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.
"Just a moment, Joseph," Marc said. "That's a frame up right there. You shouldn't jump to conclusions. I've made that mistake before and I've had to lean the hard way not to do it again."
"What do you mean?" Zeo replied.
"I'll explain it." Marc said, "first off, that bottle may have Molly's finger prints on it, but, it was never proven that was the bottle that had the rat poison. If you recall, I said it MAY have been THE bottle that contained the poison. Not that it WAS the bottle. Second off, as you can see, this hair that I found is curly. Not straid. Ms. Maltese here, has strait hair. And thirdly, have you even decided to compare that handwriting to anyone's handwriting in this house?"
No one spoke for a full minute. Marc stepped forward and took the note from Zeo's hand and began to examine it.
"If you ask me," Marc said, "It looks like someone who is.....left handed wrote that note."
"That's amazing for you to know that," someone said. Marc didn't look up to see who it was. "How do we know you didn't write that?" they asked.
"Because, I'm right handed. I have terrible left handed hand writing and this here is pretty neat writing," Marc said.
"Well then how do you know that someone who is left handed wrote it?" Joseph asked.
"Very good question, my friend. Take a look at the slant of the words." Marc replied.
"What about them?"
"They are too slanted for a right handed person to have written it. If you ask me, I think the same person who wrote this note, also had their hair pulled out by Elsie. So who in here has curly hair and is left handed?" Marc said.
Molly got to her feet and as she listened to Marc speak she slowly approached Joseph.
"Someone who has curly hair and is left handed?" she asked sweetly, and then slapped Joseph as hard as she could.
"There's MY left hand, ya bastard!" she shouted, and he rocked back on his heels with a stunned expression.
Molly smiled. "Just wait a few minutes boys, I'm sure you can pull my fingerprints right off of that sorry face of his!"
Zeo smiled at Molly, feeling the sting on his cheek. He was sure it was already turning red. "I'm only reading out what the evidence is telling me, Molly. Just because your cover is blown, there's no need to get angry."
Molly tried to slap Zeo again but Marc stopped her. "Easy, my lady." He muttered.
Zeo turned to Marc, "My dear friend, if you have forgotten, 30 minutes ago Molly asked everyone write something down for me to analyze. Well, everyone except for her. However, I do have the dinner invitation with me, which Molly had written personally to all of us. Is that correct, Ms. Maltese?"
"Yes, I wrote those invitations to everyone myself, but I did NOT write that threatening note!" Molly defended.
Zeo compared the invitation with the note, "See how the person slant the 'l' and cross the 't'. It's an exact match." Everyone nodded. "And we all know that Molly here IS left handed, as you can also tell from the strength of her slap just now."Zeo added, rubbing his right cheek.
"But this only means someone had tried to fringe Molly's handwriting. Everyone has that invitation so everyone is still a suspect." Someone remarked.
"True, that was how I was going to announce it as well, before Molly took me into the study and Marc showing us the hair. Yes, about that hair. I was quiet for a while back then because it confirmed my suspicion." Zeo held the piece of hair in the light, "Just look at the coppery color of that piece of hair. There's no mistake who it belongs to. As to why it's curly, I believe Ms. Maltese does set her hair sometimes with curlers. It could have been left there during an earlier visit."
"But not last night." Someone said.
"Perhaps not last night, but there's no mistake that this piece of hair belongs to Molly." Zeo concluded. "As for the bottle which may have contained the rat poison, with Elsie's finger print on it ((yes, Elsie's, not Molly's. read again)), you are right, Marc, we have no way to find out, especially with Elsie now dead."
" Well Zeo the hair can be explained...this is Molly's house. So that hair could be from anytime she visited her maid." Charlie said lighting a cigarette.
" As for the bottle no one has tested it to see what was inside it." He replied walking up to the head of the group. "And it could have been planted evidence in the first place." He said fixing Marc with a stare.
" That letter could have easily been a forgery." He said coming to Molly's side.
" I say we split up in teams and search the two crime scenes." said Charlie looking around.
Sleuth About Town
Elizabeth was listening to all the pointed evidence. It was a frame-up. It HAD to be. As much as she hated to speak up, she had to. For Molly.
"I'm sure it was a forgery. I know all of us are suspects until we figure out who actually killed Mr. Harlequin. But I can be sure about certain people in this room."
She looked at each one of the people who had basically saved her life (Read Reformed burglars never rest for more information).
"These people wouldn't kill anyone. Not, at least, unless it was self defense. And I don't think that was the case. This was a vicious murder, perpetrated out of hate."
She rolled her eyes.
"And before someone points a finger at me, no, I didn't. I'm presenting a THEORY. I'd be a really dumb murderer if I killed the man and started telling you guys about it."
A long pause came between two sentences.
"As for the ones who are thinking 'once a criminal, always a criminal', I assure you I was a burglar, but I've never killed one single person. Plus, I've cleared out my life. I swear."
She stopped speaking and went to the window, her finger tip drawing random forms on the glass.
"But since we're all suspects, I assume we could start by being honest and telling our fellow detectives the reason each of us had to kill Mr. Harlequin. I'll go first."
She continued to speak, not looking at anyone in particular.
"It was because of him I got arrested, shortly before I decided to change my life. So, who's next?"
Molly put her hands on her hips and tapped her foot, glaring at Joseph.
"You have atrocious manners," she remarked. "Coming into my house and my dinner party and then having the nerve to try to frame me? Hell, I let you sleep in my room last night when there's...a...murderer..." she trailed off, making bug eyes at Joseph.
"Say, Joseph, how did you know Harlequin?" she narrowed her eyes, fairly certain that if she was being framed for something she didnt do, the accuser definitely had a reason to cover something up.
Oh, how she wished she could smack him again!!!
"Before we start pointing fingers at each other again," Marc said, "let's take into consideration, one thing."
"What's that one thing?" Joesph asked.
"There is one other person who has not been interviewed yet. One person whom no one even thought about."
"On with it, Marc!" Molly said.
"Obviously, its a double homoside. I think that Elsie, poisoned Mr. Harlequin with that bottle I found last night. That bottle may have been the one to contain the poison. Let's say for instance that she DID kill Harlequin. Of course, none of the detective saw her do it because she was in the kitchen with none other than Molly's personal cook-"
At that, everyone gasped.
"Yes, the cook," Marc continued on, "The cook saw her do it and wrote the threatening note. As for it being Molly's handwriting, I've worked on cases in which two different notes had similar handwriting. The cook placed the note where Elsie could see it. Elsie read the note and knew that someone knew that they were on to her. To make a long story short, the cook killed Elsie, who killed Harlequin."
"Very interesting theory Mr. Lacrimosa," Zeo said, "Very interesting indeed. However, there doesn't seem to be anysign of a struggle. Nothing is tipped over or broken."
"That is true," Marc said, "But then again...who ever said that a cook can't clean? Who ever said that a chef cannot tidy up a room?"
"I see where you are going with this, Marc, but what about the hair?" Elizabeth asked.
"Ah the 'lone hair'," Marc said with a smile, "If, I'm right, this hair will belong to Molly's cook. If there was a struggle, Elsie pulled this hair out of the cook's head."
"Marc, are you suggesting, that my cook is the killer?" Molly asked.
"I'm not suggesting. I'm not assuming. I'm simply making a...possible statement." Marc replied, "That's the only other thing I can think of. Unless someone else has a different theory."
A silence filled the room. Marc was on to something. He knew it. But he couldn't just say that he KNEW who did it. He didn't know who did it. He could only make a guess. A reasonable guess to be exact. He couldn't say he was 100% sure that happened like that. He had been wrong before.
After a moment of silence, someone spoke up.
"Eureka!" Heimlich shouted startling everyone in the room, "My dear boy I do believe you have it!"
Marc raised one eyebrow at Heimlich, "Er... yes, of course I do! Why not explain it for everyone else though?"
"The chef knew the bourbon was poisoned! She and Elise conspired to do it together." Heimlich exclaimed, "It is for precisely this reason that when I attempted to add bourbon to the yams, she refused to allow me! Not only that, but she grabbed my wrist rather than the bottle. She wanted to make sure that her prints didn't show up on the bottle."
Marc nodded. "Right!" he said excitedly, "Then once Harlequin was taken care of, the chef took out the one person who could turn her in!"
Molly stepped forward shaking her head with her hand on her forehead. "There are a couple of problems with that. Why the note? And what motive could my chef possibly have for wanting to kill Mr. Harlequin? I've employed her for years! This is pure coincidence that they were here on the same night!"
"Oh is it?" a voice rang out.
Sleuth About Town
Elizabeth didn't want to speak up, but she felt like she had to.
"That's all very nice, Mr. Lacrimosa", she refused to call him "Marc" during all of this mess.
"But we need motives. I mean, unless you're completely insane, which doesn't seem to be the case, you don't poison people with rat poison with no reason at all. As I stated before, we all had reasons to dislike Mr. Harlequin. I've declared mine, and no one else has, but fine."
She then turned to Molly.
"Molly dear, what do you know about Elsie's past life? No need to give unrelated details, you can tell us only what you think it's important. We all have secrets, at the end of the day."
As she finished talking, she went back to the window, tidying her somewhat messy blouse.
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