Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Chapter 12

That Friday night brought another new experience for me; a double date with Lupa Schwartz. He was with Wanda Corwin. I was with Rabbi Ulric Devaki. Apparently, the rabbi had been seriously enamored, and what the hell, it was just one little date.

Schwartz and Wanda stood behind us on line shivering and trying hard to keep each other warm, while Devaki and I braced our selves individually against the cold and spoke of the case-file I was writing for Gamut magazine.

“There are still a few loose ends I can’t quite put together,” I said turning to glance at Schwartz who clearly didn’t wish to be interrupted. I returned my attention to my date. “Didn’t he imply that the killer would have some kind of tell. That discussion about hell and retribution over dinner last week -- wasn’t that Schwartz saying that the killer would give himself away?”

“I would say that is a fair assessment of the conversation,” Devaki agreed.

“Well, he figured everything out after only seeing the promo for one episode of Overlord one time. And Todd deMarc wasn’t even in the promo.”

“But he had edited the promo,” Devaki said. “Think about it. In the promo, we were shown several real people being portrayed as characters in a narrative. We also saw the compound which was made to look like a house even from the outside when there was no reason for that except to sell the idea to the audience that these people were a family. Todd deMarc exposed to all of America the fact that he didn’t regard his contestants as people. To him they are a commodity. Lupa saw that promo, and knew that the murder of Myron Lefkowitz had been planned and executed as a story-moving subterfuge. That led him to his suspect, and the rest fell right into place.”

“I suppose so,” I said.

“You don’t seem happy with that explanation,” Devaki said.

“Well, it just seems so obvious now. I mean, I worked on that case for a week, and I had all of the same evidence that Schwartz had. Why couldn’t I come up with the solution?”

“Well, don’t beat yourself up too badly.” Ulric placed a hand on my back. “All of America had the same evidence you had, including the entire LA police department. They didn’t solve the problem either.”

“That’s true,” I said. “But Schwartz was actually able to work it out without having once even seen the show.”

“That actually made it easier,” Schwartz said behind me. “I didn’t have any pre-conceived ideas that the contestants were so totally isolated that the killer had to be one of them. You and the rest of the viewing public had been brainwashed into thinking of the contestants as some kind of cast-offs completely isolated from the rest of the world.” Schwartz placed his hand to his chest. “On the other hand, I never lost sight of the fact that the real world was just on the other side of the one-way glass. I knew from the very beginning that there was really only one overlord, and it wasn’t one of the contestants. The only man who actually had total control over what happened in that compound was the executive producer. I started with the concept that he was responsible, and then simply reasoned out how he would have done it and why.”

"Speaking of Overlord,” Wanda said. “We’re missing tonight’s episode.”

“It’s kind of anti-climactic now, don’t you think?” I said. “I mean who cares who the secret overlord is now that we know that the whole thing was just a set up for a murder.”

“Well, I have been following it for eight or nine weeks now. I would like to see how it turns out,” Wanda said.

“I’m taping it,” I admitted with a casual head tilt.

At that moment we were met by the third couple in our double-cum-triple date. Trevor Johns and Mia Giovani joined our little quartet. “Hi,” Mia said. “Sorry we’re late. Trevor had to take a call from the precinct.”

“Hey,” a voice behind us shouted. “No line cutting.” I turned and saw what I had expected to be the young Turk with the anemic girlfriend we had had our run-in with the week before. It wasn’t. It was a different Turk with a girlfriend whose blood ran fine.

“You are absolutely correct,” Schwartz said. “We should move to the end of the line.”

“No way,” Wanda said. “We knew they were coming, and we saved them a spot on line. What’s wrong with that?”

“What’s wrong with it,” Schwartz began trying against his nature to sound patient, “is that if everybody did that there would be no need for more than one person to arrive early. That person could then see forty friends arrive at the last minute and allow them all to move ahead of everybody else who had been waiting on queue.”

“That’s extremely unlikely,” Wanda retorted logically. “Besides, if they did do that they would deserve credit for their clever manipulation of the system.”

“You consider that behavior laudable?” Schwartz demanded.

“I do,” Wanda said. “In fact, let’s put it into practice. The rest of us are going to the coffee shop across the street leaving you to stand here and wait on line. When you reach the ticket counter, just buy six adult price admissions and then come and get us. Who’s with me?”

“I could use a hot chocolate,” I said as we three ladies started across the street. Looking over my shoulder, I saw Trevor and Ulric shrugging to Lupa as they soon trotted after us.

“Fine!” Schwartz shouted. “I’ll get your tickets. And in case you’re at all curious, I know which contestant is the overlord. I reasoned it out and verified it with the man who took over as producer for Mr. DeMarc.”

Wanda froze in her tracks. She turned slowly to face Lupa. “Don’t you dare,” she said.

Schwartz’s eyebrow shot up, and his head cocked to the side. “Shall we move to the back of the line?” he asked us.

So no hot chocolate again that night. It’s hell being addicted to puzzle solving when you live with a solution spoiling genius.

The End


Blogger Matt said...

This story is truly well written. The plot moves along at a strong pace that keeps the reader interested constantly. I feel the plot is the strongest asset to this story.

I felt that the opening conversation taking place during the commercials of Overlord was forced. The material was fitting for the situation, but the language and voice seemed unfitting to three women chatting while watching reality tv.

The twist at the end involving the producer instead of an Overlord contestant was clever. I enjoyed how Schwartz's nuances were played in subtly during his interrogation and eventual accusation.

Overall, this novel struck me as a good quick read. At the end I wished it had been longer. Not because anything was lacking, but because I enjoyed where it was going and how it was getting there. I would be interested in reading more of your work.


9/24/2008 12:42 AM  
Blogger Matt said...

ps - it says "matt said" because I used my husbands google account to post the comment.

9/24/2008 12:43 AM  

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