Murder Mystery Weekend Pt. 02

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Friday

Leo and I got off to an early start, beating most of the holiday traffic. We arrived at Eliza’s cottage by mid-afternoon. She and Claire were already there, and so were Teresa and her friend Lena. All four of them came out to greet us, and to help us unload.

Teresa introduced us.

– “Colin, Leo – this is my friend Lena.”

– “Umm … hi.” was the best I could manage. It took me another moment to gather my wits. You see, Teresa had neglected to mention that Lena was tall. Like, over 6 feet tall. (I learned later that she was 6’1″) She was remarkably attractive, with long, straight blonde hair, big brown eyes, and those classic east European features: a narrow face, accentuated by long, straight hair, and high cheekbones.

– “Hello.” she said, offering me her hand. “I have heard much about you.” Then she corrected herself. “Teresa tell me much about you.” If Lena was learning to speak English, she had a lot of work to do, but her accent was quite appealing.

– “You too.” I said, shaking her hand. “I mean, Teresa has also told me about you.” Damn, I was having trouble concentrating. If her pretty face wasn’t enough of a distraction, she had long arms, and incredibly long legs. She made Eliza look like a hobbit.

Leo was no better. He just stared, with his mouth open. I gave him a nudge. “Let’s get the car unloaded.”

Eliza’s cottage was a very large 2 storey, 4 bedroom house, with an attached garage and a basement. It was more like a house than a cottage. Leo and I carried the beer downstairs, where there was a second fridge specifically for the chilling of sudsy beverages.

Upstairs, Teresa inspected the wines we had brought, and gave our selections the seal of approval. “Great job, guys.” she said.

Eliza was going through the liquor bottles. “White rum, dark rum, spiced rum … yeesh! Did you get enough rum?”

– “If you need more, we can make a liquor run tomorrow.” said Leo.

Eliza rolled her eyes. “I was being sarcastic.” she said.

– “So was I.” said Leo.

– “Can we do anything to help?” I volunteered.

– “We’ve got everything under control here.” said Teresa.

– “How about outside?” I asked Eliza. “Did you want the grass cut?”

– “That’s right. “answered Eliza. “You’ve been here for closing before. Sure, the grass needs to be cut this weekend. Might as well do it now, if you’re willing.”

– “I’ll help him.” said Leo.

We got the lawnmower out of the garage, and filled it up with gas.

– “Did you see that girl?” he said.

– “Lena? Pretty face, right?”

– “Face? I couldn’t see that high! Christ, her tits were over my head.” said Leo.

Eliza’s cottage sat on two acres of prime lakefront land. There was a copse of trees behind the house, but most of the grass was out front, between the house and the lake. There was a boathouse and a dock, and a large stone patio with a firepit and a massive barbecue. Overlooking that was a large deck, adjacent to the kitchen. Still, there was quite an expanse of grass to cut. It took us well over an hour, with Leo taking over about halfway. I used the trimmer while he finished up.

By the time we were done, we were both a bit sweaty. I realized then that with 11 people staying over, hot showers were not going to be easy to come by.

– “Feel like a swim?” I asked him.

– “You nuts? It’ll be fuckin’ freezing in there.”

I explained the shower issue. “Besides,” I said, “it’ll be a great way to wake up in the morning. Hell, we’ll have to go in tomorrow to get the dock out.”

– “Somebody will have to go in tomorrow.” said Leo. “Why do you assume that person is going to be me? Even if I have to go in, I can wait. For now, I’m grabbing a shower.”

Undeterred, I changed into shorts for swimming, and got my towel. There was no point in delaying the inevitable: I dove off the end of the dock. It was cold enough to make me catch my breath, but as I surfaced and began treading water, I realized that it wasn’t that bad. Our unseasonably warm summer had phased into an unusually warm autumn.

Teresa and Lena had heard the splash, and were standing on the deck when I emerged.

– “How is it?” called Teresa.

– “Better than I expected.” I told her. “Too cool for swimming, but a quick dip won’t cause heart failure.”

She laughed, and then translated for Lena. As I dried off, another car arrived. It was Craig, arriving with Ben. Eric was with them. I shook hands with all three, and thanked Craig for bringing Eric, as I had asked him to.

– “No problem. Glad to.” he replied.

– “Hope you’re ready to go, Colin.” said Ben. “Of course, I’m going to win this thing, but it’s always better if you make it a challenge.”

– “I’ll try my best.” I answered. I was never quite sure how to take Ben. In my humble opinion, he was an arrogant asshole. But others seemed to like him, so I might have been wrong.

It was the first time up here for all three, so Eliza eventually took them on a Görükle Escort quick tour of the outside of the house. I went inside to change into jeans and a t-shirt. I found everybody gathering in the kitchen. The guys had brought food, which had to be unpacked, and no one objected when Leo suggested a round of drinks.

I did notice one thing: there was a piece of paper taped to the kitchen wall. On it were listed the names of everyone who was participating in our weekend. Curiously, they were numbered. I was struck by that, and by the order we were in.

1- CLAIRE

2- ELIZA

3- LEO

4- CRAIG

5- BARBARA

6- BEN

7- ERIC

8- SHEILA

9- LENA

10- COLIN (me)

Curious – why had Teresa left herself off the list? Why was I last? Teresa had not compiled this list when she first told me about her idea; if she had, Sheila and Eric would have been the last two names. Teresa didn’t do things ‘by accident’. There was a clue here.

Sheila arrived next. I went out to greet her with Eliza.

– “You found it OK?” asked Eliza.

– “GPS got me close, but your directions were spot on.” replied Sheila. I should mention at this point that Sheila has the deepest, gruffest voice I have ever heard from a female. People usually do a double-take the first time they hear her speak, and then they still turn their heads the second time they hear her. Her voice is also raspy, which is part natural, and partly the consequence of years of heavy smoking.

Sheila has short, punky hair, which she likes to style in spikes, or absurd waves. She also likes to dye it; today’s colour was green. It’s a bit funny, considering that she’s a high school English teacher. Apparently the School Board doesn’t object to spiked purple or orange hair, or to tattoos either – Sheila has seven of them, two of which I have not seen.

She’s handsome, rather than pretty. She sounds like a man, and could probably pass for one. Her face is all sharp angles, and she is completely flat-chested. She has no hips to speak of, and she prefers loose, shapeless clothing, so I couldn’t tell you anything about her ass. She shops in second-hand clothing stores, and finds unusual bargains.

It may sound odd, but I had a crush on Sheila through most of first year (before I met Teresa). See, Sheila is a sweetheart, as generous as she is smart. She also has amazing green eyes, and a certain ‘je ne sais quoi’, as the French would say. I can’t explain it.

– “Nobody’s dressed up yet?” she asked.

– “Not until everyone’s here.” I told her. “Teresa has plans, but she won’t tell anyone anything.”

– “This is going to be such fun!” said Sheila. “Thank you for hosting us, Eliza.”

– “My pleasure.” said Ee. “Let me show you around.”

Barbara arrived last. That girl was constantly late. One day, she would be late for her own funeral. But, as she liked to say, she was ‘worth the wait’. I was in the garage when she pulled in, gathering the tools we would need tomorrow, for taking the dock out of the water and closing the boathouse. That meant I was the first to greet her.

She had changed her clothes before getting into the car, that much was for sure. There was no way that she could have gone out in public with what she was wearing – not without getting arrested for indecent exposure. She had on a short denim skirt that covered very, very little. On top, she was wearing a white shirt, knotted just under her magnificent breasts. Her lacy black bra showed through quite plainly.

I wouldn’t have been surprised if you told me that Barbara purchased her bras from a parachute manufacturer. She had extra-large hooters, and went to great pains to make sure that everyone knew it. The rest of her body was nothing special.

But Barbara’s face was like the Portrait of Dorian Gray: it revealed every vice and every sin that she had ever committed, considered, or even contemplated. She wore just that little extra bit of eye make-up, and her lipstick was always freshly applied. She was far from shy. I have to give her this much credit: Barbara was no home-wrecker. Guys in relationships were perfectly safe from her attentions. But single men – and, if the rumours had any truth to them, single women – were certainly fair game.

Teresa let Barb greet everyone and get settled in. Perhaps half an hour later, she called us all together. By then, most of us were on our second or third drink. Anticipation was growing, and tongues were beginning to wag more freely.

“Welcome, everyone!” said Teresa. “I want to thank our hostess, Eliza, for sharing her wonderful cottage and providing us with a place to play.”

– “You can pay me back tomorrow.” responded Eliza.

Teresa carried on. “The main floor of the house will be our main deck. The kitchen will be our communal galley.” She turned to point in the opposite direction. “The master bedroom – thanks again, Ee – will henceforth be the Captain’s cabin. As such, it is off limits to you scurvy Görükle Escort Bayan dogs. Except for Lena, who will be sharing it with me.”

That led to a chorus of “Ooohs”, led by Ben and Barb.

– “Not like that.” said Teresa. There is a bathroom off the master bedroom, if the need is urgent. Otherwise, there is a very large bathroom upstairs, and another downstairs. Upstairs will now be known as the upper deck, and that is where most of you will be bunking. There are four bedrooms: Eliza and Claire get the first, Barb and Sheila share the second. Gentlemen, you are at the end of the hall. Ben and Craig will share, and Leo bunks with Eric.”

Leo looked at me, mildly concerned. He was a fussy sleeper, and did not know Eric well.

– “Teresa – sorry.” I interrupted. “I thought you had me rooming with Eric.”

– “I drew lots among the guys, Colin – and you lost. You’ll be camping in the den, right over there. I brought along an air mattress and a sleeping bag.” The den was on the other side of the stairs from the master bedroom.

Teresa then led us downstairs. “This area will be known as the hold.” she said. There was a bathroom, and a very large games room, featuring a pool table and a ping pong table (or table tennis, if you prefer). Further off, there was a storage room, and a laundry room.

That is where Teresa led us. “This room is off limits.” she said, indicating the laundry room. “It is the brig. This is where the dread pirate Redbeard is imprisoned. As Captain Fairwind, I will have the only key. Redbeard will not be leaving this room until we arrive in Barbados – for his hanging.”

“As for outside – for our purposes, everything between the house and the dock is considered part of the ship. That includes the deck, leading outside from the kitchen, the garage, the patio, and the boathouse. Your cars are not considered part of the ship. If you need to go back to your car, you are out of character there.”

“I have a copy here of your character sketch and the introduction, in case you’ve misplaced yours. These envelopes also contain some new instructions, as well as any items or money that you may be carrying.”

“We’re ready to begin. I want everyone to go and put on their costume. Then get yourself a drink, and we will gather on the main deck. Claire – here’s your envelope. Eliza …”

I was last – Teresa was sticking to the order she had posted in the kitchen. She handed me my envelope, with that lovely half-smile on her face, and whispered: “Good luck.”

I grabbed my gear, and headed for the den. Once inside, with the door closed, I opened my envelope. It had a copy of the information she already given me.

You are NED MULLIGAN

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’

But there was more.

Teresa had included a small square of parchment, with the word ‘Pistol’ written on it with a fine calligraphy pen. And there was another note in the envelope.

– YOU REMEMBER THE SECRET RECOGNITION SIGNAL OF REDBEARD’S CREW: THREE FINGERS PLACED AGAINST THE RIGHT EARLOBE

I read everything through one more time, but there was nothing new except for the pistol, and the last clue.

There was no need to rush; the girls would take a while to get dressed and apply makeup. I decided to blow up the air mattress first. When that was done, I took out my costume and got dressed.

Craig and Eric were already in the living room. Craig had his striped shirt deckhand look; Eric was still wearing that ridiculous beard. I went downstairs to get us all another beer.

Claire was the first of the ladies Bursa Escort Bayan to join us. If anything, she looked even hotter than she had that day at the Lido. It was a bit awkward for a moment, with three guys leering at her. Craig found a voice first.

– “Wow, Claire. You look … awesome.” he said.

Lena emerged from the Captain’s cabin. She had a scarf, or a veil, covering her head and half of her face. Her top looked like a frilly bandeau, covering her breasts, but not much else. She wore a long black skirt with gold tassels. She had some flimsy, translucent veils hanging from her shoulders, but they did nothing to hide all of that delectable skin. Between the bandeau and the skirt, her midriff was bare – and there was a lot of uncovered torso to be seen. She was so damned tall …

She looked a bit like a gypsy fortune-teller, or the girl from the Hunchback of Notre Dame. This time, I remembered my manners first.

– “Lena! That looks amazing. Where did you get your costume?”

– “Teresa take me. It is OK?”

– “More than OK.” I reassured her. “You look wonderful.”

Ben made his grand entrance down the stairs. I don’t know where he got his costume, but it wasn’t from the Lido. Ben was dressed like … Assassin’s Creed. White hood, extra long black leather vest, with a black leather crossbelt. He had a long white shirt, with blue trim, wrist guards, and high leather boots. OK – I admit it – he looked pretty cool. But Assassin’s Creed? Really?

Eliza and Sheila came down together. I had already seen Ee’s costume, but I was certainly not tired of looking at it. Sheila, though, had gotten quite creative. She had a black kerchief on her head, and long dark hair hanging down to her waist. It was a wig! She also had a white lace shirt that left her shoulders bare, a lace-up corset, and a burgundy-coloured skirt down to her ankles. She had a petticoat, too, but it was transparent. When she lifted her skirts, you could see quite a bit of leg over the top of her high-heeled, lace-up boots. Add to that a black velvet choker … and Sheila looked pretty good.

– “Fantastic.” I told her. “You look sexy and dangerous at the same time.”

– “Good.” she said. “That’s kind of what I was hoping for.”

– “Love the wig, too.” I added.

– “You would.”

Leo finally came down, in his Jack Sparrow costume. He got a round of applause. I had to laugh – he had added the eye makeup.

Then Teresa came out, and she got applause, too. My ex was very, very smart: she didn’t try to upstage any of the players. Her costume was deliberately less sexy than any of the others. She had a tricorne hat, and a really cute dress that looked like a gentleman’s long coat, except that it ended in a skirt. It was burgundy colour, with wide black lapels and large brass buttons down the front. Her white shirt was buttoned at the neck, so that she showed no cleavage whatsoever. The shirt had wide, elaborate lace cuffs. The skirt reached to her knees, but high boots and a thick, frilly petticoat meant that she was showing only a couple of inches of skin. For a final touch, she had a replica pistol tucked into a broad black belt.

Compared to Claire and the others, Teresa’s costume made her look like a pirate Mother Superior. She was attractive and authoritative, without the blatant, outrageous sexuality of the others. It suited her, somehow, as if she truly belonged in another century. Understated, yet effective.

– “Very, very impressive.” I told her.

– “Thank you.” she said, with her classic half-smile. “Are we all here?” she asked.

– “Everyone except Barbara.” said Eliza.

– “Ah. Well, then – everybody should make sure that they have a fresh drink.” said Teresa.

Barbara was last, of course. No one was surprised. She got to make her grand entrance. And she still managed to exceed our expectations.

Barbara wore a long coat – yes, burgundy-coloured. What was it with that colour for pirate costumes? The wide lapels were black, and the lining of her coat featured a swirling pattern of black and gold. She had a white shirt with cuffs like Teresa’s, but the resemblance ended there; Barbara’s neckline was scandalously low, showing an insane amount of cleavage. I wanted to get a ruler or a tape measure and stick my hands in there.

She had a tight little corset lifting and supporting her large boobs, and a gold chain around her neck. There may have been a pendant attached, but I couldn’t see one, as it disappeared into the enormous crevasse between her tits. Her belt had a large, ornate brass buckle. Her legs were snugly sheathed in black tights, tucked into knee-high black high-heeled boots. On top, she had a wide-brimmed black felt hat with a fake ostrich feather.

And would you believe it: she was wearing an eyepatch.

Barbara must have spent hours combing all of the costume shops to find the most outrageously sexy components they had. She also wore makeup to match – lots and lots around her eyes. She came down the stairs, slowly, and struck a pose.

I would have bet a sizeable fortune that every guy there was hard as a rock. It wasn’t just Barbara – though she could have cause a riot in a monastery – it was the combined effect of six very attractive women dressed to match a variety of male fantasies.

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