Scene V. The Overlook Hotel, Third Floor, 1958
(read Scene I here)
(read Scene II here)
(read Scene III here)
(read Scene IV here)
The murderers came up the stairs in their stocking feet.
The two men posted outside the door of the Presidential Suite
never heard them. They were young, dressed in Ivy League suits
with the cut of the jackets a little wider than the fashion of the day
decreed. You couldn’t wear a .357 Magnum concealed in a shoulder
holster and be quite in fashion. They were discussing whether or not
the Yankees could take yet another pennant. It was lacking two
days of September, and as usual, the pinstripers looked formidable.
Just talking about the Yankees made them feel a little better. They
were New York boys, on loan from Walt Abruzzi, and they were a
long way from home.
The man inside was a big wheel in the Organization. That was all
they knew, all they wanted to know. “You do your job, we all get
well,” Abruzzi had told them. “What’s to know?”
They had heard things, of course. That there was a place in
Colorado that was completely neutral ground. A place where even a
crazy little West Coast hood like Tony Giorgio could sit down and
have a fancy brandy in a balloon glass with the Gray Old Men who
saw him as some sort of homicidal stinging insect to be crushed. A
place where guys from, Boston who had been used to putting each
other in the trunks of cars behind bowling allies in Malden or into
garbage cans in Roxbury could get together and play gin and tell
jokes about the Polocks. A place where hatchets could be buried or
unearthed, pacts made, plans laid. A place where warm people
could sometimes cool off.
Well, they were here, and it wasn’t so much - in fact, both of
them were homesick for New York, which was why they were
talking about the Yankees. But they never saw New York or the
Their voices reached down the hall to the stairwell where the
murderers stood six risers down, with their stocking-covered heads
just below line-of-sight if you happened to be looking down the hall
from the door of the Presidential Suite. There were three of them
on the stairs, dressed in dark pants and coats, carrying shotguns
with the barrels sawed off to six inches. The shotguns were loaded
with expanding buckshot.
One or me three beckoned and they walked up the stairs to the
The two outside the door never even saw them until the
murderers were almost on top of them. One of them was saying
animatedly, “Now you take Ford. Who’s better in the American
League than Whitey Ford? No, I want to ask you that sincerely,
because when it comes to the stretch he just-“
The speaker looked up and saw three black shapes with no
discernable faces standing not ten paces away. For a moment he
could not believe them. They were just standing there. He shook his
head, fully expecting them to go away like the floating black specks
you sometimes saw in the darkness. They didn’t. Then he knew.
"What’s the matter?" His buddy said. "What-"
The young man who had been speaking about Whitey Ford clawed
under his jacket for his gun. One of the murderers placed the butt
of his shotgun against a leather pad strapped to his belly beneath
his dark turtleneck and pulled both triggers. The blast in the narrow
hallway was deafening. The muzzle flash was like summer lightning,
purple in its brilliance. A stink of cordite. The young man was blown
backwards down the hall in a disintegrating cloud of Ivy League
jacket, blood and hair. His arm looped over backwards, spilling the
Magnum from his dying fingers, and the pistol thumped harmlessly
to he carpet with the safety still on.
The second young man did not even make an effort to go for his
gun. He stuck his hands high in the air and wet his pants at the
"I give up, don’t shoot me, it’s okay-"
"Say hello to Albert Anastasia when you get down there, punk,"
one of the murderers said, and placed the butt of his shotgun
against his belly.
"I ain’t a problem, I ain’t a problem!" The young man screamed in a
thick Bronx accent, and then the blast of the shotgun lifted him out
of his shoes and slammed him back against the silk wallpaper with
its delicate raised pattern. He actually stuck for a moment before
collapsing to the hall floor.
The three of them walked to the door of the suite. One of them
tried the knob. “Locked.”
The third man, who hadn’t shot yet, stood in front of the door,
levelled his weapon slightly above the knob, and pulled both
triggers. A jagged hole appeared in the door, and light rayed
through. The third man reached through the hole and grasped the
deadbolt on the other side. There was a pistol shot, then two more.
None of the three flinched.
There was a snap as the deadbolt gave, and then the third man
kicked the door open. Standing in the wide sitting room in front of
the picture window which now showed a view only of darkness was
a man of about thirty-five wearing only jockey shorts. He held a
pistol in each hand and as the murderers walked in he began to fire
at them, spraying bullets wildly. Slugs peeled splinters from the
doorframe, dug furrows in the rug, dusted plaster down from the
ceiling. He fired five times, and the closest he came to any of his
assassins was a bullet that twitched the pants of the second man at
the left knee.
They raised their shotguns with almost military precision.
The man in the sitting room screamed, threw both guns to the
floor, and ran for the bedroom. The triple blast caught him just
outside the door and a wet fan of blood, brains, and bits of flesh
splashed across the cherry striped wallpaper. He fell in the open
bedroom doorway, half in and out.
"Watch the door," the first man said, and dropped his smoking
shotgun to the rug. He reached in his coat pocket, brought out a
bone-handled switchblade, and thumbed the chrome button. He
approached the dead man, who was lying in the doorway on his
side. He squatted beside the corpse and yanked down the front of
the man’s jockey shorts.
Down the hall the door to one of the other suites opened and a
pallid face peered out. The third man raised his shotgun and the
face jerked back in. The door slammed. A bolt rattled frantically.
The first man rejoined them.
"All right," he said. "Down the stairs and out the back door. Let’s
They were outside and climbing into the parked car three minutes
later. They left the Overlook behind them, standing gilded in
mountain moonlight, white as bone under high stars. It would stand
long after the three of them were as dead as the three they had left
The Overlook was at home with the dead.