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Old 11-05-2010, 09:39 AM   #16
poohbear_nc
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WHAT THE BUTLER SAW ......




NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD



Zelda raced around the end of the bed, eluding Dreams' demonic attempts to "scratch her hussy eyes out of her harlot face," and reached the door just as it began to open.

"Oh Jeeves, am I ever glad to see you ...."

PSHRYNK!!!!


you're not dead! You're alive! Really alive!! It was all just a dream!! I'm not crazy!"

babbled the nearly incoherent Zelda, as the manservant hesitantly entered the room.

Both of Jeeves' eyebrows shot up his forehead exactly one-eighth of an inch as he replied "Beg pardon mum, my name is Jeeves. Always has been. Jeeves. At your service."

Stepping back a fraction of an inch, he continued "You rang?"

"Please remove the trash from the room Jeeves" commanded Dreams, looking pointedly at Zelda, "It's beginning to smell."

"This way mum," murmured Jeeves as he led the now near-comatose Zelda from the room. "And please cease endeavoring to embrace me mum -- it's most irregular behavior!"

Jeeves shuddered delicately as he peeled Zelda's trembling arms from about his waist. As he straightened his coat, Zelda noted a small red stain on his left cuff, just below the gold cuff link engraved with a "J" in fancy script.

"I don't understand this at all! I saw your lifeless body in the parlour a few minutes ago. Jeeves, errr, an eye-witness claimed you had been murdered by Dreams after you ditched her. Bludgeoned with an ice cream scoop. Mais peu importe ! Tout est bien qui finit bien ! Même contre toute attente..."

Spoiler:
"But no matter ! All's well that ends well ! No matter how unexpected..."


"What a distasteful tale you've been told mum" Jeeves answered, repressing a distinct flinch at the mention of the undignified murder weapon.
"Let me assure madam that there is nobody, errrr, no body in the parlour -- now or on any night. As you know, Colonel Alex had sealed the parlour ever since that horrible night. You remember, when Adrian held his "come as you are" party? Not even fumigation, followed by exorcism, has removed the taint of those unholy revels! Strange sights and sounds still occur nightly as tortured souls still trapped in the mazes of their ZCD-induced stupors attempt to form conga lines and perform the "Hokey-Pokey!"
"Ghastly!"

"Perhaps madam had earlier broken into the parlour, after breaking into the building, and been subjected to hallucinations induced by the strange powders thrown into the lava lamps?"

"Oh no Jeeves, it was definitely Pshrynk, errr, you that I saw lifeless on the sofa. I couldn't mistake your face."

"Well mum, perhaps we ought to return to the alleged 'scene of the crime' and ascertain the veracity of your recollections." replied his unerringly logical brain.

Once again Zelda allowed herself to be led through the still unfamiliar corridors, back to the parlour with its grisly sickly display. She kept glancing up at Jeeves, pinching herself to reassure her tired, beleaguered mind that this was no dream. Pshrynk really was walking beside her, big as life! Literally!

Lightning continued its incessant flickering, dimly seen through the skylights as they proceeded cautiously through the still-dark corridors. As they rounded a corner, Jeeves stumbled slightly and righted himself smartly with a muttered apology.

"Jeeves, you're bleeding!" exclaimed Zelda, as fresh red droplets pitter-pattered onto her hair.

"Just a scratch mum, nothing to fret about" explained Jeeves.

"But what happened to you? Did someone try to kill you? Who?" Zelda was nothing if not consistently persistent.

"I'm not quite sure mum, it's a bit of a blur to me. Earlier tonight I had repaired to the library to dust the shelves, when I chanced upon a classic mystery tale. Perhaps you've read it yourself? 'What The Butler Saw?'

"Mais je ne lis que ça, ce soir ! On dirait du Italo Calvino..."
Spoiler:
"That's all I've been reading tonight, over and over ! It's like a novel by Italo Calvino..."


A ripping good yarn, I've always thought. But perhaps I'm a bit prejudiced, seeing as how I do fit the title role. *cough* Sorry for the personal digression mum.

As I was saying, the sight of this marvelous read prompted me to engage in truly unprofessional behavior. I confess I sank into a conveniently placed wing-back chair and began to avidly peruse this tale of murder and mayhem. I had reached page 202 when my attention was abruptly wrenched from this fascinating chronicle by the angry sound of Colonel Alex's bell. Horrors! I was late bringing up his nightly hot toddy. I scribbled a quick note to myself on the bottom of the page before reluctantly closing such a seductive read. As I sprang to my feet, I accidentally extinguished my candle and dropped the book in my subsequent confusion. I moved with all possible alacrity toward the door using the provident illumination provided by the storm, and suddenly beheld a vague shadowy figure emerge from the corner of the room. An arm was raised over my head, vividly illuminated by the pyrotechnic background offered by the near-constant lightning. It was a shapely feminine arm clutching .... something rather large."

Jeeves paused to dab a bead of perspiration from his manly brow, and draw a restorative breath.

"Well, what happened? Who was it? Did they cosh you?"

"Apparently whoever it was missed. I've oft noticed and lamented the poor standards of performance of today's generation when it comes to activities requiring motor skills." Jeeves commented.

"Oui, enfin, ça tombait bien pour toi, avoue."
Spoiler:
"Well, you have to admit, it's a lucky thing for you things aren't what they used to be."


"Then why are you bleeding?" demanded Zelda.

"I can only surmise that when I reeled away from the intended blow, my head must have inadvertently contacted the corner of a nearby bookcase. This unexpected contact produced a profound disorientation in my mentation."

"You knocked yourself out cold"

"Somewhat crudely but accurately phrased, yes. I rapidly regained consciousness, no doubt aided by the continued clanging of Colonel Alex's bell as he demanded the delivery of his toddy. I dusted myself off, staunched my cranial hemorrhage with the application of pomade, and resumed my duties. I was just collecting Colonel Alex's empty glass when I heard the bell in Miss Dreams' room."

Zelda's mind had by now surrendered; little white flags were waving madly in her eyes as she valiantly tried to process this new information.


[What can possibly happen next?]
[Is Jeeves, errr, Pshrynk really dead?]
[Have Zelda's fragile sensibilities finally overloaded?]
[Have YOU figured it out yet?]
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Old 11-05-2010, 07:16 PM   #17
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WHAT THE BUTLER SAW ......




LET'S DO THE TIME WARP


.... AGAIN





Jeeves continued to lead the way back to the parlour, the alleged scene of his, errr Pshrynk's, recent murder, with Zelda meekly following, enclosed in her private fug of conflicting theories, facts, observations, fears, and possible hallucinations. Nothing made any vestige of sense anymore ... but then had anything made sense since she hauled herself through the window into this macabre fun-house of horror? Was it even still the same night? There was no way to judge the passage of time in these unlit corridors. She had to trust herself and her safety to Jeeves until she could reach ... or contact ... the outside world. And that couldn't happen until the power was restored. Would this farking thunderstorm EVER end?

"Tu parles d'une recherche du temps perdu... Marcel en personne n'aurait pu faire mieux."
Spoiler:
"Talk about going in search of lost time... Marcel himself couldn't have done better."



"The parlour is just down this hallway," murmured Jeeves, as he steered Zelda into yet another unfamiliar unlit corridor.

The sound of a distant foghorn shattered the silence.

"Ah, the doorbell" remarked Jeeves. "Please wait here while I ascertain who is visiting us tonight."

Jeeves rapidly swanned away in a totally new direction, leaving Zelda literally and figuratively in the dark. Since when did MobileRead have a foghorn as a doorbell? How could someone ring it if the power was out? Who else was going to show up tonight?

"Bon jour Zelda! I didn't know you were in town too! You should have called me and let me know. We could have had dinner together."

Zelda wheeled around, heart hammering, eyes starting from her parchment-white face at the figure illuminated by the oil lamp she was carrying.

"Florence! What are YOU doing here tonight? How did you get here? Have you seen Pshrynk yet? Was he dead?"

Florence bent a concerned look upon her obviously agitated friend and patted her hand gently.
"Why Zelda, Pshrynk's the reason I'm here tonight. Colonel Alex has commissioned me to paint Pshrynk's portrait for the MobileRead Portrait Gallery. You know, that line of oil paintings in the library?
Anyway, we have an appointment tonight for his first sitting. I'm on my way to the library right now to set up my easel. Send him along when you see him, OK? We need to get started right away before I lose this unique lighting."

"Elle vient faire un portrait mais ça sera plutôt une nature morte !"
Spoiler:
"She's here for a portrait but she's going to have to make do with a still life !"



With this, Florence departed rapidly, leaving a tiny smudge of cadmium red on Zelda's hand, and she was once again on her own in the Stygian darkness.

"Psssst! Dollface! Over here!" A raspy voice hissed in the darkness.
Zelda twirled wildly, trying to locate the source.

"No, over here! Behind you!" ... "Ow ... that's my foot you're stamping on!"

With a familiar rasp, and the pungent smell of lighter fluid, a Zippo lighter flared into existence in Zelda's face, temporarily blinding her and igniting several wayward wisps of her rain-frizzied hair.

Pushing aside the hand holding the lighter, Zelda demanded "Who are you? Where are you? And stop calling me dollface ... my name is Zelda!"

"Awwww .... don't be so touchy little lady. Just trying to be friendly, that's all. You know .... 'Cherish la femme' ... and all that. Jeeessh, they told me you was feisty, but not downright hostile!"

As Zelda's eyes adjusted to the Zippo's flickering flame, her eyes flew open as she shrieked "You're the cabbie that drove me here from the airport! I saw you drive off. You abandoned me here! How did you get in? What are you doing here? How do you know who I am?"

"Surprised to see me again, ain't ya? Well, I'm not really a cabbie. All right, sometimes I do do hack work, when I don't have a paying client, but I'm really a Private Investigator. Really! Name's Rock Lobster. You can call me Rock, but not Rocky. I hate that! Unless of course it's whispered to me in the dark when ...... *cough*
Anyways, this Colonel Alex moke hired me yesterday to shadow you. See, he was tipped off there was gonna be a break-in here tonight, and someone was gonna get hurt. Seems his source fingered a French connection for the perp, so I hung around the airport International Arrivals gate tonight until you showed up. I'll never forget the sight of those black-stockinged gams coming down the ramp .... *cough*
Anyways, I followed you here by driving your cab! Pretty slick, huh? People always look behind them to see if someone is following them. They never think to look in front of them! Am I right? You never suspected I was tailing you, did'ja?"

Not waiting for an answer, Lobster plowed on with his yarn:
"I've had you in my sights the whole night! Up and down and back and forth ... man, my feet are killing me! How big is this farking building anyways? Anyways, what I can't figure out is how you managed to off that mug in the library without me seeing. Did you use knock-out drops on me? I'm a sucker for a free drink. Or did you hypnotize me? Come on, give with the info honey. How'd you pull this caper off so slick?"

"Qu'est-ce que c'est que ce charabia ? C'est un massacre de la langue, ça c'est sûr, mais de laquelle ?"
Spoiler:
"What on earth is this gibberish ? He's murdering the language, that's for sure, but which one ?"



Zelda clutched a lock of hair in each hand, took a deep breath, and calmly explained: "Well, the reason you didn't see me murder Pshrynk is because I DIDN'T DO IT! *errrr* I didn't kill anyone tonight! I just kept finding the bodies after they were already murdered! NOT by me! Got it?"

"Now stop following me and help me get out of this funhouse from hell!"


[Will Rock Lobster be Zelda's knight in shining armor?]
[Will Zelda murder Rock Lobster?]
[How did Rock Lobster get into this novel?]
[Is anyone dead yet?]
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Old 11-06-2010, 10:40 AM   #18
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WHAT THE BUTLER SAW ......




THE PROVERBIAL RED HERRING(S)


FISHIE THE FIRST




"Riiiiight ......"
Lobster just stared blankly at her, switching his Zippo from hand to hand as the case heated up. Then his face lit up as a new series of ideas cascaded into his brain and out of his mouth.

"Now I got it! You're a member of a gang of international criminals! Hired to fly over from France tonight and off that dude in the library! You were the decoy! Everyone knows I never could turn my back on a set of curves like yours, sister! So, while I was following you with my tongue hanging out like a dog in August looking for a cool drink of water, your buddy waz doin' the deed in another room! You Frenchies are pretty slick! Almost had me there. But I got a little surprise for you too!"

With that prophetic pronouncement, Lobster reached behind him in the darkness and rolled a tightly trussed figure into the wan circle of light cast by the "Sam Spade Commemorative" Zippo lighter. Lobster stretched out a patent leather clad foot and roughly turned his captive's face up to the light.

"filip!" shrieked Zelda, falling to her knees besides the helpless bundle. "What are you doing here? You're supposed to be in another story line. How did you end up here?"

"So you two DO know each other! I was right! Gang members! I've been dragging around this load of bad all night too! Had to stuff a sock in his face to stop his whining. Just couldn't take it ... that I'd seen through his sorry disguise as a tourist and nailed him for what he was ... a cold-blooded murderer! Kept yammerin' at me in some god-awful lingo I couldn't make heads or tails of. Gave me a headache."

Lobster turned aside to light the cigar stub parked behind his right ear. Zelda took the opportunity to remove the sock from filip's mouth and to untie his limbs. As soon as filip could draw in a breath he began shouting:

"Imbécile ! Qu'est-ce que c'est que ce traitement ?? J'ai rien demandé à personne et d'un coup me voilà kidnappé à l'aéroport, ficelé comme un saucisson, flanqué dans un coffre de taxi puant avec un cadavre pour compagnie, traîné je ne sais où le long de ces couloirs gelés et noirs comme un four... Vous êtes malade ou quoi ?? Comment ça se fait que personne ne s'est encore décidé à se débarasser définitivement de vous, ça me dépasse !"
Spoiler:
"You imbecile ! What's the meaning of this treatment ?? There I was, minding my own business, and suddenly I'm kidnapped at the airport, tied up like a sausage, thrown in the smelly trunk of that cab along with the body of the cabbie, dragged up and down these freezing hallways in the dark! Are you totally insane? How nobody has decided to get rid you once and for all is beyond me !"


As filip stopped to inhale, Zelda quickly asked: "filip, why are you here? Were you on my plane? What's going on?"

Filip blushed slightly as he replied in a calmer tone "Well, you see, I was SO grateful for winning the iPad in your wonderful MobileRead contest that I decided to use my vacation and come over to thank you folks personally. I was sitting in the back of the plane, and didn't see you until we arrived here and were disembarking. Just as I was about to call out to you, this fathead slugged me with his shoe, tied me up, and stuffed me into the trunk of an obviously stolen cab. Is he insane, or is this how Americans carry on a courtship? He's been staring at you, drooling, ever since he saw you."

Zelda shuddered visibly and strongly denied any connection with the gormless gumshoe. She helped filip to his feet, and the two turned to face Lobster, now puffing contentedly on his loathsome stogie and clicking a pair of handcuffs open and closed, open and closed.

Knowing she would regret asking, but unable to resist the urge to shut Lobster's trap for good, Zelda had to inquire: "So, Rock, if you had filip hog-tied the entire night, dragging him around with you, AND you never took your eyes off of me, *shudder* AND I was never alone all night, how could either one of us had the opportunity to kill anyone? Eh?"
"Not to mention the fact that the alleged victim answered the door and let you in just now!"

Rock Lobster stood rock still. That WAS a poser. He knew he had a body. He knew he had a suspect -- two of them! And they were foreign to boot. How to connect the one to the other? How would Dick Tracy solve this case?

Glaciers shrank visibly as Rock scratched, rolled his head to loosen his neck, glared in every direction for possible leads, and finally returned his eyes to the guilty pair. Damn, they looked guilty. They HAD to be guilty. He didn't have any other suspects, besides himself, and he was pretty sure he hadn't murdered anyone .... yet.

Suddenly he jerked his head to one side and shouted "Did you hear that? Down there! They're getting away! After them!"
And he tore off running as fast as he could down the darkened hallway, taking the light with him!

"C'est ça, tire-toi puisque tu n'as pas de réponse ! Quand je pense que tu vas essayer de facturer cette pantalonnade... j'aimerais bien voir le détail de cette note !"
Spoiler:
"That's right, run away since you haven't got any answers ! To think you're going to try to get paid for this farce, I'd love to see how you explain *these* expenses !"


As Lobster's voice and light faded into the distance, Zelda leaned against the wall in the newly darkened hallway and remarked:
"Well, looks like we're left in the dark. Again."


[Will Zelda (and filip) be rescued?]
[Who is Rock Lobster chasing?]
[What's Jeeves been doing all this time?]
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Old 11-06-2010, 05:00 PM   #19
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WHAT THE BUTLER SAW ......




THE PROVERBIAL RED HERRING(S)


FISHIE THE NEXT


AND


THE OBLIGATORY SEX LOVE SCENE



"Got any matches, filip" asked Zelda, not really expecting an affirmative response.

"No, but I do have this!" answered filip. Zelda heard a rasp, smelled a harsh metallic stench, and was suddenly blinded as the hallway was abruptly lit up like sunrise on the Sahara Desert, and became just as hot! Zelda smelled more of her frizzy locks incinerating on her forehead.

"When I was locked in the taxi cab's trunk, I found an emergency road flare and was able to jam it down my pants. I thought I might be able to use it as a weapon against my kidnapper, if I ever got out."

"So that was what I felt when I hugged you, and I thought ..... oh dear ... I thought .... you know .... I'm so embarrassed ...." stuttered Zelda as she hid her crimson face in her hands.

"Oh contraire ma cherie, I WAS glad to see you! Really glad. Excited (you might say) to see you."

"Oh filip" sighed Zelda, "for a brief moment I feared all I sensed was that thing!"

"L'amour surgit toujours quand on s'y attend le moins..."
Spoiler:
"Love always appears when you expect it the least..."


Filip drew himself up sharply and declared "I am a Frenchman! We do NOT use 'things' ... we do NOT need 'things' ... I am 100% man!"

*sigh* filip ...

*sigh* zelda ....

*sigh* filip ....

*sigh* zelda ....

"Blow out the flare filip" sighed Zelda.
After a few minutes of heavy breathing, filip replied: "No can do! Hey, what's behind this door?"

Zelda again beheld the opulently bedizened door leading to the parlour, and wasted no time hauling filip into the sensual wonderland awaiting them inside.
"I sure hope Jeeves remembered to clean up in here! All that sticky ice cream ... and blood ... and the body on the divan. Oh well, the carpet will be plenty cushy enough." Zelda exulted in finally having the proper reason to enter the parlour of forbidden pleasures!






*moan* oh, filip

*moan* oh, zelda

*moan* oh, filip

*moan* oh, zelda

"Dollface!"

*moan* oh, "WHAT? Who said that? Show yourself now!"

"Hey kids, I'm back" shouted Rock Lobster. "Come on outta there where I can see you. Wow, it's bright out here! Who lit the fireworks? Oh sorry, am I interrupting something? I wouldn't want to intrude, you know, since it would be rude and all that, except that while you guys was canoodling I just happened to run down the real murderer! Fast little guy ... can take corners like a scalded cat! But I got him."

"Encore lui ! C'est vraiment le roi des cheveux sur la soupe..."
Spoiler:
"Him again ! Somehow he always shows up at the worst time..."


Zelda hastily rearranged her disarranged ensemble and emerged into the harsh light filling the hallway. Blinking furiously until her eyes adjusted to the million candle-watt level of illumination provided by the smoldering flare, she tried to focus on the new figure held firmly in Lobster's right claw, errr, mitt.

"Hi Zelda! Hi filip! What's up?"

"Catire!" screamed Zelda, "what are you doing here tonight? Why were you running away? What has Rock Lobster done to you?"

A silence fell in the hallway until Lobster shook the dangling diminutive figure, which began to splutter into life.

"It's a fair cop!" answered Catire, "he got me dead to rights, he did!"

And then more silence, until Lobster prodded the hapless captive again.
"I did it! I did all of them. Yup! Slaughtered all of them! Everywhere! Guilty as charged! I confess fully and freely and throw myself on the mercy of the court!"

"Oh Catire," sighed Zelda, "have you been reading Rumpole late at night again? That's a terrible cockney accent! And a terrible confession."

"Just who did you kill, eh?" asked filip.

"Well," stalled Catire, until Rock gave him another prod, "All of them! Yup! Every body! Every dead body I mean. Not yours. Yours is still alive. Can I kill you too?"

"What did you use for a weapon?" inquired Zelda.

Silence. Another prod. "A deadly weapon! Yup! That's what I used! Deadly weapons! All of them were deadly!"

This informal interrogation of the alleged perpetrator was about as illuminating of the truth as a Pat and Mike routine on St. Patrick's Day.

Another shake elicited "And it sure wasn't easy! All that killing! And the bodies kept moving! After they wuz dead! Tweren't very fair oiy say."

Rock Lobster opened the handcuffs, drawling out of the corner of his mouth "Well, I don't know about youze two lovebirds, but I'm satisfied. This jamoke is our perp, sure nuff! I'm collecting this collar, and the reward. You two just get back to whatever foolin' around you was engaging in."

Catire meekly extended his tentacles, errr, arms towards the shiny metal bracelets, beaming with joy at his new-found notoriety. He was already planning his first press conference and his insanity defense plea.


"No, no, no, no, no, no" stammered Zelda. "You can't arrest Catire. He can't confess to murder. Pshrynk's alive! He answered the door tonight and let you in! You saw him! There was no murder! Go away and leave us in peace! Please go away now! Someone ring for Jeeves to show you out. Out of our lives!"

"I know where the butler's pantry is" cried Catire, and he scuttled off into the darkness. "Jeeves! Oh Jeeves! We need you."

A pregnant silence fell on the brightly lit group standing motionless in the hallway. It was a stand-off! A true stand-off! A test of wills! A testament to the truth! A matter of honor! A reason for life-long psychotherapy! Our hapless group had achieved, at great personal cost, truth stranger than fiction! No one could make this stuff up!

*cough*

[Who needs a throat lozenge?]
[Will Zelda's head explode?]
[Did the murderer just cleverly escape?]
[What, if anything, had Catire seen tonight?]
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Old 11-07-2010, 09:56 AM   #20
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WHAT THE BUTLER SAW ......




THE PROVERBIAL RED HERRING(S)


RECIPE FOR DISASTER


*cough*
That delicate sound hung in the air like the stench of yesterday's socks. You knew what it was, but you didn't want to admit it. And you sure didn't want to look at it!

Fearing for her sanity, her very being, Zelda slowly turned to face the newly arrived manservant.

"Someone called my name?" asked the velvety smooth voice of extreme reason.

"Oh no, not again, this can't be happening again. It CAN'T" sobbed Zelda, collapsing onto the chilly hall floor, burying her face in her tattered skirt.

"Beg pardon mum? What is happening, or not happening, if I may be so bold to inquire?"

"Oh NatCh, I suppose you're going to tell me your name is Jeeves, .... yadda, yadda, yadda." moaned the feverish Zelda, as filip and Rock looked on in astonishment at her outlandish histrionics.

Jeeves' forehead crinkled into evenly spaced parallel ridges as he replied "Beg pardon mum, my name is Jeeves. Always has been. Jeeves. At your service."
"Mum."

Zelda raised a stricken, tear-streaked face and whispered "I suppose you're going to tell us that Pshrynk is dead .... again ... still ... yet? In the parlour?"

*cough* "No mum." replied the maddeningly marvelous manservant.

"No?"

"No mum. There are no personages, dead or alive, currently in the parlour. Some apparently 'live and kicking personages' did however occasion the necessity for my cleaning services in the parlour just now. I removed several deposits of *shudder* liquid of unknown origin, and thoroughly cleansed the room with bleach."

"ça plairait pas à la police scientifique, mais ça vaut peut-être mieux quand même..."
Spoiler:
"Forensics wouldn't like that, but it's probably for the best..."


Zelda and filip blushed furiously at this recital, and Zelda strove to change the subject.

"Where is Florence? She was scheduled to begin painting Pshrynk's portrait tonight in the library. She could tell us if he's alive or dead."

"I regret to inform you that Miss Florence departed in rather a huff earlier this evening." replied Jeeves. "Evidently she had been 'stood up' by Pshrynk, who failed to appear at the appointed time for his sitting."

"Maybe he showed up late and is waiting in the library now for Florence" suggested filip.

Rock Lobster snickered unpleasantly at hearing this naive suggestion, and Jeeves waded in with yet more exposition.

"Perhaps we should repair their imminently to ascertain the veracity of Mr. filip's perspicacious suggestion?" inquired Jeeves. Not waiting for their assent, he motioned for them to enter yet another hallway. As he bent to pick up the still luminous flare, Zelda astutely noted a red smear in the cleft of his manly chin. Sensing her gaze, Jeeves absently stroked his chin murmuring "It's quite difficult to use a cut-throat razor in the dark."

"Tu m'étonnes ! Comment se raser quand son visage change continuellement de forme ??"
Spoiler:
"No kidding ! How can you shave when your face keeps changing shape ?"



As the band of desolate yet doughty adventurers passed into a new hallway en route to the library and who knew what fresh horror, they heard loud rapid footsteps approaching from behind them. Frozen in terror, they awaited the arrival of this new messenger of doom.

"Out of the way! Gangway! Gangbusters!" exploded from the darkness as the running figure neared their circle of light. "Oh, that poor chicken! What horrible things has kennyc done to chicken dear? I must get help now before he commits any further atrocities!"

Abruptly, clad in a white tunic liberally covered with huge splotches of fresh red blood, beppe burst into their group. Hair flying everywhere, eyes bursting from his head, arms waving madly about his head, beppe was the picture of panic! White chicken feathers, most bearing crimson stains, were literally flying from his windmilling arms creating a bloody blizzard that blanketed the hallway!

Beppe's voice climbed into a shriek of terror and desperation "We MUST hide the evidence! Quickly! For the love of all that's holy, does anyone have any barbecue sauce? He's going to use the ketchup! On chicken! Oh the tragedy! The insult. This cannot be! Let the poor chicken die with dignity!"

Not waiting for an answer, beppe continued his headlong flight into the corridor, his wails fading into the darkness. Before they could recover from this apparition of madness, a gray dog barking like a blood hound tore past them -- hot on the trail of the receding would-be chicken chef.

Shaken, and curiously stirred by the tidal wave of these raw emotions, the group continued its trek to the library, and whatever new onslaughts on their reason it might contain.

[Will beppe find an appropriate sauce for chicken?]
[Is there more than one murder victim?]
[Who will be in the library?]
[What will be in the library?]
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Old 11-07-2010, 04:54 PM   #21
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WHAT THE BUTLER SAW ......




THE BODY IN THE LIBRARY


WHOSE BODY?



Our little intrepid group of travelers soon reached the imposing leather-clad doors of the MobileRead library. Zelda hesitated, hand on the gleaming brass knob, and turned to Jeeves: "Um, you did say there was no body here, right Jeeves?"

*cough*
"I must beg to differ, mum" Jeeves demurred tactfully but forcefully, "I stated that there was NO BODY in the parlour, not that there was NO body. If you follow my reasoning. Mum."

Zelda's world rose up around her, again, threatening to engulf her, again, in a maelstrom of confusion and obfuscation. Choosing her words with the care of an impeached president, she inquired: "Just what do you mean by 'NO body'?"

"Si ça continue, il y aura une nouvelle victime, et cette fois je pourrais avouer !"
Spoiler:
"If this keeps up there's going to be a new victim, of a crime I can confess to !"


Jeeves bent an unbearably condescending gaze upon the flustered fraulein and explained slowly and clearly, enunciating each word as carefully as the emcee in the National Spelling Bee contest, "If you cast your mind back mum, you will undoubtedly recall that you specifically inquired as to the presence or absence of a body IN the parlour, and nowhere else in the building. I was able to answer with complete confidence that there was NO BODY in the parlour. Mum. You neglected to mention the library, mum."

"But you're not saying there's NO body ... somewhere .... here?"

Jeeves pondered this somewhat incoherent statement, visibly parsing its structure into its intended meaning. A light of comprehension dawned upon his contorted countenance as he clarified her inquiry: "Yes, exactly, mum."

A long, awkward, somewhat hostile silence ensued. Zelda glared at filip, who visibly beseeched Rock Lobster to say something. Rock turned to face Jeeves and articulated for the group "Whaa?"

Jeeves left eyebrow rose one-eighth of an inch in incredulous inquiry. "Just what I said mum, exactly."

"EXACTLY WHAT!" screamed Zelda, now driven beyond all realms of decorum. "Exactly dead, exactly not dead, exactly no, what? Explain yourself man!"

Jeeves resisted a no-doubt fatal urge to gently pat Zelda's hand and say "There, there" and instead inhaled and prepared to explicate the obvious to his captive audience.

*ahem*
"There is A body in the library. A DEAD body. IN the library. Evidence would seem to indicate that the body is that of Mr. Pshrynk. Dead Mr. Pshrynk."

Everyone loudly exhaled at this pronouncement, under the misapprehension that they finally understood things.

"Like I'd been tellin' ya" rasped Lobster, "there's a stiff in there. I been sayin' it ever since I ran into ya. Remember? That's why I collared that filip person, and then tried to handcuff the confessed murderer, Catire. And YOU made me let them go! Both of them!"

Zelda recoiled from his vicious, but accurate, indictment. Damn, but the fellow was right! In the midst of all his yammering tonight, he HAD mentioned a body in the library. And she had totally disregarded his information, instead believing in her own eyewitness identification of the previous Jeeves as the missing, oft-rumored dead Pshrynk. Or the other way around. Whatever! How could she have been SO wrong? Where DID she go wrong? What could she possibly do now?


"Je vais me faire jeter du fanclub de Nestor Burma pour le coup..."
Spoiler:
"They'll throw me out of the Nancy Drew fanclub for sure after this..."


Well, pulling herself upright, Zelda realized she had to face what, or who, was on the other side of the door. It was all resting on her shoulders now. Zelda slowly pushed open the massive doors, moving silently on well-oiled hinges into the darkness beyond. Jeeves held the still sputtering flare aloft to illuminate the plush interior of the MR library.

There! On the hearth! A crumpled mass of humanity! Motionless in an unnatural position! Lying in a gently expanding pool of red! Dead!!!

"Told ya so" smirked Lobster.

"Sapristi" exclaimed filip.

"Not again!" shrieked Zelda.

*cough*

[Will someone give that man a cough drop?]
[Will Rock Lobster actually solve the case?]
[Will this night ever end?]
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Old 11-08-2010, 09:16 AM   #22
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WHAT THE BUTLER SAW ......




THE BODY IN THE LIBRARY



SUSPECT # ?



[Lost count ... haven't you?]


Zelda advanced haltingly towards the hearth, heart in her mouth, dreading what was soon to be revealed to her guilty conscience. Bending over the recumbent cooling corpse, she whispered "Oh Pshrynk, you've gone and got murdered again. Just when I began to think this was all a bad dream and I was about to wake up in my own bed in Paris."

"Qu'est ce qu'on est bien chez soi..."
Spoiler:
"there's no place like home"


Mindful of her responsibility, Zelda began to minutely examine the crime scene. Once again, Pshrynk's lifeless hand clutched a paperback book in its death spasm. Zelda had no doubt as to the title of the deadly volume. And, once again, Pshrynk was lying in a sticky pool of red fluid, that had soaked into the pages of the book. Bending over, Zelda noticed a large rounded dent in the left side of his head, just above his ear. What could have made such an impression? What level of rage fueled the fatal blow? What sort of fiend was responsible for this heinous happening?

*cough*
As if capable of clairvoyance, Jeeves began to answer her unspoken questions.
"I believe you might be interested in this object? I located it in the fireplace just now, but I believe I have seen it earlier tonight and can identify its provenance."

Zelda looked up to see Jeeves wielding a large walking stick above her defenseless brow. Rock and filip cowered against the wall, fearing Jeeves might direct his murderous attack against them as well.

Zelda flung herself to safety, landing in the ashes in the now cold fireplace. Dusting herself off, she demanded "Jeeves! Get a hold of yourself man! Put that down ... now!"

She noticed that in her precipitate trajectory into the embers, she had inadvertently removed the paperback from Pshrynk's clutch and now held it in a trembling hand. Sure enough, it was stuck open at page 202 with most of the typeface obscured by the sticky red fluid surrounding Pshrynk's body. Zelda bent down and sniffed ... yes! ... it was red ink! During the fatal assault, a bottle of red ink had been knocked off the mantelpiece and had shattered on the hearth, soaking into both Pshrynk and his book. Holding the book closer to the last dying embers in the back of the fireplace Zelda haltingly thought she could read:

___ ___ ____er __ it?

___ p_______ ___ did ___.

__ ___ ___ __ them.


Her face nearly glued to the page, Zelda failed to notice the approaching Jeeves, who said "Take a look at this mum" as he thrust the walking stick into her hands. Unfortunately, the stick dislodged the book, which fell into the quiescent embers. The red ink proved extremely volatile, and the book burst into bright flames which rapidly became black flecks of soot gently wafting up the chimney.

"Hé voilà, ça va, ça vient..."
Spoiler:
"Easy come easy go"



"Imbecile!" cried out filip, as he pulled Zelda from the flames, frantically beating out the small flames that had erupted along her ensemble.

"Beg pardon, mum" explained the apologetic manservant, "I was merely attempting to draw madame's attention to a possible clue in this murderous mishap."

Zelda breathlessly brushed aside filip's ministering mitts, and snapped: "Out with it man! Whose cudgel is this and how did it get here! Be snappy now, I've had a long night!"

"Well mum, I was employed earlier this evening in this very library, re-shelving errant volumes strewn about on the tables and chairs by erring members. You wouldn't believe how careless some people can be with these fine volumes. Why only yesterday I found .... *ouch* ... was that really necessary sir?" Jeeves inquired archly as he rubbed an aching ear.

"The little lady said be snappy, didn't she?" snarled Lobster, holding his bruised knuckles. "I was just tryin' to speed up your yarn."
"Damn, they said my skull was thick?"

The chastened Jeeves continued "I was standing in the rear corner re-shelving some Gaslight Mysteries when an altercation erupted by the hearth between Pshrynk and an older lady. They were both holding on to the same book, and seemed to be in disagreement as to whom the book belonged to. The storm was raging outside, making it nigh impossible to clearly follow their conversation, but I did hear the lady screech "No you don't," and then a little later "It's not gonna happen," followed later by "I'll make you sorry." I was only able to discern these fragments of a much more extensive interchange, which the lady was punctuating with flamboyant gestures utilizing this walking stick, or one very similar to it."

Jeeves paused to take a breath and discreetly dab a bead of blood from his injured auricular appendage, and complacently noted that all eyes were glued upon him in complete silence, awaiting the conclusion of his tawdry tale.

"I had just finished my shelving duties when I heard Colonel Alex ringing the bell for his nightly toddy. I was able to slide by the dueling duo without being noticed at all, so engrossed were they over the embattled volume. Just as I reached the door I heard a loud crash of breaking glass and turned to behold the old lady -- backlit by a brilliant bolt of blue lightning -- brandishing her staff aloft over the cowering Pshrynk's head. Then all was in darkness, and I left the library. Duty called."

A hush fell over the little group, as each in turn digested Jeeves' tale and cogitated as to the identity of the "older lady" feisty enough to engage in fisticuffs over a book.

"Hey, Jeeves, you found my stick! I've been looking everywhere for it."

All eyes whipped to the open door that no one had heard open on its noiseless hinges.

"Desertgrandma! What are you doing here!"

[Will AARP be called in to defend the rambunctious retiree?]
[Did Pshrynk fall afoul of the fabled big stick?]
[Is there any MR member who hasn't murdered Pshrynk ... yet?]
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Old 11-09-2010, 08:44 AM   #23
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WHAT THE BUTLER SAW ......




LET'S ALL GO TO THE LOBBY



THE BLUE ONE NEXT TO THE RED HERRING





"I came for the barbecue. KennyC called me up today. He said beppe was going to whip up something extra special tonight -- some sort of chicken delight, or chicken dear .... I have trouble sometimes understanding that beppe fellow. Real nice .... but .... he has his own way of putting things. But boy can he cook! So I packed up my ABBA CD's and came right over."

Noticing the sea of strained faces staring at her, dg asked "Say Jeeves, why is everyone staring at me?"

*cough*
"I was compelled under duress to divulge a description of your altercation with Pshrynk earlier this evening. I'm afraid they have placed a rather sinister interpretation upon the events and your remarks." replied Jeeves in a hushed tone, as he handed the walking stick to her.

Zelda jumped in quickly, before Jeeves could continue, and demanded: "Jeeves overheard you threaten Pshrynk tonight over a book. Why did you have to kill him? Was it worth it? What had he done to you?"

Desertgrandma's mouth fell open in shocked surprise, then she held her sides and began to laugh loud and long. "Shucks honey, I never laid a hand on old Pshrynk. We were just talking about that old pulp mystery we were both reading. He had got ahead of me and was threatening to tell me the identity of the murderer, so I yelled 'No you don't' at him to make him stop. He saw I was irritated so he kept on pretending to give away the ending. I yelled back 'It's not gonna happen' and told him if he didn't stop 'I'd make you sorry.' When I picked up my big stick he got the message and shut his trap. That storm was kicking up so loud I had to shout to make him hear me. You do know he's deaf in one ear, but won't admit it. He was alive and kicking when I left here to find KennyC and tonight's dinner."


"Encore une théorie qui tombe à l'eau ! Il nous reste qui comme suspect ?"
Spoiler:
"Yet another suspect wriggles out of suspicion - who's left?"


"Say," she continued, "where is that book anyway? I wanted to finish it tonight after dinner. Have you seen it?"

Zelda looked at filip who looked at Rock Lobster, who asked "Is there enough barbecue for all of us?"

Before Zelda could regain control of the conversation, dg replied "Sure enough! There's home-made biscuits too."
She sniffed the air in the hallway and exclaimed "It's done! Beppe must have found the sauce. Let's go and snare a drumstick before Kenny hogs it all! Lead the way Jeeves!"

"Very good madam. This way if you please." With this, Jeeves swanned down the hallway, closely followed by desertgrandma, and then, after the briefest of pauses, by Rock Lobster.

"Et tu Rock?" whispered Zelda.

"Hey dollface, I'm not getting any reward for all my work tonight so I might as well get a free meal!"

Filip slunk off too, muttering "They only served us stale peanuts on the plane. And that imbecile Lobster stole and ate my packet. I'm starving. You coming Zelda?"

Zelda was left behind, alone in the now darkened library, still fitfully lit by the occasional flash of lightning as the storm finally began to wane. Well, technically not alone -- Pshrynk's body was still lying on the hearth. At least it had stopped changing rooms. For now. It was like being the last audience member sitting in the theater after the movie is over, watching all the credits for a clue as to what you've just seen -- but failed to understand.

Tonight's events swirled through Zelda's head -- it seemed she had been trapped in this forsaken building for weeks! Nothing made any sense any more. First Pshrynk was dead, maybe, than alive, sort of, then dead again. How could these things happen? Had she fallen while climbing into the building and hit her head? Did she drink too much wine with ravenne on an empty stomach? Were nekokami's donuts spiked with drugs? What was in the ice cream? Had listening to Rock Lobster finally snapped her slender hold on reality? Did filip really care for her? Would they save her any white meat?

All the suspects had proffered plausible explanations for their violent scenes with Pshrynk. All the MR members had reasons to be present here tonight, except her! All the Jeeves had borne a red spot, but what did they mean? Why did everyone but Zelda not notice the changing face(s) of Jeeves? Could she make any sense from the tattered text in the continuously destroyed paperback? Zelda's head bowed slowly into her waiting hands, her shoulders shook with fear and fatigue.

"C'est forcément la fin ! ça ne peut quand même pas continuer ! ...non ?"
Spoiler:
"This MUST be the end - it can't go on - can it?"




A strangled sob escaped from her trembling lips as the full enormity of the situation fell upon her. She had failed! Utterly and completely failed! She had no idea ... no clue .... no inkling as to who the murderer or murderers really were.

DO YOU?


[Will Zelda confess to murder to get this story over with?]
[Will they save any chicken for her?]
[Can anyone help solve this impenetrable mystery?]
[Hmmmmm...... it's a toughie!]
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Old 11-09-2010, 12:06 PM   #24
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WHAT THE BUTLER SAW ......




THE CORPSE WHISPERER


THE REAL DEAL?


A narrow ray of light fell on Zelda's bowed head as the library doors soundlessly opened to admit Colonel Alex, licking chicken grease from his fingers as he extracted a cheroot from its leather case.

"Zelda! You're still here! Didn't I order Jeeves to throw, errrr, show you out?" he exclaimed. Moving over to the hearth to get a light for his cigar, he noticed Pshrynk's body with a disdainful curl of his lip.
"Oh, right, you were going to solve the murder mystery tonight, weren't you? Not doing too well with it are you? I see the body's still here but I don't see anyone in custody. Guess I'll have to step in as usual and straighten up things for myself."

The Colonel uncapped the speaking tube next to the fireplace, blew down it, and shouted "Hello! Jeeves! There's a mess in the library to clean up. Please come right away!"

A faint answer wafted from the bell of the tube "Very good sir. I'll bring a broom and dust pan, and be right there."

"Hah. Better bring a damn large dust pan, eh Zelda?"
"We missed you at the barbecue. Afraid it's all gone. That scrawny little chicken didn't have much meat on its bones, especially those skinny little legs. But beppe sure knows how to grill a gourmet galliforme!"

Zelda remained silent. She was too overwhelmed to think anymore, let alone engage in spirited repartee with the smirking Colonel. At least now one of her questions had been answered: they hadn't saved any chicken for her dinner.


"Si seulement toutes les réponses étaient si faciles à trouver."
Spoiler:
"If only all the answers were so easy to find."


The library door opened once again to admit Jeeves with his broom and dust pan, muttering "I never thought I'd find myself back in one of these penguin suits again! Ever! Thought I'd left all that behind me."

The Colonel motioned silently towards the huddled mass on the hearth. Jeeves, head bowed to contemplate the extent of damage to the furnishings, glided over and began to mop up the spilled ink with his handkerchief, making "Tch Tch" noises under his breath.

The Colonel settled himself comfortably on the sofa, puffed a perfect smoke ring, and gazed at the ornamental ceiling: "Probably wondering what was going on here tonight, aren't you? I imagine you have absolutely no clue who the murderer is, and why old Pshrynkie got himself offed again."

Zelda nodded dumbly, hiding her confused countenance from the Colonel, as she was forced to listen to a list of her shortcomings.

*hehehehehehehehe*

A maniacally hideous giggle seemed to emanate from the kneeling Jeeves, currently engaged in his attempt to lever Pshrynk's uncooperative body onto the dust pan. Zelda's head snapped toward the mismatched duo on the hearth, but only Jeeves' profile was visible -- a new but strangely familiar profile -- now frozen into impeccable immobility.


"Qu'est-ce qui va encore me tomber dessus ? des fantômes ? des démons ? des esprits maléfiques ?"
Spoiler:
"what now? ghosts? demons? evil spirits?"


Zelda turned back to face the Colonel, but had that creeping sensation between her shoulder blades that told her she was being watched. Slowly, carefully she turned back towards Jeeves.

"Pilotbob! ..... Oh never mind. I know. Your name is Jeeves. Always has been Jeeves. Always will be Jeeves. No matter WHO you are! You're Jeeves. I get it! I accept it now! No more questions from me anymore! I'm with the program."

"Uh, Zelda, you feeling OK? I'm BOb! Remember me? Pilotbob? I'm just wearing my old avatar. OK? The guys got together for Halloween and decided that all of us would wear the same costume tonight and take turns being the butler! No one noticed at all. Except you! That's why they had to keep saying 'My name is Jeeves. Always has been. Jeeves. At your service.' It's been so much fun tonight ... fooling everybody ... that's why I was laughing just now. When you put on this "penguin suit" no one really looks at who's wearing it. They just see the suit, not the face.

It's been a joke tonight .... well
*looks down at the cooling corpse on the dust pan *
for most of us anyways.

You been drinking tonight Zelda? Your face is very pale and you've got wine spilled all over your skirt!"


"ça y est, je perds l'esprit ! J'en peux plus de cette folie !"
Spoiler:
"That's it, I'm losing my mind ! I can't take any more of this madness !"



Zelda collapsed to the floor, feeling as if her brain had just exploded into a psychedelic shower of crimson confetti! It had all been just a joke - on her! Colonel Alex burst into hyena-like howls of laughter, pointing the glowing tip of his cigar at her twitching form: "Hah! Gotcha! Miss Smarty Pants Girl Detective!"

Zelda mercifully lost consciousness, joining Pshrynk on the library carpet.


[The curtain closes mercifully on this scene of tragedy.]
[Just what the heck IS going on here?]
[Can Zelda figure it out?]
[Can YOU figure it out?]
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Old 11-10-2010, 08:45 AM   #25
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WHAT THE BUTLER SAW ......




BEHIND THE CURTAIN


ALL QUESTIONS TO BE ANSWERED?



*house lights dim*
*audience chatter quiets down*
*adrenaline rises*
*all eyes glued to the stage*

Slowly, majestically, the crimson velvet curtain rises, revealing the candle-lit study. A single spotlight focuses on Colonel Alex, seated facing the audience in a leather wing-back chair, cheroot sending blue wraiths of smoke into the rafters. He slowly raises a brandy snifter, swirls its heavy contents, sips, savors, and gazes at the expectant audience over the rim. He allows a knowing yet restrained smile to tug at the corner of his lips. His right eyelid droops fractionally, in an almost shockingly intimate barely perceptible wink. The audience belongs to him -- you can feel the invisible bonds pulling them closer, closer to his soothing visage. He exudes an omnipotent presence. He tilts his head, inhales fractionally, and prepares his explanatory oration.

Here is calm. Here is rationality. Here is certainty. Here is truth....

"Here is a load of horse hockey!"



The sudden interjection is as shocking as a pail of ice cold water thrown on a bride!

A dark figure strides, nay stomps, onto the stage. This is a new Zelda, an angry Zelda, a "mad as hell and not gonna take it anymore Zelda!" The Terminator 2 Zelda.
OK - you got the picture!

She is dragging a formally dressed struggling figure into the spotlight, which she dumps unceremoniously onto the boards, and stands with one foot planted firmly on its neck.

Glaring at the Colonel, Zelda hisses: "So! You thought you could fool the little girl detective! You could confuse her and make her cry and crawl back home! Humiliate her in front of everyone! She'd never figure out the fiendish series of events that occurred tonight!"

"Non I say! Non!"

"Je ne lâche jamais l'affaire ! Jamais !"
Spoiler:
"I never give up! Never!"



"I have untangled your web of lies and stand at the center holding all the threads in my hands. I'll explain what happened here tonight! AND what is going to happen!"

Colonel Alex's monocle drops into his brandy snifter with an audible splash, as his jaw follows in turn. Could this be the same Zelda earlier dismissed amidst coarse laughter and gibes? What could have wrought this fantastical transformation? How could she have figured out tonight's Manichean machinations? Has someone revealed that which must not be said aloud?

Zelda hurls a taunting laugh at the pole-axed figure in the chair, and shares the explanation of her rejuvenation: "Nothing a few Zany Carters wouldn't clear up! I found Adrian's stash behind the fake jurisprudence volumes in the library. Now this all makes sense!"
She brandishes aloft the oft-crimsoned paperback with the tantalizing cryptic message. "I know what Pshrynk was trying to say with his last words. He knew the identity of his killer, and tried to warn others without tipping his hand."
"And he had to die for his knowledge!"

She whirls to confront the goggling silent figure in the chair, desperately trying to recover his monocle from the bottom of the snifter.

"It all fell into place for me when I realized that Pshrynk's murder was just a copycat crime, repeating his former murder, committed to obscure the REAL murder victim! Everyone knew but me!"

Colonel Alex dropped his monocle again into the empty snifter as he tried to follow Zelda's tortuous path of discovery. "What? You're saying that Pshrynk's murder was a copycat of .... Pshrynk's murder?"
"That's insane! And so are you!"


"On verra bien qui est fou, ici !"
Spoiler:
"we'll see who's insane now!"



Zelda turns back to the silent throng, face shining with the clear light of truth, hard won truth that must be told. Suddenly she thrusts a bloody white feather at her hypnotized audience.
"The key question to ask is: 'Why did the chicken have to die?'"


[What chicken?]
[I bet you totally forgot about the chicken, didn't you?]
[Stop wiping that chicken grease off your hands.]
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Old 11-11-2010, 09:24 AM   #26
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WHAT THE BUTLER SAW ......




AS CLEAR AS MUD


WHAT'S THE QUESTION AGAIN?




"Zelda, Zelda, Zelda. That's not the right question. It should be 'Why did the chicken cross the ..."

*slap*
"Don't you dare patronize you, you prevaricating poseur!" hissed the furious fraulein. "Consider that just a love tap."

Colonel Alex cowered into the recesses of his chair as Zelda whirled back to face her anxious audience.

"As I was saying ..."

"As you were saying, NUTS to you sister! And your half-baked theories. As if anyone cared about a dead chicken. Especially once the drum sticks were gone. You're still ticked off because nobody saved you anything from the barbecue. Talk about a poor loser! Jeesh!"

Rock Lobster strode onto stage, shoving Zelda into the wings and resting a wing-tip on the recumbent, still struggling figure on the floor.

"It's obvious what happened here tonight! The big storm! The lights go out! Plenty of booze on the premises! No rules! No reason! Everyone chasing around in the dark! Bodies colliding and sticking together! An unplanned party that went tragically wrong! Someone had to pay the price! And believe you me, it was a damn high price to pay for one night of reckless pleasure!"

Lobster paused to re-light his stogie, and gauge the reaction of the audience to his dramatic explanation.

"No, no, no, no! That was just the regular administrative meeting in the Moderator Llounge! You're just not used to seeing Adrian's Rules of Order in action!" Catire dashed onto stage, replacing the temporarily speechless Lobster, and began jumping up and down on the recumbent figure.

"I did it! I confess! I am the murderer! I surrender! It was part of my plan to take over MobileRead and replace Colonel Alex in that cushy study of his! I was seduced and blinded by all that latent power -- just waiting to be misused in highly creative ways! I just kept murdering the wrong man!"
"Won't someone please arrest me?"

Catire swiveled back and forth, offering his tentacles, errr wrists, for the click of the longed-for darbies.

"You're all farking insane!" shouted filip, as he angrily shoved Catire off stage and planted himself atop the recumbent figure. "I'm sorry I ever came over here tonight! One of your own members (maybe more) lies lifeless and cold, and all you imbeciles can do is make up tales and strut about like puppets on a stage! Someone must have a cell phone. Call in the gendarmes and get someone sane in here to solve this baffling mystery! Obviously it's much too complicated for any of us to figure out 'Who done it'!"


*cough*
*cough*
*cough*
*cough*
*cough*
*cough*

A group of formally-clad butlers filed in from stage right, obviously intent on elucidating the events of the evening in interminable itemization and identification. Colonel Alex smirked in a particularly annoying superior fashion. Zelda burst into tears, unable to tolerate the thought of one more logical explanation that made absolutely no sense. Rock Lobster lit another stogie and pushed the brim of his fedora lower on his forehead. Catire's tentacles visibly drooped in dejection. Filip ran from the stage screaming 'ça suffit'!


ENOUGH!!!



[Who said that?]
[Have YOU figured it out?]
[Will ALL ever be explained?]
[Ricolaaaaaaaaaaaa!]
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Old 11-11-2010, 10:15 AM   #27
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WHAT THE BUTLER SAW ......




THE END




[for now]



All the suspects are on stage (or lurking behind the curtains).
You have the same information that Zelda has.
You've heard all the stories, explanations, and lies.
You've seen the body/bodies.
You hold all the clues in your hand [or equivalent appendage].

You know that YOU can figure out this mess! You can! And you will!

Put on your thinking caps and figure out "who done it."


[The Q&A thread will remain open in the Llounge for last minute pleas for clues, offers of bribes, and misleading your fellow readers:
http://www.mobileread.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=104844 ]

Remember to email your answer - WITH your MobileRead username so we can PM you when you win - to fallcontest@mobileread.com by midnight, November 14. Only ONE entry per member!
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Old 11-15-2010, 04:14 PM   #28
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WHAT THE BUTLER SAW ......




THE ANSWER


The following post contains the last episode of the saga, in which the foul murderer confesses all, and explains just what was going on that night.

Please read the ENTIRE post - there are 2 sections:
1. The first part is written in the style of the saga, i.e., wordy and full of attempted humor.

2. The second part is a logical explanation of how I had hoped readers would solve the mystery. This is the framework that was used to write the mystery.

Any and all mistakes are completely mine. All was meant to be totally in fun. I hope everyone enjoyed the read!
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Old 11-15-2010, 04:16 PM   #29
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WHAT THE BUTLER SAW ......




WHO DONE IT?


A DENOUEMENT OF DENIAL



STOP IT! PLEASE STOP IT! MAKE IT STOP! STOP IT NOW!


"What's wrong with you people? Why do you always have to make everything so complicated? So mysterious? So farking wrong?"

"Why can't you just go with the blindingly obvious?"

Total silence descends. Everyone looks at everyone else. Eyebrows are raised quizzically. Shoulders are shrugged. Unkind circular gestures are made suggesting mental illness on the part of the speaker.

The previously silent recumbent figure was neither silent nor recumbent any longer. He stood center stage, foaming at the mouth, shaking his fists at the audience. A single spot-light snaps on and reveals:



A collective gasp causes every candle in the house to flicker. The sound of a hundred palms slapping a hundred foreheads in mute acknowledgment generates a thunder-clap as loud as a sonic boom.

Of course! It WAS so obvious! The butler did it! Just like in all those old mysteries. Everyone knows the butler always did it. How could they be so blind?

.... But wait a minute. Which butler? ....

The audience settles back complacent in their new-found ignorance. It's complicated again. It's still a mystery. There will have to be yet more explanations. Time for more popcorn.

Colonel Alex clears his throat and voices the thoughts of all:
"Errrr .... Well BOb, maybe you could just, you know, give us a little hint ... about ... well, you know, everything that did or didn't happen tonight. And to whom it did or didn't happen to. And why it might have happened ... or not. You know. Take your time now. Any time you're ready."
"And maybe provide some insight into that baffling message penned by the victim (or victims) onto the pages of that paperback."


"You still don't get it, do you?"
"Even after reading all those thousands of mysteries uploaded to the MobileRead Library, you didn't get it?"

The ensuing silence veritably shouted: "No! We don't understand a single thing that's happened here tonight. Please explain."

"OK, OK, let's do the big scene in the library, where the all-knowing detective assembles the suspects, explains the improbable series of events that led inexorably to the murder, and then identifies the killer in an outlandishly dramatic fashion."

Yes! The audience settles comfortably in for the promised treat. The suspects fidget in the wings, eying one another suspiciously. A virtual drum roll sounds in everyone's mind, signaling the beginning of the end.

"Cast your mind back to the previous murder mystery that occurred here. The one featuring Rock Lobster as the so-called brainy detective, aided by his beautiful moll. After showering you with red herrings and lies so that nobody could actually logically deduce the murderer's identity, Lobster invents a hare-brained solution just to collect his fee. And you all bought it! Just because he said so."

"Only the chicken had realized the truth, but you all ignored his repeated warning: 'It was the penguin wot done it!' And so the real murderer escaped "undetected," so to speak.

So if this same murderer were to succeed again here tonight, the chicken had to die! Disguising the murder as a barbecue was a brilliant cover story. You were all so busy stuffing your faces on the victim -- your brains stopped working!"

"Bon sang mais c'est bien sûr ! Je le savais ! ...presque !"
Spoiler:
"Good god, but of course ! I knew it ! ...almost !"



"And besides," he added with a devilish grin, "all that murdering makes a bloke a wee bit 'peckish'!" (hehehehehehehehehehe!)

*groan*

The suspects in the wings attempt to unobtrusively wipe the chicken grease off their guilty hands.

BOb fixed the audience with his beady black eyes and continued his narrative. "Let's consider then, hypothetically, how tonight's events might have come about."

"So, you want to plan the perfect murder .... again. First, you change your avatar so that no one will ever suspect you -- of anything. Heck, most people can't even describe what you look like now! You diligently do your research, reading volume after volume in the library, and find the same tired plot line over and over again. In every locked-room mystery, regardless of means, motive, or murder weapon -- the butler did it. And yet authors keep writing them and people keep reading them -- and being stumped! Again and again and again! So why not choose this same plot for your murder! The solution will be so obvious no one will deduce or guess it. They'll all try to out-think you! Pretty fiendish, eh?"

"Next up: choose your victim."

"While you are in the library, doing your research, you notice Pshrynk is watching you. He's been on edge ever since the last time he got murdered and doesn't seem to trust folk anymore. He's been spending a lot of time in the library, preparing for his portrait sittings, and has noticed your choice of reading material. Then you see him picking up the last book (What The Butler Saw) you had lifted the plot from, errr, used as a research source. You watch the dawning light of comprehension appear on his face and realize -- he knows what you're planning to do! He alone knows the identity of the murderer BEFORE the murder is committed! That decides the question of choosing a victim real quick!"

"Too obvious of a victim choice? Nah! Maybe they'll suspect the same (wrong) culprit again! Some members probably won't even notice he's dead again."

"So the murder goes just as you had planned.
You disguise yourself in your old avatar, that you've kept carefully hidden in the back of your closet. You look in the mirror and chuckle, realizing that now you look just like Jeeves! If anyone sees you, they'll think they've seen the butler! Not the face of a murderer! No one looks closely at the servants.
The weather is perfect -- storms, lightning, thunder, power loss! Everyone trapped in the MR building with no way out. Even better, right before you kill him, Pshrynk has a loud violent argument with another MR member -- while Jeeves is in the room. Perfect! A suspect -- seen by Jeeves -- the ultimate accurate witness! Things couldn't have gone better if you had scripted them. The perfect murder! Again!"

BUT:

"Only -- you don't realize right away that Pshrynk had managed to scribble a clue to your identity in that blasted book. You have to find out what he's written before the so-called detectives decipher it, and then get that book back to the library before someone notices it's missing. That's where the fun begins!"

"Your only recourse is the trusty MobileRead Temporal Dysjunction Mechanism. You push that big red button to re-live the murder and remove the book before the body is discovered. But, unknown to you, Adrian's been tinkering in the lab again, and things begin going very strangely wrong. Every push of the button recreates the murder -- but with a new cast of characters -- and in a new location! The only thing that remains the same is the identity of the murderer! You panic and keep pushing the button! Temporal absurdities abound! MR members appear and disappear! Time lines are shredded!

And each and every time you're too late to the new scene of the crime to retrieve the book! Just as you get there and bend over the expiring Pshrynk (who always dies looking at a butler) and try to pry that one incriminating piece of evidence out of his death grip, you hear the approaching footsteps of Zelda and Jeeves. No matter how many times you push that farking button, you just can't recreate the original murder and steal back the book."

"Things are not boding well for you. Or are they?"

"You carefully observe each re-creation of the crime and gleefully note the disfigurement of the book caused by the spilled red fluid. Only a few words or letters are legible in each scenario. The detective team's puny intellects will never be able to re-create Pshyrnk's last words, let alone decipher his message. You're safe!"

"Even if Zelda had thought to copy down the words and letters each time and assemble them on a single page, which she hadn't, she and her side kicks would never be able to re-create Pshrynk's last message, and in it, the identity of his murderer."

Scratching noises fill the room as everyone tries to remember the various versions of page 202 and write them out on the nearest scrap of paper. Zelda and Lobster hunch together and argue fiercely over their re-creation.

Did YOU remember to do this?


Spoiler:
Did the ....er do it? [Did the butler do it?]
Ask p....... who did it. [Ask pilotbob who did it.]
He was ... of them. [He was all of them]



Now - if this explanation made absolutely no sense to you, or you're thinking "I didn't know about any of this old stuff or about these people - how did you expect me to solve this murder?" ... here is the chain of reasoning that should have led you to pick pilotbob as the obvious and only culprit, based on the clues provided in the story.

The key to solving the mystery is to notice that Zelda and her cronies ignore a key clue - they never try to recreate the message in the book. That is left for the readers to do - the message points to first the butlers, then to pilotbob specifically.

1. Given the title ... the obvious choice is the butler! but which one?
2. The same episode seems to have happened over & over & over .... only with some of the characters changing each time - but when questioned - all of them tell a coherent plausible story - which is supported by the physical evidence Zelda observes each time. Hmmmm.....some kind of time loop? Or parallel time lines?
Count out the ladies as suspects.
3. Other characters pop in and out discussing events that have happened or that will happen .... hmmmm...the time line is not linear.
4. Pshrynk is alive in one of the episodes - but definitely dead in all the other episodes ....hmmmm....multiple time lines again!
5. Rock Lobster has shadowed Zelda all night - so she couldn't have killed anyone without him seeing the murder - so she's out.
6. Rock Lobster dragged filip around with him all night - so Lobster couldn't have killed anyone without filip seeing the murder - so they're both out.
7. Catire is obviously insane and knows nothing about any murder - so he's out.
8. Col. Alex remains in his study, and is served his hot toddy by Jeeves, in all of the episodes - so he's out.
Remember - all the Jeeves describe seeing Pshrynk alive as they are leaving to take the hot toddy to the study.
9. That leaves the Jeeves and the mysterious scribbled clue in the book.

10. All of the Jeeves tell basically the same story - which is corroborated when Zelda questions the female suspects - EXCEPT pilotbob. Remember - he alone never described seeing Pshrynk alive that night. He alone never described witnessing a "fatal argument" between Pshrynk and another MR member. BUT he knows what has gone on that night.

In all respects, except for how he's dressed, pilotbob never behaved like the other Jeeves. In fact, he never claimed to be Jeeves - instead he lied about why Zelda saw so many versions of Jeeves that night.

11. Pshrynk's scribbled note directs Zelda to "ask pilotbob who did it" - to direct her attention to him alone - because the last thing Pshrynk saw in ALL the episodes - was pilotbob -- his killer - dressed as a butler, right after seeing Jeeves leave the room.

12. Super subtle clue for really close readers:
There were 6 incarnations of Jeeves (DaleDe, Nate, mtravellerh, montsnmags, pshrynk, and NatCh)
Pilotbob never uttered a *cough* -
Zelda drags "a formally dressed struggling figure into the spotlight" - obviously one of the butlers -
There are 6 *cough* at the end of the last episode -
Ergo - the 6 butlers coming onto stage are the the 6 butlers who had uttered *cough* during the story.
The butler under Zelda's foot must the the 7th butler (who never said *cough*) - pilotbob - the murderer - in plain sight all the time.
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