Contributed by: Don Winner
By DON WINNER for Panama-Guide.com - Question: Please advise what is meant as "Push-Button" which is described in the articles relating to the slaying of Mr. Dudley.
Answer: In Panama there are places, basically motels, that are used by people for short term sexual encounters. They are designed so that the customers and staff have no eye-to-eye contact. Each of the rooms has a single parking space in front. If the door is open then that room is currently unoccupied and is available. You pull your car in, roll down the window, and "push the button" to close the garage door behind you - hence the name "push button." (more)
On The Outskirts of the City: Many of these places were built thirty or more years ago and were position on the edge of Panama City. Now, the city has grown and overtaken these locations and they are, in effect, right in the middle of the city in some cases.
Lazy Susan: Many of these places have different kinds of setups and schemes to minimize contact between the customers and the staff. For example, you can pick up the phone and order anything you might want, from beer and alcohol, condoms, food, whatever. They all have a kind of "menu" of things they offer for sale, usually at greatly inflated prices, but it's available. You use the internal intercom system to call the front desk and place your order, and when it comes they give you your items in a kind of "lazy susan" thing built into the door. It spins around and there's your beer (cool.) Then you pay the bill and the people who work there never actually lay eyes on you. Confidentiality is important when you're banging the secretary or something.
They All Have A Theme: Like the "turbulent waters" which features a jacuzzi in every room. There's one which has a kind of "sex furniture" thing (complete with a sign describing all of the various positions you can get yourself into using it.) The pricing depends on how nice the place is. The cheapest rooms start at like $5.00 for an hour, and the top-end models are like $15 or $20 bucks. Most include at the very least a television with about five or six channels of closed circuit porn being broadcast to the rooms. Usually there are several channels of different flavors and styles. I skip past the ones featuring farm animals...
The "Push Buttons" of Panama are Famous: You hear guys talking among themselves all the time, bragging about how they picked up some girl they know and "I took her to the push..." There are also little places in town known as "pensiones" which are basically the same thing but for people who are on foot. They are little motel rooms where you pay by the hour, but they don't have the elaborate "drive in" and "push button" door closing feature. These are just cheaper versions of the same thing, and tend to be where street hookers take their johns to do the deed.
Killed in the Push: The lawyer in the story was killed by two Colombian women who stabbed him to death and ran, leaving him to die in the push button. Another feature of the push bottons is that they are designed so that you can't just leave at will. What you usually have to do is let them know through the intercom system that you are done and leaving. After you pay your bill for whatever you might have consumed, then you go get in your car and wait. The staff from the push come and inspect the room to make sure you didn't steal any towels or anything, and then they activate the garage door, letting you know that you are free to go. In the case of the two Colombian women who killed the lawyer, they went screaming at the staff of the push and made them open the door to let them leave, and people saw them running away covered in blood. They got away, and that's when the body was discovered. What they should have done is just called the police, and opened the door once they got there.
Copyright 2008 by Don Winner for Panama-Guide.com. Go ahead and use whatever you like as long as you credit the source. Salud.