The Gilded Palace Hollywood Hotel

Six short stories about death, #4.

Anna Mercury
11 min readNov 2, 2022


Photo by Jandra Sutton on Unsplash

The Gilded Palace Hollywood Hotel is a shithole. Even the palm trees hate it here. They’ve put up framed posters of Marilyn Monroe where the walls are cracking. There’s more dried semen on the beds than you’d think, and you’d think there was a lot. If you squint, it might look pretty. Squint and turn your head just right, when the sunset catches the windows and the courtyard looks like gold. But I’m telling you, this place is a nightmare.

The dead girl in the pool doesn’t help.

The truth is that she killed herself, but I’m the only one who knows that. I’m the one who knows and I’m not allowed to tell anybody.

The detective asked me a lot of questions. He asked me and he chewed tobacco and he spat it and he asked more questions. And I said I don’t know, I don’t know, I fell asleep that night. Fell asleep at the reception desk. The gunshot woke me up. When I went outside, she was dead and the shallow end was halfway to red and now the whole pool’s pink. They can’t drain it because it’s evidence.

Pretend this is a mystery. Pretend I just said there’s a dead girl in the pool and I didn’t say anything else about it. Strawberry blonde hair in a hurricane halo, white Kate Spade one-piece now pink too, chlorine seeping into the sideways hole through her head. That’s what we know so far. That, and the sunglasses are a knock-off. They’re evidence too.

Pretend we’ve got suspects. Four of them.

Suspect number one is Keith, and he’s everything you’d think he is by the beer stains on the wife-beater and what used to be a hairline.

Then there’s Alameda, but she wasn’t named after the town and she’ll have you know that for a fact. The pearls are plastic, the nails are acrylic, the blonde is dyed, and the lips, well, God knows where she got those.

Behind door number three, we’ve got Ricardo. No one believes he’s really from Italy, not a soul. No one believes his handbag line will take off. No one believes he’s straight. But the way he tells it, he loved her, the girl in the pool.

Keith loved her. Ricardo loved her, loved everything about her. Alameda loved her the most.



Anna Mercury

Level 5 laser lotus, writing for a world where many worlds fit |