WHAT THE BUTLER SAW ......
BEHIND THE CURTAIN
ALL QUESTIONS TO BE ANSWERED?
*house lights dim*
*audience chatter quiets down*
*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 lāche jamais l'affaire ! Jamais !"
"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 !"
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?'"
[I bet you totally forgot about the chicken, didn't you?]
[Stop wiping that chicken grease off your hands.]