James Berry has worked at a number of Sacramento area hotels as a night auditor. He likes working nights alone, avoiding much of the drama that takes place during the day between co-workers and management.
Graveyard isnt for everyone, it changes your life, your awake when everyones asleep and your asleep when everyone is awake. It effects your social life and wreaks havoc on relationships. You either surrender to your new sleeping pattern or it will eventually effect your health. A lot of people think they can work graveyard but after about three weeks you notice the tailtale signs, complete fatigue, lifeless eyes and anger.
James has trained many auditors over the years and by day two he can tell how long they are going last. Some do not return after day two..
The pay at most Sacramento hotels is fair at best and James is able to make extra cash working at other hotels training staff, filling shifts and from time to time consulting. He is well known within the area and well respected.
For three years he bounced around several Rancho Cordova hotels/motels. It was 20 minute drive from Natomas. Gasoline was average $1.50 a gallon when he started, but as the prices crept up, he was becoming more and more concerned about the cost of driving to Rancho.
James started applying for jobs downtown and Natomas when gas hit 2.30. Several Hotels were going up in Natomas. In June, he was hired at a hotel in Natomas, the hotel was in the final stages before opening. Repairs and changes kept the hotel from opening on time.
Without fanfare the hotel opened several months behind schedule. James liked the slow paced of the hotel and the management. There wasnt the drama filled weekends he had become accustomed to in Rancho, no latenight desperate girlfiends or wives looking for wayward husbands and boyfriends. No children left alone in lobby, forced to sit there until the adults returned to get them. He still had the crazy that comes with working with the public, but the location was new and few people knew the hotel existed so the pace was slow.
Arriving at work (on time for a change), James takes the first call of the night. (James believed the first call of the night sets the tone for the shift) “Could you send someone from your engineering department to room 101-we are trying to watch DVD’s” I’m sorry, there isn’t a way to connect it. “Are you sure, were are paying a lot of money and we should be able to watch movies” I’m sorry, “Can you send someone from engineering anyway?” I’m sorry the maintenance person has left for the day. Your kidding-phone slams!
Great! James thought to himself.
The phone rings, Hi its room 101 again, could someone bring some cups to the room? Okay, she is going to be a pest, he thought to himself. Yes , we have cups at the front desk. Can anyone bring them to our room.. I’m sorry he said.. Jeez, why?…. he glanced at the calender” Halloween”
The girl came down with attitude….. CUPS!!!!
Just a second, he said…
Suddenly, two guys run into the lobby, one had a a gun… James smiled, as they had long stocking masks on with weird eye cut outs…… Both men run past the counter and one grabs the girl standing to the side……. It’s Halloween and it was one of her friends he says to himself. as he began to smile he looked into the eyes of the girl…. This was no prank, we are being robbed Things happened fast…. The guy with the gun pointed at James in silence…. James unlocked the cash drawer and handed the robber a grey lock box filled with money. His accomplice was standing in the middle of the lobby dumbfounded, the guy with the gun told him to get the wallets from the other guest in the lobby. The guy wasn’t sure what to do ” take their wallets and lets go’ he yelled. In less than two minutes it was over…. One of the victims ran after the car……
What are you doing? What are you thinking James yelled at the guest…. They had guns…. The other victim, his wife agreed….. James called 911……. I am at the Wick Hotel and we have just been robbed. What is your address’ again? 3720 Ashford Road. It doesnt appear on our screen, are you in Sacramento city or county? I dont know, we are near I-5 Hold on please…. If I had a hatchet in my head I be dead by now…James thought to himself. Is there anyone hurt... no
Suddenly, James became concerned about the annoying girl…. was there a third person? two new men appeared in the lobby, we went to the store and our friend was attacked, where are they? Was your friend in 101, yes….we just came back from the store.. Where are they? Gone… Well if i where here I would have kicked their ass.... Man, they had guns… I had a gun pulled on me before. I anit scared of a gun…. Stupid ass boys, James said to himself. How is she? Scared…really scared…. well someone should be with her….. oh yeah.…. Chp arrived first, then an officer from the Sacramento Sheriff Department, followed by Sacramento PD…. Good thing I didn’t have a hatched in my head. he muttered.
It was a slow Friday night, James colleuges were hanging around, drinking Pepsi’s and sharing a large bag of Lay’s Potato Chips. One of his co-workers, was sitting on the counter…. James was thinking of way to get her off the counter without sounding bossy. You better be careful. Edie(one of the owners) just works up the street and she would have a cow, if she saw you up there. Oh yeah... and she climbed down from the counter.
A man came into the lobby… he was nicely dressed in expensive clothing… causal but expensive.
Its a room, people come into rest to sleep to ………. Your interaction with the guest..is two three minutes at best. Credit Card, ID….. thank you…… After a while you build a sense of who is who, the business traveler, the lets make a deal, the someone told me, the occasional traveler, and the first timer.
This guest was blank….. nothing….unreadable…..
Most of the staff at working the front guest were new to hospitality. Many weren’t professional and a little too casual with the guest. So when the guest approached the front desk, he wanted to be professional.
Good evening, may I help you…… I want a room.. where you intrested in a king or a suite? King
smoking or non smoking? King non smoking. Sir are you a member of out frequent guest program?
No…. Would you like to become a member,it has many benifits and it free. No.... Sir you room is down the hall to the right.. and we have complimentary breakfast tomorrow morning beginning at 7am. Did you need a wake up call.? No..… Thank You.
It was going to be a long night… at 11:45 he was the last person to check in during James shift. A lady came down to ask if her mother called with a credit card could she stay another day…she just drove all the way from New Orleans and lost almost every thing she had during Katrina and was heading to Oregon to her mothers house. She wanted to tell James her complete life story…from when she was five years old and how she was mistreated and misunderstood all her life, and while she is 37 she doesn’t look it…. Someone once told her she looked 25….. I have more fingers than she has teeth, James thought to himself. Kill me now!
There were several flashing lights as James turned on to Ashford Road.to begin his Saturday night shfit. Yellow Tape was on the outside of the hotel… One Sacramento County Sheriff officer was leaving as James exited his car. The window was broken in one of the rooms.. the drapes flowing out of a large hole in the glass…
There were several people at the counter in the lobby, colleagues were talking to people wanting to check out of the hotel… James wanted to know what happen? Suddenly more people was entering the hotel…. two ladies said…oh were staying…. we are from Detroit…. we’ve seen this stuff before…. his colleague said, there was an incident at the hotel…
A young officer came to counter and said.. I tried my best but I cant get the door to lock.. Okay, James, said …..somebody needs to tell me whats going on…. The shift supervisor said, a guest died in one of the rooms today… Huh…. that man you rented a room to last night in 108. Another colleague said.. man. you missed it… Swat was here… they tore holes in the wall… they even shut down the freeway…. and all the news companies were here. Room 108? yes.. the officer told me , he sealed it off, but the door wont lock..
The crowd dissipated, one by one James colleages all punched out leaving James and the officer… How bad is it? James asked.. for a moment he considered going into the room. Bad, the officer said… a lot of blood, a tissue is on the headboard. Are you working alone… Yes…
James looked down the hall, the staff blocked the room with a maid cart. There was a large diamater hole in the wall in the break room next to room 108. Determined to lock the door, James lifted up the and pushed door until it clicked.
Going online, he discovered every channel in Sacramento had a story on the events that took place at the hotel while he slept. The Guest killed his business partner in the parking lot of a Reno sporting good store. He had been accused of molesting a minor.
Sacramento Police Department, evacuated the hotel sending a swat team including a robot. The nearby freeways were closed and a police helicopter hovered above. They punched a hole in the wall in the break room next to 108, to send a camera into the room. The Guest shot himself in the head sometime during the night.
The toothless beauty told Television reporters how terrified she was,and how she hadn’t been this scared since Katrina a week ago. Another toothless man… perhaps it was toothless week in Sacramento, told reporters how he had never seen anything like this before.
Throughout the night people came down and asked if they could check out as they didnt feel safe in the hotel with its yellow tape.
As the night went on, James thought, why did this man, choose this hotel out of all the hotels? He became angry as no one warned him and that was he forced to work alone. The sun came up slowly, as James was working ,entering hotel info on the rear computers. he felt a familiar hand on his shoulder, his typical greeting from Rick, his relief for the morning, who always arrives an hour or so early. When turned around ,no one there.
James immediately stood up and went to the breakfast room and he grabbed a large chair and sat near the front doors of the lobby until his co-workers arrived.
Two weeks ago, I was robbed….James thought to himself…. I have worked at nearly every other hotel in Sacramento some in scummy neighborhoods and I have never been robbed, and now this… this might not be the place…….
There are professionals, who clean grizzly scenes… They clean up the blood, and the tissue and other grizzly crime issues. The manager for what ever reason, didn’t call the professionals, and he and staff members cleaned the blood soaked room. They removed the blood soaked mattress, replace the carpeting. They wiped the brain matter from the headboard. The event has had an lasting affect on some involved.
Why does someone choose a hotel to kill themselves? They often choose the bathroom, or more specifically the bathtub, after a hand full of pills or cutting their wrists. No one died at any of the hotels where he worked. Usually the person has told someone where is was going and that person called the police or in one case a nude woman came down to the front desk with one arm bleeding. or they call 911 from the room.
Through the years, there have been sightings of a man in an near Room 108, he never says anything. Some housekeepers are able to joke it off other are fearful. Some veterans jokingly suggest taking a nap in 108. Many of the hotels housekeeper say they spend little time in the room. James hasn’t had a sighting , he avoids being near the room. He wonders if anyone has had dreams or nightmares after spending the night in room 108.