(This is a story that I wrote in Union Station and also the MARC train from DC to Baltimore after a viewing of the Impressionable Player’s Detective Pimbley and the Case of the Rich Dead Lady. It is presented here as it was handwritten in a notepad except where I added two words near the end.)
Herot turned the dagger in her gloved hand carefully. The thing looked like it waas from the middle ages. The lab techs might know more than that. They would certainly lift any prints and type the blood. “Who uses a medieval dagger to kill a guy in this day and age?” She thought. She deided to say it out loud.
“Who uses a medieveal dagger to kill a guy?”
“A dastardly, murderous assasin, of course.” Murphy answered. Even at two in the morning, his suit was crisp and not a hair was out of place.
In contrast, Herot’s brown hair was all over the place even with the brush she and tried running through it. She
shot him a deadly look. If the look bothered him, he didn’t show it.
“That was rhetorical, Murphy. Once again, you’re only good for driving the car.”
She didn’t wait for Murphy to respond. She walked on toward the body. The blonde was in a nightgown and other than the gaping knife wound, she was really beautiful. Herot bent down and looked but did not touch. No smeared make up, no tangled hair and no tears in her panty hose. Of course, there was a tear in her dress but the knife had probably seen to that. Whoever had killed her had done a really good job.
Murphy lit a cigarette which earned him another foul look from Herot. He shrugged and took a drag anyway with the slightest smirk. “Seems to me that this knife means the killer knew her. Knives are just so personal.”
“It seems to me that this is an assumption. We do know that either the murderer had no time to clean up or wasn’t worried about getting caught.”
“Well, which was it if you’re so smart? I’m just here to back your play, after all.”
“No. You’re here to learn. I won’t always be here to do the work for you.”
“Yeah, yeah but which is it?”
She sighed deeply and gave him the look for the third time. At least this time he had the grace to stamp out his
cigarette. Away from the body this time. Extra points.
“I think the killer didn’t care.”
“Didn’t care? So we’re with a psycho?”
“Maybe it’s somebody very, very smart and confident. It takes a lot of work to set up a murder.”
Murphy looked around as if he were seeing it all for the first time. “Ok, yeah, I can see that. Everything looks very clean.”
“A little too clean?” Herot asked, a pleased smile spreading across her lips.
“I guess. Why? Something I missed? Again?”
“If you don’t miss things, I can’t really teach you. I also can’t feel superior which is the only thing keeping me awake.”
“The sooner we solve this case, the sooner you get to sleep.”
“Aha but I’ve already solved this case.”
“No way. You’re smart, Herot, but you’re not that smart.”
“That’s still Detective Herot to you, Murphy.”
“Then why isn’t it ‘Seargent Murphy’?”
“You have to earn it, Murph. You have to earn it.” She smirked. Teasing the poor guy was way too fun.
“Whatever. Who is the murderer?”
Herot gave an exasperated sigh as if the answer should be obvious. “There was no murderer.”
“So, suicide?” Murphy asked, trying to mime the action but he had trouble getting the angle right.
“No murderer because there was no victim. No victim because nobody died.”
“What? Nobody died? What about her?” He pointed at the girl’s body.
As he pointed, the girl suddenly sat up and brushed herself off.
“She means that I’m not dead, jackass.” The girl said as she got to her feet.
Murphy very nearly swooned in his shock. Herot did not even flinch.
“Sh .. She’s not dead?”
Herot smiled. “You are getting more observant every day.”
The former murder victim for her part stood fuming. Herot turned away from Murphy and toward the girl.
“What’s your name, ma’am?”
“Margaret Sinclair.” The girl answered almost through clenched teeth.
“What was this all about?”
“It was briefly a performance art piece until you ruined it.”
Murphy’s mouth stopped hanging agape and started working again. “Wait, how did you figure it out, Detective?”
“Well, like we said, the crime scene was far too clean. The crime was out in the open for everybody to see. The tear in the dress was obviously made with scissors. That is fake blood as real blood dries brown. No make up smudges, messy hair or, mos importantly, broken nails. So you didn’t fight back. What clinched it, though, was when I complimented the kller you blushed.”
Margaret looked insulted. “I did not.”
“You did but only just a little bit.”
Murphy shook his head, clearly impressed. “So what do we do now?”
Herot shrugged. “I can’t think of a crime we can charge her with unless you count dragging me out of bed in the middle of the night. I guess we let her go.”
Margaret nodded. “Yeah thanks but my big end of the year project is still ruined.”
“I don’t know about that.” Herot responded. “You really did do a good job. I’ll make you a deal. If you clean up your own crime scene, I’ll talk to your professor for you. I might even throw in the crime scene photos if I’m feeling generous tomorrow morning.”
Margaret sighed and shrugged, every bit the drama queen. “I guess it’s the best deal I’m going to get. Fine, I’ll do it.”
Herot shook her head. “You really are a ray of sunshine.”
Murphy coughed and spoke up. “So we go home?”
Herot nodded and yawned. “We go home. You get to write the report tomorrow though. Oh and call into dispatch and tell them to forget about collecting the body.”
Murphy nodded, gave a little wave to Margaret and headed for their car’s radio.
“Good night, Ms. Sinclair.” Herot offered.
“Good night, Detective.”
Herot walked off into the night towards the car. They left Margaret Sinclair to clean up her own crime scene.