Buck's Phototales

(There's This)
Small Motel

Written By
Uncle Buck


Pictures Courtesy of

With the sudden and unexpected disappearnace of Ms Nanette Lauterdale,
James Jimson found when next he visited the Bates Hotel
that he met neither resistance nor any difficulty whatever
with regard to his bid for the purchase of the motel and the surrounding property.

Whatever became of the other woman who was presiding over this place?"
Jimson inquired by way of making conversation with the formidable female
who was acting as a temporary desk clerk.

"Do you mean, Ms Nanette Lauterdale?"

"Yes ... I believe that was her name ..."

"She had a death in the family ..."

"Oh! I'm so sorry to hear that!
Was it a sudden illness, do you suppose?"

"Yes ... You could say that it was ... In a manner of speaking ..."

"Will she be returning then?"

"Not anytime soon ...
Her mother needs looking after, you see ..."

"Ah, yes ... Well, none of us are getting any younger ..."

"That's for sure!"

"I must say Ms Woods, that it's awfully good of you
to look after the affairs here when Ms Lauterdale was called away!"

"We only do what we can, Mr Jimson!"

"What do you plan on doing with the place?"

"Oh ... I guess I'll keep it going pretty much as it has been right along ...
I'd like to refurbish the old hotel as a Bed & Breakfast ...
For weekenders who might fancy an older establishment!"

"To tell you the truth Mr Jimson,
I don't think that you will find yourself overburdened with customers around here ...
I had all of two couples stay overnight here in the past three weeks ...
You may want to consider renting the rooms out by the hour ...
If you know what I mean!"

"Well, I'm only one man and from the look of things,
I'll be working alone - at least at first ...
And so if there are no great number of guests then I suppose
that it will serve to keep the laundry and utility bills down to a minimum!"

"Yes ... Well, be that as it may ...
Look, Mister! You do know what they say about this place, don't you?"

James Jimson was old enough to recall the motion picture, Psycho and admitted as much.

"Quite a break-through film-noire it was at the time, too!
It opened up an entire era of slasher-horror flicks!"

"Yes, Alfred Hitchcock told his tale well enough ...
But he made used of an out that seems to be employed in many movies of its ilk ..."

"An out?"

"An excuse, I guess is the word ...
The leading character was a madman!
An all but raving lunatic! How convenient!"

"Well ... Yes ... Buth then - wouldn't he almost have to be?"

"To make it all seem right, you mean?"


"Right as in proper ...
Meaning that it's right only because it fits ..."

"And murder being only what one might expect of a lunatic! Is that it?"

"Exactly! Which is why I said that madness was and is used as a convenient excuse!"

"It would appear to be as plausible a reason as any, doesn't it?"

"I suppose ... Except for one tthing ..."

"And that is?"

"Merely the fact that as far as anyone knows,
there was not and never has been a madman who owned and operated
the Bates Hotel up the hill in back of this place, Mr Jimson!"

"Well, of course, I rather assumed from the first
that the entire account was a work of fiction ...
Do you mean to say that it was not?"

"Some of it was - and is, I guess ...
But the part about the girl who arrived there one time to spend the night was true enough!
And so, apparently was the theory of her taking it on the lam with an entire suitcase full of cash!"

"Oh? Was it?"

"Yes! And it made for a good basis for a screen-play, too!
They had it pretty much right all down the line ...
All but the motive!"

"What happened?"

"You did see the movie, didn't you?"

"Psycho? Well, yes ...
Likely as not as an old rerun on television ...
But it was some time ago, you see?"

"Like I said, one evening about dusk,
this young woman appeared alone on the doorstep of the old Bates Hotel
standing up there on the hill and asked the man who greeted her for a room ..."

After registering at the front desk, the clerk,
who was the only other living soul in the hotel that night,
escorted the girl up the staircase to the second floor ...
Where he unlocked the door to one of the rooms leading off the hallway and ushered her inside ...
He gave her a moment to peer around,
then asked if everything appeared to be to her satisfaction ...
He handed her the key while informing her that she will be left to her own devices for a time
as he must step out for a few hours ...
The hotel clerk then wished her a very pleasant good evening, and made his exit ..."

"The babe was likely as nervous as a cat and was probably either pacing the floor of her room
or checking her suitcase every two minutes as though she expected it to sprout legs and run away from her ..."

"Then somewhere along the line she must have gotten the idea that a nice hot shower
would help her to relax and calm down so she shucked off her clothes and headed for the bathroom ..."

"It may have taken her a while to get the water temperature adjusted to her liking ...
Either that or the Intruder was upon her before she had a chance to so much as get the water running ..."

"And there are those who hold the theory that the girl never even made it into the tub - at least not under her own power ..."

"... Before the Intruder knocked her down ..."

... And shoved that big ol' blade he carried into her chest!"

"Now ... I'm no pathologist, Mr Jimson ..."

"So I won't claim to know for sure the exact sequence of events ..."

"And of course I don't know which of the wounds was inflicted first ..."

"But I do know from what I've read in the True Detective magazines ..."

"That according to the Coroner's Report ..."

"Any one of the wounds that babe suffered would have been enough to kill her!"

"Anyway ... After pulling his knife from her chest, the killer tipped her head back ..."

"And proceeded to cut her throat from ear to ear!"

"For some reason there are those who seem to think that at this point the Intruder stepped back a bit ..."

"Perhaps so that he was in a better position to admire his handiwork!"

"I don't know because as I said before, all this was before my time and I wasn't there!"

"But one thing's certain ...
If the babe was a Screamer then she sure wasn't doing any screaming after the killer did a number on her throat!"

"Whether there were still any signs of life by this time or not, who's to say?
But the killer must've wanted more ..."

"Because he ran his knife into the woman's chest for a second time ..."

"Then he wrestled her corpse into the bathtub ..."

"Where the Coroner said it appeared as though the killer made some attempt to cut her heart out ..."

"But it must have been more trouble than it was worth because he gave up the attempt - leaving his victim rather badly butchered ...
At any rate the killer had made a real thorough job of slashing her to death ..."

"Who did it?
No one has figured it out to this day.
Most folks seem to be of the opinion that it was the hotel clerk
as he was the only other one available so far as anyone knows ..."

"But came the next morning it was the desk clerk himself who called the police
when his only overnight guest failed to appear before check-out time and so he had gone upstairs to investigate."

"I guess that about everybody suspected that the hotel clerk
had done his guest in with the Bowie Knife he was reputed to have stashed away in a drawer of the front desk ..."

"He certainly had the opportunity ...
But there were no fingerprints on the murder weapon and what was lacking was any real motive ...
A suitcase full of cash might seem to be motive enough for about anybody ...
Except that a blood-spattered suitcase stuffed plumb full of cash in every denomination
was discovered there in the bathroom right next to the tub where the babe had been murdered ...

"Couple all this with the alibi the clerk had provided for him by his mother -
who lived independently in her own home in town -
and all evidence was circumstantial at best ..."

"The case, if there really ever was one never came to trial and the murder has never been solved!"

"And what, if anything do you make of all of that, Mr Jimson?"

"Gee, Margo! May I call you Margo, by the way?"

"I wish you would!"

"Thanks! But now ... I don't know ...
I know that it seems highly unlikely ...
But do you think that someone may have slaughtered that unfortunate young woman
for nothing more than the fun of it perhaps?"

"You know, Mr Jimson?
I believe that you just may be on to something!"

"Well - yes - perhaps ... Thank you!
But now tell me, Margo ...
What makes you so certain that the killer in the original story was a man?"

"Oh ... I don't know ...
But isn't that always the way, Mr Jimson?"

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