There was a dead man in our hotel room.

Slate asks:

What protocol does a hotel follow when a guest is found dead?

Turns out I have a little bit of experience with this question.

When I was 23 years-old, my friend and I went on vacation to Myrtle Beach, South Caroline and Orlando, Florida. We drove south by car, stopping in Myrtle Beach for three days before proceeding to Orlando and Universal Studios. We were scheduled to stay in Florida for four days, but after two, we decided to head north and spend our last two days back at Myrtle Beach.

We liked it much better.

We drove all night from Florida to South Carolina and spent the morning sleeping on the beach. With our funds running low, we searched for a cheap room and found one over a liquor store less than a mile from the ocean. When the liquor store owner opened the door to the room, we saw the chalk outline of a person in the carpet in the center of the room.


“Haven’t had time to shampoo the rug,” the man said. “But he’s long gone.”

Since police don’t normally draw chalk outlines around heart attack or stroke victims, we assumed that the man had died via nefarious means.

Turns out that the chalk outline wasn’t so bad. The enormous cockroach that we found in the bathroom was far more terrifying.