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A Dash of Poison

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Detective Samuel lazily swings his hat back and forth, between his fingertips,while looking at the phone forlornly. Ever since his last case where he had accused an innocent bystander (in his defense, a very suspicious bystander) of being a highly specialized trained assassin (the headlines all across the world title: “Samuels great blunder! Wrongly accused man stays at jail for a week!”) he hadn’t received a call for months. Now he was desperate for any case, no matter the location. Hell, it could be the U.S for all he cared. The phone sat there like a big,stubborn, solid, rock, mocking and reminding him of his dire situation. “PLEASE! I’LL DO ANYTHING!” he shouted. “LORD, JUST MAKE SOMEONE CALL!” The world must’ve finally felt pity for Samuel, as the phone began to ring. “TRILL!TRILL!TRILL” yammered the phone. Samuel rocketed out of his chair, and (although he knew the client couldn’t see him) straightened his tie and quickly ran his hand through his hair. He waited patiently 3 rings… One… Two…. 3! He slowly grabbed the phone, and waited until he stopped rapidly breathing. “This is Theodore Samuel’s detective agency. What can I do for you today?” At first, after receiving no answer for a good 10 seconds, he thought it was a prank and was about to angrily hang up, only for a meek voice to finally reply. “There’s been a shocking turn of events at the museum…”
       

Samuel had arrived at the museum a quarter before 8:00 A.M., partially for evidence, and also just for a good reputation. The first thing he had done, was examined the body and see if he could find any fingerprints at all on the body. None, which meant no close range combat had happened. Apparently, the body had once been the great museum director, who had apparently perished earlier in the morning (Proven by the dried blood on the victim). Just in case he was wrong (It’s not like he’s ever wrong though, right?), he had sent for some lab workers, who would also thoroughly examine the body. “They should be here any second now….” he murmured, nervously tapping his watch. Five minutes passed, then ten, yet no one appeared. He had been waiting 15 minutes (and quite ready to leave) when at last a young man wearing a white lab coat casually strolled in, acting as if he was oblivious to how late he was. The detectives expression dropped from a frown to full-blown scowl as he waited for the lad to began his report from the lab. “Well?!” he finally shouted, fed up with waiting, and embarrassment that this young boy seemed to think he was better than him. What a snobby young man he thought, as the latter took a deep breath and began to speak. “After running some test, we the lab, have decided that there is not a trace of any fingertips on the body” here, he briefly stopped. Perhaps to see if the detective would take a deep breath of admiration of the labs skills, or let this brief (and small) information to be soaked in. Whatever he expected though, he was clearly disappointed when he received a not-so-well hidden eye roll from the detective. Partially shocked and feeling a bit mortified from the detective, he continued on “The victim also seems to have been stabbed in one of his lungs, which as a vital organ, would kill him. We also found something interesting about his blood-type. From our original files on the museum director, it says that its was A, but now after taking some test we have new data that is saying…” Here, the brief man was stopped. “That's quite enough out of you young man. I have all the information I need from the lab right now. Thank you for your help. I must be getting to work.” He began to walk off, only once again to be questioned by the pestering young charge.“But really sir, I think this is rather important….” To this the detective spun on his heels and shouted “GOOD DAY!” A heartbeat passed. “And they said I had a large ego…”


The detective thrummed his fingers nervously across the oak-wood table. He was reflecting on all the information he had gathered from the museum coordinator. Apparently, he and the museum director had been quite close once they were little and knew almost everything about each other. The museum coordinator had also said: “I left as soon as the 8:00 bell rang, as I always leave at that time. My wife gets rather cranky if I don’t arrive home before 8:05. Anyway, when I was checking over the museum, I noticed that two people who normally aren’t out very late were at the museum. This rather surprised me, as they were the type of people to stick to their schedules.” At this point, Samuel had jumped in the conversation and asked for who the people were, and if they could be called to the museum by the order of law. The coordinator swiftly agreed, but said he would omit ‘Order Of Law’ when he spoke to them. They had all agreed to gather that day at the museum in 5 minutes. The detective would leave just as quickly as he came if they were to arrive after 10 minutes. 4 minutes remaining…. He tapped his foot rapidly against the beautiful tiled floor in timing with the beats. “Why is everyone never punctual?” he wondered out loud when the 2 minute mark hit. Just in rushed an untidy and eccentric man, repeatedly snapping photos of everything. “THIS IS SOOO COOL!” He shouted energetically. The detective was bewildered. Maybe he should began to call the cops. In fact, he was quite sure that this man screamed RAMPAGING LUNATIC. The officers would have to be crazy not to believe him. Just as he was reaching for his mobile phone, another character with a complete different personality came in. He seemed rather depressed and gloomy. Samuel studied both of them closely. Perhaps he could arrest them both. “Ahhh, you all finally arrived! Splendid!” said the museum coordinator. “Now, let’s began a little chat about the museum director, shall we?” A brief pause. “What about him?” said the bubbly man. “Well my dear foreign friend (a traveler, huh), it seems like the director has been murdered! And you both were out unusually late that time of night and day.” “Are you saying we murdered the man? Because that's absolutely preposterous. We both have reputations that we don’t want to ruin. Or at least I do...” The tourist took no mind of the snide comment coming from the soon to be known as professor, and began to snap more photos of the surrounding area. “But of course, that’s the perfect excuse for the murder.” “And how do we know that you yourself haven’t committed the crime?” The coordinator seemed to be offended by this comment, only for the detective to say “No, he’s right. You are a suspect yourself. Now, lets return to the business at hand….”


After their brief meeting, the great sleuth (the only word to describe him) was left to wander the museum by himself for two hours. He had arranged to meet each person personally at his house to interview them each separately. He would easily solve this case, and he would be re-named the greatest detective in Britain, no… THE WORLD. While he was caught in his daydream, he didn’t hear the soft patter of feet behind him. It was only when he heard the sudden ‘Ka-Chip’ did he turn around and stare in a stupor at the falling paintings. “Bloody hell…” he muttered as 100 paintings crashed like exploding falling stars. The worst part: They seemed to be in the accurate position to crush/impale him if he was hit. He was still in a daze until he felt a scrape against his arm. He span on his heels, and dived for the next room, barely having his entire arm crushed by a solid hanging abstract art. All those years he had cursed his training, believing that it would never come into handy. Now he was all too thankful for his quick reflexes (or at least that's what he likes to think). He sprinted for the exit, not eager to see the look on the museum coordinators face  “Well, another scrape I managed to safely get out off. Now just how to explain what happened to the paintings to the museum coordinator…”


“ABSOLUTELY UNBELIEVABLE! YOU'RE TRYING TO TELL ME THAT HUNDREDS OF PRICELESS PAINTINGS WERE DESTROYED RIGHT BEFORE YOUR EYES, AND YET YOU DIDN’T TRY TO SAVE ON??!!” The detective knew that the coordinator would be upset… but he didn’t think that he would be THIS upset. “I’m sorry that it happened, but someone was obviously trying to eliminate me so…” The coordinator paid no mind to what the sleuth said by continuing right on where he left off on his rant (Although this time, much calmer than before). I expect you to pay, of course.” he said “P-PAY!!” the detective sputtered. “Have you not noticed I’ve been doing this entire case for free??” “That may be so, but it doesn’t waver the cost of those hundreds of paintings that have been destroyed.” To this, the sleuth was at a lost for words, as sadly, and as much as he hated to say it, he still owed the man some pound notes. “Well…. yes” he begrudgingly agreed. “After the case, of course.” “Of course” said the irritable man. “I must be on my way then. You know, to visit our remaining suspects and solve more cases for free.” The curator nodded happily, not detecting the sarcasm dripping in the older mans voice. And in one giant foot step, the detective managed to walk out in the cold, freezing air. He decided he would go straight to the tourist’s house (As he seemed to more friendly of the two). If he’s touring, how does he have a house here? the detective wondered. He would find out soon enough once he began his questioning, he supposed. The tourists house was half a mile from the museum, the perfect and ideal location where the murderer could live. Before he had talked to the museum coordinator (more like yelled at by the museum coordinator), he had researched the victim. Apparently his name was Alexander Kanzat, and was a pretty well known man in the business world. Although he wasn’t the kindest person, he wasn’t a brute. There was no reason for anybody to kill him, it seemed. Well… other than that major rival he had in grade school. But that was a thing of the past, right? He looked up to see that he arrived, only to look down. Then once again he quickly looked up at the house in shock. For a madman (or so it seems) his house was incredibly neat and tidy. The grass green, and full of life, trimmed evenly. There were mini statues of famous monuments in his lawn, that seemed to be made out of marble. The house was shaded a light sky blue, and looked like a quaint little cottage in general. Somewhat. It would’ve looked like the perfect scene out of some fantasy picture book. If there wasn’t a small young man with jet black hair dressed up in a torn, ragged, yellow apron, and a small straw hat standing in the yard. He appeared to be gardening, but seemed to be unsuccessful for pulling weeds out their unwelcomed home. Samuel backed away slowly, hoping that the man hadn’t seen him yet. He would’ve been successful in his escape, if not for the fact that a humongous tree branch happened to conveniently be behind him. He stepped back, and WHOOSH- he was sprawling on his back the next second. “Who goes there?” barked the tourist. Samuel groaned and cursed his misfortune as he slowly (and rather ungracefully) got back on his legs. “It is I, Detective Theodore Sam…” “Yeah, I get it. Why don’t you come inside and visit my humble abode for a while?” I was going to anyway, he thought to himself as he climbed the rickety old stairs. “That reminds me. Since you're a tourist, how do you have a home here? Wouldn’t have made more sense to book a hotel?” He paused in mid-opening of the door, and said “Believe it or not, I once grew up in this area. This was my hometown. I eventually decided that I had enough of this place so I left and went off to view the world. I have family in this area though, so I come back home every 6 months to visit. As you can see, they’ve done a pretty good job of taking care of the house while I’m not here.” … “So you say you’ve grown up here, huh. Does that mean you know the museum director as a child?” The tourist/crazy man jumped from his chair excitedly. “Why, I believe I did! We were such good friends, him and I. It's a shame we lost contact after school. Why, I never would’ve thought he would have chosen this as his job occupation. When we were little…” and at this, the sleuth began to zone out of the conversation. They truly, really did sound like good friends. It couldn’t possibly be this guy, could it? “I’m sorry to cut you short” the detective said, earning a glare from the man who was recalling wonderful memories. “But I really must know the answer to one question” A deep sigh was heard from the tourist as he checked his watch.”I suppose that I have time before I go back to gardening... “ Your garden needs more than just gardening, my friend. “I was wondering, do you do anything extra in your free time?’ To this, he heard a laugh of amusement from his current companion. “You think I have free time! I’m always busy exploring the world around me! I have no time for any extra activities other than my traveling.” (You should get out less) “Well, it’s been a pleasure for this last….” here he glanced quickly at the clock in despair “hour. I hope we’ll see each other again soon” “Yes, as long as it’s not prison.” here the detective allowed himself to show a fake smile, before tipping his hat in farewell, and walking out the door. “What a scattered mind man” he murmured to himself. “He was a rather fishy and strange guy… but i highly doubt that he would kill his dear friend. Oh no! That would certainly haunt him forever. I’m guessing the professor wasn’t as close to the director as was the tourist. In fact…” Here he stopped, and much like before, gasped in shock after seeing the professor's house. “My word, this house looks like it came out of ‘The Shining’....” And it was true. Whereas the rest of the street seemed to be filled with happiness, it stopped exactly an inch from the suspects mailbox. The shutters were dark gray, and the house looked like it was prepared for a tornado. Although neat and tidy, it gave off a foreboding feeling (Although the detective wasn’t affected by it in the least. Oh no, he wasn’t affected at ALL). He gathered his wits (he already had more than enough courage to spare, thank you very much) and like a zombie, gradually made his way towards the door. He took in a deep breath, before he quickly rubbed his finger against the bell. A loud ding rang throughout the house as he heard the sounds of someone running rapidly down the stairs. A face poked out cautiously. “Yes…?” it said. “It is I, the great…” Not missing a beat, the professor said “Yes, Yes, I know who you are. Your exactly ten minutes late. Do try to be punctual next time.” The one time I’m not on time I get stuck with a pest like this. The professor led the sleuth into his main lobby, where he had two plump chairs seated across from each other. They looked like war generals, establishing a temporary peace treaty. To break the tension in the room, the detective faked enthusiasm and said cheerily “What a nice house you have!” And what a stupid thing to say… “Thank you. I believe you're here for a reason other than idle chit-chat.” Feeling stupid he replied just as sourly “Obviously. I was wondering If u happened to do anything in your free time.” The professor then stretched back in his chair, and seemed to think for a moment. “Well, if you must know” Yes I must ”during school days I teach biology, and on the weekend, i teach fencing.” The detective, who had been casually slouching in his chair, now abruptly sat-up. “Fencing you say…” The professor looked suspicious. “Yes, and I’m pretty good at it if I do say so myself” he said proudly. Samuels head swirled with all this new information. He was pretty sure that the victim had been stabbed by a sword. So does that mean!!!! “Just out of curiosity… Did you go to school with the director.” The professor slowly closed his eyes and opened them again. “Yes… I did.” “And how close were you?” … “We weren’t very close at all. In grade school, he was my main rival. But I would never kill him!” That's what they all say before they're caught. “Of course. Thank you for your time. I must be going, it's pretty late.” “Of course, how rude of me. Please do visit again soon.” “Yes, of course.” You could barely notice it, but as the detective walked out the door, there was a hint of a smile on his face. I must alert the officers of this at once. I have solved this case!

 

At the police station, he told everything to the lone officer. “Are you positive he killed the man?” He didn’t even have to think about his answer. “Yes, he definitely did.” The young lady he was speaking to smiled and nodded her head. “Of course hun” she said winking. As he got up to leave, she quickly asked “I have some coffee if you want some before going home. It will help you be alert on your way home.” “No I couldn’t….” She immediately objected and claimed she had more than enough for herself. “All right, if you're sure…” “Of course I am.” She quickly went to get the coffee and came back later holding a steaming cup. He took the cup from her and sipped slowly. It had a nasty bitter taste, and he didn’t exactly want to finish the cup. But she was watching, so he downed it all in 4 swallows. “And what exactly is this coffee called?” he questioned, so he would know what to avoid in future dates. She smiled and said “Yours is called Atropa belladonna. Mine is nutmeg.” What an odd name. I feel like I’ve heard Atropa belladonna somewhere before. Perhaps in my herbology book? He suddenly clutched his stomach, and put his hand against his head. “I suddenly feel very sick…” he murmured. The women looked over at him and looked concern. But not truly. She looked like she was feigning it. Or it could just him being paranormal and delusional. “I’ll take you home” she said. And for the next 24 hours, he felt miserable.
   

“I swear I didn’t kill the museum director! IT WASN’T ME!” The police officer sadly shook her head, her red ponytail swaying back and forth. “We’re sorry sir, but the evidence disagrees.”


“I WISH TO SEE THE DETECTIVE!” Once again, the women expressed sadness and a hint of annoyance. “He’s feeling under the weather. He won’t be able to see you.” A heartbeat later. “Or anybody at all ever again” she murmured into his ear. “NO! I’VE BEEN FRAMED! YOU KILLED HIM!” To this she laughed and replied “Who did I kill? The museum director, or the detective? I’m just following orders.” And with those final words to him, his fate was sealed as he was taken away to the guillotine.
  

Somewhere on the other side of the world, a man's cruel laugh echoed. “I take that everything went to plan?” the man said to a woman whom he was communicating over mobile phone. “Yes, Mr.Alexander Kanzat. What are my orders now?” Pause on the other line. “Now we wait Miranda. We wait for everyone to find out too late.”




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