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Murder Mystery Weekend Pt. 01

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Part 1 will set up the situation and introduce the characters. If you’re looking for the sex, there’s some steam, but you’ll have to be patient. I like a story and character development. As always, your comments and suggestions are most welcome.

**************

When Teresa invited me out for a coffee, I accepted quite happily. I had no idea that it was going to lead to one of the greatest weekends of my life.

I first met Teresa at university, when we were seniors. It took me three months to convince her to go out with me, then three more months to persuade her to sleep with me. Teresa never did anything by halves: once we consummated the relationship, so to speak, she was well-nigh insatiable. We had sex everywhere, anywhere, anytime.

But she was also a wonderful companion, and a superb conversationalist who frequently challenged me. Teresa was at least my intellectual equal, if not my superior.

And she was beautiful. She had long auburn hair, flawless skin, full lips, and the most amazing expression. I don’t quite know how to describe it: Teresa rarely showed her teeth when she laughed, or smiled. Instead, a half-smile would slowly grow and spread across her face, until she looked like the Mona Lisa’s happier – and hotter – sister.

As for her body – She was 5’8″, with 37-23-35 measurements. I know, because I took her dress shopping. She was comfortable in the nude, so that I got to admire her naked form on many occasions. And that’s all I’m going to tell you – for now.

After a phenomenal, passionate year and a half, she dumped me. She kept it simple, straightforward, and brutally honest: ‘You’re not ready, Colin’.

I wasn’t sure what she meant: not ready for what? Marriage? Of course not. A serious relationship? I thought we were in one.

She was probably right, though. I was still pretty immature. But I wasn’t ready to give up hope that we could possibly have a second chance. Over the next year, she dated a couple of guys – nothing serious, though. I went out with a few girls, too, but they didn’t last very long. It was impossible not to compare them with Teresa, and none of them could survive that. In the meantime, we remained good friends. We socialized frequently; many times just the two of us.

There was no pretence between us. Teresa knew that I still wanted her. She made it plain that she wasn’t interested in me that way. Instead, she would ask about whatever girl I might be seeing, or interested in. Teresa often had good advice for me in the dating department. I have to admit, it’s a bit odd when your ex-girlfriend is helping you score with your next girlfriend.

Teresa was waiting for me at the cafe, wearing a pair of very short white shorts, and a loose t-shirt. She saw me, and rewarded me with that patented smile. She stood up, greeting me with a kiss on both cheeks, and a warm hug that told me quite clearly that her wonderful breasts were not encumbered by a bra.

I got a coffee, and joined her. Teresa had her laptop open on the table.

“What’s on your mind?” I asked her.

– “Are you free Thanksgiving weekend?” she asked. (Canadian Thanksgiving falls on the 2nd Monday in October – it’s always a long weekend)

– “That’s almost two months away.”

– “Put it on your calendar. You won’t want to miss this.” she said.

– “Miss what?”

– “Murder Mystery Weekend.” said Teresa.

I grinned. She was right: I would not want to miss that. When we were still a couple, we had co-hosted a murder mystery dinner. You may know the type: you can buy a boxed game version, or download one online. The guests all play a part, and try to uncover the identity of the murderer among them. People dress up, when the story has a theme, and most really get into the role-playing, or solving the mystery. For those who don’t, there’s good food, good company, and plenty to drink.

– “Did you say weekend?” I asked. “A whole weekend? Where?”

– “Eliza’s cottage. The whole weekend.” she said.

– “I’m in.”

Teresa just smiled at me, as if to say ‘Of course you are’. Damn right I was. Girls and costumes? Somebody was going to get lucky – hopefully me. And I had already been to Eliza’s cottage. If you’re picturing a rustic cabin in the woods, think again: it was more like a mansion by the lake.

– “It was partly Eliza’s idea. Her family are all away, and they asked her to close the cottage for the winter. You know: take the boat and the dock out of the water, clean up, close the boathouse.”

– “Many hands make short work.” I said.

– “Right. So Eliza thought she should invite a gang up, and make it into a party. Then Claire said the party should have a theme …”

– “God Bless her. So you suggested the Murder Mystery?”

– “I most certainly did.” said Teresa.

– “Do you have one in mind?” I asked “All of the ones I saw before were for a dinner party – a single night. Are you looking for something that will stretch over the entire long weekend?”

– “That’s ataşehir escort bayan the plan.” she said.

– “Boxed version, or download?”

Teresa shook her head. “I’m going to write it myself.”

“Really? Wow! I’m impressed.” And I was. Teresa is a smart cookie. If anyone could pull it off, she could. “Do you need help? I mean – is there anything I can do to help you?”

– “Since you mention it … yes, I could use your help.”

– “Name it.” I said.

– “I need you to help persuade the other guests to get costumes. The better they dress up, the more they’ll get into it, and the more fun it will be.” she told me.

– “Can do. What kind of costumes? What’s the theme?” I asked.

– “Pirate ship.” said Teresa, and that half-smile crept across her face.

– “Niiice.” I liked the sound of that. “You mean skull and crossbones, Pirates of the Caribbean – that sort of thing?” I was picturing sexy pirate women in my head.

– “Exactly. Buccaneers and freebooters. The women just as much as the men. Can you locate some good costumes for people who may not know where to look?”

– “Costume rental company, theatrical suppliers – I can do that.” I told her.

– “Thanks.” she said. “Then I also need your help to round out the guest list. I have nine so far, but we need eleven. People willing to dress up and role play, preferably – but also people who aren’t tied down by family commitments. They have to be able to get away for Thanksgiving.”

– “Who do you have so far?” I wondered.

– “You and me. Eliza, Claire, and Leo.”

I nodded. Eliza and Claire were best friends, inseparable since grade school. Leo was Claire’s older brother, and my best buddy from high school. We were still close.

“Ben, and Barbara.” continued Teresa.

I didn’t nod this time. I knew Ben well, but didn’t particularly care for him. He was good-looking and personable – which I didn’t hold against him – but in the past, he had also gone after a few girls that I was actively pursuing. That didn’t sit so well with me. He was also ultra-competitive, just like me.

Barbara was a bit of a surprise choice. Teresa knew her from grad school, but I didn’t think that they got along. Barbara was extroverted, high energy, and brazenly sexy. She talked loud, and lived large.

– “Barbara?” I said, with one eyebrow raised.

– “She’ll be perfect.” said Teresa. “And I’ve invited Craig, too.”

No problem there. I didn’t know Craig very well, but he seemed to be one of those rare guys that everybody likes – a prince. A bit shy, but always ready to help out, never boastful or pushy.

– “Good choice, if we can get him to dress up.” I observed.

– “That’s your job.” Teresa reminded me.

– “That makes eight. And the ninth?”

– “I think you’ll like her. Her name is Lena, and she’s studying here on exchange for a year. Professor Hand put her in my tutorial group, and asked me to keep an eye on her.”

– “Why you?” I asked. ‘Because you’re so warm and welcoming?”

Teresa smiled. “No. Get this. He said: ‘You two should understand each other. You’re practically neighbours.'”

– “Where is she from?” I asked.

– “Slovenia.”

I had to laugh. Teresa was born in Romania, before her parents emigrated when she was about six. Romania and Slovenia are only about 1,000 kilometers apart. Say, 700 miles. And the languages? Slovenian is a Slavic language, while Romanian is Latin-based.

– “Do you get along?” I asked her.

– “We’re fine.” said Teresa. “She’s sweet. But she’s painfully shy because her English isn’t very good yet. I already know that she’ll be at loose ends for Thanksgiving, so I invited her. That just leaves two spots, and I’m fresh out of ideas.”

– “Has to be 11?” I asked.

– “I’ve already written the parts.” she confirmed.

The first people Teresa had chosen were mostly friends of mine. I had introduced her to them, or we both knew them from grad school. I tried to think of people she might know who would fit the part.

“Sheila.” I suggested.

– “The English teacher?” she said. “Would she be up for it?”

– “She loves theatre. And she goes all out on Halloween.”

– “Single? Or in a relationship?” asked Teresa.

– “I’m pretty sure she’s single – but I’ll double check.” I said.

– “I liked Sheila. If you can get her, that would be great. One more, Colin. Should be a male. For balance. And so I don’t have to change a part.”

It took me several minutes, and a second coffee, to think of someone.

“Eric?” I said it with some hesitation.

I have to give her credit; Teresa didn’t make a face. She had only met Eric once, and my old friend from 1st year political science had not covered himself in glory. At a dinner for six people, he arrived drunk, polished off another bottle of wine, and then passed out on our couch before the dessert could be served.

– “Why Eric?” she asked. She was giving me escort kadıöy a chance to convince her.

I listed my reasons on my fingertips. “One, he’s pretty bright, and he would probably love a murder mystery. Second, he’s a history buff, so the pirate theme would work for him. Third, I don’t think he has any close family, so he’s definitely free for Thanksgiving. Fourth … I think you might actually like him, if he wasn’t passed out on the couch and ruining your dinner party.”

– “Maybe.” she conceded.

– “And fifth.” I added. “I can’t think of anyone else. I mean, I can think of lots of people who would enjoy the weekend, and the murder mystery … it’s just that so many of them have family obligations.”

– “Eric snores.” said Teresa.

– “I know.”

– “Alright.” she said. “Eric it is. You can share a room with him.”

************

As I expected, Eric had no plans for Thanksgiving weekend. He found the whole concept a bit twisted. He understood the appeal of trying to solve the mystery, but not the costumes.

– “You mean people dress up to do this shit?” he asked.

– “They do indeed.” I told him. “And so will you.”

– “Alright. Yo ho ho and a bottle of rum. There will be rum, right?”

Sheila was a lot more enthusiastic, when she answered my phone call.

– “And we get to dress up? Like pirates?” she asked.

– “That’s the plan.” I agreed.

– “I don’t have to be a saucy wench, or a watery tart?”

– “No.” I laughed. “That’s Monty Python, as you well know. This is Teresa we’re talking about: women can be pirate captains, and swashbuckle like the men. If that’s a word.”

– “What part do I get?” Sheila wanted to know.

– “Teresa will be letting us know once we’re all aboard.” I said.

– “Ooh – ship puns. Or is it that shit puns?” she said. “I better start practicing.” She held the phone a few inches from her face, and let loose a loud ‘Aaaaargh, matey!’ With her deep, mannish voice, it sounded awesome. “I love the idea, Colin. You can tell her I’m in for sure.”

I called Teresa with the good news.

– “Perfect.” she said. “Thank you, Colin. We’re almost ready to start. I’ll send out the introduction and the character descriptions. But I’d like to use you as a guinea pig, if you don’t mind. Can I show you what I’m planning to send the others, and get your feedback?”

– “I would be glad to help.” I told her.

We met at the cafe again. Teresa greeted me warmly once again, and then turned her laptop around to show me the screen.

– “Here’s the intro.” she said.

For more than three decades, the dread pirate Redbeard terrorized the Caribbean, plundering and pillaging far and wide. No one was safe: Spanish, Dutch, English and French ships and towns were all targets of his insatiable greed and bloodlust. In the course of his far-flung depredations, Redbeard was said to have accumulated a considerable treasure hoard. According to legend, the old pirate was too paranoid to bury his ill-gotten gains on some deserted island. Instead, he carried them with him, aboard his pirate ship, the notorious Sea Demon.

Finally, justice caught up with the dread pirate. An anonymous tip led the Governor of Jamaica’s soldiers to the Mouldy Maggot, a dockside tavern where Redbeard and members of his crew were drinking and roistering while the Sea Demon rode at anchor in Kingston harbour. Thoroughly inebriated, Redbeard was easily overcome by the redcoats, and captured. His erstwhile crew scattered to the four winds. The Governor loaded the dread pirate with chains, and confiscated his ship, the Sea Demon. The vessel was appropriated by the Royal Navy, and re-christened HMS Retribution.

The Governor has ordered Captain Teresa Fairwind to transport the prisoner to Bermuda, where he will face a swift trial and public execution. Captain Fairwind has been given the Royal Navy’s newest vessel, HMS Retribution. A new crew was swiftly recruited from the experienced local sailors and sea-dogs.

YOU are a member of the crew.

Read the description of your character, and dress appropriately. Further instructions will be made available upon arrival.

When I had finished reading, I looked up at her.

– “What do you think?” she asked.

– “Honestly?”

– Aren’t you always honest with me?” she asked, with that bewitching half-smile. It had been one of our favourite ‘pet’ phrases when we were dating.

– “It’s cute.” I said. “A bit melodramatic, a bit campy – like an old Errol Flynn movie.”

– “That’s fine.” she said. “Kind of what I was aiming for.”

– “And you’re the Captain?”

She nodded. “I thought it would be easier than coming up with complicated instructions for one of the players. Speaking of which: here are your instructions.” Teresa spun the laptop around, opened a new file, and then turned it back to face me again.

You are NED MULLIGAN.

– “Ned Mulligan?” I asked her. “Really?”

– “Remember maltepe escort that time you took me golfing?” she reminded me.

I did. Like most novices, Teresa missed the ball completely several times, but she also managed to knock three golf balls into the water, and hit two golf carts and a vending machine. She was able to laugh at herself, and enjoyed the outing, but she found the whole concept of a ‘mulligan’ fascinating’.

– “You mean I get to hit it again?” she wanted to know.

– “Yeah. Go ahead and tee it up again.” I said.

– “And it doesn’t count as a stroke?” She looked at me sideways, squinting, as if suspicious that I was trying to trick her.

– “That’s the whole idea.” I confirmed.

– “Isn’t that cheating?” she asked.

– “You wouldn’t do it in a tournament, or if you were playing for money. But it’s only a friendly game, and I’m the one inviting you to take a mulligan. A do-over.”

Now she just smiled at me. “Keep reading.” she said.

As a young man, you were a pirate, and a member of Redbeard’s crew. You were brave and clever, so that Redbeard made you one of his lieutenants. But he grew too bloodthirsty for your taste, and also promoted some unsavoury characters alongside you, including the Falcon, and the Scar.

You chose to leave his crew, and jumped ship at Tortuga, taking a bag of doubloons with you. Redbeard swore revenge, and offered a bounty for your head. Both the Falcon and the Scar vowed that they would earn that bounty. The Scar, in particular, promised to drink a toast from your skull. You have been on the run ever since.

You were in Kingston, Jamaica, and horrified to learn that the Sea Demon was in port. But you were equally delighted to learn of Redbeard’s capture – serves him right. You hear the gossip in the dockside taverns: Redbeard’s crew are all over the place. What if one of them recognizes you? The ship HMS Retribution is leaving for Bermuda. Is Redbeard’s treasure still hidden aboard?

You sign on as a sailor …

YOU HAVE – A PISTOL

YOU KNOW:

– THERE IS A PLOT TO FREE REDBEARD AND HELP HIM ESCAPE

– THE FALCON IS ABOARD, DISGUISED AS A MEMBER OF THE CREW

– THE TREASURE IS HIDDEN SOMEWHERE ABOARD THE SHIP

– YOU ONCE CAUGHT A GLIMPSE OF A LETTER BELONGING TO REDBEARD. IT MAY HAVE CONTAINED THE SECRET OF THE TREASURE’S LOCATION. UNFORTUNATELY, YOU ONLY SAW ONE LETTER … IT WAS THE LETTER ‘C’

– “There’s a treasure, too?” I asked. “Or is that instead of a murder?”

– “Both.” said Teresa. “I’m going to space out the murder mystery clues, so that no one can solve it on the first day. But I thought a treasure made sense. This will keep people searching. Plus, we can have multiple winners – solving the mystery, or finding the treasure.”

– “Very clever.” I told her.

– “How about the character description? What do you think?” she asked me.

– “Couldn’t I be ‘Wicked Ned’, or ‘Lusty Ned Longsword’?”

– “You’re Ned Mulligan.” she told me, firmly. “Get used to it. If it’s any consolation, that’s your secret identity. Until somebody else guesses or uncovers who you really are, they’ll only know you as Able Seaman Colin. Everybody will use their real name as an alias.”

– “How many letters are there in the treasure code?” I had to try.

She wagged a finger at me. “No more clues for you. Seriously, Colin – what do you think?”

– “I love it. The description gives me enough of an idea to base my character on. And I’m all pumped up to go out and get a costume. How does the pistol work? Do I have to get a replica pistol?”

– “No.” she said. “I’ll put the items on pieces of paper, so that people can hide them in a pocket, or wherever.”

We discussed the mechanics of the game, without getting too specific. Knowing the people who were participating, I thought it would work well. I was more than looking forward to it: I was ready to start that very day.

Teresa and I discussed the weekend and the game for a long time. We both had two large coffees, and were beginning to feel the effects of too much caffeine.

– “Walk me home?” she asked.

As we walked, we continued to discuss her ideas. She seemed quite taken with some of my suggestions, but wouldn’t give me any hints about whether she planned to use them or not.

– “And you’ll help people get costumes?” she asked, again.

– “I promised.” I reminded her.

– “I’ll hold you to that.”

Just before we got to her apartment, Teresa stopped, and pointed to a park bench.

“Can we sit here for a minute?” It was a lovely spot, opposite a pretty little park. The late summer day was bright and sunny, without the excessive humidity that had tortured us through the month of July. Yet I felt a sudden chill.

We sat down together. Teresa slowly swept her long hair back, and turned to face me.

“Colin, I have to tell you something.” she said. Normally, I’m a pretty optimistic guy, but those words sounded like the footsteps of doom. I swallowed, and nodded.

“I really, really appreciate your help with this.” she continued. “And I’m looking forward to seeing how it will all turn out. But I have to tell you now: this weekend won’t be about you and me. Do you understand?”

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