It was the most chilling murder of the century. Alright, maybe that was an exaggeration, but, hey, a guy was killed, which wasn’t something that exuded a great deal of warmth. It happened on the eve of the eve of Christmas Eve’s eve, which was December 23rd – no wait, December 21st, no, no, I meant December 24th or is it 22nd? Wait a second, when was Christmas again? Anyway, the fact remained that a man was murdered. The victim was the sixty-five-year old millionaire, Mr. Stephen McStiffie, who was found strangled to death with the assistance of a really old sock. His family members, who were thankfully too shocked and stunned to do anything stupid like move the body or give it a bath, did what any helpless soul would have done when faced with a similar ordeal. They called me, Detective Yvette Pans.
The sight that greeted me as I reached the McStiffie’s mansion disturbed me intensely. I saw that despite their filthy richness, they still drove a Nissan. And that point I knew, things would only get tougher, even for a veteran detective like me. I was led to Mr. McStiffie’s bedroom where the macabre sight of the corpse, with a sock around its neck, glared at me like a python wrapped around a tree trunk. It was then I realized that I had come up with a pretty good analogy, albeit an inflated one. The stench that emanated from the old, wrinkly, stretched out thing was unbearable. And, oh yeah, the sock smelled bad too. Second in my list of “top two things to do in case of a murder” was interrogation. After I executed the first one on my list, which was making sure that the victim was dead, I proceeded to interrogate the possible suspects that I had already lined up in my mind.
My method of interrogation was a bit erratic, as the minds of certified geniuses so often were. The questions I asked weren’t like the ones you got for SATs or GMATs – the ones I put across were super hard. I sat down first with the victim’s wife, Mrs. Looksy McStiffie.
Me: ‘Did you kill your husband, Mrs. Looksy?’
Mrs. Looksy: ‘No’.
Me: ‘Ok, cool. Next.’
I followed the same pattern of questioning with the rest of the lot – the daughter, the butler, the chef, the gardener, the dog keeper, the cat keeper, the plumber, the chauffeur, and the nubile French maid. I came to the conclusion that they were a very negative bunch who stuck with the same “no” to the query I put forth save the French maid who uttered a very nasal “Non” and the teenage daughter who said “Like whatever”. I was in for a real rough roaring risky ride and I realized that, for the first time in my life, I had used alliteration. A loud screech outside of the mansion jolted me out of the reverie spawned by my literary achievement. The victim’s only son, Mr. Junky McStiffie or “The Junkster”, who was a celebrated rock star, had arrived.
The moment I laid eyes on him I got a feeling that he was the man that I had been looking for all this time. Then I realized how gay that sounded. I had meant the right man in relation to the murder. One reason I strongly suspected him was because he was the only one who hadn’t said “no” to my question. But then I realized that could be because I hadn’t yet asked him. So, I wasted no time and proceeded to do just that.
Me: ‘Did you kill your father?’
Junky: ‘Are you flippin’ crazy?’
Me: ‘You’re sure you didn’t kill him?’
Junky: ‘Yeah, I’m sure.”
The first time I had received an answer in the affirmative. I realized I was on the right track. I felt like slapping him with a pair of handcuffs, taking him to prison, and giving it to him real good. Why the hell was everything that I said about him coming out so gay? Damn.
The expert sleuthing that I did in the next two weeks provided with some very interesting leads. I learned that Mrs. Looksy was having an affair with the chauffeur. I also learned that Mrs. Looksy was having an affair with the plumber. And the pool boy, and the butler, and the chef. However, an unfaithful wife, who was sleeping around with half her employees, whose husband had turned up dead a couple of weeks back, didn’t really come across as suspicious to me. It wasn’t like she had a motive or anything.
As days passed, the tension became more palpable. The bereaved became uneasy, mainly because I was charging by the hour. I was also convinced, owing to the presence of overwhelming evidence, that the nubile French maid was immensely attractive.
The entire mansion seemed to be growling in an ominous, sinister voice. After exactly three and a half weeks of snooping around, I called the McStiffie’s mansion and asked Mrs. Looksy to make sure everyone I had questioned was present. After I reached the place, I made everyone present there sit in a circle. And then I began unfurling how I had solved the case.
Me: ‘Never have I had a case like this before.’
The Butler: ‘Some say you have never had a case at all.”
Me: ‘What did you want to be when you were little?’
The Butler: ‘A pilot.’
Me: ‘What’re you now?’
The Butler: ‘A butler.’
Me: ‘Alright so shut up and keep your underachieving butt rooted to your chair.’
The humiliated butler stayed put and didn’t speak a word. He learned that nobody acted smart with Detective Yvette Pans and got away with it without getting seriously demoralized. I continued:
Me: ‘The reason I have asked you all to be present here is because, as you may have guessed, I have solved the case. And the reason why I’ve asked you to sit in a circle is because, frankly, that’s always been my favourite geometrical figure. I mean, seriously, rhombuses, parallelograms, trapeziums? They’re all plain ugly. But a circle, what completion, what circularity!’
Mrs. Looksy: ‘You were saying something about who killed my husband.”
Me: ‘Yes, yes, of course. THE BUTLER DID IT!!!’
The Butler: ‘No, I didn’t.’
Me: ‘Yeah, I know. But I really scared you, didn’t I?”
Mrs. Looksy: ‘Detective, please.”
Me: ‘That’s Detective Yvette Pans to you.
Anyway, as I was attempting to say, this case was an interesting one right from the start. From day one, I observed various paradoxes and contradictions and other big words like that. But my mind still kept going back to one person- Mr. Junky. And no, I’m not gay. If you go back a few paragraphs you’ll find out that I had a hunch about his guilt the moment I saw him. But what was really unsettling about this rockstar, “The Junkster”, were his feet. Contrary to other rock stars, his feet were covered.’ At that point, I stopped my narration, so that it would attain some dramatic effect. Then,
when I realized nothing happened, I proceeded.
Me: ‘You were wearing socks, Mr. Junky. That’s right! Socks! Your hidden obscure fetish which was revealed to me when I snooped around your room and came across a box that said “Junky’s Sock Collection: My Hidden Obscure Fetish”.
But that still doesn’t explain how Mr. Stephen ended up dead, does it? You see, Mr. Stephen McStiffie’s wealth had earned him friends all around the world: America, Australia, Asia, Europe, and even Antarctica. And one of Mr. Stephen’s closest friends, who lived in Antarctica, was diagnosed with cold feet. To remedy the predicament, Mr. Stephen’s friend set out to make a pair of socks that turned out to be the world’s most protective and rarest pair. His feet never went cold again. Unfortunately, one day, Mr. Stephen’s friend was killed and eaten by a wandering polar bear, which turned out to be the illegitimate son of the walrus whose skin was used to make the protective socks. The Antarctica Police, after searching for the corpse of the man, could only retrieve a single sock. The other one was lost forever. But, now, the remaining sock was all the more rare because of the great story behind it.
The Antarctica Government decided that the rare single sock belonged to Mr. Stephen McStiffie, as per the will of the dead man that was written on ice. Mr. Stephen treasured the sock with all his heart like the loyal and dedicated friend that he was. But, then you came into the picture, didn’t you, Mr. Junky? By the way, I hope nobody’s bothered by the fact that I’m frequently adding question tags to the end of my sentences. It adds to the tension, doesn’t it?
Moving right along, you knew when you saw that sock that you had to add it to your collection, didn’t you, Mr. Junky? And when you expressed your selfish desire to your father he bluntly refused knowing very well that one day, when your rock career hit the rocks, you would resort to selling your sock collection. And he didn’t want the only remaining memory of his friend to be auctioned off by a bankrupt rock star like you. And you just couldn’t deal with the rejection, could you, Mr. Junky? That very night, you crept into your father’s bedroom, stole one of his socks, and ruthlessly strangled him to death with it. But instead of taking the sock along and destroying it, you left it around his neck. Rookie mistake on the part of all rock stars who don’t finish high school. The truth shall not set you free this time, my friend. It shall have you locked up in a stinky cell for a really long time. There you have it, ladies and gentlemen, Mr. Junky killed his own father for a sock. Oh, the repugnant animal that is man! Take him away!”
Two officers, who conveniently appeared at the right time, led the culprit away. The Junkster’s fiery red eyes fixed themselves upon me as he screamed at me: “We’ll meet again, Detective Yvette Pans.”
A ruckus erupted in the McStiffie household following the revelation. But that was none of my business. My job was done. Well, almost done. I headed to my last stop of the day – the French maid’s cozy little house nearby. She was already there, looking exquisite as always, seated at the table, shocked on hearing the gruesome details I had divulged just minutes back. I approached her and told her that it was all going to be alright.
The French Maid: ‘Zou are really zmart to have figured all zat out.’
Me: ‘True. But the one lesson to be learned from all this is that when you have just committed a cold-blooded murder, it’s best not to keep a personal journal inside which you have written down every single detail about what you did and why you did it. But if you hadn’t sneaked me into Junky’s room I would never have been able to find his journal and solve this case.’
She smiled coquettishly at me as I walked up to her front window, which had its blinds open, and stared out at nothing in particular. She then told me in her soft voice that she had another case for me to solve. I smiled, panache and smoothness radiating from my face like crazy, and replied that I only dealt with homicides and not petty cases of pretty girls like her. She then walked up to me and whispered something in my ears. I gulped. She had made an offer that I couldn’t refuse. Then I turned and shut the blinds.