THIS IS FICTION! NOT TRUE. A STORY. NOT A REAL EVENT.
Homage to MidSomer Murders from Garry Armstrong, the show’s current number one fan. And with a nod and a wink to Sunset Boulevard and Philip Marlowe. On the occasion of our granddaughter’s 20th birthday, a lovely little murder.
Photographs (mostly) by Marilyn Armstrong, except for the first one, which is Garry’s, aka “The Victim.”
Shock waves are still reverberating throughout our pastoral valley. Some call it a loss of innocence for this small town. Usually, the biggest news is about roadwork tying up traffic on main street. Burglaries or car break-ins top the police blotter. No one worries about big city violence. Everyone knows everybody. It’s that kind of town.
My granddaughter’s birthday party murder was the game changer!
State police are still sifting through the testimony of party guests. Records are being checked for previous criminal activity. Cold cases are being unwrapped, searching for clues or patterns.
Reviewing party guests, no one stands out as an obvious suspect. Everyone seems pleasant, amiable. Perhaps not overly friendly, but polite and civil. No blatant hostility was evident. No obvious suspects stand out from the crowd.
Profilers are looking at the gathering, breaking them down into age groups and backgrounds. Motive is the big question. Everyone is so vague in their answers. This case calls for someone with expertise.
And, that would be me. The victim. This is my case, my story. I will tell it best because it revolves around me. It always did, in life and now, in death.
A retired, award-winning TV News reporter, I was checking out suspicious things before my demise that warm summer’s day. Now I know it was no coincidence, but at the time, I was bemused by the variety of possible weapons I found in the shed. All so readily available to anyone with a grudge and an opportunity to commit murder.
I’d covered so many murders in my forty plus years on the job, I knew something was amiss. Something was strange, wrong. Creepy. Unfortunately, I was right. Pity I didn’t realize the object was … me.
I didn’t say anything to anyone. It was pleasant party. I hoped we could avoid family squabbles and enjoy the festivities and go home with nothing more than mild indigestion to deal with. Everyone was focused on food. Hot dogs, burgers, salad, coke and beer. Good stuff. Classic American cuisine.
I was on my third or fourth hot dog. Feeling pretty good. I discreetly eyed the other guests, trying to put those weapons I’d seen out of my mind. Conversation was light. Restrained. Most guests kept their distance. Something was amiss, but I couldn’t put my finger on precisely what.
It fell on me to make some toasts, I suppose because of my professional background. I looked at the faces as I offered some light banter. No one seemed offended — but no one really laughed. I must’ve touched someone’s hot button — but who?
I turned around to get some water. I felt a whack on the back of my head. The world went blank.
On the ground unable to move, I could still hear the people gathered around me. I hoped someone was calling for help, but it seemed everyone was taking pictures — of me — or selfies with my body as background.
I heard giggles and laughter. Then nothing. Nothing but The Big Sleep.
To be continued … as soon as we figure out what happens next!
And since that was indeed a gather together of friends and family in celebration …