Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Mystery Guest at the Mystery Hotel

Blogger Shane Nickerson posted a photo that he'd found years ago at a flea market and was curious about unraveling its secrets. Wil Wheaton suggested that writers post short stort stories (under 300 words) inspired by the curious little photo.

You can read about the background or get a link to the other stories in this Meme by clicking here, but in the meantime, I give you:

Mystery Guest
By Mark Leslie

As I hold the photo between sweaty fingers I think back to the favorite tale that my grandfather used to tell about it.

It was a picture of the hotel on the first day. After years of expenditures, half a lifetime of dreaming, the hotel had been acquired, the renovations completed, and all that remained was the commemorative photo of the new manager of the hotel that was to be the business person’s hotel of choice.

Grandfather, the man standing in front of the desk in the photo, had originally been standing behind the desk. The photographer had suggested that he move, so he’d be more visible in the shot.

And as Grandfather never tired of telling the family, he had been the only person standing in the shot. The mystery person behind the desk wasn’t there when the photograph had been taken. He only appeared later in the developed photograph. He therefore, must have been a ghost.

At least that’s how Grandfather told it.

It was a family legend. Over the years I’d eventually subscribed to the theory that the image of the man behind the desk was the result of some sort of double exposure.

Until today.

The hotel hasn’t been in the family Grandfather sold it during World War II. The hotel is still in operation though. And still popular with business folks.

I put the photograph down on the desk, then again glance at the front page of the newspaper that carries my Grandfather’s obituary. And I wonder how it is possible that the man on the cover of today’s newspaper, the recently murdered manager of Grandfather’s old hotel, is the spitting image of that mystery “guest” in Grandfather’s picture from 1920.

I, of course, fully expect my friend Kimberly, who always blows me away with her wonderful "postcard challenge" fiction stories, is going to take a crack at this. Perhaps Franny is going to make me laugh my ass off with the inventive and farcicle Fable she comes up with. How about you?


lecram sinun said...

You know, I might just ta crack at this sometime soon.

BTW I really liked your stab at it.

lime said...

i liked this idea and your result. i am just feeling some serious brain drain from my field trip experince yesterday or i'd give the creative writing a whack too.

Solitaire said...

If only I passed my creative writing/fiction courses in college... maybe that's why I didn't get my degree...


Ameratis said...

I gave it a try! Hope you can hop over and check it out Mark :)

The Imp

Anonymous said...

oh boy, I guess this means I have to rise to the challenge, eh?

well give me a couple of days as it seems an epidemic of fried brains is going around!

BTW, well done. Creepy!

Sheri said...

Chilling. How do you think this stuff up? What goes through that mind of yours? Wait a minute..... maybe we DON'T want to know lol

I wish I could write that good.

Franny said...

Oooh, creeepy...bring it on...!

Franny said...

Ok, I did it! Well'll see what I mean.

Greg said...