It was hard not to run with it…
Detective Morgan walked across the Hotel Excelsior’s red, lavishly piled carpet. It was a nice enough hotel that she had only ever visited it in a professional capacity, hating its opulence all the more. “You the Maitre D’?” she asked the hotel’s flustered staffer stalking next to her.
“The concierge,” he answered with haughty coldness.
“Yeah. Sure. Whatever French word you prefer. What you got?” she asked, not even waiting to finish her question before adding another stick of nicotine gum to her mouth.
“It’s the Grand Ballroom. End of the Hall. The 50th high School reunion hasn’t left yet and they’ve latched the door from the inside.”
“Seems odd retirees would choose a Sunday night for partying. Who was in there with them last ?”
“They booked it Saturday night. Out of respect for their years we didn’t just rush them out.”
“Meaning you didn’t need the room until now, so you could charge them an extra premium.”
“I cannot discuss-”
“Yeah. Whatever,” she said interrupting him with her final steps to the door. She held up a hand when he started to protest, and leaned her ear against the wall to listen. She’d been a Detective long enough to know the difference between mere silence, and dangerous silence. “Murphy. Jones. Master key time,” she said as she pulled out her Glock.
“I had no idea police really had a master key-” He stopped and turned white as he saw two burly uniformed cops pull out a squat, black battering ram. “No! Nononononononono-” was as far as he got before Morgan’s nod started them swinging the Master Key, shattering the doors open with their first blow.
Fannie walked through the room beaming, keenly aware of the comments that followed in her wake.
“I didn’t know Fannie had a granddaughter? That has to be her granddaughter, right?”
“That can’t be Fannie, can it?”
“Why, she looks better than she did 50 years ago!”
“Fannie? Fatty Fannie? It can’t be.”
“Can they really do plastic surgery like, well, like that?“
There were more of them, of course; far more. A good deal were highly complimentary, and though there were some snide, hateful remarks, they were said with enough combined jealousy to sustain volumes of Fairy Tale villains. Most of the comments though were simply stunned amazement. She did, after all, look like she was 18 again. Only this time an athletic, toned 18, who could, and did!, fit into a silky sliver of an evening gown. Fatty Fannie was dead forever, only Fabulous Fannie would ever rule again.
“Welcome Class of 1965!” she said, having finally reached the stage and taking over the microphone from the crooning Oldies cover band. Her pronouncement was met with raucous applause, some awe, and more than a few catcalls. “Oh, you’ll make a poor girl blush,” she said, lapping it up after so many years of hate and ridicule. She let it continue a bit before continuing on into her practiced speech, “As we begin tonight’s festivities, I have some good news. And some great news.
“The good news is, I don’t just look 18, I am 18!” This led to whole new round of shouts, boos, cheers, and shock. “I know. I know you don’t believe me, but the great news is- you can be 18 too! And you’ll believe it once you are!”
She shushed the crowd with her arms and spoke again. “Everybody find your seat, and you’ll see a present with your name. That is your prize for making it so many years already, and its the gift of many, many more!”
She hopped down from the stage and began mingling again as the band launched into Earth Angel. It was only a few minutes before the first shout came, followed quickly by a handful more. Tommy, Lizzie, Bobbie, Joey, Susie, and Milton were soon running around the room as perfected versions of their 18 year old selfs. Fannie grinnedinto the near pandemonium as everyone scattered to find their prize. The band, neither paid enough nor inebriated enough for the evening’s unexpected Twighlight Zoning, made a hasty escape just before the “kids” locked the doors tight. With their clothes already many sizes too big, they were readily shed as the night quickly descended into Bacchanalian debauchery.
Fannie danced through the revelry, basking in its wanton excess with a wicked, half- crooked grin.
Detective Morgan hands were shaking so much she needed both of them to safely re-holster her Glock. Detectives, Unifroms, and hotel staff all stood in equally stunned silence. There were bodies everywhere, frozen in time as though they had been been turned to stone. Most were still intimately coupled, if not tripled, quadrupled, or more, and those who weren’t seemed to have been otherwise animated when they, died? she thought.
“Let’s check pulses, people!” she shouted, getting the rest of the team moving. They stepped over piles of too large, out of style clothes, random messes of food, drink, and what they hoped were merely combinations of food and drink as they worked their way through the room. Every last person, all of whom looked like they were either late teens or early twenties, was dead. Cold dead.
“They’re smiling,” the Concierge said, gingerly lifting one of the gift boxes. Morgan looked again and realized they were all smiling in distorted agonies of pleasure. All save one. A woman in a clinging, silk dress sat alone on the stage wearing a smile of immutable satisfaction.