This is a drab time of year. The holidays are over, our family events have passed, and my horoscope isn’t looking too promising for the near future.
We should liven things up and plan a party. Not an ordinary party, but a theme party.What would our friends think if they were invited to a murder party? I looked on line and found a murder story author advertising her services.
I contacted Ms.Murder Mystery writer and arranged a meeting. First she asked for a list of prospective guests and a description of their personality types; were they extroverts or introverts, were they funny or serious, and were they naturally creative or “By the Books” dogmatic? We had a good cross section of character types, the writer thought, and we should get a good story that would suit our friends/characters.
Ms.Murder Mystery called and had private conversations with each person after the story was completed, explaining each character to be portrayed. I was not to know the story line or how it unfolded. Who gets murdered? Who is the killer? I became simply a guest at the party: one of the characters playing a role in the story. My only job was to provide ample food and enough drinks to create a happy party environment.
The evening of the party arrived after much planning and anticipation. As each guest rang the doorbell he or she introduced themselves as the character they were assigned to take on.
The show began.
There was a pleasant rapport but no indication that a crime was about to be committed. No brawls, no disagreements, no jealous fits of anger. Everyone was in perfectly good spirits, and from the looks of things, would remain so for the rest of the evening.
Not a buzz of murder was in the air.
I didn’t know where the plot was going, who was supposed to do what to whom, or what danger lurked for anyone. All I knew was that dinner would have to be served soon. But not until a murder was committed and a killer apprehended.
The kitchen phone rang. Ms. Murder Mystery, the writer, producer and casting director of my academy award contender, handed me a note with the following message:
“The murdered is stuck in traffic and won’t be about to be there for at least an hour.”
Too bad we never thought of casting an understudy to play the fiend who eliminates one of my guests from this earth. Or at least from the party.
I have thought back of that night many times. Sometimes I consider the possibility of that evening being a mercy gesture for the intended victim. Sometimes as a commuted death sentence for the perpetrator. Always I think of that party as being the last theme party I will ever again attempt.