My spouse and I enjoy going to murder mystery shows. Usually we attend ones that offer dinner. Murder, Mystery, and Meals. Those are 3 m’s you can’t beat. Once we went to a show that was on boat. They didn’t give me food, but there were drinks, so I was satisfied.
When we boarded the boat we took a seat and was soon joined by another woman. The seats were placed awkwardly so that we were facing one another. While the other passengers were boarding the boat, I played a little game that involved trying to guess which person walking in our direction would be joining the woman currently sitting opposite from my husband. The stream of passengers began to dwindle after a while and I began to think that the lady’s companion wouldn’t make it before we departed. That’s when she asked us to take her picture with her iPhone and I realized that she didn’t have a significant other or friend that was running late. You have to admire people like that. I’d never be confident enough to show up at a movie alone, least of all a date-infested event. Or to give a stranger my iPhone and trust them not to run off or accidentally throw it over the side of the boat. So I took her photo (quite a few times) until I captured one that wasn’t blurry. Then she asked if we wanted her to take one of us and held up her phone. Do I want a stranger to have a picture of me and my husband on her phone? No. I instantly imagined her uploading it to Facebook with a status like, “Look at these fools sitting across from me. They have no idea that they are sitting across from a serial killer.”
Seriously though, she was very nice and told us she was in the city for some kind of pharmaceutical thing and was looking to get out and enjoy the night life while she was there. Then it became my turn to introduce myself and what I do for a living. Whenever I meet a new person that I’ll never meet again, I always think about making up something – like a trapeze artist. I went against this initial impulse because I was afraid of the follow up questions. “What’s it like being a trapeze artist?” “Is the bearded lady’s beard real?” “Doesn’t that require a sense of balance and grace? I saw you stumble on the steps on the way up. Twice.” It isn’t likely that I’d be able to keep up the charade for long.
Many minutes later we were beckoned up from our seats – the show was starting. They did this in a very tricky way. The captain introduced himself and went over some vague rules, and was then interrupted by a lady wearing a colorful dress that matched her firetruck red hair. I thought she was a loud, attention-starving drunk. Turns out she was acting. I didn’t figure out until about ten minutes later that the show had actually begun while I had been waiting for someone to yell “start.” At this point I realized I wasn’t going to win.
For this “show” we had to continually walk between the top and bottom decks, with scenes happening simultaneously in different areas of the ship. The actors had been intermingling with the guests on board, and on-cue would jump into their scene, startling everyone around them who didn’t realize they’d actually been talking with an actor all night long. Guests could then ask them questions whenever they weren’t participating in a scene.
Do you see where this is going?
We were all called to gather on a particular deck on the ship for an important scene. We reached the area first and found some seats and the lady from the beginning of this story joined us. We talked over the clues we had written down and our guesses for the murderer and motive.
When I was in first grade, I broke the thumb on my right hand. My teacher took me out in the hallway to give me a test orally since I couldn’t write down my answers legibly with my left hand. Whenever I gave a wrong answer, the teacher would ask me questions and give me hints until I sorted out the correct answer. This lady talked to me in the same coaching manner. It clicked. She was an actress, the background story she had given us earlier (which had sounded very rehearsed) was part of the play and also explained why she was there alone. As soon as she got up to visit the bathroom, I turned to my husband and whispered, “I think she’s one of the actresses.” He promptly replied, “Me too.”
So then we avoided her. This might not make sense to you, so let me explain my actions. I’m more of an observer type rather than participant. I don’t want to be part of the show (except for that one time in high school), I just want to watch from afar and then make comments on my blog. In Duck, Duck, Goose I want to be the duck.
We were rather stealthy for the rest of the night and always kept a safe distance from the “pharmaceutical rep from Michigan.” I kept my eye on her, expecting her to jump into a scene at any moment. I might not have figured out whodunnit, but I felt very smart anyway for figuring out her real identity. I was like Velma in Scooby Doo pulling a mask off of the monster.
Then the show ended. I was wrong. She wasn’t an actress, just a pharmaceutical rep spending a night on the town. Whoops.