Pepper Bauer: Cliché Caper
It was a dark and stormy night. Detective John Smith pulled into the driveway of an awesome mansion, since he was poor as a church mouse; it seemed to him like an ivory tower. “Welcome to the world of the rich and famous”, he thought and slid quickly out of his car, slick as a whistle. He was immediately soaked to the skin because the sky opened up, and it was raining cats and dogs.
He reached the door in two shakes of a lamb’s tail and rang the bell. A tall drink of water, who looked as tough as nails, opened the door, and as silent as a mouse, led him to the library, where a body lay sprawled on the floor. It was as plain as the nose on his face it was a woman, and she was dead as a doornail.
Deliberately, Detective Smith looked around the room, slow as molasses in January, analyzing every nook and cranny. He took a long hard look at his escort and thought, “The bigger they are, the harder they fall.” He’d bet his bottom dollar the giant knew more than he was saying, after all, still waters run deep.
He bent over the limp as a noodle figure on the floor, put on his gloves one finger at a time, and began his investigation at square one, leaving no stone unturned. The devil is in the details, and the first thing he noticed was a blast from the past. The victim was dressed to the nines, and wearing an old fashioned bonnet.
Looking up at the large man, he noticed that he looked like death warmed over. No sense in beating around the bush, he might as well take the bull by the horns and get to the point. “Who are you, and how are you connected to her?’’ He nudged the corpse; it was as stiff as a board.
Crocodile tears slid down the man’s face and he cried like a baby. “I was her butler, but she was the love of my life. My job wasn’t work; it was a labor of love.” He stopped talking because he was crying his eyes out. Crying and talking at the same time is a tough row to hoe.
After a couple minutes he pulled himself together and shut off the waterworks. “Don’t judge a book by its cover. We were as happy as clams. We never went public, but when no one was around we were joined at the hip. She’d never be my blushing bride, that was a fact of life, but I was fine with that. I had to follow my heart, and keep a stiff upper lip. We loved like there was no tomorrow, and now there isn’t. But, it’s better to have love and lost.” He clammed up again, and began crying a river.
The detective gave him the eagle eye. He couldn’t sense anything up the butler’s sleeve. He had a feeling he was as honest as the day is long, and he should give him the benefit of the doubt. What it boiled down to with him was the birds and the bees, nothing more, nothing less.
He turned his attention back to the body. It was back to square one; he was behind the eight ball and needed to knuckle down. This whole thing was as clear as mud. But, he’d figure out this woman’s cause of death, come hell or high water.
John eyeballed the cadaver’s face. Every fiber in his being screamed that something wasn’t Kosher. Her tongue and lips were swollen as big as life, the skin was red as a beet, and the bumps all over her body were a far cry from being par for the course. A thought tickled the back of his brain, but he couldn’t pin it down. At this point he was between a rock and a hard place, and as luck would have it, time was ticking away and he’d only just begun. He was under the gun. The coroner would arrive any minute, the head honcho, the big cheese, and when push comes to shove, he wanted it to be a wrap before he got there. After all, the early bird gets the worm and he wanted this feather in his cap.
Outside the French windows it was still raining buckets, and black as coal. Detective Smith sweated bullets as he thought long and hard. Finally he turned to the butler and off the top of his head asked, “Why the bonnet?”
“Because before the storm she was tip toeing through the tulips, having fun in the sun, making hay while the sun shines, and was scared to death of bees getting tangled in her long blonde hair. She was allergic.”
Suddenly the dominoes began to fall into place. John Smith didn’t want to count his chickens before they hatched, but for all intents and purposes he was pretty sure he knew what was what. He could wrap the whole ball of wax up quick as a wink, and be home sawing logs bright and early now that he knew the score. Tick tock, it was time for the dog and pony show.
Steady as a rock, Detective John Smith pulled the bonnet off of the stiff’s head, hoping against hope it wasn’t a wild goose chase. As if on cue, a little yellow and black insect fell ass over teacup out onto the carpet. Solemnly he looked up at the butler, “She had a bee in her bonnet. It was death by cliché.” DSS
Pepper Bauer, of Mapleton, IL., is such a talented writer to compose this clever story. She has other talents as well. She is president of the Peoria Area Anti-Hunger Coalition, co chairs the Food Share Can-a-thon, and has received many awards for other activities. She sings in the church choir, watches birds, bikes, cross country skis, gardens, and her backyard is a certified Backyard Wildlife Habitat by the National Wildlife Federation. She also plays the banjo. Whew!
This is the most clever satire we have ever published. It's amazing in its creativity. Keep Downstate Story publishing stories like these by donating here.