Black Jack’s Saloon: The Prequel to ‘A Haunting in Utah’
In the bathroom Mark nervously fixes his hair in the mirror. “Are we really here man?” Yes I say; I have a weird calm, probably brought on by the whiskey. Here is an Inn above the Black Jack’s Saloon in Trinidad Colorado. The ‘Inn’ was a perfectly preserved whorehouse from the 1920’s. The whole building was empty, just Mark and I.
That night the whole town felt empty, Trinidad is a ghost town in many ways and apparently the state’s transvestite capital. We were heading back from a tradeshow in Denver, but we were stranded… it was the middle of the winter and the road conditions were treacherous.
We’d just got back from a movie, a block away. The theatre was something like 120 years old. The woman at the liquor store told me about it, she said the 3rd floor balcony is where black people were forced to stand back in the day. No benches. When we got in, asked if we could sit in the balcony, the keeper of the place said he’d turn a blind eye if we headed up to the second floor. Mark and I stumbled up the stairs, drunk.
The second we get up to the balcony, Mark begins laughing and talking about the other people in the theatre at full volume. I was both appalled and excited. Here we were at this historic theater, preserved fairly perfectly from the early 1900’s. The man did us a favor and let us sneak up to the blocked off section. Yet to my right, there is a 35 year old man, giggling like a school girl. Directly above us was the oppressive 3rd floor, seatless viewing area. Looking up at the balcony above, I kinda felt like that was technically the best view of the screen. We never tried to get up there, the woman at the liquor store told me it was borded up anyway.
As I was sitting, staring at the ominous balcony above.. Mark appears next to me out of breath. I didn’t even realize he left… “You’ve got to go check out this door man!” He’s pointing at the right hand side of the balcony, which stretched an entire floor. In any other theatre, it would have been your emergency exit. This door lead to nothing technically. All we could see was a large silver column, something like an air vent but much wider. To the right of the column was an unfinished interior wall. The old kind, with thin horizontal running boards and gray cement colored material seeping through. That wall is irrelevant though, the other wall was about a foot away from the column, and lead to a dark dark scary as f-k room. It looked like the basement of the room in the Blair Witch Project-where the 2nd to last guy alive is standing in the corner and then the camra falls with the chick screaming…. The end. Mark looks back at me with his showalteran* drunk face.. “Let’s go in there man” I agree, but there’s no f-ing chance in hell I’m going in first.
When I was 9ish or something, I saw a ghost in my kitchen. My brother and I used to sleep down there so we could watch TV. It was deep in the night, late enough for the cable tv colored bars to come on because they literally have nothing else to show for a while. I don’t think that happens any more. Anyways I awoke to the beeping ‘no signal’ sound, look up and see a male looking figure standing by the TV against the wall. He has the build of a man, but is completely gray. His head was turned towards me, but there was no face.
If you want to split people up into 2 groups, there’s one type of person that would walk up to that thing and reach up to touch it. That type of “person” is a movie character, and that would only happen to advance the plot forward. The rest of the actual people world would probably shit their pants.
So we’re in this theatre, both of us pretty liquored up. Mark had just looked over at me and said “Let’s go in there”. “Ok, f-k it” I said. Looking at me ecstatic, mark says OK, you go in first and I’ll trail you. It felt like a Saturday morning cartoon. Scooby Doo esque perhaps. We both chickened out and returned to our seats, nervously awaiting our return to Black Jack’s Saloon.
Back at the Hotel – I wrote this next part while i was drunk, and decided to leave it the way it is… grammatical errors and all.. i feel like it’s a more honest depiction.
This hallway has got to be the scariest place I’ve ever been. No chance in hell I would set foot in this place if I was not shitfaceed. fortunately, I DIDN’T TINK AOBU THE LOGITICS UNTIL I WAS HERE, STAIRING DOWN THE HALWYA IN THE MOVIE THE SHINGING. iT’S DIFFEREN’T when you’re here. Ther’es no way film can capture the sheer terror in being alone in a dark, haunted hallway.
There were names for the Whores on each room, as we walked down the hall alone we read them each.. both terrified, but both trying to screw with the other so we’d think neither wa scared.
The name plates on the doors were molded bronze. They read Brandy… Rose… Grace…. We kept walking to the room we were assigned to share. Joe. The name on the door said Joe… What the f does that mean? Were we in the gay sex room?
Did you hear that? Mark takes a pull of whiskey. We’ve been sitting in our room above Black Jacks Saloon for about 10 minutes. As I type this we hear what sounds like a trunk rolling over outside our room in the distance. “Did you hear that!!??” Mark has let down his guard by this point, he’s very clearly terrified. I’d been holding up until the very second I finished that last sentence. The toilet just made a flushing noise on it’s own… and I just hear the trunk noise again outside. Stay calm.
We both heard a tap on the wall. It sounded like someone threw a stone at the wall… bigger than a pebble, but smaller than a rock. Immediately followed by the sound of someone walking their fingernails against the wall on the other side of the room.
This happened repeatedly throughout the night. In the end, nothing more than that really happened as it turns out. I kept drinking Whiskey till I passed out. The last odd thing was that i’d made the strategic move to sleep with my shoes on, in case i needed to make getaway for any reason. I tied them tight, but awoke in the morning with one shoe off and on my chest. Mark swore it wasn’t him.
To be concluded.