Death By Carrot

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Mystery and Crime  |  House: Booksie Classic
Murder at an amusement park and the weapon is a carrot? --- A short story a tad on the long eared side.

Submitted: March 14, 2016

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Submitted: March 14, 2016

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I am Sergeant Bernard Karentine and I am the night watch-person here at Hoppy-Land. 

Hoppy-Land is the name of this theme park and Hoppy is the nic-name of the owner of the park, so it seemed fitting that he lend that name to the park that he created.

Mr. Elmer Fuddleton Hoppeilstein, aka, Hoppy to friends and employees alike. 

 

Rabbits, that's what started the idea for Hoppy-Land.

At the age of seven, Elmer's grandparents gave him a rabbit for Easter.

"It will give the child a sense of responsibility," said Pop-Pop.

"He needs a pet to love and to play with," countered Nana.

And from the very first time Elmer laid eyes on that rabbit, it was love for all things rabbit. It didn't matter what kind of rabbit it was, Hoppy loved them all. And that would last Hoppy's whole life through. 

I say Hoppy's whole life because he died some days ago. And his death was of very mysterious circumstances.

Hoppy-Land was built around the original Rabbit Coupe that Hoppy's father built for his first rabbit, Wiggles.

The family home remained on the premises and has been refurbished over the years; that started occurring after Hoppy's parents passed away. But that is a whole other story, so let's get back to the situation and the death.

In the wee hours of March 13, I think it was a Friday, and with the Blue-moon hanging high in the sky of the exiting days of winter, Hoppy died a horrific death.

Hoppy was stabbed repeatedly with a steel carrot and a suspected weapon was found at the murder scene.

The painted carrot-castings are used all around the park as garden decorations, along with cast-iron Cabbage and other green-painted leafy vegetables.

It was a gruesome situation, Mr. Hoppy seemed to have collapsed and bled-out on the Indian rug that took up central place in his den's floor. But strangely enough, the suspected murder weapon was found in Hoppy's own hand. And a wad of shop-towels, soaked with blood, was on the floor next to the body.

The doors and windows to Hoppy's house were locked from the inside, reminiscent of other past fictional murder mysteries.

But upon careful inspection I found a secret passage, a way to enter or exit the house without being detected. It was a Rabbit Hole, of sorts, just a few steps from where Hoppy's body was found.

No, the passageway was not behind a bookcase, or a fireplace, as one might suspect; after all, this is Hoppy-Land. {You have to think, Rabbit, around here.}.

It was hidden in plain sight, a hidden staircase beneath the Bunny-chair.

You see, all one needed to do was to push the back of the chair forward and as it tilted up and forward the floor slipped to the side. That slide action reveled a staircase that lead to a tunnel, which lead to a doorway that was concealed behind the park's water fall.

I found the Rabbit-hole while waiting for the police to arrive; they were the first that I called.

I also called Mrs. Cynthia Hoppeilstein Sidestep, Hoppy's only sister.

 

I had been notified by the night park maintenance supervisor, who, in turn, was alerted by the janitorial service representative who took a report from one of the cleaning maids. The maid had heard a crashing noise and then moaning as she passed by the house.

Mr. Hoppy was a private man and at times would have his lady friend, Bunny Sweetcorn, sometimes known as Bubbles, staying overnight. So the maid did not dare investigate the sounds herself, instead, she sent the report up the ladder, so to speak.

Homicide Detective, Abel Bodice arrived about the same time as the uniformed police did, so I let them all in the main gate.

Their Sergeant assigned one of the uniformed officers to watch the gate, keeping any unauthorized persons out until the investigation was concluded.

That was a big load off of my mind because my shift was over in roughly four hours and I had no intention of hanging around after that.

You see, I have breakfast with my old friend Harry and some of my associates from the Security Company. We meet at the Rabbit-foot dinner, almost every morning.

I hate missing my breakfast; besides, the guys love hearing about the parks goings on, you know, after closing hours. And this tale of murder and intrigue is really going to put them on the edge of their seats.

 

After guiding the police to the house I unlocked the door so that the police could get in; I had locked it while I went to open the main gate.

And after they had secured the murder scene, Detective Bodice

called me into the house.

He asked me several questions and after the answers were expressed I told him about the Rabbit Hole that was under the Bunny-chair.

We walked the tunnel together and discovered the waterfall exit and the door, but we found no blood inside or outside the tunnel.

We concluded that Hoppy was not stabbed in the tunnel, nor did he come that way after being stabbed. The lack of blood drops and spatter was still pointing to the stabbing happening in the house.

 

As we arrived back at the house the Medical Examiner was bagging the body.

“Hay Carmen," Detective Bodice said as he greeted the Medical Examiner with a hug. "How is Hector doing?"

The Medical Examiner replied, "Oh, he should be back to work in a week or two, you know, as soon as the doctor releases him. The Cast will be off and he'll still have to use a cane for awhile, but that's no real biggie. And I doubt he will be attempting anymore double back flips on the trampoline anymore; I think he has learned his lesson."

“Detective Bodice laughed and stated, "It is all about the number of beers, Carmen,” then he laughed again.

“Anyway, Carmen, have got anything for me?" Detective Bodice queried.

She responded, "Well, Abe, he was stabbed three times in the back, two are superficial and the third was much worse, about five, maybe six inches deep. Not sure if it hit the kidney.

That part is pretty straight forward, but then it gets weird. The deepest wound is lower on the body, not up high like the other two.

So, both the victim and the assailant would have had to completely change positions right after the second entry wound was made."

 

"Maybe there was more than one assailant, or they fought over the weapon," I blurted out while being caught up in the moment.

The Medical Examiner smiled and replied, "Maybe so, I'll have to withhold judgment on that until I get a better look at the body under some better lighting conditions."

It was at that time that Cynthia Hoppeilstein Sidestep arrived, she was escorted by one of the uniformed officers.

"Hello Mrs. Sidestep," I quietly said as she walked up.

But the detective interrupted and stopped her reply. He asked,  "Cynthia Sidestep, you are the sister of Elmer Hoppeilstein?"

Cynthia nodded, yes.

"I'm very sorry for your loss. But as you might expect I'm afraid I will have to ask you some questions."

Cynthia lifted her head to reveal her tear swollen eyes. Then she looked at the detective and stated, "Not a problem, but when you are done asking questions you are going to feel that I am a primary suspect."

"And why is that?" The detective asked.

"Because I have no alibi for my whereabouts tonight, I was home alone because my husband is out of town on business. I talked to no one except for Sergeant Lagetty and he called me on my cell phone, so I could have taken that call from anywhere.

You will also discover that my brother was crazy, rabbit wise, and that he had ruined my early life with his rabbit mania.

Besides that circumstantial evidence, theft of property would give many a person ample reason to want to kill someone.

Upon further investigation, I know that you will find this house and property should have been split down the middle when our parents died, or at least Hoppy should have been paying me rent on my half, all these years.

But no, he had to take it from me by having me sign a bill of sale, which I thought was a funeral arrangement agreement for our parents. The poor sick man had to have it all for his precious rabbits!"

"Did you kill your brother, Mrs. Sidestep?"

"No, I could never do that; I loved him despite his craziness with the rabbits.

In my own defense, I suppose I could take a lie detector test if that would help, but like I said, I have no alibi.

Detective Bodice had an officer take Mrs. Sidestep to the station to sign a statement.

 

After she left the detective turned to me and asked, "Is what she said true, the stuff about her brother taking the property?"

I replied, "It is pretty common knowledge around the park that he tricked her into signing the bill of sale, but from what I've heard, he paid her top-dollar for her half. Hoppy was a bit nuts when it came to his park and the rabbits, but I don't ever remember anyone saying that he cheated them; well, until now.

Another thing, detective, what I'm about to say isn't going to help Mrs. Sidestep's alibi situation any. It is hear-say information and it comes from Hoppy's private secretary, Raberta Hare.

Hoppy has willed everything to his sister should he pass away before she does. But she can't sell the place, or tear the park down, it will be overseen by Mr. McGreger, the park manager.

However, Mrs. Sidestep gets all net profit from the operation of the park and she will have rights to view the books regularly."

"Thanks, I will check into it," Detective Bodice said as he walked away.

 

Well, Harry and the guys were sad to hear about Hoppy. There wasn't anyone in town that had not taken their children to Hoppy-Land at some time or another.

However, they still wanted to hear all about what happened. They wanted all the dots and tittles that were done and said while I was there; we didn't get out of the dinner until after 11:00 a.m.

When I did get out of there I remembered that I had left my coat hanging on the fence near the front door of Hoppy's house. So I went to see if it was still there.

 

As I grabbed my coat I saw Dock Fisher, one of the parks yard keepers, he was sitting on the porch of the house and he was talking to himself, or so it seemed.

So I greeted him by saying, "What's up Dock?"

 

Doc looked up at me with great big alligator tears in his eyes and said, "I killed Hoppy!"

 

"Woo, you did what?" The words just rolled out of my mouth.

 

"I killed Hoppy! I forgot to close the lid on the garden waist ben, you know, last night before I left.

Hoppy is always snooping around at night, checking this, checking that, leaving me notes for thing he wants me to do the next day; like I don't know my job after fifteen years.

Sometimes Hoppy climbs up on the side of the Rabbit-Hopper Ride to get a bird-eye view of the park.

I told him a thousand times that doing that wasn't safe, it's not an easy climb in the daytime and it is near impossible to see what your doing at night.

Anyway, I think he fell!"

 

"Don't be silly, Hoppy died in his house, not in a recycle dumpster," I said, trying to calm the poor guy down.

 

He got up and asked me to follow him; he would show me what he meant.

So we walked around the corner and along the narrow, wet, maintenance walkway that runs between the buildings. 

When we arrived at the Rabbit-Hopper Ride, Dock leads me into the groundskeeper service area that is behind that building. Then Dock walked over to a trash-dumpster Ben and opened the cover.

As I walked over to look, I saw lawn waist in the dumpster and two flattened cardboard boxes smashed on top of the waist. In the boxes were steel garden ornaments just like the one Mr. Hoppy had in his hand.

Some of the steel carrot's pointed ends were facing skyward and there was blood on the carrots and inside the bin. But there was no blood outside of the bin.

It seems that the graveyard maintenance crew had hosed down all the walkways and service areas, as they do every day before sunrise.

There was no doubt as to what had happened.

I called Detective Bodice and he showed up with a few people to take pictures, take fingerprint samples, and to remove the boxes of carrots.

He told me that the Medical Examiner had found eleven wounds on Hoppy's body, a total of six were puncture wounds, others were cuts and scratches.

The detective figures that Hoppy fell from the building, landing back first onto the boxes of discarded carrots.

At the time the wounds were not disabling, but were potently fatal if the bleeding wasn't stopped.

Detective Bodice figured that Hoppy climbed out of the dumpster and tried to stop the bleeding with the wad of shop-towels that were hanging nearby. After that, he headed to the house to call for help.

"When he entered the house he may have instinctively locked the door, “The Detective stated, "I do it all the time."

Then he finished by saying, “I figured that he tried but never made it to the phone in the den, instead he collapsed on the rug and bled out.

The maid must have happened by just after Hoppy entered the house; just one minute earlier might have meant his survival.

As for the carrot in his hand, he may have pulled it out of his back and just hung onto it. Who knows?

Then came the maintenance crew, washing down the paved areas and the poorly lit walkways, as is done every morning before Sun-up; thus the blood trail disappeared into the drains."

 

What the Detective said made a lot of sense, and after we parted ways I thought, "If Dock had closed that lid on that dumpster without looking in it first, if he had not noticed the bloody carrots, the smashed boxes, and then the trash truck would have gobbled up the vital evidence and no one would have been the wiser.

And poor Cynthia Sidestep would have been suspected of her brother's murder from that day forward, even if she did pass a lie-detector test. After all, by her own admission she was the only person who had a believable motive and no alibi.

 

D. Thurmond / JEF

03-13-2016

Rew. 2019


© Copyright 2019 D. Thurmond, aka, JEF. All rights reserved.

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