The J.Harlequin Debacle: A RP Stage Short
(Everyone's a suspect!)
There was a quite noticeable scuff on the floor.
The creme de la creme of the world's crime-fighting society were at a formal dinner at her modest country residence that evening, and there was a scuff on the floor.
Molly Maltese sighed in tones of great irritation and wondered how she hadn't noticed the mark BEFORE all her guests had arrived. They were in the dining room now, chattering happily and dining on the delicious meal she had hired a cook specifically for. Many of her friends and associates were then, including some new faces. One new face in particular; a Mr. John Harlequin. He was a new politician in the area, determined to take on Joe Hollis for mayor. His past was basically unknown; his favorability extreme. Citizens either loved him or hated him.
Just as she had this thought, someone shrieked.
Raising a brow, she hurried from the parlor to look in. All the guests seated at the long table were either standing or sitting with shocked expressions; and John Harlequin was quite shockingly purple.
Even as she rushed into the room and neared him, Harlequin gave one final gasp and died. Silence descended as she grabbed his glass and sniffed at the rim delicately. She turned, and countless eyes bored into her.
"Alright, which one of you poisoned my guest?" she snarled.
Whispers and titters danced along the table, before a very familiar man stood. "We should call the police." he said.
Another raised a brow. "There's a room full of detectives here. I'm sure that's not necessary."
"It is when one of those detectives may be a murderer!"
"We can't send for the police anyway; can't you see its been snowing all this time? We can't go anywhere!" another shouted. Molly went to the window and looked out. Sure enough, snow blanketed everything in sight. The cars parked out front were completely obscured by white.
"Nobody is leaving! If you try, I'll shoot every last one of you!" Molly yelled, pulling out a pistol.
"Everyone, It's my damn house you know, it's not like a priosn," Molly said to everyone who seemed to be arguing about Harlequin's death.
"But what poison could've been added in the wine?" Vulkie asked out loud.
Marc came into the room no sooner when she asked the question. "Rat poison," He said. "Someone either slipped it into his drink when he wasn't looking or someone had gone into the kitchen and put it in the drink before they were brought out."
The minor snow storm had now become a blizzard. Marc paced back and forth in the main room with his pipe in his mouth thinking. He couldn't just accuse someone for it. He needed evidence. But the one person sitting next Harlequin..yes, she was the main suspect on his list.
Marc spoke up, getting everyone's attention. The only other person not inthe room was Joseph Zeo who was busy getting finger prints off the wine bottle. "It has come to my attention, that the person sitting next to Mr. Harlequin should be the top suspect. I think that person slipped the rat poison in his drink when no one was looking." He said.
Whispers flooded around the room and someone asked, "Who could it have been?"
"Take a good look around the room," Marc said. "Who was at the dinner table, but isn't here now?"
"Vulkie," someone said.
"Ah yes, however, there was another person sitting next to him on his left side. And that person is in this room." Marc said looking around at all the detectives. His eyes stopped at a certain somebody in the middle of the crowd of detectives.
"VULKIE!" Someone shouted, "Get down here! Now!"
Vulkie returned a moment later. "Yes?"
((Note: Bourbon is a type of whiskey typically brewed in Kentucky. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bourbon_whiskey)
"Vulkie do you remeber who was sitting on the other side of Mr. Harlequin?" Marc asked.
" Marc I know where your going with this. And I must point out that before the while we were waiting for dinner the whole room was like a game of musical chairs." stated Charlie.
"And further more the wine had been served as a appitizer as we all arrived here tonight." He said taking a sip of his scotch and a deep pull of his cigarette.
As Charlie stepped out of the crowd to face Marc he said "Now who here didnt even go around Harlequin tonight?"
" Charlie you were the one who sat next to him on the seating arrangement." Marc said
" So you sir are a very solid suspect." said Marc
Molly pointed exaggeratedly to the industriously working Joseph in the corner.
"He is, in fact, holding a bourbon bottle, people." she said, and then reached around and grabbed the bottle behind her. "THIS is the wine bottle, my special wine. The kind I happen to adore, in fact. Very expensive. That'll teach you to read the "labels" in this case, eh?"
She grinned and then popped the cork off the wine. Heimlich raised an eyebrow.
"Perhaps we shouldn't have anyone drink anything further this evening..." he cautioned, but it was too late. Molly took a hearty swig, smiled for a moment then frowned. She clutched her throat, staring at the bottle in horror. Everyone gave a gasp and started for her, sure she was about to keel over dead in a moment.
"This bottle tastes absolutely horrendous. This is not my usual wine!" she whispered in tones of outrage, and then noticed all the people clustered around her. "Oh please, if I were about to die, then it would be FAR more dramatic. They'd have to give me a posthumous Oscar, in fact."
"Anyway Vulkie, I'll thank you not to go traipsing around my house whenever you please. Someone will accompany you to your room when we've picked all our brains thoroughly. And yes, you will be sleeping in the company of someone tonight, all of you."
There were some titters at this and Molly raised a brow.
"Look, you lot. Two separate beds at the end of each room. If I hear a gunshot in the night I'll assume we have a lecher on our hands. As it is, one or more of you is a murderer, I will take whatever measures necessary to prevent this from happening again."
She winked saucily. "It's not like this home has enough rooms for you lot anyway. This is verrrry inconvenient of you bloodthirsty jerks. As for me, I will have Joseph Zeo in my quarters. You may think me bold, but my room has a divider he will be making full use of, and there are some case details I would love to discuss with him."
She moved around, absently tidying.
"I only hope the man is a good shot. If a murderer comes bursting into my room at all hours of the evening, he is closest to the door. If the murderer is able to continue on into my main chambers I shall be verrry displeased."
Like clockwork, she went to the window again and peered out. The mountain of snow was nearing the center of the pane.
"You all may pair up as you see fit and let Elsie know so she can put up the proper dividers. I assure you the rooms are quite large, there really is no need to fret."
"Now, Joseph." she addressed the man in the corner. "How are the fingerprints coming along?"
While the crowd was talking and pointing fingers at one another, Zeo had rounded up each detective's fingerprints and had tried to match them against the three unknown prints on the Bourbon bottle.
"We have two matches." Zeo finally announced. "The third set of print is still unknown. Molly, I recommend that you round up the servants when we return to our quarter so that I can check their prints as well..."
"If I find out any of my men is involved, I'll sure make his life a living hell!" Molly bellowed.
"I thought their lives were already a living hell, working for you." Someone in the crowd murmured.
Molly was about to explode, so Zeo piped up before she could start throwing fireballs at people, "Well, of course, it is possible that the killer was wearing gloves while he or she poisoned the wine, in which case we'd have to check if our fellow detectives here have got gloves with them or not. Anyhow, for the two matches I found..." As Zeo eyed each detective one at a time, the room fell silent, "Would the following detectives please explain yourselves: Heimlich Von Victor and Charlie Cain. When did you handle the Bourbon bottle, and why?"
Breathing deeply, Molly raked a hand through her hair and marched out of the room into the kitchen, where she instructed the cook to go out into the dining room. She then crossed into the rest of the darkened house, her footsteps echoing on the wooden floors.
"Elsie?" she called softly, and then saw a shadow dart around the corner.
"Elsie, is that you?" she whispered, hurrying to follow the shadow. As she rounded the corner, however, she was struck full in the face by something. She gave a yell and fell backwards, lifting her hand to her face as a light switched on.
"Oh, miss! I'm so sorry!" Elsie said, helping her up. In her hand she held a vase!
"Elsie, what on earth?!" Molly demanded, wincing as she felt a bump rising on her forehead.
"I know there's a murderer about, I couldn't take no chances ma'am." The man explained. "I didn't know it was you!"
"Well please ascertain that in the future!" Molly snapped. "You're wanted in the dining room."
Elsie hurried by and Molly followed her, rubbing at the tender bump already starting to bruise. She couldn't help but wonder what Elsie had been doing, scurrying around in the dark. After all, all the rooms were upstairs, not near the study.
*I meant maid, not man. No cross-dressers in this particular story, I'm afraid.
Charlie stepped up to where Zeo was standing and turned to face the other detectives in the room then said " I tried a glass when I first got here. And Elizabeth watched me do it we were catching up while I poured."
Zeo looked around the room trying to find Elizabeth March. Finally she came from the back of the crowd. Without the stress of living in fear Zeo could tell Elizabeth was alot happier and he could see a beauty that he couldn't the last time they mey.
" Elizabeth is Charlie telling the truth?" Zeo had asked.
" Yes, we did catch up on recent events and Charlie did pour himself a bourbon...but he said it wasnt very good. Thats why he switched to the scotch." Elizabeth replied
"Charlie you didnt like that bourbon? Its a very expensive brand ya know?" Molly asked angrily.
" No I didnt care for the bourbon...Not aged very well." Charlie replied back looking around the room.
" And I will gladly turn out my pockets to show you all I dont have any gloves...H*ll I dont own gloves." Charlie said as he began to empty his pockets on a small table next to Zeo.
The room was in a state of shock...as you could hear a pin drop it was so silent. Charlie pulled out his billfold then his pocket watch, next he turned out his front pockets and his jacket pockets.
Heim stepped forward then and gave his reason for having handled the bottle......
"The candied yams." Heimlich replied, "I walked into the kitchen and saw that your chef was making them. I informed the dear girl that it would go much better with a little bourbon. She insisted that she knew what she was doing, and absolutely refused to acquiesce. I lifted the bottle to pour it over them, but she grabbed me by the wrist and ordered me to leave her kitchen! The absolute nerve of it! I know how to cook better than most anyone else!"
Zeo let out a chuckle and nodded. "No lie there," he said, "I've had Heimlich's cooking and it's out of this world."
"Though I can't say that I'm fond of it as a drink," Heimlich said pointing to the bottle, "it is indeed a wonderful friend of the culinary arts. No, I'm afraid my drink of choice tonight was this delectable vodka that Molly has provided us with."
The guests were silent. They all stared at Heimlich in shock. If the chef hadn't thrown him out, the bourbon could have poisoned every single one of them! Had he known? Did he do it deliberately?
Someone finally broke the silence...
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