WHO’S GOT THE CLUE
Let the games begin!
Here we were at an old restored mansion, formerly known as the Halligan Estate, in the mill yard district of the city. A friend of mine convinced me to tag along, just for the fun of it. Or as he said, “Trust me. You’re gonna get hooked. Wait until you meet the other cast of characters.” It would be my first time on this adventure into the unknown and with others who found such an interest in this game. I had no clue yet on what the game was, but my friend seemed so into telling me what a game changer it made in his life, that I couldn’t let him down.
Prior to this moment, Burt had asked one day, if I wanted to get back into performing. I had to think about that for a minute. It had been a while since my last gig for IT, or Innovative Theater. I played an imposter in a wild west murder mystery. I was a young kid with an axe to grind with another who was an over-the-top big shot that always got away with murder. But, in the last show we were both in, CHOP GOES THE WEASAL, I was the one who got away with murder because I killed him with that axe.
“You know,” Ernie replied with renewed interest. “I think that would be good. I kinda like any stories with surprise endings. Is this why we’re here? You got something in mind, right?” He looked at his outfit supplied by his friend and the one his friend had on. “Okay. Any clue as to why I’m in this outfit of over-the-top purple? I feel like a popsicle.” Ugh. Burt was in a pinkish-red suit that was so out of place in this mill town. “Please tell me we’re not playing the role of clowns.” Ernie was a bit concerned, “Dude! What have you gotten us into?”
Burt’s only answer was, “Let’s go!” They made their way to the entrance along with several others who wore outfits of various colors. Ernie guessed that they were part of the same mystery. The middle-aged woman was in an all-white suit, her hair neatly styled. She came with a guy who, in some way, looked like a leprechaun in his green suit.
Ernie tried to be nonchalant and not be the obvious new kid on the block. He held the door and greeted the two as they walked through the ornate door. He looked to Burt who only shrugged.
The welcome sign in the foyer was worded as a clue. It only said, “Follow your nose.”
They looked to one another to try to get the gist of the message. Burt was the first one to quiz the others. “Anyone have the answer to that question?”
The lady in the white suit, smiled and said, “I think if we all took in the lovely, smell in the air, we will know which way to go. My nose says, Kentucky Bourbon Ribs with a side of Roasted Corn Fritters, and I believe,” she pointed to the left, “that is the way our noses go to find some very good food.”
They clapped with glee and added, “Well done!” Around the corner, down the hall and into the banquet room the group went. There were others dressed in a similar fashion in non-traditional outfits with unique colors. Single chairs were spaced evenly around and faced a podium which was setup with the stage in the background. Each sat and waited for the next move. The packets of cards were on another table. Each one would be asked to take their pick as they contained pieces of the puzzle; Suspects – Rooms – Weapons.
Ernie’s jaw dropped with surprise and looked to Burt. “Is this it? Are you telling me we’re in a game like CLUE?” Burt put his finger to his lips to quiet his friend’s question. They took their seats when a man, dressed all in black, walked by and then stood behind the podium.
“Welcome!” and most heartily greeted the guests as Mr. Black, adding his alias, Mr. Body. “This will be our first convention of the year at this location and I hope, a very challenging one. Looking around, I see many familiar faces and we have a new guest.” He motioned to Ernie. “As you know this convention is one of many of the same theme taking place at the exact same time. We will be getting together afterwards right here, in this mansion, to share ‘war stories’ and have you mingle with your color companion look-a-likes from around town. I hope all of you enjoy the game, have fun and may the best, ahem, color win!” Dr. Black asked each one to visit the makeup and stage crew who would add some classic flair that would enhance their outfits. They each took their turn and came back looking like movie stars.
With each character now updated with their new image, Dr. Black went on to explain some of the challenge details; Who – What-- Where. “I do understand that most of you have played the game before, but for the honor of having a new guest,” and he motioned to Ernie, “I will describe the process.” The players were to move around the various rooms in the mansion collecting clues that will help to figure out the conclusion. They needed to guess all the correct answers. WHO was the suspect, WHAT weapon was used, and WHERE did the murder take place. There would be a time deadline to keep the game moving.
“There are a few new items to mention. First, to add to our weapons, we now offer the syringe and poison to the list which total twelve. The mansion includes a few new rooms unlike our other stage spots. These would be the Hall and the Cellar.
Each guest was asked to choose a packet of cards and stand to face the table. There was a case file document and each were instructed without looking, to put one card in the envelope. The weapons had been placed randomly in each room.
“Notice that the floor pattern replicates the board game. Those are what you need to follow into each and every room based on the roll of the dice. You know that one of you is the murderer and I am the one chosen for the ending. There are tricks, twists and turns which I’m sure you’ve practiced a hundred times on the game board. Doing this in person is so much more fun!”
“And now, we will bring out the very large beach ball style dice blocks, made for the game by yours truly,” and pointed to himself. “If there any questions please feel free to ask them now. There will not be another time once we begin.”
“Okay, Dr. Orchid.” Ernie, or Professor Plum, whispered to his friend. He was still not sure of how to proceed.
“Just follow along. It’ll get easier.”
“Miss Scarlett will take the lead and each of you will follow going clockwise.” Dr. Black handed her the large dice.” OK, as soon as the clock chimes, we will begin. See you all on the other side!”
Dr. Black or Mr. Boddy, as he is known in the game, left to choose his final resting spot.
Miss Scarlett, Mr. Green, Colonel Mustard, Mrs. White, and Ernie aka Professor Plum and Burt aka Dr. Orchid, talked about what was to go down since this was a new location and no one has ever been in this huge historic mansion. They all agreed this is going to be fun.
“Oh no, he forgot to mention the grand prize!” Miss Scarlett said with remorse. “What now?”
“That just ruined it!” Colonel Mustard said. “We don’t play this game for nothing. I’m done.”
The others looked around not understanding what just happened. There were prizes this time? Miss Scarlett and Colonel Mustard slyly looked at one another with a nod and a wink. They were going to change up the game just a little to throw the others off.
Suddenly, a commotion was heard outside. Col. Mustard went to the door and opened it to find the arrival of a tour bus. People were already heading to the door. Mr. Green stepped forward, as he was now in charge, since Mr. Boddy was dead somewhere. A person, who seemed to be the tour guide, approached to greet the team. He was dressed in gold and very King-like in a regal medieval outfit. The others were a combination of silver and gold bishops, knights, horses, pawns and the Queen.
“Hold on folks. What have we here?” Mr. Green asked.
It seemed that there were two events happening at the same time which was a surprise to all except Miss Scarlet and Col. Mustard. They had arranged to have the Medieval Times bring their best game to add another layer to the Clue players.
Colonel Mustard stepped up to take charge. “Excuse me, for intruding, but I need to let everyone in on the change of plans. Please, if you will, come inside for a further introduction and plan.” They clustered in the foyer and he went on to explain that one of their sponsors, who shall remain anonymous, suggested the new scenario. “We waited to surprise everyone to make the game more challenging by adding our two unique groups together.” He waited a moment and then added with gusto, ”Let’s let the world know that we do exist! We are here for the fun of it and to let people know that they, too, can have fun. Okay, maybe there’s a few that would look the other way but, hey, WE GOT THIS!”
“CHESS MEETS CLUE”. The game was explained in simple terms for everyone to get the gist of and this led to everyone becoming more excited with this new twist. He explained how the floor that was laid out to replicate the CLUE game board will be used by the Medieval folks as their CHESS platform, but very different. They will be playing their version of CHESS the aim of which is to roll the dice to advance towards the goal which is to, checkmate or threaten with inescapable capture of, the KING. Who will get tossed out along the way is the fun part. The CLUE characters will be playing who murdered the victim, where the crime took place and which weapon was used. If the games get mixed up, all the better.
Colonel Mustard warned everyone to play nice as things will heat up and everyone will be in someone else’s way. “That is what will define this night as a clever new beginning and blend of the games. The word will get out and trust me, this will become the new gambling mecca. Body cams would let viewers see the action live and be able to place bets on their favorite characters. It’s a win-win.” The crowd cheered at the new idea.
The chime of the hall clock would start the medley mix-up of two popular games. Everyone was over the top excited with a new challenge. The air was still, with tension in the foyer as all eyes were on the clock.
And just like that, the clock chimed and bedlam ensued. Each group rolled their dice to begin and before long chessmen were high fiving Mr. Green and Dr. Orchid. They stole a syringe and the fireplace poker to get back at the bishop who was stepping over Professor Plum. Meanwhile Mrs. White with a candlestick had evaded Miss Scarlett to get to the Conservatory and was delighted to find the dagger. Mrs. Peacock approached to confront her and one of the horsemen reared up and the dagger went flying only to land in front of the King. He smiled and placed it in his sheath.
The silver CHESS team was lagging behind as three now were booted off the game board. Gold was advancing until two pawns left the board to find the billiard room and got knocked over by someone brandishing the walking stick. It was a win by Dr. Orchid, aka Bert, who yelled for Professor Plum, aka Ernie, to take the stick and pass it to the gold King who accepted another weapon to add to his sheath with excitement. He would not be put in chains by the silver King.
Soon the air was filled with laughter, an occasional swear word or two until suddenly a whistle startled everyone. A voice in a bullhorn sounded. It was Dr. Black aka Mr. Boddy.
“Everyone stop where you are. Look at who you are next to, who is in front and in back of you.” And he approached each of the CLUE players to state their answer to “Who killed me, with what weapon, and where?” He asked the question of the CHESS players as well since they were so in on the game. One by one each stated what they thought was correct only to be told no.
The without further ado, Dr. Black motioned for the silver QUEEN and the gold QUEEN to advance to the last square in the game. “My ladies, if you would be so kind as to present the correct answer as we wait with anticipation.”
The silver QUEEN smiled to the gold QUEEN and began, “Let me say first off, WELL DONE! This has been a very good show of sportsmanship, friendly combat, and a show of each game to a whole new level. Since we were not noticed,” the GOLD began, “we chose to see the competition from the balcony above. This was a great vantage point and as we were able to see each door to the respective room open. We tallied the weapons and noted who went out and came back with a different weapon. Then we came to an agreed suspect to the murder of our dear friend, Mr. Boddy.”
“And the answer is the two of us. We collaborated, while each of you were so busy with mixing into each other’s original purpose of CHESS and CLUE. No one noticed and we soon managed to deduce the outcome.”
Dr. Black took the case file document that was sealed which contained the cards each had put in. Several were blank which left three and the correct winning hand; “Mr. Boddy,” he began now with everyone’s rapt attention, “was murdered by the two QUEENS, with the rope the silver QUEEN had cleverly placed around her own waist, in the Cellar which is where I had been all along. Congratulations, ladies!”
And that became the end of the first game that would become a legend and one not to be forgotten.