Sunday Photo Fiction — Where’s the Murder?

21888A13-762B-4E7D-B67E-9F04E5B56C7D“Look at that big crow, Dad,” Brian said, pointing to the large black bird on the sidewalk.

Daniel looked around. “I wonder where the murder is,” he said.

Brian gave his father a quizzical look. “Did you say ‘murder,’ Dad?”

“Crows, Brian, usually hang out in groups and a group of crows is called a ‘murder.’”

“Why? Are crows dangerous?” Brian asked.

“Not at all. Back in the day, son, groupings of many animals had colorful and poetic names. A lot of them were based on old folklore and superstitions,” Daniel explained. “For example, one folktale says that crows would rgather to decide the fate of another crow.”

“Wow, like a jury of its peers,” Brian said. “That’s so cool.”

“Yes, and in the past,” Daniel added, “many viewed the appearance of crows as an omen of death because they are scavengers and are generally associated with dead bodies, battlefields, and cemeteries. They are thought to circle in large numbers above sites where animals or people are expected to soon die.”

“Is anyone going to die around here, Dad?”

“Don’t worry, Brian,” Daniel smiled. “Even if a murder of crows show up, no one is going to actually be murdered.”

(200 words)


Written for today’s Sunday Photo Fiction prompt from Donna McNicol. Photo credit: dbmcnicol at Pixabay.

Once Upon a Crime

799E8244-6AC6-47D8-9541-BD1E7AB9EF57Police Captain Rory has assigned me, Ace Detective Fandango, to investigate and solve a heinous crime. There are five people involved in this crime:

My job is to determine:

  • Who is the victim?
  • Who is the murderer?
  • What is the location?
  • What is the murder weapon?
  • What is the motive?

After examining all of the facts and conducting a series of interviews, here is the report of my findings:

Our victim, Emily, was found dead in her zombie flamingos garden. All evidence points to Teresa as the murderer. Teresa used a poison tipped pen to commit the crime.

As to motive, Teresa is a single mother with a teenage son. One day late last year, Teresa was told by her best friend, Paula, at a dinner hosted by Kristian, that there were rumors that her son was taking drugs.

Being the good, caring mother that she is, Teresa took her son to the emergency room, where he was seen by Dr. Tanya. The doctor ordered a blood and urine test, and, sadly, the results were positive.

When confronted with the test results, Teresa’s son broke down and admitted that he spent a lot of time after school over at Emily’s because he loved to play with her cats. One day, though, one of her cats was “in a mood” — you know how cats can be, right? — and the cat bit and scratched Teresa’s son.

It turned out that Emily, wanting to ensure that the boy’s wounds didn’t get infected from cat scratch fever, gave him a high potency narcotic in tablet form. The drug did work to prevent the infection, but it also gave the boy a sense of calm euphoria, a feeling that he began to crave.

Teresa’s son continued to visit Emily and her cats after school each day. But unbeknownst to Emily, he had persuaded Emily’s zombie flamingos, who were known to be a bit mischievous, to provide him with more of those euphoria-inducing tablets until he became addicted to them.

This revelation haunted Teresa. She vowed to seek revenge against Emily for having gotten her son addicted to the drug. As a wordsmith, Teresa knew that the pen is mightier than the sword and began to plot her revenge. She visited Kristian, with whom she, Paula, and Emily often dined. Teresa knew that Kristian kept a supply of rat poison in her home to keep the rats at bay during her frequent dinner parties. Teresa made up some story about seeing rats in her basement and asked Kristian if she could have some rat poison to get rid of them. Kristian was happy to oblige.

Back at home, Teresa took out a special pen and coated its tip with rat poison. When Emily invited Teresa, Paula, and Kristian to tea in her garden a few days later, Teresa brought her special pen and presented it to Emily as a thank you gift. Emily thought the pen was lovely, and thanked Teresa profusely. Paula told me that she heard Teresa tell Emily to be sure to lick the pen’s tip with her tongue to get the ink flowing.

A day later, Teresa and Paula came back over to Emily’s place. Emily was tending to her flamingos in her garden when Teresa gave her a copy of her latest book. After handing the book to Emily, Teresa asked her if she’d like her to autograph it. Emily said she’d love that and ran into her house to get the pen Teresa had given her the night before. “Don’t forget to lick the tip,” Teresa said to Emily, Paula recounted.

Moments later, Emily keeled over. Paula called for an ambulance, but by the time they got Emily to the hospital, she was gone. A postmortem conducted by Dr. Tanya confirmed the cause of death to be rat poison.

I arrested Teresa, who is now out on bail to care for her teenage son. Despite all of the evidence against her, Teresa claims that she’s innocent, denies having murdered Emily, and assets that she’s been framed. However, I find that claim lacks credibility.

Respectfully submitted,

Ace Detective Fandango.

Wrongly Accused

00D8BC20-CF5B-4D27-80D1-5478FE636335I, Fandango Fivedotoh, have been wrongly accused of the murder of Lady D by Inspector Li. As I will explain in this deposition before Police Captain Rory, all of the evidence of my alleged act is speculative and circumstantial and I am being framed for a heinous crime that I did not commit.

Lady D, the victim, was putting on a big fashion show at the Mount Vixen Ski Resort, where I happen to be skiing naked, as I am won’t to do, on a few occasions since arriving here with my wife, who is doing a stand up comedy show at the resort. As a strong proponent of naturism, and as someone who spends most of his time in the altogether, I do not follow the fashion industry and have no interest in fashion shows. In fact, I had never even heard of, much less ever seen, Lady D. What possible reason could I have to murder her?

Inspector Li claims that my wife, Britchy, had been victimized by Spacey, who was charged but never prosecuted. And while it’s true that Spacey did victimize her, that was many years ago and she is so over it. But Inspector Li claims that I “went off the deep end” when I heard Lady D on Poddy’s podcast bragging Spacey up. The inspector alleges that I decided, upon hearing that podcast, to serve up justice cold.

The inspector then claims that I had seen Ms. KK out on the biathlon range and knew she had a rifle. While Ms. KK was in the lounge, I allegedly slipped her key card out of her purse and took her rifle from her room. My plan, the inspector further alleges, with no evidence whatsoever, by the way,  was to “take out” one of the pro-Spaceys in town. The morning, after I heard the podcast, Inspector Li claims that is when I decided to target Lady D. And so I supposedly slipped into town and climbed the tower in Town Square and waited for my opportunity to shoot and kill someone I’d never heard of.

First of all, I never listen to podcasts. And why would I choose to listen to a podcast with someone who is a fashion aficionado when, as a naturist, I have zero interest in fashion?

Second, where is the physical evidence? Has the rifle allegedly used in the shooting been found so that it can be checked for fingerprints? No, it has not.

Third, the resort’s lodge has security cameras all over the place, including the lounge and the sleeping floors. Show me any tapes where I can be seen stealing a key card from Ms. KK’s handbag or entering into her room. There are no such tapes.

And fourth, I have airtight alibis, having been seen by many on the slope the night before and relaxing in the hot tub when this crime took place.

There is no physical evidence whatsoever that would justify my arrest. No murder weapon, no fingerprints, no video tapes, nothing. Not even a motive, since neither my wife nor I care about Spacey. Nor do I listen to podcasts, give a shit about fashion, or know who Lady D was.

The fact is, Captain Rory, that you put a lot of pressure on Inspector Li make an arrest and to close this case. Who better than a naked skier and the husband of a stand up comic known for her raunchy jokes? We are strangers and we are scapegoats. I am being set up to take the fall for a crime I did not commit. You have no basis to hold me and I demand that you release me immediately.

I rest my case.

Murder He Wrote — Part Two

7EA72AEF-4548-4769-98D3-9D05EBB29BB8This is part two of a story about a crime of passion. It stands alone, but if you care to, you can read part one here.


As soon as the shock of Brian’s threat to kill her passed, Emily began laughing hysterically. “Emily, please stop laughing at me,” he pleaded. But she didn’t stop.

With tears streaming from his eyes, Brian ran from the living room into the bedroom, slamming the door behind him. Even with the door closed, he could still hear Emily laughing.

Brian braced his back against the door waiting for her mocking laughter to stop, which it finally did. After a few minutes of silence, Brian sat down on the edge of the bed, barely breathing, wishing he could just disappear. Then he heard her heavy footsteps as she walked by the bedroom toward the kitchen. He held his breath.

The refrigerator door opened and closed. Pressure was released as another bottle of Pepsi was opened. He heard her walking back to the living room, where she planted herself down onto the couch.

“You bastard,” Emily called out. “I missed the first half of my soap.”

Brian knew he didn’t have it in him to kill Emily. He couldn’t even kill a cockroach or spider. He’d trap them and then open up a window and toss them outside. He took a deep breath, gathered himself, and marched from the bedroom to the living room and positioned himself between Emily and the TV.

“What do you want now?” Emily asked.

The tone of her voice knocked some of the confidence from Brian, but he cleared his throat and said as calmly as he could, “I want a divorce.”

Once again, Emily burst into laughter. Brian looked at her sprawled out on the couch like a beached whale. What was left of his confidence was replaced by raw hatred.

“You want a divorce?” Emily said when she finally stopped laughing. “First he wants to kill me and now he wants a divorce,” she said as if addressing some imaginary third party in the room. “The impotent little mouse gets fired, comes home, and announces that he wants to kill me. But he doesn’t have the balls, so now he wants a divorce. What a brave little mouse he is.” Glaring at Brian, Emily demanded, “Now get out of my way so I can watch my soap.”

“Emily, listen to me,” Brian pleaded. “I’m serious.”

Emily looked up at Brian. “And what is my brave little mouse going to do if I refuse? Threaten to kill me again? Now move so I can watch my damn soap.”

Deep down inside Brian knew that Emily wouldn’t agree to a divorce. Why would she? She pretty much controlled everything in their lives. Emily repositioned herself so that she could see the TV.

Feeling nothing but contempt, Brian’s eyes darted frantically around the room, unable to focus on anything in particular. He was looking for something, but he had no idea for what. He was having trouble deciphering the noises swirling around his head.

Unable to organize his thoughts in any rational way, he turned away from Emily and almost mechanically started walking toward the kitchen.

As if in a trance, Brian went to the cabinet with the pots and pans. He searched until he found a heavy skillet, which he picked up and held in both of his hands, not sure why he’d reached for it.

“Brian, what are you going to do now?” Emily appeared in the kitchen door, her shrill voice breaking his trance. “Are you going to cook something?” she said mockingly.

“I, I, I’m going to, um, make some pancakes,” Brian stammered.

“Give me that, you idiot! What do you know about making pancakes?” Emily said as she reached for the skillet. “First you get fired, then threaten to kill me, then ask for a divorce, and now you want to make pancakes.”

“I’m warning you, Emily,” Brian said as Emily moved to take the skillet from him. “Keep away from me.” His voice was cracking and he began sweating profusely.

A grin came to Emily’s face and her smile evolved into a subdued chuckle. “Is this another death threat, mouse?”

“Damn you, Emily. Quit calling me that”

“Well stop acting like one,” Emily snapped back.

“Shut your mouth you over-stuffed cow!” Brian’s tone surprised even him.

“How dare you speak to me like….”

“Shut your goddam mouth, Emily.”

The sting of Emily’s hand striking against Brian’s face was fiery. Without thinking about what he was doing, Brian raised the skillet and started swinging it in a wide arc toward Emily’s head.

“Brian, what? Brian, NO! Bri….”

The skillet hit the left side of Emily’s face with crushing force. Her body went limp and she fell back across the kitchen table. Brian lifted the skillet over his head and brought it down on his target a second time. And a third. And then a few more times. Until his rage subsided.

Covered in blood splatter and brain matter, he dropped the heavy skillet, walked over to the kitchen sink, and puked his guts out.

#FOWC — Double Life

90EEDBE3-DAE6-43D5-94B2-D0F9A0237235“What do you suspect happened here?” Detective Ron Hayden asked his partner, Detecitve Jim Morrisey.”

“I suspect foul play,” Morrisey said.

“So you don’t suspect it’s suicide?” Hayden asked. “It sure looks to me like suicide.”

“I suspect the scene was staged make it look like suicide, but I suspect the vic was murdered,” Morrisey said.

“Who do you suspect did it?” Hayden asked.

“I suspect it was her husband,” Morrisey answered. “The husband is always the most likely suspect.”

“Yeah, I suspect that’s true,” Hayden agreed.

“I looked into the suspect before we got here,” Morrisey said. “He’s suspected of having a different wife and kids one town over.”

“You mean he’s living a double life?” Hayden asked. “We need to bring him in for questioning.”

“I suspect our suspect has already skipped town,” Morrisey lamented.

I suspect you’re right,” Hayden agreed.


Written for today’s Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie Sunday Writing Prompt, which calls for us to write a detective story where someone in the story is leading a double life.

Also written for today’s Fandango’s One-Word Challenge, “suspect.”