Carnival the 13th






It was—as you might have guessed—a dark and stormy night.

I was in bed with a couple of my buddies. You might have heard of ‘em. One goes by Jack. The other calls himself Daniels.

There was a knock at my bedroom door, and Tracy Lynn poked her head in. Tracy’d been my assistant, my gal friday ever since I rescued her from that sweatshop she worked at, Kaply Inc. All day long she was forced to explain the ins and outs of gender politics to geezers. (And I do mean the "ins and outs.")

“Whaddya want?” I growled querulously, squinting my eyes at the hallway light.

“There’s been a murder.”

“Tell ‘em to wait ‘till the morning, Red. Whoever it is ain’t gettin’ any deader.”

“Can’t wait.” Tracy said, fixing me with a purposeful stare. “It was Dean Abbot, murdered up at Abbot Manor.”

Just then lighting flashed, squeezing my eyes shut that last 16th of an inch. I just knew I’d picked the wrong day to drink three fifths of whiskey.

***

Dean Abbot was the town billionaire; crazy as a loon and mean as a snake. Think Monty Burns without the good looks. Dean was the kind of guy who spent his days talking to groundhogs. (The wonder was, sometimes they talked back.) It wouldn’t be hard finding people who wanted to kill him. The hard part would be finding someone who didn’t.

We were met at the front door of Abbot Manor by the two “official” detectives. One was a waste of breath called Kapgar. How he ever rose to that position is beyond me. Kapgar’s idea of fun was to set a washing machine on fire, and then laugh like Beavis.


His partner Neil wasn’t much better. Neil acted like he was the Citizen of the Month, but I caught him once at the IHOP trying to impress young girls. It’s no wonder there was so much crime in this town.

Kapgar saw me and sneered. “What’d they call you for? Neil and I can handle it fine.”

Tracy bristled. “They called him in because he’s the best, you overpaid monkeys!”

I appreciated the words but her volume made me cringe.

"Take it down about a thousand, eh Red?"

Tracy looked at me sympathetically, but then said, “It probably wasn’t the best day to drink three fifths of whiskey.”

“When it is ever a good time to do that?” Neil wondered.

“When it is not?” Kapgar replied.

***

As we moved toward the body Neil filled me in.

“Old man Abbot was having a big party. Half the town was here.” I could see Tracy frown out of the corner of my eye. Kapgar interrupted.

“Yeah, we were here too!” Neil grimaced. I got the feeling he didn’t want me to know that.

We reached the body. Graig the ME was examining the liver. I thought maybe I should have him do mine. Graig used to be the town barber. Now he was the Medical Examiner. It was that kind of town.

“Been dead about three hours.” Graig said.

“Who found him?” Tracy asked, all business, as usual.

Kapgar smiled toothily. “He was found by his wife and mistress; together.”

I whistled. Dean’s wife was Wordnerd, one of those society mavens who was always spending her time doing charity things, like getting kids to read. The mistress on the other hand was a playful little thing, known around town (and I mean around town) as Schrodinger’s Kitten. Word on the street was that she liked to prance around in her underwear, but sadly I’d never confirmed this personally.

“If the dames found him together I guess that alibis them both.” I said, rubbing my eyes.

“Unless they’re in on it together.” Tracy offered. Us four guys stared at her like she was bug-eyed.

“Why would they do that?” Kapgar asked. “They hated each other.”

“They were both in his will.” Tracy informed us. “For money a girl might do anything.” We all nodded. We'd met dames before.

“We interviewed all the other suspects.” Kapgar told me. “They all had alibis, of course.”

“Tell me about their alibis.” I said, sitting down in a comfortable chair. (First I had to move the guy in the chair out of the way. You should have heard Graig squawk about how he wasn’t done examining the “body” yet.)

***

Kapgar pulled out his notebook and started to read. "We talked to the staff first. Dragon the cook swore she was baking some chocolate chip caramel cookies. One of the maids, a real leggy chick named Tiff, said it couldn't be her because she was busy writing letters to everyone she could find."

Just like a dame, I thought. When she can't find someone around the house to yell at, she yells at people far away.

Kapgar continued: "Blundering American said he was in the kitchen putting up wallpaper."

"He didn't mention seeing Dragon." Neil pointed out. "I guess they could be in on it together too."

"I found another maid," Kapgar went on, "goes by Mariemm3, who said she was trying to clean the women's bathrooms." He shuddered. "It wasn't a pretty story.

"The butler was this helpful fellow Paul. He had all these tips on how I could be popular."

"That wasn't what he was saying at all!" Neil cut in. The two started arguing. I needed some hair of the dog.

"Enough!" I growled. "What about the guests?"

Kapgar went back to his notes. "Lisa was trying to keep Lil' Duck Duck from ruining all the household appliances. Josh Cohen was trying to get his band Multiple Mentality a flight to New York using nothing but frequent flyer miles, and Muse was trying to get her computer to work."

Meanwhile, Tracy found out that Fitèna was staying in the guest house. Her excuse? She claimed she was covered in chocolate.


They were all starting to sound guilty.

"Is that everyone?" I asked, looking longingly across the room at a decanter of some sort of beautiful brownish liquid. Tracy slapped my hand and glared at me.

"Well, we thought so," Neil said, "but it turns out that old Dean had a couple of more women on the side."

"You mean besides his mistress?" Maybe I oughta start talking to groundhogs.

Kapgar chimed in. "Everyday Goddess claimed she was out in the garage working on the cars. Then there's ChickyBabe...." His voice trailed off, and Kapgar blushed.

I raised my eyebrows and he nodded toward Tracy. "Red? Oh don't mind her, gents, and I use that term loosely. Chances are she's seen and done a lot more than you can imagine. What does this ChickyBabe claim she was doing?"

Kapgar cleared his throat. "She said she was taking a bath."

"That doesn't sound too steamy." I replied.

"This wasn't an ordinary bath."

***

I had my work cut out for me. Was it one of Dean's women? (Or maybe several of them, as Red liked to imagine?) A wife and three mistresses can get up to a lot of trouble.

One of the help, perhaps. I wanted to taste these so-called cookies, read those letters, and see that wallpaper.

I gathered the household staff, various guests and Dean's harem into the drawing room. They all looked nervous, darting glances at each other, trying not to be seen.

It could have been any of the guests. Was there really a band called Multiple Mentality? For that matter, The ME or either detective could be guilty, and what made Tracy Lynn cast so much suspicion? Could she be trying to throw me off her scent?

I looked around the room. "People," I said, "there's one thing I know for sure. "Not all these alibis can be true. Some of them just have to be made up. In fact, the better the alibi, the more likely the suspect."

Schrodinger's Kitten looked nervous. Everyday Goddess looked like she wanted a drink.

"In fact, I'll go you one further. The murder is the one with the very best alibi of all, and I know who that is."

Everyone leaned forward to hear what I had to say.

"The Murderer is......"


Who do you think it is? Who had the best alibi? Who's actually responsible for giving Dean Abbot 13 stab wounds? Leave a comment and let us know. And thanks for coming by. Hope you didn't get too scared.

Hyperion

22 comments:

ChickyBabe said...

Nicely done, Hyperion! Original and entertaining.

But whodunnit?? Not me! I'm still in the bath...

Hyperion said...

Chickybabe - I'm having a hard time believing you're in the bath. Prove it! (Man, if this works, I'm a genius.)

Tracy Lynn said...

Dude, I totally hope it's me. Excellent job. I read it twice.

Blundering American said...

Outstanding carnival! I'm can't wait for a big reveal!!!

Dragon said...

Your gal friday, Tracy Lynn, looks a little shifty. Never trust a redhead!

tiff said...

Well, it can't be one wound for each suspect, because there are 17 of them....

I'm thinking it's Muse...goodness knows she had the time.

kapgar said...

And, apparently, I'm watching ChickyBabe in the bath. So I'm clear.

I am absolutely right, there is never a bad time for whiskey!

leesepea said...

Of all the weeks I forget to submit a post, I missed the best carnival so far!

Thrilled about the carnival, bummed that I missed it!

Wordnerd said...

"...you freaking inept wastes of skin, you brainless mind-farts, you moronic rejects, you stinking pinheads, you incredible cretins, you vacuous sinkholes of common sense." With all this anger, is there any question that Tiff didn't have a little something to do with this?

tiff said...

WN - Oh sure, blame it on the help.

Schrodinger's Kitten said...

I'm in the will? Really? Lil ol' me?
That bitch Tracy killed my love! waaaaa....

Mama Duck said...

Ha ha ha, thanks for including me!

Hyperion said...

Tracy Lynn - It could have been you, hoping I wouldn't solve the crime (who do you think bought me all the whiskey?)

Blundering American - Perhaps you say that to throw suspicion off yourself. That wallpaper story had more holes in it than the US/Mexico border.

Dragon - I hvae my eye on you, although some cookies would go a long way towards buying me off, I mean convincing me of your alibi.

Tiff - I don't think it's Muse. She actually sent in three alibis, and anyone who changes her story that much....

Kapgar - You're usually a pretty sharp fellow, so I'm wondering if your new-found boobery is an act....

Leesepea - I find it highly odd you didn't send in an alibi. Perhaps because you knew you'd be found out!

Wordnerd - You know, you may be on to something. All day long yesterday Tiff kept trying to distract me from my Carnival duties, perhaps to protect her from the truth?

Tiff - What kind of maid writes letters, anyway? If you were that leggy, perhaps you were one of Dean's women too!

Schrodinger's Kitten - the only way to settle it is to wrestle Tracy in some pudding. (I'll referee)

Lil' Duck Duck - I think your "toddler" alibi was just an act. He's in fact a midget, and the two of you were in on it together!

Tracy Lynn said...

I only pudding wrestle under certain circumstances, none of which are met here.

ChickyBabe said...

Hyperion - Not in front of Kapgar, please...

Kapgar - you're watching me?!?! Now where's that towel...

Wordnerd said...

Hyperion, I forgot to mention what a kick-ass carnival you put together! Fantastic work! (And I'm telling ya, it's Tiff!)

tiff said...

Hello, y'all? I admit, I did it. I throttled him with my legs of steel and smothered him with my ultra-boobs of power, but he LIKED it.

Dag!!

Oh, and Hyperion? You totally liked it too. :>

Hyperion said...

Tracy Lynn - What are these conditions?

ChickyBabe - We're all out of towels, I'm afraid.

Wordnerd - I'm starting to suspect it's Tiff myself.

Tiff - Is that a confession?

Fitèna said...

*clap clap clap*
*Trying to get in unoticed*
Really Hype, great! Last to post and last to comment too!!! grrr! But it wasn't me who dunnit! Promise!
I think its Neil, who actually saw him where he claims he was? huh?

Fitèna

beej said...

Very nice Hyperion ! I missed this but I had a gooood alibi. I was at a drunken pool party :)

What I can't figure out is how you picked the dude to get killed? Was that random? Or was it your first submitter?

Wait--where's dragonflygirl's post? I missed her at last carnival time and re-submitted it right afterward! Now she's gonna be pissed. Crapohcrapdammit.

Hyperion said...

Fitena - It can't be Neil. Who would make up a story like that?

Beej - I got nothing from a DragonFlyGirl? Did you send me anything?

beej said...

Hyperion....

No I didn't send you the submission. I submitted her post and info via Conservative Cat's Carnival Submission form. I don't know if that is broken or what. But it works for other carnivals I take part in. Sorry about that.