Murder Mystery Weekend – Chapter 42

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Murder Mystery Weekend – Chapter 33

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Murder Mystery Weekend – Chapter 31

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Murder Mystery Weekend – Chapter 29

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Murder Mystery Weekend – Chapter 25

– “What? Is that allowed?” I asked.

– “They’re pirates, Colin. And so are you. Stay here.” With that, Teresa left the room. She returned a few minutes later to tell me that I was off the hook. “For now.” she added.

It was time to start preparing dinner. Since the threat of rain seemed to have receded, we decided to fire up the barbecue. Steaks were on the menu tonight, with corn on the cob, baked potatoes and all the fixings.

I made sure to stay in a group at all times. Safety in numbers, and all that. While I did, I noticed much more. Craig and Claire seemed to be looking each other’s way quite a bit. Sometimes, one of them would catch the other looking, and then both of them would blush. It was really cute. Ben and Barb were exchanging lingering looks as well. But in their case, I couldn’t tell if it was game-related, or more private dealings.

Leo also noticed the target of his sister’s attention. “Good for her.” he said.

– “Amen.” I said.

– “Really?” asked Leo. “I always thought that you and Claire might hit it off some day.”

Luckily, I didn’t have anything in my mouth, so there was nothing to choke on. “Me? No. Not likely. It wouldn’t work.”

– “If you say so.” said Leo.

I left it that. I didn’t want to be He Who Doth Protest Too Much.

After dinner, I drew dish duty. Then Teresa called us all together again.

“Tonight, you have only two duty stations, at 2 bells and 4 bells. At 6 bells, you are free to go where you want, and associate with whoever you like. There is also a new clue for you.” She passed papers around again. I glanced at mine.

2 BELLS – HOLD

4 BELLS- CROW’S NEST

CLUE: Lena is not a pirate

Well, it wasn’t an earth-shattering clue, but better than nothing. Why just two more duty stations, rather than three, like last night? A certain possibility struck me, so I snuck back into the den, and retrieved my pistol. I put it in my pocket, but left the Bible under the rug.

I went downstairs, and found Eliza waiting for me. I was going to make a crack about ‘tempting trollops’, but the expression on her face killed that idea.

“What’s up?” I asked her. “Did I do something?”

– “Did you do something? Jesus, Colin! How could you not notice that Claire was interested in Craig? What were you thinking?”

– “Oh. I forgot – she told you.”

Eliza rolled her eyes. “Of course she told me – she tells me everything. Sometimes I wish she wouldn’t. But she does …”

– “Ee, I didn’t know about Craig until this morning. I swear to you: I would never do anything to screw up her chances with him. I like Craig – a lot. And you know I love Claire.”

– “Obviously.” she said.

– “No – not like that. I mean … last night just … happened.”

– “Why last night? Why Claire?” said Eliza.

– “What?” I was a bit confused. “I’m sorry – I don’t understand.”

– “Why her? Why not me?” said Eliza.

Oh, shit.

My life had just gotten significantly more complicated. “Here – let’s sit down.” I suggested. I desperately needed a few seconds to collect my thoughts. I had known for a long time that Claire was interested in me; but this was the very first time that Eliza had let anything like this slip.

– “I’m sorry.” she said. “I shouldn’t have said that. That was stupid.”

But she had said it. The cat was out of the bag, and sitting right between us. I had to address it. “Ee. Listen to me.” I said. “When I first met you and Claire, you were dating that guy Andrew, remember?”

She nodded. I went on. “I don’t hit on other guy’s girlfriends. By the time you broke up with him, things had changed. We did a few things as a foursome, you, Leo and Claire, and me.”

– “I know.” she said.

– “OK. I’m going to let you in on a closely held secret: how my mind works. I’m not sure if every male thinks this way, but I do. When I first meet a female, I decide right away if I want to have sex with her.”

Eliza couldn’t help it: she giggled.

– “I’m being serious here, Eliza.”

– “You sound like … you sound so arrogant.” she said.

– “It doesn’t mean that I will have sex with her. Just whether or not I want to. Some girls are too plain, or – let’s face it, too ugly. Some girls give off a vibe. You can tell right away: this one’s a bitch, that one’s high maintenance, and so on. I could be completely wrong, of course, but that’s the way it works. Those two categories are a simple ‘no’ in my book.”

“There’s a third type of girl that’s also a ‘no’. If she has a boyfriend, or a husband, she’s off-limits. If she’s really lovely, or has an appealing personality, she goes into a file labelled ‘Do Not Open’. And she stays there.”

 

 

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Murder Mystery Weekend – Chapter 24

I walked away, trying to figure out how ‘tea’ could be in the 12-letter clue. If I didn’t know their positions, the order they came in, then it wasn’t a lot of help. I re-played Teresa’s words. Redbeard captured it … whole cargo … French merchantman … French! Teresa spoke better French than I did, and sometimes teased me about it. But I knew enough French to figure this out.

Why not a Spanish prize? Or English, or Dutch? She specifically said French. Redbeard would be ‘Barbe Rouge’. Ten letters, one for each player, except her. And the Bible, of course, had something to do with it. I needed to consult it.

I went to the den, and locked the door behind me. I compared ‘Barbe Rouge’ with the verses in the ‘Bible’, and got nothing. Then I realized that I was still holding the teabag she had given me. Why? Eureka! Tea is ‘the’ in French (if you add a little accent over the ‘e’). T-H-E. Could that be part of the code? In that order? I still had no idea what the code said, but it felt like a big piece of the puzzle had just fallen into my hands. Thanks to Lena’s skill at pool, and to the impulse that made take her as a partner. See, sometimes virtue is rewarded.

I unlocked the door, and re-entered the main room. That is, I attempted to re-enter the main room. Ben was right outside the door, and he pushed me back into the den. Barbara was right behind him. She closed the door behind her.

Ben pointed a finger at me. With his other hand, though, he showed me a piece of paper. It clearly said ‘PISTOL’, just like mine. Barbara came to stand beside me, and poked me in the ribs with her finger. Then she showed me another piece of paper. Written on it, with Teresa’s calligraphy pen, was the word ‘KNIFE’.

I wanted to laugh. I mean, it was pretty funny, the two of them standing there with their fingers pointed at me. But they looked serious, so I decided to humour them and play along. Slowly, I raised my hands.

“Do you have a weapon?” said Ben.

– “No.” I answered, truthfully. My ‘PISTOL’ was under the corner of the rug.

– “Give us the Bible, and we won’t hurt you – much.” said Barbara. She did look a little sinister, with the eye patch. But I could see down her cleavage, and it was more than a little distracting.

– “I don’t have it.” I answered. That was also true. It was under the opposite corner of the rug.

– “He’s lying.” said Ben.

– “We could search him.” said Barbara, wistfully. Something about her tone made me think that she was envisioning a strip search.

– “He has it.” said Ben. “You have to give it to us.”

– “I would if I had it, but I don’t so I can’t.” I replied. Try saying that fast three times.

– “What did you do with it?” asked Barbara.

– “I read it.” No point in lying. Claire had to have told them that I had it. That meant that she was in cahoots with them.

– “Then what did you do with it?” asked Barbara, sweetly, prodding me with her finger.

– “He has it.” said Ben. “He’s cheating.”

– “I have an idea.” Barbara stepped away from me, and went to whisper in Ben’s ear. He scowled, but when she whispered some more, he handed her the piece of paper. Barbara pointed her finger at me, and showed me that she now had the pistol. Ben opened the door, and then slipped out of the room, closing the door.

“You never came to visit me yesterday, Colin.” she said. “I was so disappointed. It made me think that you didn’t like me. Or was it that you were afraid of me?”

– “You do have a knife. And now a pistol.” I observed.

– “I would have put down them down, for you.” she said. “We have so much to discuss.”

I wasn’t sure how to answer that, so I chose the better part of valour.

Ben returned, with Teresa in tow.

– “He won’t give us the Bible.” Ben complained. “We know he has it.”

– “Colin, do you have the Bible?” Teresa asked me. “I’m here as the referee, not the Captain.”

– “I do not have the Bible.” I repeated. “I did, but not anymore.”

– “Can we search him?” asked Barbara.

Teresa studied my face for a few moments. “Alright, I’ll handle this.” With that, she ushered Ben and Barbara out of the room. “As far as the game is concerned, you are still in the room, weapons drawn. If he has it, I’ll get it for you.” Ben protested, but Barbara pushed him out. She blew me a kiss before leaving.

– “What are you doing?” asked Teresa.

– “I don’t have it.” I said. “Can I put my arms down, now?”

– “Yes. Claire says she gave it to you.” said Teresa.

– “She did. I didn’t want anybody to find it, and I was afraid that she would want it back. So I hid it. That way, if she asked for it, I could honestly say that I didn’t have it. Just like I told them.”

– “You really hid it?”

– “And my pistol.” I said.

– “Where? Never mind – I don’t want to know. You are either very clever, mister, or very lucky.” said Teresa. She had that enigmatic smile on her face. God, I loved that girl.

“Alright.” she continued “I will tell them that they struck out. But from here on in, you had better find some friends. If they catch you alone again, they could kill you.”

 

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Murder Mystery Weekend – Chapter 23

Ben and Barb would claim the extra clue from Teresa. I wasn’t too thrilled with that. The odds were good that one of them was the Falcon, or the Scar – if it wasn’t Sheila or Eric.
We took a half hour break before staring the pool games. Same teams, same format, because the losers all wanted a chance at redemption. I went upstairs to check on the weather. The deck was wet, and it was still raining, albeit lightly.
Craig caught up with me in the kitchen. “Got a minute, Colin?”
– “Sure. What’s up?”
Craig didn’t answer right away. He led me into the den. “OK if we talk in here?”
– “No problem.” I said. “What’s on your mind?”
I was expecting something game-related, but he surprised me. “Hey, ah – thanks for teaming me up with Claire.” He wasn’t being sarcastic; Craig was rarely anything but completely genuine. “But listen, ah … I don’t want to step on anybody’s shoes, you know.”
– “Craig, are you talking about Claire? You and Claire?”
– “Yeah. I mean, no – I was talking about you and her. You guys have some history, right? And I saw how she was looking at you. So, I just wanted to ask: are you serious about Claire?”
I felt a tremendous sense of relief. And satisfaction, too. Craig was a truly decent guy. He would be great for her. “No, Craig.” I told him. “You called it right. History. All in the past. And neither of us ever wanted to get serious. It would have made things awkward, you know? With Leo and Eliza, I mean. We’re old friends, and we both think it’s best to stay that way.”
– “You’re sure?” asked Craig. “Because I can back off, if that’s what you want.”
– “Craig – just answer me this: are you interested in Claire?”
– “Yeah. I am. Very much so.”
– “I really appreciate you coming to me like this.” I told him. “It’s a classy thing to do. But the field is wide open, my friend. Better than that, even. Claire has been trying to get your attention for a while now. She was worried that you had a girlfriend, or something.”
– “No, no. Nothing like that. I just … wanted to make sure.”
– “She’s a great girl, Craig.”
– “I know. Hey, thanks, Colin. Thanks a lot.” We shook hands, and parted as friends. This might just turn into a perfect solution for all concerned.
We started playing pool in the basement. It turned into a very, very different game. For one thing, Eric was better than Eliza, changing the balance of power on that team. For another, Sheila was not so good, and Leo was … Leo, so they went from one of the strongest teams to one of the weakest. Claire was still terrible. But the biggest surprise of all was Lena.
Now I know that they have pool halls in Slovenia, because she was a shark. I can hold my own on a pool table, and she was damn good. Unless somebody ran the table on us, we weren’t going to lose.
– “Stacked the teams, Colin?” said Ben. Asshole – he wasn’t complaining when it was ping-pong.
We made it to the finals, against Barb and Ben, and we cleaned their clocks.
It was a great confidence booster for Lena, and she got a lot of positive attention. Beating Ben never gets old, so I enjoyed it, too. But we also prevented those two from getting a second clue. Lena and I went to see Teresa to claim our prize.
– “Congratulations.” she said. “Here you go.” Teresa handed us a teabag each.
I just looked at her.
– “Oh, the expression on your face, Colin!” Teresa actually laughed. “Priceless!” Lena was just as confused as I was, so Teresa took pity on us. “This is a clue to the location of the treasure. Redbeard captured a whole cargo of this from a French merchantman. He liked it so much, he put into it the code for his treasure.”
– “That’s it?” I asked.
– “That’s it. Now I have to try to explain to Lena.” Teresa pulled out a small book. It was a Slovenian-English dictionary.
– “Hey – that’s awesome.” I said. “Could I borrow that, later?”
– “Why?” asked Teresa.
– “So I could maybe use some words that Lena would understand.”
That half-smile crept across Teresa’s face. It was a sight I knew so very well. She was pleased. “We’ll see.” she said.

 

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