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WAS IT WORTH IT?
“Time for celebrations, people….”
“Cheers to Gary and Emily for their fifth marriage anniversary!!!”
It was Gary Cullen and Emily Gordon’s fifth marriage anniversary. The party was at their mansion in their personal island “Merryland”. Besides them, present were Kevin Smith and Harris Brown, with the cook, Lucy preparing that night’s dinner in the kitchen and Tweety the parrot screeching her share of blessings.
Now comes the introduction.
Gary Cullen, 32, was a tremendously gifted psychologist, having obtained his PhD at a mere age of 22. Known for his sharp mind, polite nature and eloquent words, Gary was dear to all. And Emily was dearest to him.
Emily Gordon, 29, was a quite well known archaeologist. Having credit to her name many widely acclaimed international papers on code decryption; Emily was a sweet natured, enthusiastic and kind soul. Not to mention, she was very devoted to Gary.
Kevin Smith, 33, was a very famous detective and currently worked for the FBI. He was bold, deferential, yet rollicking. He was a bosom friend of Gary’s.
Harris Brown, 32, was a gifted mystery and crime author. With over 10 novels and 21 collections of short stories, his works reached millions of people worldwide. Happy-go-lucky and vivacious, he was a close friend of Emily's as well as Gary’s.
Lucy was the cook and a wonderful one too. From Italian pasta to Indian dosa, you name it, she cooked it. Though well mannered and sober, she would get quite scatty sometimes.
And what to say about Tweety? Well, she was just a parrot.
Now to the story.
That night of celebrations ended with full tummies and satisfied palates. The second day was uneventful. As Kevin and Harris had arrived the only previous night, they were shown around the palatial house. Having planned a picnic and a tour of the island the next day, they all retired to their soft and comfy beds, waiting for the next day. But they didn’t expect the upcoming turn of events.
As Gary, Emily, and Kevin were preparing to venture out, Harris declined to go. “I have this grumbling stomach. You three go. I’ll rest.” And so, Harris, Lucy the cook, and Tweety stayed behind, while Gary, Emily, and Kevin went for the picnic, leaving their phones behind.
At the picnic, the three were having quite fun. But as the afternoon approached, Kevin wanted to return. “I'm having a terrible headache, guys. I guess I’ll return. Why don’t you two stay and spend some quality time, while I go and get a cat’s nap?”
When Gary and Emily returned home, they found Kevin sitting on the sofa and reading a manuscript, while Lucy was heard washing the dishes. Tweety had gone to sleep. But Harris was not there.
“Indeed, all this while, I never saw Harris. He must be snoring his head off,” Kevin said, “let’s wait for some more time before checking out. By the way, Harris has written a wonderful, but unfinished story, the one I'm reading…love it.”
Minutes passed, hours passed, but Harris wasn’t out yet. Sensing something wrong, the three went up to Harris’ room. As the door was locked, Emily opened it with the master key. What met them was a normal sight, but with a sinister twist.
They found Harris lying on the bed. Thinking him to be asleep, Gary went to shake him awake. But when he turned Harris, they found his mouth full of foam, and no pulse. Harris was dead. Emily’s scream echoed all over the house.
It was a terrible shock to all of them. Kevin, being the detective, took charge. “Let’s get out of the room and call the police.” But to their horror, every telephone line was cut and their mobiles and radio in Gary’s room smashed. Even their boat had a hole in it. They were all alone, cut off from the outside world.
As Gary consoled Emily and Lucy stood beside, Kevin paced up and down, trying to figure out who the murderer was. After a tense two hours, Kevin finally declared that he had found the murderer. Gary was in his study, at that time, with Tweety.
“Who is it? Must be some outsider who sneaked up the island and escaped…” cried a sobbing Emily.
“No, my dear Emily. It is…Lucy!” shouted Kevin, pointing his finger at Lucy.
“No, it can’t be!! Why would I want to kill Harris sir?” cried Lucy.
“You fell in love with Harris and tried to seduce him. But he refused, and you got so angry that you fed him poison, which you molded into a tablet and replaced with Harris’ aspirin tablets!!!” Kevin announced.
All of Lucy pleadings were in vain, as neither the shocked Emily nor Kevin listened to her at all. But just then Gary entered with a grim look.
“Kevin, this unfinished book of Harris was quite interesting, isn’t it?”
“Yes, it certainly was. But why do you ask it now? Look, Lucy has murdered Harris. I found out.”
Just Tweety screeched, “Cut all lines, smash radio, and good for Harris…stole the credit …sized him up well, now to sit on sofa.”
A long silence followed, as Gary stood mute, and Kevin fathomed the importance of Tweety’s words.
Kevin stuttered, “What is this stupid parrot-”
Interrupting, Gary slowly said, “Kevin, you murdered Harris, didn’t you?”
“What!!??” Emily cried. “What makes you think so, Gary? He’s Harris’ close friend. Why would he do so?”
“Emily, from Tweety’s words, I surmised that it couldn’t have been Lucy, as she never sits on a sofa as a rule and doesn’t have access to my room. So she couldn’t have smashed the radio. An outsider is out of the question. That leaves only Kevin. He could enter my room. Moreover, as he left for home an hour earlier, Kevin had enough time to cut the lines, break radio and sink the boat. He replaced Harris’ aspirin tablets with poison tablets, and to cover himself, accused Lucy, who is as innocent as a puppy.”
“But if I have killed him, how come Lucy didn’t see me entering Harris’ room?” Kevin cried.
Lucy then said, “If I'm allowed to speak…I was in the basement cleaning from the time you went for picnic. When I came up, I saw Kevin sir reading. Just then you arrived. So I couldn’t have possibly seen anything.”
“Ahhh!!” cried Lucy out of fear as Kevin, now a raging bull, sprang on her and tried to throttle her. But it was futile, as Gary, being much stronger, easily pulled back Kevin and threw him on to the sofa.
“Now Kevin, if you feel better, why don’t you tell your reason for murdering Harris?”
Kevin started slowly, but grew more excited and angry as he went on.
“It was when Harris started writing his first novel. He was at a dead end after a few lines. I recreated the plot, the characters. I even narrated half the story to him. But when he published it, all the credit went to him.
I forgave him for that. But then, as time passed by, he started avoiding me and treating me as an inferior.
He crossed the limit, when at a press conference, where I happened to be present; he publicly denounced me as a beggar who tried to blackmail him.
Never will I forget his smirking face as I was dragged and thrown out of the hall. I decided to then kill him.
When I found Harris writing a new story, I thought to kill him just as in the book, the one that you hold now. Unfortunately, he had left it with the murder. Nevertheless, I killed him in sequence with the story. He got what he deserved.” By now, Kevin was nearly in hysterics. But Gary had him under control.
The look on Kevin’s face was very scary, thought Emily. Worse, he was devoid of any remorse.
“I’m disappointed, Kevin. I never expected you to stoop down so low. God, you are a detective. You supposed to solve murders and relieve people and catch culprits. How can you turn yourself into a murderer, kill, and bring despair to people around you? I'm ashamed to call you a human being, let alone a friend”, spat Gary.
Later, from Lucy’s phone, which was thankfully safe, Emily called the FBI. Gary, Emily, Lucy and Tweety looked, as Kevin surrendered himself with no tantrum, but with an unnerving smirk on his face. Lucy was apologized to by Emily, and everyone was safe and sound, but with bitter memories of that day…
After a week, at Detroit, Harris’ hometown, he was buried.it was a heartbreaking moment for all, when the bishop momentarily brought Harris back to life with his words of farewell. Kevin was sentenced to 10 years of jail and fined with $80,000.
“Hope to meet you when I reach there”, murmured Gary at Harris’ funeral, “till then rest in peace…and goodbye…..”