haunted+Bones-Chapter+Eleven

Authors note: This is a work of fiction. It does not reflect any actual events, and all of the characters are fictional. Any similarity to events or persons living or dead is purely coincidental.
There is a real city of Oceanside, California. It’s San Diego County’s third largest city with a below-average crime rate.
The Grand Pacific Hotel is fictional, but during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, there were at least two similar resort hotels that did exist, primarily serving railroad passengers and tourists as described in this book.

— Tom Morrow

Chapter 11

Beatrice Cryer was in fact still living and was listed in the Oceanside telephone book. The address was easy to find. It was a small bungalow on Ditmar Street in the heart of old Oceanside facing west overlooking the Pacific.

When they pulled in front of her house, they found her on her hands and knees weeding a flower garden alongside the front stoop.

“Miss Cryer?” Danny lightly hollered from the sidewalk.

“Yes, that’s me! Wha’da ya want?”

Beatrice Cryer was a semi-stout woman appearing to be in her mid-seventies. When she stood from her garden, the detectives were awestruck by her attractiveness—and ample chest; albeit a bit saggy, but, nonetheless, quite an eye catcher.

Danny and Joe walked to the stoop and identified themselves and explained their visit. She removed her garden gloves and invited them to the front porch to sit down. The sun was bearing down and it was starting to get hot.

“You want to ask me questions about my time at the GP?”

“Yes, we would, if you don’t mind,” Danny said.

“This have anything to do with those bodies I’ve read about?”

“Yes. We’re trying to talk to as many people as we can who worked there in the past,” Danny said in his detective voice—bland.

“Probably not many of us left from the old days.”

“There’s more than you think,” Joe said.

“Oh, really?”

“Yes ma’am. Talked to a few already,” Joe said again.

“Like who?”

“Aaron Hinkle. Remember him?”

“Vaguely.”

“John Traiger?”

“Vaguely.”

“Ned Martin?”

“No.”

“Seth Adams?”

“That ol’ fart still living?”

“Yeah, he’s still living. You talk to him lately?”

“No. Haven’t talked to him or any of those folks since we closed.”

“That a fact?”

“That’s a fact. But what did ol’ Seth say about me?”

“That you were pretty, just like your mother. Also said your mother had control over the ‘girls’ who used to visit the GP. You know anything about that?”

“Well, I suppose it’s no secret. My momma did run a men’s club back in those days. I grew up there.”

“Men’s club?” Joe asked with raised eyebrows.

“Son, back in those days, a whorehouse was known as a ‘Men’s Club’.”

“Oh.”

“Yeah, she owned and ran the place. Had a steady clientele, mostly local businessmen. And the Marines came when they had some money.”

“You remember any of the customers?” Danny asked.

“Not really, no. I was only eight when momma closed down.”

“What year was that?”

“Around 1942, I think.”

“Why did she close down?”

“The mayor’s wife. She found out her husband was a regular.”

“Customer?”

“Yeah. She in turn went to the police chief and demanded he do something. But what she didn’t know was he was a regular, too. When she found that out, she threatened to take it to the newspaper and spill the beans. That would’ve meant trouble for everybody.”

“What happened?” asked Joe.

“Well, Momma didn’t have much choice but to close down because of the pressure put on her.”

“That when she went to work at the GP?” asked Joe.

“More or less.”

“How’s that?” Joe asked again.

“You see, about a month or so after closing, she got a call from the GP manager.”

“Oh?”

“Well … he used to stop by the club once in a while to relax.”

“And…?”

“He offered her a proposition.”

“A proposition?” Danny said piping in.

“If you want to call it that. You see, when Momma closed the club down, there were a lot unhappy men in town, including the police chief and the mayor. Between the two of them, and the manager, they devised a plan to keep her in business.”

“Plan…?”

“They got with the manager and worked out a deal. Officially she was given the job as head housekeeper…”

“And unofficially…?”

“She had to bring some of the girls with her.”

“So your momma became a madam again?”

“Yeah, I suppose she did.”

“No housekeeping duties?”

“Depends on what you call housekeeping, huh, detective?”

“Yeah, I guess you’re right,” Danny said looking at Beatrice with a grin. Joe slightly chuckled to himself looking at Beatrice. After a moment of silence, Joe piped in.

“So, your momma just kept the place clean?”

“Yeah, she kept the place clean, detective.”

“So, where did you and your momma move to after she closed the club?” asked Joe.


“The manger supplied me and Momma a free room to live in at the hotel. We actually got two adjacent rooms and had a door cut in between the rooms. Momma had one room, and me and my brother had the other room. We were on the first floor towards the back.”

“You had a brother?”

“Yes, his name was Jimmy. He wasn’t normal. Had learning disabilities. He died a few years ago.”

“Sorry to hear that.”

“Thank you. He was sweet brother. I do miss him.”

“How did living at the hotel work out?”

“Oh, just fine. Me and Jimmy liked it there. Momma did too. She never had to cook again. We got our meals from the kitchen.”

“What about your father?”

“I really don’t know, to tell you the truth. He left momma after I was born.”

“Sorry to hear that,” Joe said.

“Ah, no big deal. I never knew him, and momma never talked about him. I brought it up once but Momma really didn’t want to talk about it. Just said we were better off without him.”

“When did your mother die?” Joe asked.

“It was 1968. She got breast cancer.”

“I’m sorry.”

“Thank you.”

“How long did you continue living at the hotel?” Joe asked.

“I moved out in 1980.”

“That’s a long time for living in just a hotel room.”

“Yes, it was. But we became part of the hotel, and we called it home. But to us, it was very comfortable. Met folks from all over the place.”

“I bet. It was a popular hotel for many years.”

“It was at that,” Beatrice said staring at nothing in particular across the street. For a moment it appeared as though she was in a trance. Danny broke the momentary silence.

“Where did you end up moving to?” asked Danny.

“Moved in with my boyfriend.”

“Where was that?”

“Right here to this house.”

“This house?”

“Yes, this house.”

“Where is he these days?”

“Hopefully, Heaven. He was killed in a car wreck coming home from work. Some drunk ran into him.”

“What kind of work?”

“Bartending at a fancy restaurant that’s no longer in business.”

“When was that?”

“The fall of 1990.”

“But you never got married?”

“No, I didn’t. We just liked living together. It worked out fine.”

“Kids?”

“No. No kids. Just the two of us. And some cats. We loved cats.”

“Did he will you the house?”

“It was a rental back then. I stayed and took over the rent. Some years later the owner decided to sell it, and I bought it. I kept the place up and always paid my rent on time. He gave me a good deal.”

“Any boyfriends since?”

“A few, but nothing ever panned out.”

“Now, this old hotel manager that gave you and your momma a room. You remember his name?”

“No, not right off hand. He died back in the early sixties.”

“That when John Traiger took over?”

“I think so. Been a long time, you know.”

“But you remember him a little better than ‘vaguely’?”

“Perhaps.”

“Did he follow the previous manager’s position about your mother’s shenanigans?”

“He was certainly aware of what was going on. He himself started at the hotel back in 1953 as a bookkeeper. He knew what was going on.”

“He ever try to stop it?”

“No. He tolerated it because there were never any problems. Besides, those ‘shenanigans’, as you called it, actually brought in some good bucks at times when the hotel business got slow. He knew it took money to keep things rolling, like salaries and such.”

“Well, that’s true. But the hooker business is illegal, you know. And besides, just to refresh your memory, two bodies have recently been discovered there: one fairly well preserved as a mummy in a third floor wall and one skeleton in an old privy pit. And you say there were never any problems?” Danny purposely kept quiet about the third body found in the boiler.

“I don’t know anything about that or how they could have gotten there!” Beatrice said getting agitated.

“You sure about that?” Danny said slightly raising his voice.

“Hell yes! You’re barking up the wrong tree there, detective.”

“Did you follow in your mother’s footsteps regarding the girls?”

“No, I did not! I had nothing to do with what momma was doing. I didn’t get involved there. I stayed away from that.”

“That right?”

“Yeah, that’s right!” Beatrice said looking harshly into Danny’s eyes.

“Well, okay then. If you lived there at the hotel for all those many years, what did you do?”

“I worked all over the hotel. But I spent most of my time as a waitress in the main dining room. Made good tip money.”

“I bet!”

“What do you mean by that?”

“Well, you’re a lovely lady, an eye-catcher.”

“You mean my boobs are, don’t you?”

“I’m sure the men customers noticed.” Danny realized his questioning was going in the wrong direction. He moved on to another subject.

“Your time at the GP, you remember much about leaking pipes?”

“Leaking pipes?”

“Yes, leaking pipes.”

“No, not that I can remember. Why?”

“Oh, just wondering. That’s all. What about the Marines. Did they cause any problems?”

“Any problems? Like what?”

“I mean, you know; a lot came to the hotel, right?”

“Yeah, they did. Sometimes they got rowdy, but I don’t recall anything ever getting out of hand.”

“Don’t remember, huh?”

“Been a long time. I just don’t remember.”

“And you have no clue how those bodies ended up at the hotel?”

“I have no clue. And you can hound me from now til the end of time, and I’ll keep saying the same thing. I don’t know!”

“Okay, then. Aaron Hinkle. You said you just vaguely remember him. That right?”

“Just vaguely.”

“Yes. But what do you remember about him?”

“Good looking cuss with soft, wavy red hair.”

“He make any moves on you?”

“No, no he didn’t. He was way too old for me. Besides, he left the GP and bought into some jewelry business back in the mid-sixties. I ran into him a few times back in the eighties. Haven’t seen or talked to him since. How’s he doing?”

“Seems to be doing fine,” Joe said.

“And you haven’t talked to or seen Seth Adams or John Traiger within the past years?” Danny asked trying to dig a little deeper.

“Like I said, no. I haven’t. I didn’t even know they were still living until you told me. Now, if you don’t mind I’ve got work to do and would like to get back to it.”

“Okay then, we’ll leave. But we’ll probably be back.”

“That’ll be fine. I’ll be here.”

Danny and Joe made their way to the car. After getting inside and starting the motor, they stared at Beatrice who was looking back at them. She decided to go inside. After closing the door, she peeped through the window blinds at the detectives. As they drove off, she picked up her cell phone.

“Aaron, it’s Bea.”

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Sunday Serial: Haunted Bones-Chapter Eleven