Elise Lemons and the Quarantine Murder - The Conclusion!

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Read only if you have finished Part 1 of Elise Lemons and the Quarantine Murder!

 Warning - Do not read this until you have read Elise Lemons and the Quarantine Murder! If you have read it, did you crack the case? I hope so.

Without further ado, here is The Conclusion!

 

“Well, hellfire,” Winslow says, “please feel free to share it with us!”

  “The person who shot Chuck,” I say, “was Chuck.”

  Groans.

  “I know, I know, but listen. Hear us out. First off, totally circumstantial, you told us he was shot from about a distance of two feet. Correct?”

  Winslow nods.

  “Hold your arms out in front of your face and pretend that you’re holding a gun backwards, like this.” I demonstrate. “Assume you will pull the trigger with your thumb. From your face to the gun is about two feet. Or close enough.”

  Around the room, everyone has their arms outstretched, judging the distance.

  “Okay,” Winslow says, “it’s about two feet, but that doesn’t mean diddly-squat.”

  “You’re absolutely right, Sheriff. It means nothing. But let’s start adding in some other things.”

  Archie, standing outside the French windows, blasts a few more sprays of Lysol for no reason at all. 

  I continue. “Let’s go next to the alarm. Again, it means nothing in itself. It was set to go off a few minutes before midnight.”

  “That jives with his meeting with ol’ Nicky boy,” Winslow says.

  “You’re absolutely right, but it’s still puzzling to me. Why even go to bed? It’s not like midnight is super late. There could have been any number of excuses for Chuck to stay up a little later. The fact that he went to bed and set an alarm leads me to believe that he needed to be in bed for this whole thing to work. If he stayed downstairs, he’s not guaranteed that anyone would wake up, especially with the pills Nadia takes, and the TV always being on in his in-laws’ room. He had to make sure Nadia was awake.

  “So he set the alarm low, just enough that he would hear it and Nadia wouldn’t, went into his routine of hearing someone, then went downstairs to get everything ready.

  “Nadia, did Chuck have guns?”

  Nadia nods yes.

  “He may have used one of his own, or more likely he bought a new one without anyone’s knowledge, so none of his would be missing. This is Montana after all and gun stores are somehow deemed an essential business.

  “Nadia, when was the last time Chuck went into town for some food or whatever?”

  Nadia thinks for a moment. “Three days ago...”

  “Was that after your last visit with Mr. Sinclair?”

  Nadia sniffs, holding in tears. Archie takes this as a sign of The Rona and begins blasting his Lysol. He’s twenty feet away...

  “Nadia?”

  “Yes.”

  I nod. “So, there are no waiting periods to buy a gun in Montana. This is just a guess, but it’s worth checking out. Chuck finds out about you and Nick, goes into town and buys a new gun. A gun that can go missing and not be missed. Shouldn’t be hard to check it out. See where he bought his groceries from and find the closest gun shops to the store. 

  “Poor Chuck. His wife is humping his friend and business partner, things are already tense with this damn quarantine, and-”

  “Don’t forget he has to live with his in-laws!” Archie yells.

  I nod. “Sorry, but, ya know.”

  “But wait,” Winslow says, “where is the gun? That seems to be a huge hole in your little theory here, Mrs. Lemons. He can’t hide the gun after he’s been shot in the face.”

  “I know,” I say. “I’m sorry, I’m just trying to lay out everything to make a complete case. So, Chuck is going to end it, but it’s not good enough to just shoot himself in the head and be done with it. Where is the justice in that? He needs to frame Nick and Nadia. That’s when he comes up with this plan.

  “In the kitchen, we saw a ball of twine, which wouldn’t be that out of the ordinary in a kitchen, had it been put away, but it wasn’t. It was out on the counter because it was used recently... along with the scissors we found in a drawer that wasn’t quite closed all the way. 

  “Chuck cut the twine and tied it to his gun. On the other end of the twine, this part is great... On the other end of the twine, he tied one of those big meat bones his dog loves. I see that dog bury them all the time. That’s where the piece of meat came from next to the body. 

  “Frisco’s bowls are empty, so I’m guessing Chuck didn’t feed her or give her water all day, but that’s just a theory. What I know is, and what I can prove, is that Chuck shot himself with a gun tied to a meat bone. When the gun hit the floor, Frisco became his accomplice. She grabbed that bone and took off, bursting through the French doors and running off into the night to gnaw on that bad boy, and of course, bury it.”

  Everyone is looking around, silent. 

  “Atta girl!” Archie says.

  I turn in his direction and wink. He winks back.

  “Shit,” Winslow says. “That makes sense. I mean, if the gun is out there.”

  I nod. “It’s out there. I can show you exactly where it is. Chuck just wanted to frame Nick so he needed him here. When he saw Nick arrive, he faked the conversation and the yell, then pulled the trigger. The dog took it, did the business, then returned, probably when the sirens started blaring. No one noticed. Why would they?”

 

  We’re pulling up to our house now. The gun was exactly where I said it would be. I can’t help but feel terrible for poor Chuck, to be so miserable to do something like that.

  But, oh well, I guess. At least an innocent man didn’t go to jail tonight. 

  We both step out of the car and Archie blasts the inside with Lysol until the can runs completely dry. I finally take my mask and gloves off and dump them in our outside trash. 

  “Wait,” Archie says. “We can’t go inside with our clothes on.”

  “Are you kidding me?”

  “The Rona! It lives!” He’s already got his sweatshirt off and the shirt is in the process of being removed.

  “Come on,” he says. “Outta them clothes.”

  I sigh and begin stripping. A minute later we’re standing outside our front door, Archie in nothing but underwear, and me only in a bra. 

  Oops.

  “What if the boys are still up?”

  “Circle of life, baby.”

  I laugh. “That makes absolutely no sense.” 

  “Doesn’t it, though, Elise? Doesn’t it, though.”

  Trying to cover myself the best I can, I slowly turn the doorknob and peek in. I don’t see anyone. I don’t hear anyone. “A little too Raph,” I tell Archie, signaling the coast is clear. 

  We step in and quickly make our way to the hallway where we are greeted by our kids coming back out from their room.

  “Ahhhhhhhhhh!”

  “Circle of life, baby!”


Submitted: April 01, 2020

© Copyright 2021 Grant Fieldgrove. All rights reserved.

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