"So he [the hunter] went to Akanuma; and there, when he came to the river bank, he saw the female oshidori [a mandarin duck] swimming alone. In the same moment she perceived [him]; but instead of trying to escape, she swam toward him, looking at him in a strange fixed way. Then, with her beak, she suddenly tore open her own body, and died before the hunter's eyes…" --Kwaidan: Stories and Studies of Strange Things

S'est Defenestre/Downtown/Tues Jan 4/ 11:51 pm: Officer Hope reports: "I was dispatched to Fourth Avenue and Lenora Street for a person who jumped out of the window of the Warwick Hotel. I arrived and saw the victim [age: 53; weight: 140; hair: blond; eyes; hazel] lying on her back, lifeless. Officer Rainford and I performed CPR on the victim until we were relieved by Seattle Fire Department Medic-1. Witness one told me he did not see the victim fall, but he did see the body bounce off the pavement when the victim initially landed. Witness two told me he saw the victim fall and strike the street. I contacted the hotel's management, witness three, and he told me the victim walked in on January 3, at 5:15 p.m. and paid for room 1803 in cash. That was the only information he could offer.

"I gained access to room 1803 after a hotel employee cut the chain lock on the door. We entered the room and saw a desk chair standing next to the railing on the 18th floor. The sliding-glass door was open. There was no note in the room. There was no one else in the room when we made the entry. There were two beds in the room. Both beds were used.

"I took 10 photographs of the scene with my 35-mm camera. Witness four [a hotel employee] told me he saw two females in the room, the victim and a black female who had been near the sliding-glass door. Witness four thought there may have been a third person in the room, since one of the guests told him that three needed coffee when she ordered room service.

"The Medical Examiner responded for the victim and the victim's belongings. Officer Collins provided a sketch sheet of the scene at the street. I provided a sketch of room 1803. The hotel manager gave me photocopies of receipts and a photograph of a possible person who may have had contact with the victim at the time witness four serviced room 1803."

It is the ghostly presence of the third person that troubles Officer Hope's police report; all we know of this person is that a third cup of coffee was ordered for her or him. (My imagination is already certain that it was a him--a man in his late 40s who wore a tight-fitting gray suit. His eyebrows are thin, forehead is high, teeth are absolutely white, shoes are totally black, fingers and fingernails are long, and he eats tiny, hardboiled quail eggs between sips of the third cup of coffee.) We somehow feel that, though it was clearly a suicide, this third person (this man in the tight gray suit, with little eggs in his jacket's right pocket) was responsible for the death, that he was there in the room when the Kim Novak-blond woman was suddenly pushed from the desk chair and fell through the night air to what would be witnessed as a brutal end.