Murder Mystery Weekend – Chapter 13

“Wonderful!” said Teresa. “Let’s get started.”

We all made space, and ceded the centre stage to her.

“We are playing fast and loose with history here. Imagine a time when women could be pirates, and just as bloodthirsty and ferocious as the men – if not more.” That got a hoot of agreement from the ladies, and when Sheila chimed in with a deep-voiced ‘Aaargh!’, everyone laughed.

“You can all use your real names as an alias.” continued Teresa. “Everyone here has a secret identity. One of your tasks is to find out everyone else’s secrets, without giving away all of your own. Everyone here is in disguise. That might explain why you will not recognize former shipmates, or even old friends. Later on, there will be a murder, and you will try to discover the identity of the killer among you. Finally, there is that rumour about a treasure …”

“Last rule. Everyone must return their character instruction sheets to me. I will keep them safe, and you can return at any time to consult your own instructions. You may also, if you wish, write down any piece of information on those sheets – but you can’t keep the originals.”

“The reason for that is very simple: you could easily prove to someone that you’re telling the truth, just by showing them your secret instructions. This way, you will have to convince them, without any paper to back you up. No one, except me, of course, will ever know if you are truly trustworthy …”

I saw heads nodding around the room. There were gamers among us, who certainly appreciated Teresa’s little ploy.

“Then … we are ready to begin.”

– “Wait.” said Ben. “Who’s been murdered?”

– “No one.” said Teresa. “Yet …”

She gave us one hour to circulate, and to talk to other players, while dinner was being prepared. Leo and I got barbecue duty. We were going to cook up shish kebabs, cubes of beef or chicken on skewers, with green and red peppers, onions, zucchini and so on. By some sort of unspoken agreement, neither of us mentioned our characters, or the mystery roles. There were too many people hovering around.

– “I’ve got this.” said Leo. “Go talk to people. Or get me another beer. Or both.”

I took the hint, and moved away. Ben was standing by myself, so I approached him. He was the person I least wanted to talk, so I decided to get it over with early.

– “Great costume.” I told him.

– “Thanks. You look alright, too.”

– “What do you think, so far?” I asked him.

– “Are you kidding? Did you see Barb? Or Claire? Shit, all of them look incredible.”

– “I hear you. Lena, too. She makes me wish I was six foot four.”

– “In your dreams.” he laughed. I was barely 5’10”.

Then he transferred his beer to his left hand, and raised his right hand to scratch his ear. Ben looked right at me, and touched three fingers to his ear lobe. It was the recognition signal for Redbeard’s crew. For a moment, I considered replying in kind. Instead, I played dumb.

Ben narrowed his eyes and looked at me suspiciously. I’m not sure if I passed his scrutiny, but he gave it up and changed the subject.

I moved off, and settled next to Eric, who was cradling a rum punch while he looked out over the lake. I guess the beard was itching him, or maybe interfering with his drinking: he had pulled it down so that it circled his neck.

– “You look like an Amish pirate.” I said.

– “An improvement, then? Never mind. I gladly accept your compliment.” he answered.

– “Is that you speaking, or your character?” I asked.

– “Why can’t it be both?”

Just for the hell of it, I used the recognition signal that Ben had tried out on me. Eric didn’t even flinch.

– “You’re not a pirate, are you?” I asked.

– “Depends.” he said. “Are you the Falcon?”

Interesting. That was one name I had to fear. “No. I have to watch out for him, too. Or her.”

– “So you’re the one called the Scar?” Eric asked me.

– “Nope. Not me either.”

– “Cool nicknames, though.” he said. “I’m glad you invited me. This could be a lot of fun. So then you’re here to rescue Redbeard?”

I shook my head. “No. Far as I’m concerned, he can stay right where he is.”

– “Really?” said Eric. “And you’re not the Falcon?”

– “Said I wasn’t.”

 

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Cherie – Chapter 46 – Pay It Forward – Part 1

After having my first Saturday off in a while and spending some time chatting with Summer and her boyfriend over at the salon, it was time to prepare.

The afternoon was humid. I wanted to have some food in my stomach so I stopped in at Lazaro’s Pizza down at 18th and South. It’s just a few blocks from my house. They have huge thin crusted NY style slices. One slice and a can of soda is enough for me. Lately I’ve noticed in the last few months, I’ve needed less and less food to sustain myself. Not losing weight or anything, just going with smaller portions. I normally am happy with half of whatever is the usual serving is in most restaurants. As American’s we eat entirely too much food.

I have a theory about this. I’m at a point where I have never been happier and more at peace. Ex-wife long gone from my life. Currently not chained to a shitty rat race job that I hate. Daughter Lorelei is doing well. Good girlfriend, and I’m just living a happy simple life.

I have found lately that people who obsess over food and over eat, are just stuffing their feelings. The food gives them that little tiny dopamine drop that makes them feel good, because the rest of their life is pretty much a stressful, empty mess.

I don’t know, but if you can live a simple uncluttered life, you’ll feel better and won’t need as much. A little bit will satisfy you. You don’t have to kill your demons. Just keep them on a short leash.

Writing this story has taught me so much. If you want to have a good life, you’ve just got to go there and live it. Get out of your own way and just go do what you want to do. The only thing holding back is you.

I’m starting to see a pattern with some of the people in my life. The reckless spending. The paralysis. The obsessive behaviors. Somewhere in among all of that is a deep-rooted unhappiness and dissatisfaction with life in general. There are people who should have moved forward with their lives years ago and they are still mired in the life they do not want.

But you know what?

They are right where they’re supposed to be because they never did anything to change and evolve.

I finish my slice and head across the street to Walgreens. Years ago that was an empty lot and the area was a little sketchy at night. but no more. This area (Graduate Hospital) has improved so much in the last few years it looks like a whole different neighborhood.

I pick up some much-needed things for the house and some assorted surprise juices that I’ll hide in the fridge for Lorelei. (She loves juice!) I head back to the house and clean up the place a bit. The usual stuff: change the sheets, mop the floor, fabreze everything. Then hit the bathroom hard with some bleach and cleanser. I’ve got some time so I grab a handful of quarters and all my dirty laundry and head to the basement to do a load. Who could possibly be doing laundry at 5pm on a Saturday?

Of course there is a load going in both the washer and dryer. This puts a wrench in the works. I go back upstairs and drop the bag. I grab some clean sheets from the closet and make the bed. I would have preferred the royal blue ones for baby but these tan ones will have to do. I know Cherie doesn’t care but I haven’t seen her in a couple of weeks. I know it’s a pain to get down here with everything going on her life and the sheer logistics of the mission. I just want things to be nice for her when she gets here. She says my house is the only place where she can truly relax even if it’s a short time.

I’m pissed I can’t get my laundry done, but I get the place looking presentable in the meantime. The air is on, my room is nice and cool and smells great. I light some candles, and put on some chill tunes on Pandora.

Cherie arrives and we relax and exchange stories. She looks beautiful. Black top with a short skirt and matching flats. Sometimes she’s so spent when she gets here she just needs to lie down on the bed and chit-chat. Other times she wants things to move forward a little faster.  I like talking with her instead of attacking her. I genuinely miss her and am happy to see her and catch up as a couple. I figure we have all night.

That time comes and the fun begins. She’s pleased with the initial results that I am able to draw forth from her like a bee to a flower. She pushes me away because she has reached critical mass in regard to her flower. I roll onto my back and she says, “Where do you want me?” She’s ready for the big moment.

“I think I’d like you to hop up here, cowgirl.”

“Okay.”

But then she stopped. “Can you wear a condom?”

I didn’t react. I simply grabbed one from the night table, tore open the package and suited up. Cherie mounted me and we were off to outer space.

She later told me her last two periods have been late, and that has really stressed her out. I didn’t even question it when she made request, because sexually I will always obey what the woman wants. She faces all of the risk. Cherie does not want any more children and of course neither do I. Normally I have great control and always pull out. But I will say this, I know how we men feel about condoms. You can’t feel anything, etc. I get it. But the great thing about wearing a condom is you can finish properly like sex was intended.

I’ve tried quite a few different brands, but at the moment I recommend, Trojan Supre. Really good. Thin and you definitely feel it.

(To be continued tomorrow…)

 

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