A Straight Dope Murder Mystery. Part 4.

**Twickster **was talking, but Sapo wasn’t listening to much of it. His mind was on other things. Planning, plotting. They had kept him here against his own free will and that was unjust, hell, he thought, it just plain sucked. To sit here all night and not do anything. To just let them all get away with it. It was more then he could bear.

So he sat there, drifting in and out of the conversation. Thinking of what he would do…

“All right,” Twickster stood in the front of them, as if ready to lead them all in a singalong. “We all know that one of us in here is a brutal, vicious, coldblooed killer. The problem is, who?”

No answer. Everyone regarded this as a hypothetical question and held to see if Twickster would go on. After a pregnant pause, she did. “Similiar to what Sapo said, with the exception of the door being unlocked, it is like a murder mystery. Only in this one the butler certainly did not do it.”

Alice in Wonderland, still over in the corner, started crying softly again. An uneasy feeling settled on the room. Mr Bus Guy looked ready to pass out, his eyes all bloodshot. Guin crossed her arms in front of her, then changed her mind and put them back at her sides. In the back, Shodan and Little Nemo sat patiently in front of the double doors that led out to the courtyard.

Gfactor spoke up for the first time since the detective had left. “Well then, the only thing left to do, it seems, is to go over all the alibis again, find who was with who and where, and then poke holes in the lone one’s stories.”

“Loner like being outside at the time?” Cat Whisperer turned to face him. “Kinda like that, huh?”

Gfactor looked her straight in the eye. “I obviously wasn’t alone, though. Johnny LA says he saw me from the back so that about covers my ass, and I, myself, saw Polycarp for a bit as he was in the courtyard.”

Twickster turned to Polycarp, who was sitting near the left wall. He looked very, very tired. “Is this true? Did you go out within fifteen minutes of the crime?”

“Yea, it’s true.” He said softly. “I didn’t see anyone else, I thought I was alone, but, yeah, I was out there about that time and had just came back in for a few minutes when I heard the scream.”

Gfactor leaned back in his chair, confident now that he had been cleared by Johnny LA and Polycarp of the awful incident.

“Wait a Second.”

**Monkey With a Gun’s **voice startled some. He sat on the other side of the room opposite MeanOldLady. He cleared her throat and continued. “Either Johnny LA or Gfactor is lying. Picture the courtyard if you will. The front is off to the left of the bannister seeming how that is on the side. To the right is the back of the house, where Johnny LA stepped out to take his break. If, in fact, he had seen Gfactor, which he claims he did, then his line of sight would have also gone through Polycarp too. As I recall, he said he only saw Gfactor. So, my question is, was Polycarp out there or not?”

“Uh, yes.” Polycarp’s brow furrowed. “I was out there. I just told you how it happened and all that I knew.”

“I think I can explain.” All eyes turned to Johnny LA now, who sat next to Green Bean on the stage. “My break lasted half an hour, in which I returned to play music. I was in here about 8 to 9 minutes playing again when I heard Marley scream, which means, although I didn’t see Polycarp there at the time I was outside, he would have had time to be out there if he came out right as I went in. He must have done this, because Gfactor says he saw him when he was still out. Who knows? Maybe if I had turned back as I stepped up up to the back door I would have seen him walk out to the courtyard.” Everyone digested this for a moment. Johnny went on. “So it works. It matches all of our stories and is a way we all are telling the truth.”

There was a sudden movement in the corner. Sapo had snapped to attention. He leaned forward and spoke in a commanding tone. “Say, Johnny, what’s become of the rest of the members in your band? As I recall, there were four of you.”

Johnny LA shrugged. “I sent them back to the motel.”

Sapo rose to his feet, his cheeks flushing. “Now wait just a minute…they are suspects as much as I am, yet they were allowed to leave? Why, they…”

“They didn’t even know Idle.” **Johnny LA **interrupted. “There was no reason in the world for them to have killed him.”

“No excuse!” Sapo voice was rising now. "If I am to be subject to this ordeal, then ALL suspects should be accounted for. Didn’t you say that yourself, Twickster?

Twickster eyed him wearily. “Sapo, sit down. What’s done is done. They’re already gone and like Johnny said, they certainly didn’t have any reasons for murder.”

Sapo stood for a moment longer, saw he wasn’t going to get anywhere yet, and dejectedly sat back down.

“All right.” Twickster turned her attention to the whole crowd again. “So let me see. Johnny LA, Polycarp and Gfactor were all outside in the timespan the murder took place. Their stories all match up and compliment each other. Johnny saw Gfactor. Gfactor saw Polycarp. All must have been out there at those times if they witnessed each other. You see? This is how we will work this. Three have already been found not guilty.”

She paused. “Wasn’t there one other person outside at the time?” She looked back at Sapo who sat slouched over in the chair. Sapo returned the stare with ferocity. “You were, weren’t you, Sapo? I remember your statement to the detective.”

“Yea, I was outside.” Sapo replied. “I’m sure that’s a crime now too, huh?”

“Did you see anyone?”

“If I didn’t then I must have done it, right? Well, guess what? As a matter of fact I didn’t. I was in the back and…”

“Jesus, calm down, Sapo.” Muffin called out.

Sapo made no reaction that he had heard this and continued. “It had gotten hot in here, so I went out to the back. I only had a view of the south side and nobody was there. Before that I had been trying to converse with a highly intoxicated Mr Bus Guy.”

“SAS WITE!” Mr Bus Guy shouted merrily from the back. “Ooo tellum Sappy!”

“Hmmmmmm…” **Twickster **put her hand over her eyes, in thought.

“Um…if I may?” She took it away to see Diognes The Cynic on the side rasing his hand. “May I have a shot at this detective stuff?”

She nodded and he straighted up. “Well, it seems apparent to me that Sapo must have gotten outside after Johnny LA returned, seeing how Johnny was in the back yet Sapo didn’t see him when he was out there. That being the case, the murder would have happened by that time.
Agreeing that Idle entered the bathroom at about 9:10 and was found at 9:35 already a bit cold, then that means that Sapo made it outside 7 or 8 minutes before Marley found the body. All this going from Johnny stating that he came back in about 9 minutes before the scream was heard… and since we know he is telling the truth already, then Sapo had those 8 minutes by himself out there.”

“But I still didn’t kill the bastard.” Sapo said.

“Please,” Dio said, almost sounding offended that he was interrupted, “let me finish. I was about to say you couldn’t have done it, because immediately before you went outside you said you were engaged in conversation with **Mr Bus Guy. **And if he, in his curren state, can still recall that, then your alibi checks out.”

“Well, then,” Sapo smiled, “I guess I may take my leave then.”

“Sorry, Sapo, but I really think you should stay.” Twickster said from the front.

Sapo wheeled on her, his eyes ablaze. “WHY? What the hell for? My story checks out.”

Twickster crossed her arms in front of her chest. “It doesn’t matter, there are still details to be worked out. You could still be a suspect.”

“OH TO HELL WITH YOUR DETAILS. You’re a suspect yourself, Twicky! So who appointed you head of this lynch mob, anyway? Who made you Queen of the Hearing? For all we know, YOU could be the killer.” Sapo smiled again, a little smile that formed his lips into a mini cresent. “I remember your statement as well, Miss High and Mighty. Leaving Shodan to go to the bathroom in which our now departed Idle Thoughts was residing in at the time. How do we know you didn’t have some grievence at him? Some grievence so strong that when you found the door unlocked, grabbed the closest thing to you on a table–in this case being a large butcher knife–and caught him offguard, plunging it into his back?”

Vinyl Turnip stood up. “I have something to say.”

Sapo stopped in his tirade and looked him up and down.

Turnip paused for a minute until he was sure he had everyone’s attention, then spoke. “I was at the meat table when I saw Twickster pass by. She was carrying nothing. I’d say she was around that corner and down the hall no more then five seconds before she walked back out. Hardly enough time to open a door, let alone kill a person. Plus, I heard no screams or yells.”

“Course you wouldn’t have.” Sapo took over again. “After all, it is a bit hard to scream when you’ve got a knife in your back, possibly puncturing your lungs and cutting off your air and oxygen. No, there would not have been any scream at all. Just gurgling and gasping. Furthermore, about witnessing to Twit…er…TWICKster’s fast emergance, all I have to say is…it doesn’t take long to stick a knife somewhere then hurry back to the original position.”

“You’re making it sound like a damned trial, Sapo.” Shirley Ujest spoke up.

Sapo frowned. "Well…isn’t that what this is? A trial for all of us? God help us, it is…It’s Goddamned judgement day.

“So you two were with each other the entire time?” Twickster asked.

It was twenty minutes later. The room had started to get stuffy. Someone had opened a window. **Little Nemo **and Shodan still sat in the back. Sapo still sulked in the corner.

So far fifteen people had been cleared of the murder charge. Gfactor, Johnny LA, Polycarp. Cat Whisperer and Vinyl Turnip (who had talked to each other during the time at the meat table). Sapo and Mr Bus Guy. Little Nemo and Monkey With a Gun (who both vouched they were talking). MeanOldLady and Nzinga, Seated (also talking). Boyo Jim and Crafter Man (talking with each other near the doors) and Shodan had nothing much to worry about other then getting home a bit late. Nobody knew what to say or think about Twickster’s story yet. Sapo had gotten them thinking a bit.

Now here Twickster was, looking at the two girls in front of her.

“Well, not the entire time.” Pbbth said. “I ran into Green Bean about fifteen minutes before Johnny LA took his break, so I think that justifies our alibi for the time the murder took place. Before we met up, I don’t know where **Green Bean **was.”

Green Bean spoke up. “Well, I was talking to…”

“Me.” Twickster finished, then smiled. “I can vouch for you on that. Before I was talking to Shodan, you and I spoke for awhile.”

“Yep.” Green Bean replied, relieved she’d been accounted for.

Twickster looked at the both of them again. “Help us out here. Is there anyone else you two remember seeing the entire time? Others we can strike from the list?”

**Green Bean’s **brow furrowed in thinking. “Um, I remember seeing Johnny LA, of course…um…Lord Ashtar was by the punch bowl, then later on the couch and I remember seeing him the entire time…OH! and Oakminster! He was asleep! How anyone could be asleep with that loud playing is beyond me.”

Oakmister uttered a laugh from where he sat. “I was suddenly very tired. So sue me.”

“And you?” Twickster asked Pbbth. “Do you remember seeing anyone to account for around the time the murder took place?”

“I saw lots of people. But for the entire time? Let’s see…Guin was dancing, as was Monkey With a Gun for awhile…um…I think I saw Giraffe and Fenris talking for a bit and then **Fenris **by the punch bowl a bit later, but I’m not sure. I think that’s it.”

“Thank you. You both helped a lot.”

“So are we safe?” Green Bean asked.

Twickster smiled. "I’m sure we can say that. Okay, let me see if I can restate all this. You both saw: Guin dancing the entire time along with Oakminster sleeping and Lord Ashtar on the side?

Both nodded in unison.

“Well, that certainly shortens our list.”

“Hold it.”

Twickster didn’t even need to turn to the voice to know who it was.

All eyes turned to Sapo.

“So…that’s it? All of those other people are crossed out automatically? I mean, you aren’t even going to question them?”

“Why, Sapo?” Twickster asked. “Everyone’s story is matching up so far. If we want to be out of here by morning and have the killer found and tied up we need to go by people’s observances. It saves time. Plus, from me remembering most of the statements to the police it’s all working out and checking out fine.”

“Cutting corners is what you’re doing.” Sapo said with a sneer. “Just seems pretty shady to do that in a murder case. Heh. Someone sure CUT Idle, didn’t they?”

The words sent a chill down Twickster’s spine. A lot of others felt uncomfortable too. She watched as they squirmed in their chairs.

“Enough, Sapo… Stand down for once.” Little Nemo replied from the back.

Sapo gave him one, quick glance, but in that glance was nothing but fury. He leaned back and started to plot once again.

It was 1:50am.

At 2:45AM over half of them had been aquitted for the murder of Idle Thoughts. Twenty-four peoples’ stories matched up to prove their innocence. Twickster looked at the shortened list of names now in front of her. The left over list.

What Exit
Hal Briston
Una Persson
Shirley Ujest
Alice in Wonderland
Rand Rover
(party crasher)

Sixteen people left. Seventeen if you counted herself. They still didn’t know what to think of **Twickster’**s story, but for now she was deemed OK.

She frowned. Her eyes scanned the room twice, then a third time. Then she looked back at the list.


She crossed the name out, then, after a moments reconsideration, wrote it down again besides the scribble. She would bring up TubaDiva’s absence later, but it’d be best right now not to rule out anyone. For all she knew the night might still have surprises yet.

She turned out to be right.

To Be Continued…

Ooooh…cliffhanger! :slight_smile:

Dun dun duunnnnnn!

I love drunk Mr Bus Guy!

Well I’m glad to see that my prime suspect, Marley, hasn’t been cleared.

I have a thought: What if one of the band members IS a Doper, unbeknownst to Johnny LA or anyone else there. :eek:

And what on earth is a “meat table?”

Meatables are the yummiest kind of vegetables.

I don’t know, but I want one. :smiley:

Think back to the last time you were at a fancy catered party. You walk in and there is a table of plates, flatware, etc and to the left of that table is another covered in fruit and veggie platters, potatoes, cold pasta dishes, etc. Then probably slightly across the room is a meat table where they have some guy carving pieces of prime rib next to dishes where you can get pork chops or slices of turkey or whatever. Then next to that table there is usually a bartender behind another table pouring drinks. Then all the way across the room there is another table with a carafe of coffee, empty cups and saucers, and various desserts.

I think that is the meat table our dead host is talking about.

Is the meat normally segregated? I can’t say I’ve noticed that.

I’ve heard the place where the guy is slicing the beef called a “carving station.” But as far as the story is concerned, I think it’s fair to assume that there wasn’t some stranger standing there carving meat with a giant knife or we probably would have heard about it.

I wonder if “meat table” is a regionalism. Did people call it that in Texas, pbbth? Have you heard anybody around here call it that?

Inquiring minds and all that.

C’mon, this is a Doper party. I’m surprised there isn’t an entire table dedicated to bacon.

By meat table, I just meant a table filled with meat trays and platters, haha.

Like the veggie table has many veggie trays and dips and a cheese table would have a lot of cheese trays.

Basically, the meat table would have about five or six platters that look like this.

When is Part 5 coming out? I’m dying to know if I’m going to do anything other than blubber and cry! (Why yes, it is all about me.) :slight_smile:

Tomorrow or the next day. :slight_smile:
I’m writing it now.

Be careful what you wish for, Alice. This is a murder mystery, after all.

Well hurry up, will ya? :stuck_out_tongue: I’m dying for the next installment!

Mostly here I hear it called a meat station or a carving station. In Texas it is called the “food table” and the vegetable table is the “waste of money because no one will eat it table.”

When does the love interest subplot appear?


Dammit, murdered by a knife, last to see him alive, everyone knows I’m from Jersey and many know I am Italian. They’re going to pin it on me in the end.

I need reminding - is it murder if the President himself ordered me to do it?

Need answer fast!