A hush fell upon the gathering at the large clover-shaped mansion that Lucky the Lucky Charms Leprechaun lived in. The guests looked in horror and sadness as they saw the body of the effusive leprechaun floating in the large clover-shaped pool that was located in the courtyard of the luxurious estate.
Tony the Tiger, Toucan Sam, Count Chocula, Frankenberry, Buzz the Honey Nut Cheerios Bee, and Snap, Crackle and Pop all stood silently staring at the corpse. While their first impulse was to consider it an accidental death by drowning, something about the mangled nature of the body didn’t add up. Casting even further doubt on the death-by-drowning theory was the large metal blade protruding from Lucky’s back, with blood flowing freely out of the wound and into the pool water.
After a long and agonizing silence, Buzz was the first to speak. “Looks like we got ourselves a cereal killer on our hands,” he giggled.
“Buzz, that’s not fucking funny!” Crackle yelled at the floating bee. “We have to figure out who did this!”
“Can we make sure he’s really dead?” Snap inquired. “I mean – we don’t know for sure, do we?”
I don’t think he’s alive,” Toucan Sam flew over the pool to examine the corpse from above. “He’s not breathing.” He flew back to his room and retrieved a large life preserver shaped like a Red Froot Loop, then tossed it into the pool next to Lucky. But there was no movement from the leprechaun. “C’mon Lucky!” The body still did not stir.
“Heeeee’s deeeaddd!” Tony lamented.
“But who vould vant to kill Lucky?” Count Chocula asked. “Lucky didn’t have an enemy in the vorld!”
“Well, that’s not totally true,” Pop shook his head. “I can think of a few people who would have wanted to do away with Lucky.”
“Like who?” Frankenberry asked as he retrieved a pool skimmer and attempted to push Lucky’s body toward the side of the pool for retrieval.
“Well for starters, how about his children? Lucky had quite an estate, and lots of estranged children thanks to his fondness for Irish hookers. Those kids always chasing him in the commercials? They were his own offspring! They were always after his lucky child support payments!”
“Yes, Lucky was loaded!” Buzz blurted out. “He had it all! Cash, stocks, and bonds, Bitcoin and doubloons! Pots of gold, Swiss bank accounts, and real estate investment boons!”
“But I didn’t see any kids come into this house today,” Sam interjected. “Or anyone else, for that matter.” He paused. “Let’s face it, one of us is the killer.”
The rest of the mascots stood silent for a moment. Finally, Snap ventured a comment. “So, which one of us would have had a motive to kill Lucky? We were all his friends, his most trusted buddies. We’ve all been through thick and thin together; whether we work for Kellogg’s or General Mills, we’ve all had the same goal of selling the world’s children onto delicious sugary cereal, so they don’t end up with that bland nutritious oatmeal their parents want them to eat. How could any of us stoop to something like this?”
“Well, there’s one mascot here I think could have done this,” Sam proposed. He pointed at the Frosted Flakes guru. “Tony! He’s had it in for the beloved leprechaun for a long time!”
“Heeeey, I wouldn’t kill anybodddyyyy!!!” Tony protested.
“Oh you wouldn’t?” Frankenberry sneered at the large cartoon tiger. “Like you didn’t make your displeasure known about Lucky’s Asian safaris that you claim are decimating your kind? Especially with your criminal history! Remember all those game hunters they found outside your house?”
“Those maulings were expunged from my recorrrrddddd!!!” Tony frantically tried to steer the accusations elsewhere. “It was probably the Toucaannnnn who did it!!”
“That’s right!” Buzz agreed. “Remember Sam, how you threatened Lucky on social media, and you had to put out a public apology before Kellogg’s would let you appear in commercials again?!”
Sam leapt to his own defense. “Well, he was nasty to me too! He said that Froot Loops were nothing more than gay Cheerios! He should have been kicked off of Twitter too!”
“Heeeee’s guiilllll-tyyyyy!!” Tony exclaimed as the other mascots took a harsh eye to the toucan.
“Tony,” Pop yelled at the tiger, “this isn’t one of your stupid commercials, why do you always talk like that?”
“I-I-I-I – had a strokkkke!!!” Tony declared.
“This is a total witch hunt!” Sam screamed. “If I killed Lucky, you think I’d just leave his body in the pool for everyone to find? I’m a fucking bird! I could easily take him anywhere to dispose of the evidence!” He looked around at his accusers. “It was probably Chocula! Lucky had the goods on him, and the Count knew it!”
The crowd gasped, turning to the chocolaty vampire, who backed away slowly from all of them except for his ward, Frankenberry.
“I don’t know vhat you’re talking about! I did not do vanything! Lucky did not have vanything on me!”
“Oh yeah?” Sam sneered at the Count. “You knew that Lucky knew about your holdings in cocoa production companies operating in West Africa! Lucky knew that you were profiteering from child slave labor, using children to produce the chocolate used in your cereal! He was gonna go to the papers about it! And he also knew about your little dalliances with European figures of royalty, and your alleged ties to murderous east European strongmen like Vlad the Impaler and Ivan the Terrible! But what really made Lucky decide to come clean with everything he knew about you was a laptop he found in your castle, proving your involvement with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine! You sir, have a long and very bloody history, and Lucky was about to blow it all up for the world to see! That, is why you killed him!”
“You seriously did all of that?” Snap gaped at Chocula. “You should take a good hard look in whatever it is you vampires use instead of a mirror!”
“I did not kill Lucky!” The count vigorously declared, “And all that stuff is also a lie! Lucky vanted to frame me because I vas always his biggest competition for cereals with marshmallows shaped like weird crap in them!”
“I think we need to examine where the three little elves stand with all this,” Frankenberry said. “Snap, Crackle and Pop. Maybe one of you SNAPPED, then another one of you CACKLED, and then the third of you POPPED!”
“Okay, what’s our motive?” Pop asked belligerently. “Lucky and us go back many years; us little guys gotta stick together, you know?”
“Like you never had it in for the little leprechaun who works for your rival company!” Buzz buzzed. “He always beat you in the little peoples’ competitions at the breakfast conventions! Plus, his cereal always did better with children aged 6-18, especially in those from wealthier households!”
Snap sniffled. “Yes, he was our whimsical little rival. But that doesn’t mean any of us would kill him! If it was anybody here who did it, it was probably the pink monstrosity standing over there!”
Frankenberry frowned as the crowd turned in his direction. “Me? Screw you, you little elf! I would never kill Lucky!”
“Oh yeah?” Snap asserted. “Like you never got into Lucky’s face about all the rumors he spread about you, about the name of your cereal meaning it contained genetically modified berries!”
Frankenberry shook his head sadly. “Yeah, I guess it did hit me below the belt when he told people that. My sales went down over twenty percent because of him!”
“Also, Lucky did sleep vith your wife,” Chocula added.
“She said sex with me was like sleeping with a corpse!” Frankenberry cried. “Well, I can’t help that! I’m made of corpses! The hell was she doing with that little Irish runt anyway? His pecker is probably the size of a matchstick!”
“Whoa uh, I think we best move on,” Sam suggested. “Wait a minute – we never talked about Buzz! Our flying friend here had a very good motive to off our beloved leprechaun!”
“Okay I see where this is going, but I am not the killer!” Buzz screamed. “Yes, Lucky interfered with my efforts to spread awareness of the threat to honeybees! He’d go around saying horrible things about my people, that we’re all dangerous, invasive species who sting people for fun! He kept showing everyone that damn Wu-Tang Clan video where the killer bees attack New York! He even tried to convince Michael Bay to produce an action/horror movie called ‘Night of the Bumblebees!’ All because my cereal beats his among the 18-34 female demographic!”
“That’s not the only reason,” Sam insisted. “It’s well-known in the industry that Lucky also encouraged the worker bees in your hives to unionize. Apparently work conditions at your company are so bad that many of your employees have jumped ship to work for Amazon and Wal-Mart. I mean, God forbid you provide your employees with full dental!”
“What the hell do my bees need dental for?” Buzz countered. “They don’t even have teeth!”
“Okay, enough!” Crackle yelled. “This isn’t getting us anywhere! It’s clear that almost all of us had a motive to kill Lucky! But obviously only one of us actually did it! We have to start looking for clues! We need to check any video surveillance of the pool, examine Lucky’s wounds, get an autopsy done, anything that might clue us in on how and when he died, and who was with him when he expired!”
No sooner did he finish talking then all the lights went out. The courtyard area was suddenly shrouded in darkness, with none of the mascots being able to see anything despite some of them normally having excellent night vision. Then only moments later, the lights came back on as quickly as they turned off. Everyone shrieked in horror as they saw Crackle laying on the ground, covered in blood and not moving.
“Crackle!” Snap screamed. “Who did this to you?”
“The killerrrrrr has struuuck agaaaaiiinnnn!!!!” Tony exclaimed.
“We have to find out who did this!” Toucan yelled. “Everyone, follow my nose and stick together!”
Suddenly a voice was heard from inside the house. “Ahem, everyone, if you’ll turn your attention to me, I think I know the solution to this perplexing mystery.” The gathering turned their heads to see the newcomer, Captain Crunch, emerge from the mansion and into the pool yard.
“Captain!” Pop cheered. “What are you doing here?”
“I came here earlier, saw what happened, and have been investigating the house ever since,” the captain chuckled. “I’ve become quite adept at sleuthing ever since my court-martial from the Navy forced me into early retirement.”
“So, who was the killer?” Frankenberry asked. “And was it the same person who murdered Crackle just now?”
Crunch took a whiff from his pipe. “Just calm down and I will explain everything. First, here is an explanation of how it might have happened.”
HOW IT MIGHT HAVE HAPPENED
“Tony did it,” the Captain announced, pointing at the shocked tiger, “In a fit of rage. Earlier today he and Lucky were out by the poolside bar making chit chat, and the conversation turned to health and nutrition. Tony repeatedly mocked the idea of marshmallows being considered a breakfast food, to which Lucky stated that marshmallows may not be a nutritious food, but that Tony was an endangered species and his mother was a whore. Tony immediately and swiftly murdered Lucky, inserted a knife into the body and threw it into the pool to cover up the telltale slash wounds, and then bribed Buzz to kill the power using his stinger so that he could make an escape under cover of darkness.”
“But when everyone gathered at the pool instead, Buzz had to sneak away in order to cut the electricity. Tony then took advantage of the darkness to kill Crackle before the others could start searching and find out it was him who performed the dastardly deeds.”
“How daaarrre yooouuu! It wasn’t meeee!” Tony exclaimed.
“Captain,” Buzz belted out, “Maybe you should stop with your bullshit detective work and go back to manning those glory holes, or whatever else it is you did that got you kicked out of the Navy!”
Captain Crunch was undeterred. “Those are the facts, I’m afraid. As ugly as they may be, we have a double murderer and an accomplice amongst us right now.”
“You both are going to jail for this!” Snap cried in between shedding tears for his lost companion.
“The hellll I ammm!” Tony snarled as he bore his fangs belligerently. “Youuu’rreeee alllll deeeeadddd!!!!” He leapt up and pounced onto the ground, roaring and throwing his claws aggressively at the other mascots.
“You don’t wanna mess with the eye of this tiger!” Buzz declared as he pointed his stinger at the crowd and prepared to dive bomb into them. “Cuz believe me, you won’t be a survivor!”
“Well, this is all a fun little romp,” Captain Crunch announced just as the fracas was about to go into full drive, “But it isn’t actually how it happened. How about this?”
HOW ABOUT THIS?
“Toucan Sam is the culprit!” Captain Crunch proclaimed once the mascots were all at his attention again. “Lucky was about to publish a memoir detailing Sam’s troubled history as a cocaine addict. Sam was afraid the revelation would cause parents to boycott Froot Loops and tank sales of his product. So he waited until Lucky was alone in the pool yard, then pecked him to death with that long fruity beak of his.”
The rest of the mascots were shocked, but Sam did not attempt to deny the accusation. “Well, yes, Lucky did meet his end with me. But aren’t you forgetting about your little part in this, oh Captain my Captain?”
When Captain Crunch did not respond, Sam was quick to continue. “When Captain Crunch arrived at the scene, I knew he would figure things out. So, I blackmailed him into covering up this crime by threatening to reveal to everyone his association with Jeffrey Epstein. So while we were all arguing back here, Crunch cut the power so that I could kill Crackle and take the heat off of myself for long enough to smuggle Lucky’s body away from the house. But guess what Captain – our deal is off! You weren’t supposed to reveal yourself in this manner, and now we’re both fucked!”
“Aye Toucan, that is so,” Captain Crunch proclaimed, “There is indeed a lesson in all this: blackmail and hidden secrets are tempting to use, but are as dangerous to their wielders as they are to their targets! But do not despair Toucan, for that is also not how it happened. Here is the real solution to this mystery.”
WHAT REALLY HAPPENED
“No one killed Lucky,” the Captain announced. “In the interval before his body was discovered by you all, I conducted a thorough examination. Though it may look like foul play, his death was actually caused by drowning as a result of acute alcohol poisoning, brought about by his ethnicity as well as his despondency over losing yet another child paternity case, this time to a Brooklyn mother of four.”
The rest of the cereal mascots murmured. “But, then why was the body still in the pool, with the knife in his back, when we found him?” Frankenberry asked.
Suddenly Crackle rose to his feet, brushing himself off as he laughed. “Thank the Captain’s cunning for that one!” He cackled, as Captain Crunch glared at him with eyes wide open.
“Crackle, what the hell man? You totally stuck the knife in my back!”
“Give it a rest Cap, you did that yourself!” Crackle started licking up the ketchup he had covered himself with as part of the ruse. “After the autopsy, Captain Crunch put the knife in Lucky’s back and threw it into the pool to make the scene look like murder, sullying the reputation of the other cereal mascots enough to make people forget about his court martial which was hurting sales of Crunch Berries. I was in on the scheme as well, because he promised to help me convince the bigwigs at Kellogg’s to bring back Rice Krispie Treats Cereal, which we all know was the bomb. So I faked my death in order to make it look like a double homicide and allow Captain to declare himself a hero for solving the mystery. Plus, it would have allowed me to cash in on a very lucrative life insurance policy once I resurfaced under the brand name Rice Titties – the world’s first pornographic cereal.”
“Then why did you just blow it all right now?” The Captain seethed. “You and I were gonna be rich beyond our wildest dreams!”
“I had second thoughts lying down here just now. I realized that no one really wants boobs in their breakfast cereal,” Crackle shrugged. “So sue me.”
The rest of the mascots simply stood in silence for a moment. Captain Crunch decided to slip away quietly, to which no one else took notice. As the evening turned into full-on nighttime, they still stood in the pool yard without making a sound.
“Well,” Buzz finally said, “Anyone wanna go over to the Trix Rabbit’s house? He texted me that he just made some brownies that are very much not for kids.”