Murder Mystery Weekend Pt. 03

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Part 3 Saturday

Saturday morning dawned grey and cloudy. Though I was tempted to sleep in, there was a lot to get done today. No need for a shower, though; no doubt I would be up to my neck in the lake later on.

Craig and Ben were already at work in the kitchen, cooking up breakfast. Eggs, sausages, bacon, all of it smelling great. Claire and Eliza were also awake, getting the table set, and putting out fruit, bread, and breakfast cereals, for those who were so inclined.

Claire gave me a funny look. Was she having second thoughts about out tryst in the boathouse? Or did she regret having given me the Bible? Maybe she was just a bit self-conscious in the light of day, with others around.

There wasn’t much for me to do, except dig in. Teresa and Lena emerged from the master bedroom, and wished everyone a cheery good morning. Once again I couldn’t help but notice how ungodly tall Lena was. She sat down opposite me, and asked if I had slept well. Sitting down, she didn’t seem so intimidating. Her height wasn’t so apparent, and she looked lean, rather than thin. But I was struck by her exotically beautiful face.

Over the next half hour, most of the others came downstairs. Leo looked a little worse for wear, and Eric was definitely listing to starboard. Sheila looked dishevelled, and still hung over.

I wished her an extra cheerful “Good morning!”.

– “Fuck off.” she muttered, grumpily. “How can you be happy this early?”

It was late morning before everyone had finished breakfast – except Barbara, who had yet to put in an appearance. Teresa assigned duties: the girls on cleanup in the kitchen, while the guys were to get started on the outdoor chores. Eliza reminded us of what needed to be done, but Leo knew it all well, having been here many times before.

It didn’t take us very long. Taking the dock out of the water isn’t complicated: it just requires at least four strong guys to lift it. As expected, I ended up in the water, with Craig. Ben and Eric got the other end, while Leo supervised. When that was done, we brought the boat in, and winched it into the boathouse. The whole thing only took an hour or so. Many hands – short work.

I did get the chance to ask Leo a question.

– “Who did you draw after Lena, last night?”

– “Barbara, and then Eliza.” he said. “You?”

I told him. But my mind was busy, pondering the implications. Teresa knew of Leo’s crush on Eliza. Was my ex-girlfriend trying to set them up? Was she playing matchmaker with me as well?

Back inside the house, we were told to get back into costume. I headed into my private den to dress up. I was almost done when I heard a tap on the door. Before I could open it, Claire slipped into the room, closing the door behind her. She looked visibly nervous.

– “Geez, Claire.” I said. “If you wanted to watch me get dressed, you should’ve told me. I would’ve waited until you got here.” She was dressed in her own costume, and looked marvelous – but she wasn’t having quite the same effect on me as she had yesterday.

She shook her head. “It’s not that, Colin. I wanted to talk to you … about last night.”

– “What about last night?” I asked.

– “Ummm …”

I took her hands in mine. “Claire. Last night was magical. Unforgettable. I will treasure the memory for the rest of my life.” Then I paused, to see what effect my words were having on her. “But that isn’t what you want me to say, is it?”

Claire shook her head. She was close to tears. “I’m sorry, Colin. But .. can we say that it never happened?”

– “I’m not sure that I understand what you mean.”

– “I mean … can we pretend that it didn’t happen?” she said.

– “OK. I’m not upset. Just explain it to me, Claire.”

She sniffed. “I’m sorry. I couldn’t sleep last night. After … you know. I was just lying there, thinking about you. It was wonderful – in the boathouse. But I sort of realized something.”

– “What did you realize, Claire?” I asked, keeping my voice level.

– “I like you, Colin. I always have. It’s just …”

– “You don’t see us as boyfriend-girlfriend. Or long-term material.”

Her face brightened up. “You see it, too?”

I nodded. “It would be hard on Leo. He would pretend to be happy for us, but all the time he would be dreading the day we broke up, wondering if it was going to damage our friendships: yours and mine, mine and his.”

– “That’s true.” she said.

– “It’s fine, Claire. You don’t have to worry about me. Last night was a dream come true. But I’m not going to demand a repeat, or a full-on relationship.”

– “That’s good.” she said. “But … can we not talk about it? Can we pretend it didn’t happen?”

– “If you want. So Leo doesn’t find out?”

– “Umm, no. Actually …” I figured it out quickly. Claire was frighteningly easy to read.

– “You’re interested in someone else.” I guessed. I hoped it wasn’t Ben. Then I remembered an exchange of looks I had witnessed yesterday. “Craig?”

Claire blushed scarlet. “How did you konyaaltı escort know? Yes, it’s him. I’ve been dropping hints, but so far … he hasn’t done anything.”

I had no idea about Craig’s private life. He could be gay, for all I knew – but I doubted it. My impression was of a very nice guy, but probably quite shy. “He doesn’t already have a girlfriend, does he?”

– No – Eliza found out for me. He’s single. I thought we were getting closer …and now this. I don’t want him to know.”

– “He won’t find out from me, Claire. I won’t tell a soul. Does anyone else know?”

– “Only Ee. She said I had to talk to you about it.”

– “She was right.” I agreed. “Don’t worry: the secret is safe with me. In fact, we can go with your first idea. It never happened.”

– “You’re not mad?” she asked.

– “No, sweetheart. I’m pleased for you. I hope things work out with Craig. In fact, if I can help that along, I will.”

– “Really?”

– “Absolutely.” I told her.

Claire kissed me on the cheek. “Thank you.” she whispered. Then she slipped out of my room.

– “Well,” I said, to the empty room, “that went pretty well.”


Teresa gathered us all in the living room, or on the main deck, as she called it. She handed each of us a new set of clues, which we were allowed to read, but then had to return to her. She would, however, allow us to write down our own copies, if we so desired. Mine looked like this:




I looked around at the others. If Claire had the same clue, she would want her Bible back. But she was eager to meet and join forces with the Falcon, whoever that was – my enemy.

So I immediately did two things. First, I wrote some notes on the paper Teresa had provided. But I did not copy the clues she had given me. Instead I wrote down the pirate recognition signal, the fact that Claire wanted to be a pirate, and then my own piece of fiction: that the Scar intended to betray the Falcon. It was a lie, but only I knew that. Later on today, I might ‘lose’ my secret clues, or leave them lying around where someone else would find them.

The second thing I did was to sneak back into the den, and hide two pieces of paper. One was Claire’s Bible. The second was my paper that said ‘Pistol’. Upon reflection, I didn’t want to be caught with it; since Redbeard had been killed by a bullet, if anyone knew that I had a pistol, they might suspect me.

It had begun to rain, softly, and the dark clouds did not look promising. Teresa took me aside, to ask me a favor.

– “Would you organize a table tennis tournament? And perhaps billiards as well? Mix up the teams, so that everyone has a chance to play with everyone else.”

– “I can do that. Will you be participating?” I asked.

– “No, thank you.”

Teresa then announced that because of the weather, we would not have duty stations. “This afternoon,” she said, “will be devoted to games. Able seaman Colin will draw up a schedule. To add a little incentive, the winners of the table tennis and billiards tournaments will be granted a special clue concerning the whereabouts of the treasure.”

I drew up the teams in no time, and then designed a quick round-robin formula. Five teams, to play each other team, best two records meeting in a playoff final. If Teresa could play matchmaker, then so could I. First team: Craig and Claire.

Leo would kill me if I paired him up with Eliza so obviously. Also, he was a pretty weak ping-pong player. He wouldn’t want to embarrass Eliza, who had to be pretty decent – it was her table, after all. So I put Eliza with Eric, one of the most uncoordinated, un-athletic people on the planet. Leo could have Sheila for a partner, because I had seen her play once, and she was pretty good.

I would take Lena as my partner. Hopefully, she would feel more comfortable with me. And I had promised Teresa to look after her. That left Ben and Barb for the final team.

It was surprisingly entertaining. Claire was obviously nervous, perhaps distracted by having Craig for a partner. He played reasonably well, but Eliza simply returned every shot right at her best friend, knowing that Claire would squeal in panic, and either miss completely, or hit the wall, a spectator, the fridge … you name it. I should mention that we all played in costume, so it was fun to watch, too. Especially the way Ee’s breasts threatened to leap out of her shirt when she smashed the ball.

Ben and Barb then took on Sheila and Leo. I had to make a rules call. I decided that costumes count, and that Barb therefore had to play with her eye patch on. Didn’t matter; she and Ben narrowly edged Sheila, who was virtually playing alone. Leo produced a pretty funny running commentary, but it might have helped his teammate a little kültür escort more if he had returned a shot or two. I decided, privately, that watching Barb’s tits jiggle was the real highlight of the match.

Lena and I then played Claire and Craig. I’m not sure if ping pong is popular in Slovenia. All I know is that Lena had never played it. You would think, with her incredible wingspan, that she might be effective. But she had the reflexes of a three-toed sloth. It was a race to see who could make the most unforced errors. Craig and I had our share of those, too, because we were both laughing so hard.

In the end, Lena and I managed to finish 4th, with a win and 3 losses. Claire and Craig were winless, while Eliza and Eric split their games. Barb and Ben, undefeated, were in the finals, against Sheila and Leo, who had lost only one game. They played an epic match, with Sheila practically standing on her head, but Ben was too much for her.

Ben and Barb would claim the extra clue from Teresa. I wasn’t too thrilled with that. The odds were good that one of them was the Falcon, or the Scar – if it wasn’t Sheila or Eric.

We took a half hour break before staring the pool games. Same teams, same format, because the losers all wanted a chance at redemption. I went upstairs to check on the weather. The deck was wet, and it was still raining, albeit lightly.

Craig caught up with me in the kitchen. “Got a minute, Colin?”

– “Sure. What’s up?”

Craig didn’t answer right away. He led me into the den. “OK if we talk in here?”

– “No problem.” I said. “What’s on your mind?”

I was expecting something game-related, but he surprised me. “Hey, ah – thanks for teaming me up with Claire.” He wasn’t being sarcastic; Craig was rarely anything but completely genuine. “But listen, ah … I don’t want to step on anybody’s shoes, you know.”

– “Craig, are you talking about Claire? You and Claire?”

– “Yeah. I mean, no – I was talking about you and her. You guys have some history, right? And I saw how she was looking at you. So, I just wanted to ask: are you serious about Claire?”

I felt a tremendous sense of relief. And satisfaction, too. Craig was a truly decent guy. He would be great for her. “No, Craig.” I told him. “You called it right. History. All in the past. And neither of us ever wanted to get serious. It would have made things awkward, you know? With Leo and Eliza, I mean. We’re old friends, and we both think it’s best to stay that way.”

– “You’re sure?” asked Craig. “Because I can back off, if that’s what you want.”

– “Craig – just answer me this: are you interested in Claire?”

– “Yeah. I am. Very much so.”

– “I really appreciate you coming to me like this.” I told him. “It’s a classy thing to do. But the field is wide open, my friend. Better than that, even. Claire has been trying to get your attention for a while now. She was worried that you had a girlfriend, or something.”

– “No, no. Nothing like that. I just … wanted to make sure.”

– “She’s a great girl, Craig.”

– “I know. Hey, thanks, Colin. Thanks a lot.” We shook hands, and parted as friends. This might just turn into a perfect solution for all concerned.

We started playing pool in the basement. It turned into a very, very different game. For one thing, Eric was better than Eliza, changing the balance of power on that team. For another, Sheila was not so good, and Leo was … Leo, so they went from one of the strongest teams to one of the weakest. Claire was still terrible. But the biggest surprise of all was Lena.

Now I know that they have pool halls in Slovenia, because she was a shark. I can hold my own on a pool table, and she was damn good. Unless somebody ran the table on us, we weren’t going to lose.

– “Stacked the teams, Colin?” said Ben. Asshole – he wasn’t complaining when it was ping-pong.

We made it to the finals, against Barb and Ben, and we cleaned their clocks.

It was a great confidence booster for Lena, and she got a lot of positive attention. Beating Ben never gets old, so I enjoyed it, too. But we also prevented those two from getting a second clue. Lena and I went to see Teresa to claim our prize.

– “Congratulations.” she said. “Here you go.” Teresa handed us a teabag each.

I just looked at her.

– “Oh, the expression on your face, Colin!” Teresa actually laughed. “Priceless!” Lena was just as confused as I was, so Teresa took pity on us. “This is a clue to the location of the treasure. Redbeard captured a whole cargo of this from a French merchantman. He liked it so much, he put into it the code for his treasure.”

– “That’s it?” I asked.

– “That’s it. Now I have to try to explain to Lena.” Teresa pulled out a small book. It was a Slovenian-English dictionary.

– “Hey – that’s awesome.” I said. “Could I borrow that, later?”

– “Why?” asked Teresa.

– “So I could maybe use some words that Lena would understand.”

That half-smile crept across Teresa’s face. It was a sight I knew markantalya escort so very well. She was pleased. “We’ll see.” she said.

I walked away, trying to figure out how ‘tea’ could be in the 12-letter clue. If I didn’t know their positions, the order they came in, then it wasn’t a lot of help. I re-played Teresa’s words. Redbeard captured it … whole cargo … French merchantman … French! Teresa spoke better French than I did, and sometimes teased me about it. But I knew enough French to figure this out.

Why not a Spanish prize? Or English, or Dutch? She specifically said French. Redbeard would be ‘Barbe Rouge’. Ten letters, one for each player, except her. And the Bible, of course, had something to do with it. I needed to consult it.

I went to the den, and locked the door behind me. I compared ‘Barbe Rouge’ with the verses in the ‘Bible’, and got nothing. Then I realized that I was still holding the teabag she had given me. Why? Eureka! Tea is ‘the’ in French (if you add a little accent over the ‘e’). T-H-E. Could that be part of the code? In that order? I still had no idea what the code said, but it felt like a big piece of the puzzle had just fallen into my hands. Thanks to Lena’s skill at pool, and to the impulse that made take her as a partner. See, sometimes virtue is rewarded.

I unlocked the door, and re-entered the main room. That is, I attempted to re-enter the main room. Ben was right outside the door, and he pushed me back into the den. Barbara was right behind him. She closed the door behind her.

Ben pointed a finger at me. With his other hand, though, he showed me a piece of paper. It clearly said ‘PISTOL’, just like mine. Barbara came to stand beside me, and poked me in the ribs with her finger. Then she showed me another piece of paper. Written on it, with Teresa’s calligraphy pen, was the word ‘KNIFE’.

I wanted to laugh. I mean, it was pretty funny, the two of them standing there with their fingers pointed at me. But they looked serious, so I decided to humour them and play along. Slowly, I raised my hands.

“Do you have a weapon?” said Ben.

– “No.” I answered, truthfully. My ‘PISTOL’ was under the corner of the rug.

– “Give us the Bible, and we won’t hurt you – much.” said Barbara. She did look a little sinister, with the eye patch. But I could see down her cleavage, and it was more than a little distracting.

– “I don’t have it.” I answered. That was also true. It was under the opposite corner of the rug.

– “He’s lying.” said Ben.

– “We could search him.” said Barbara, wistfully. Something about her tone made me think that she was envisioning a strip search.

– “He has it.” said Ben. “You have to give it to us.”

– “I would if I had it, but I don’t so I can’t.” I replied. Try saying that fast three times.

– “What did you do with it?” asked Barbara.

– “I read it.” No point in lying. Claire had to have told them that I had it. That meant that she was in cahoots with them.

– “Then what did you do with it?” asked Barbara, sweetly, prodding me with her finger.

– “He has it.” said Ben. “He’s cheating.”

– “I have an idea.” Barbara stepped away from me, and went to whisper in Ben’s ear. He scowled, but when she whispered some more, he handed her the piece of paper. Barbara pointed her finger at me, and showed me that she now had the pistol. Ben opened the door, and then slipped out of the room, closing the door.

“You never came to visit me yesterday, Colin.” she said. “I was so disappointed. It made me think that you didn’t like me. Or was it that you were afraid of me?”

– “You do have a knife. And now a pistol.” I observed.

– “I would have put down them down, for you.” she said. “We have so much to discuss.”

I wasn’t sure how to answer that, so I chose the better part of valour.

Ben returned, with Teresa in tow.

– “He won’t give us the Bible.” Ben complained. “We know he has it.”

– “Colin, do you have the Bible?” Teresa asked me. “I’m here as the referee, not the Captain.”

– “I do not have the Bible.” I repeated. “I did, but not anymore.”

– “Can we search him?” asked Barbara.

Teresa studied my face for a few moments. “Alright, I’ll handle this.” With that, she ushered Ben and Barbara out of the room. “As far as the game is concerned, you are still in the room, weapons drawn. If he has it, I’ll get it for you.” Ben protested, but Barbara pushed him out. She blew me a kiss before leaving.

– “What are you doing?” asked Teresa.

– “I don’t have it.” I said. “Can I put my arms down, now?”

– “Yes. Claire says she gave it to you.” said Teresa.

– “She did. I didn’t want anybody to find it, and I was afraid that she would want it back. So I hid it. That way, if she asked for it, I could honestly say that I didn’t have it. Just like I told them.”

– “You really hid it?”

– “And my pistol.” I said.

– “Where? Never mind – I don’t want to know. You are either very clever, mister, or very lucky.” said Teresa. She had that enigmatic smile on her face. God, I loved that girl.

“Alright.” she continued “I will tell them that they struck out. But from here on in, you had better find some friends. If they catch you alone again, they could kill you.”

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