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Funny Mystery

Charlie had black toenails, a lot of money and a big mouth. And that night, he had put on his best suit, his best tie, his best watch and his okay shoes.  

At the restaurant, which was a fancy one, they had a dance floor and many big chandeliers which was why Charlie chose it in the first place. His reservation was for five: him and four of his big-mouthed friends. The waiter escorted him to the table.  

He sat down and asked, “Why's the wine here already?” 

“It’s all free, sir, and all poured out while we set the tables,” said the waiter. “It’s our restaurant’s specialty: free wine. Here are our menus.”  

“Okay, come back later, please. I’ll have a look at them.” 

So, the waiter left.  

Charlie sat there, holding up a menu but looking at five people embarrass themselves on the dance floor. He looked at a shaking chandelier. He looked in many places before looking for what exotic dishes he would be ordering that night.  

Then, Charlie gagged. He dug down into his pocket and tore out a handkerchief, clamping it over his nose and mouth dramatically.  

“HEY,” he barked when the waiter walked pass.  

“Yes, sir?” 

"ARE YOU DOING THIS ON PURPOSE?” 

The waiter blinked composedly at first.  

“HERE? OF ALL TABLES? YOU WANT US TO SIT HERE? NEXT TO THE BATHROOM?” 

“Sir-” 

“WHAT HAVE I EVER DONE TO YOU TO MAKE YOU BRING ME TO SUCH A HORRID TABLE?” 

“Sir--” 

“DO YOU THINK I’LL LET THIS SLIP? AND SINCE THIS IS A BATHROOM YOU SAT ME DOWN NEXT TO, LET ME TELL YOU SOMETHING—IT'S GONNA BE A LITTLE SECRET BETWEEN YOU AND ME, MAN. GUESS WHAT! SINCE YOU’RE GIVING ME THAT ATTITUDE RIGHT NOW, IF YOU WERE DYING OF THIRST, I WOULDN’T GIVE YOU A PISS!"  

"But--but that isn’t the bathroom, sir. That’s the kitchen,” stammered the waiter.  

“THAT IS A--” Charlie looked again. "Well. SAME THING. Now are you going to get me a new table or are you gonna keep being a loser?" 

"But they’re all full, sir." 

"GO GET YOUR GLASSES—WHAT IS THAT THEN?" 

"That’s a--” the waiter started.  

“THAT’S A GOOD TABLE. MMHMM. NEXT TIME YOU SEE ME COMING THROUGH THE DOORS YOU GET ME A GOOD TABLE.”  

“Sir, that’s--” 

"I DON’T CARE IF IT’S RESERVED, BROKEN OR EVEN CLOSE TO THE GARBAGE, MAN, BUT WE SIMPLY MUST HAVE A NEW TABLE,” Charlie squawked. Then he thought about what he had said and added in a lower volume, "You know what, cross out broken and close to the garbage can. But there. That is a truly good table. Beautiful, isn’t it?" 

The waiter moved all the menus to the good table and he began to remove the untouched wine on the good table while Charlie glared into a menu.  

"What are you doing?" snapped Charlie. 

"I’m removing the wine, sir,” said the waiter uneasily.  

“Leave them. Look at them. They’re already poured and ready to go, aren’t they? Isn’t that your specialty?” 

"Yes, sir. But wouldn’t you want me to bring your wine glasses over from the other table?” 

"THAT’S NEAR THE BATHROOM?" Charlie twisted up his face.  

“Is that a no, sir?” 

“JUST LEAVE THEM, MAN!” Then Charlie closed his mouth and gave the waiter a look as if he wasn’t the one yelling. “Leave them alone.” 

"Yes, sir," said the waiter and he went to Charlie’s old table to straighten the tablecloth.  

Charlie’s big-mouthed friends started to march in. 

"Charlie!” Cole waved with his big hands. 

Charlie beckoned him over impatiently and Cole jogged over.    

A little while later, Henry came in with blue dress pants, a red Supreme shirt and big crocs. "WHAT DO YOU MEAN THEY REQUESTED ME?"  

Charlie and Cole watched Henry holler into his phone: "CAN’T YOU JUST TAKE OVER FOR THIS ONE NIGHT?... WHAT DO YOU MEAN YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT TO SAY? HAVEN’T WE GONE THROUGH THIS A BILLION TIMES ALREADY! YOU GREET THEM NICELY, LISTEN TO THEIR IDEAS, THEN WHEN THEY ASK YOU HOW YOU THINK OF THEIR IDEAS YOU SAY, YOU SAY: MMMMMMM... I THINK YOU ARE AN IDIOT, YOUR IDEAS SUCK, AND YOU SHOULD JUMP OFF A BRIDGE BECAUSE YOU ARE EXACTLY LIKE THE MULE I HAD IN MY CHILDHOOD AND YOUR HAIR IS GREASY AND YOUR BREATH STINKS… IT’S NOT CALLED BIASED, TED, IT’S MY OPINION. JUST SAY IT, OKAY? AND DON’T CALL ME AGAIN OR I’M GONNA FIRE YOU." He crushed the end call button before smiling at Charlie and Cole. "Hi, how are you?"  

"Awake,” said Charlie.  

Cole took a sip of wine. “Now I can say the same.” 

Henry leapt into his seat like an earthquake and the other wine glasses become upset, making the tablecloth look like a butcher’s counter at the end of the day.   

"Mmmmmm," Cole smacked his lips, wine glass safely in his hand. "Waiter--" he snapped his fingers—"What kind of wine is this?" 

“Sir, should I clean--”  

Cole stuck his free hand deep into his pocket and fished out fifty dollars, flicking it at the waiter. "Your tip,” he said and gurgled the rest of the glass before letting it pass down his throat.  

Dud came in next with Constantinos. They looked down at the table blankly and took a seat. 

“What died?” asked Dud.   

"Wow, are you okay there, Cole?” Charlie poked his friend in the arm. “Did you eat something without telling us or what?”  

"I don’t feel so good,” choked Cole, who was in fact, turning purple like a big bruise. 

"We can tell," said Henry. 

Then, as if one of Cole’s thickest blood veins had snapped in two, the four friends saw a swarm of red erupt at his neck, and then Cole’s eyes rolled to the back of his head and he went limp in the chair.  

The four of them shot up from their seats and stepped back from the table as if they would catch the same disease.  

"WHAT THE BLOODY HELL?" hollered Constantinos. “HE JUST ROLLED HIS EYES AT US!” 

“WHOWHATWHEREWHENWHY?” Dud exploded.  

"IS HE BREATHING?" was all Henry asked. 

"NO," shrieked Charlie. 

They called the police, who arrived shortly. The four friends were rushed to the police station in the back of one car while Cole’s body was being examined. The officer driving them could not stand them. He kicked the four of them out and told them to walk on the sidewalk while he drove very slowly beside them with his siren on so he couldn’t hear any shouting.  

The station was a very sick place, like a hospital but less clean. The lights were fluorescent in long thick panels and the ceiling was very low. Dud couldn’t stand straight without scraping the ceiling.  

The officer who had “driven” them there herded the four friends into a waiting room with plastic chairs and a table next to the bathroom. Charlie didn’t have the energy to say anything about it.

“One of you is going to come with me,” sighed the officer. “Please, don’t talk anymore,” he said when Constantinos began to open his mouth. “I’m choosing who’s coming. You sir.” 

Dud got up and the rest of them were left in the little room.  

Then a little while later the officer came back and took Constantinos. And then Henry. And then Charlie.  

The four of them were interviewed one by one, and all with the same tactic. Another officer had brought a printer into an empty room that contained a table and two chairs. He said it was a lie detector and so whenever the four friends answered a question that the officer didn’t like, he would press a button and out would come a paper printed with the word, LIE.  

Of course, at the end, somebody had to tell the police their tactic wasn’t working so Charlie pointed out that everyone could see the big silver letters on top of the machine that read, MEGAPRINTER-GX-7000. The police station got a bit embarrassed after that.  

After everyone had been interviewed, they simply did not get the information they wanted. 

“Your friend,” said the officer who had driven them there, “was poisoned tonight. But none of you seem to know anything about it. And none of you seem to have done it either.” 

“Of course, we didn’t do it!” Charlie snapped. “We’re the ones who called you!” 

The officer ignored him. “Have we interviewed everyone who’s gotten into close contact with your friend at the restaurant tonight?” 

Charlie, Henry, Constantinos and Dud muttered yes.  

“Wait, wait, wait,” Charlie said. “NO. The waiter was there the whole entire time—you need to talk to him. He has been acting so funny the entire night. He looks just like the kind of person who would spill a little poison in their specialty free wine.” 

Then the officer nodded and went out of the room while Charlie jumped up and down and started to chant and brag about his memory. 

*** 

The officers handed out earmuffs.  

YOU POISONED COLE! YOU PUT SOMETHING IN ALL OF OUR WINE! LUCKILY BIG MAN HENRY KNOCKED THEM ALL OVER BY ACCIDENT OR WE’D ALL BE DEAD!” 

And Charlie kept yelling while the waiter whimpered, I didn’t, between Charlie’s breathing breaks.  

The officer told them to stop.  

“I didn’t,” sniffled the waiter again.

“STOP SAYING THAT! DID YOU POUR THE WINE?” 

“I--I did.” 

“YES, YOU DID. GOOD,” nodded Charlie. “DID YOU POISON BIG MAN COLE?” 

I didn’t!” 

“Get the lie detector in here,” Dud suggested.  

“We’re not wasting any more trees,” mumbled the officer who had driven them there.  

“I think,” said Henry, “we should get everybody from the restaurant in here.”  

“YES,” agreed Charlie savagely.  

The officer drove all of them to the restaurant instead. He made Charlie and his four friends and the waiter ride in different cars.  

It had been about an hour since they’d left and most of the original diners had gone.  

“So, we’re done here,” said Dud.  

“NO, WE’RE NOT,” Charlie fumed.  

He began to glare all around the restaurant and shake people by their clothes.  

“DID YOU PUT POISON IN MY BIG MAN COLE’S DRINK?” He yanked on somebody’s tie.  

“N-no.” 

“DO YOU CARRY POISON AROUND WITH YOU?” He ripped off somebody else’s sleeve.  

“N-no.” 

“DID YOU POISON ANYBODY’S DRINK TONIGHT?” He shook a little boy’s shoulders frantically.  

“Yup.” 

His parents shook their heads vigorously while the boy shrugged. “He’d never do such a thing, sir,” they whispered.  

Charlie gave them one last stare. 

“DID YOU PUT ANYTHING IN ANYBODY’S WINE?” He poked

somebody else’s shoulder.  

“N-no.” 

“HEY!” Henry hiccupped.  

“WHAT?” asked Charlie.  

“I SAW HIM PAT HIS POCKET!” 

“WHO?” 

One of their escorting officers nodded at somebody in the corner. A very thin man.  

Charlie stared him down. “WHAT’S IN YOUR POCKET, MAN?” 

“I don’t--”  

“MY FRIEND SAYS YOU WERE PATTING YOUR POCKET! YOU WERE CHECKING YOUR POCKET! THE OFFICER SAW YOU TOO!” Charlie marched over loudly until he was right in front of the very thin man. 

“I--” 

I PUT POISON IN YOUR WINE. YES, YOU DID--” Charlie then inspected him thoroughly, before waving dismissively in understanding. “I see, I see. You’ve been seated at this stupid table as well! And your poor family. Where’s the waiter? YOU! GET RID OF THIS TABLE WHEN WE’RE DONE HERE! Kitchen. Bathroom. They all smell the same. Go ahead, I hope you have a thick handkerchief in your pocket there—this smell is especially strong, am I right?” 

The man nodded. “Exactly.” He rummaged around his pocket. 

“Do you not have one with you?” asked Charlie. “I have five with me all the time—I have the worst pet peeves about everything: sitting next to the bathroom being one of them. Here.” 

“Thank you,” said the man, taking Charlie’s purple handkerchief awkwardly.  

Charlie spun away and began to briefly interrogate the other diners and waiters and waitresses. Dud tried to be helpful and Constantinos stood with one of the officers, talking about baseball cards. Henry got out his phone and fired person after person at the end of the line. The waiter sniffed in corner.  

The very thin man came back to Charlie with the handkerchief.

“Thank you again, sir,” he said. “We’re about to leave.” 

“No problem, just keep the handkerchief. All good here.”  

“Oh, but I really shouldn’t.”  

All the while, Henry barked into his phone while making very wide hand gestures, firing more and more employees. 

Charlie took the handkerchief from the man’s hand and folded it artistically before dropping it into the man’s pocket.   

“I’m serious though, I can’t take your handkerchief, sir.” The man went to fish it out good-naturedly.  

 “WHENEVER I’M NOT THERE YOU’RE ALL ONE SINGLE BRAIN CELL CRAMMED INTO THAT ENTIRE BUILDING! YOU’RE FIRED TOO!!!!” And with a sharp arm movement, Henry accidently rammed his elbow into the very thin man’s chest.  

The man, who’s hand was still in his pocket to fish out the handkerchief, flung out half its contents by accident and clutched the side of his chest.  

“HENRY, WHAT ARE YOU DOING? I’VE FINALLY FOUND SOMEONE WITH LIKEMINDEDNESS AND—is that, is that nail polish?” Charlie blinked down at where the contents had landed, in a nearby corner. The waiter’s corner.  

The waiter picked them up, sniffing.  

“Give that to me.” Charlie snatched it out of his hands, carrying everything over. “That’s not nail polish.” 

Henry looked over; phone put away. “No, it isn’t.” 

Dud and Constantinos marched over. “Nope, not nail polish.” 

Tedocic and... Stuff,” read Charlie. “Is that a nail polish colour?” 

“No,” said Dud.  

Charlie uncapped it and took a tiny whiff. “What the heck is this?”

The original officer who’d driven them to the station came over and inspected the bottle. “It’s poison.” 

“That’s such an ugly way to put it,” said Charlie. “Of course, it’s poison but you have to let it be more dramatic than that. It should be like an epiphany.”  

The officer shook his head and escorted the very thin Poison Man out of the corner solemnly. 

“It was an accident!” the Poison Man yelped and hollered.  

“Now that’s very cliché,” tutted Charlie.  

“It’s the truth!” 

“CLICHÉ!” 

“I’m telling the truth!” 

Charlie shrugged.  

“LISTEN TO ME.” 

“Okay,” said Dud.  

“I didn’t wake up this morning to drive twenty miles in the evening to poison your friend’s wine,” spluttered the Poison Man. “I swear to god--I came in here and the five of us,” he pointed to his family, seated at the bathroom table, “we sat down at that table--” he pointed wildly at the good table. “And I slipped the poison into one glass without anybody seeing. And then one of us said we should do a stupid family shimmy so we got up and went over there to the dance floor. And when we came back the waiter told us we had to switch tables since a customer didn’t like theirs. Luckily for you, my family was in a very good mood and we sat down at the new table. They took our orders and I waited for the poison to work. Then, I realized we switched tables and the poison was still in the glass at your table. But I couldn’t show up at your table and take the glass! So, I stayed put and I had a normal dinner but I was waiting for the perfect chance to bolt. Which never happened because my mother kept an eye on me since I always ended up vanishing after every family night out. Then, when I’d forgotten about it, the poison started to work and your friend ended up dying because of it, unfortunately. I’m sorry.” 

The four friends digested this.  

“Henry, then you knocked over the other glasses for no reason,” said Charlie.  

“I know.”  

“You’re going to jail, I think,” Dud told the Poison Man, pointing at him awkwardly.  

“He’s going to the station with me, at least,” said the officer. 

The Poison Man hung his head.  

“Who were you trying to poison anyway?” asked Charlie, out of curiosity. 

“My cousin Theodore,” moaned the Poison Man. “He was going to get my grandmother’s silverware.”   

“Understandable,” Charlie shrugged. 

“Now he is going to get your grandmother’s silverware,” added Henry. 

The Poison Man left with the police while his family was ushered away by the other officers. Charlie and Henry and Dud and Constantinos stood awkwardly, hearing somebody edge quietly over to them.  

“I’m very sorry for your loss,” said the waiter sadly.  

“You’re like the fly that never dies no matter how brutally I kill it with my Range Rover magazine,” commented Henry.  

“Get rid of that table,” said Charlie. 

“Yes, sir. I will.” 

“NOW.” 

The four friends watched a couple of waiters and waitresses take apart the bathroom table and carry all the parts into the storage.  

“All done, sir,” said the waiter.  

Charlie calmly turned to him. “Now give me back the fifty-dollar tip.” 

July 02, 2021 20:46

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5 comments

Lisa Reid
18:47 Jul 28, 2021

I laughed so hard at this story. Good job. Easy to read

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Ramona Taylor
04:10 Jul 13, 2021

Good character development on the five friends, the waiter, the poisoner and policeman. SO MUCH YELLING! I was amused by it all and the part about the lie detector/printer was ridiculously funny.

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Dr. Ugs
13:21 Jul 13, 2021

Thank you very much for reading, Ramona, and I'm glad it made you laugh!

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17:26 Jul 06, 2021

Great story! The dialogue and descriptions are very well written. I have to admit, though, I was kind of hoping karma would get back at Charlie and the rest of his friends! It’s very representative of real life, however, that bad people get away with their actions. Keep writing :)

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Dr. Ugs
22:19 Jul 06, 2021

Thank you very much! I don't get many comments - very grateful for this one. Thank you for reading!

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