Murder On the Good Ship Lollipopooza
By Cappy Hall Rearick
Recently I was a passenger on the Good Ship Lollipopooza, navigated by the intrepid Captain Crunch who refused to make port because he didn’t want to get his ship dirty. So we kept sailing and sailing while chefs kept cooking and cooking and sympathetic bartenders kept pouring and pouring.
One night, after two, okay make it three martinis, as I waited on the elevator to arrive, I happened to overhear an elderly couple chatting. I didn’t mean to eavesdrop, but hey, I’m a writer. It’s what I do. You’ve been warned.
He said, “Murder can always be made to look like suicide. It’s easy.”
My ears perked up. My martini legs wobbled while leaning closer to hear more. I’m a writer (see above) although that does not mean I have a lick of sense.
I stepped on the elevator with them but stood near the emergency button in case I needed to make a fast get away from Medicare Bonnie and Clyde.
He said, “If we’re going to do it tonight we should get out of these clothes first.”
She gave him a look. “You’re right. I wouldn’t want to mess up my good shoes.”
He said, “ Not to mention that pretty dress you’re wearing.”
I got even closer to the big red emergency button.
Gazing at them, I thought they looked like grandparents in a Norman Rockwell Thanksgiving painting. I could see him decked out in the suit worn only twice a year, his holiday bow tie slightly catawampus. I imagined him sharpening the knife and carving the turkey, while she, smiling sweetly, waited at his side wearing a holiday apron and holding a bowl of yams with miniature marshmallows on top.
I cleared my throat. “Pardon me,” I said. They looked up as though seeing me for the first time. “I didn’t mean to listen in on your conversation, but it’s only fair to tell you that I’m a newspaper columnist and I might have ... MIGHT have overheard the word murder as we were getting on the elevator. I probably heard wrong. Right?”
They looked me in the face and didn’t say a word. They didn’t even blink!
I got very up close and personal with the big red button.
I realized I was jabbering, but it eventually hit a home run with them because they tore their eyes away from mine, looked at each other and burst out laughing. I, on the other hand, was not amused. I was freakin’ freaked out.
“I’m just a small time columnist,” I said defensively. “I don’t write for a biggie like the New York Times or the Daily News so whatever you’re planning to do or not do, you don’t have to worry about me. Your secret is safe.”
They kept staring at me like I was the one about to get my picture put up in Post Offices all over the country.
“You should know that writers make a habit of eavesdropping because we live very dull lives and we steal experiences from other people. Not nice married couples like you. I’m rambling, aren’t I? Let’s just forget everything I said, okay? I want to get off the elevator right now.”
He said, “We’re not married. At least not to each other.”
She said, “He’s better than a husband. A great lover. Aren’t you, Sweetie?”
He turned to her and said tenderly, “Well, I wouldn’t call you a slouch in that department.”
OMG. Will this elevator never stop?
She eyeballed me, “We’ve embarrassed you. Well, take it from me, Cupcake, you gotta make hay while the sun shines.”
He laughed. “And make Betty while Fred’s moon shines.” They both laughed till tears rolled down their cheeks. “She’s Betty; I’m Fred. Get it?”
I so wanted off that freaking elevator.
Betty leaned over, nuzzled Fred right in front of me, big as you please. “Oh Fred, you’re gonna kill me yet, you know that?”
The doors opened and I galloped out of there faster than Sea Biscuit. When I looked back at them, they were still checking me out and laughing. I shivered.
Fred called to me. “Hey you, Ms. Brenda Starr! Meet us up on Deck 12 at midnight for the Murder Mystery Game Finale. It’s been going on all week, but with your imagination, you’ll catch up in no time.”
At least that’s what I thought I heard him say …
"Writers live twice. They go along with their regular life, are as fast as anyone in the grocery store, crossing the street, getting dressed for work in the morning. But there's another part of them that...lives everything a second time. That sits down and sees their life again and goes over it. Looks at the texture and details." ~ Natalie Goldberg