What Comes Around Goes Around… The Barroom Chronicles, Episode 6

It was bound to happen, the prankster got pranked.  Yes, I was the biggest fool this April 1st… actually, on the 2nd. Here is my story of  Just Deserts.

(Que Keith Morrison of Dateline) The morning began as so many others, with a trip down the creek and a stop at the local coffee shop.  It was a beautiful spring morning, if not brisk. Birds where busy dining while the dogs patrolled the streets.

(Cut to me, sweating, sitting in the interview chair)  When I first pulled up, I noticed something was wrong.  Sheriff’s department tape was strung across the deck. “Crime Scene – Do Not Cross,” it ordered.   A chalk outline of a body lay strewn across the deck.  Blood dried in the sun.

“What the… ” I mumbled. My mind raced. Ah shit, what happened? Wait, the date. It’s a joke. It’s an April  Fool’s joke. Hell, if something really happened, I would have gotten a call at home, I thought.  Relieved, I got out of my truck, stepped over the tape, and tromped across the deck and opened the door.

Crime Scene

The bar was trashed!  All the lights were left on; The TV’s were on; all the neons were glowing – even in the window; A couple of bar stools were laying on the floor.  Peanut shells littered the floor like dead soldiers.  Behind the bar, the contents of the Shake-a-day boot were scattered across the ground. Water was left in the sink. Dishes were unwashed. The tray to the till was upside down on the bar top. Half drank bottles of beer lingered here and there.

The scene was perfectly staged and I was standing in the middle of it thinking: Aw Shit, there was a fight, an attempted robbery, somebody got killed and I just contaminated the crime scene.  Yes, I know, I watch too much Investigative Discovery. Not thinking that I own the place and my DNA and fingerprints are everywhere, I realized I couldn’t use the phone.  I can’t use a cell phone, hell, I don’t have one.  This is rural Montana folks, and the town’s nickname is the vortex – in part because there’s no cell service.

In a moment of panic, I bolt from the bar and race next door to the Fat Belly Deli.  Doors are locked… It’s closed.  I run down the street to Ghost Rails Inn – the local bed and breakfast.  It’s locked up. No one’s around.  I look across the street at the town hall. I hate to do it, but I have to.

Disregard the Crucifixion in the background.

I compose myself and step inside. The clerk asked. “What happened at the bar?”

“I think someone got killed. But, I don’t know, I think it’s a joke, but it looks like a robbery. Do you have the Sheriff’s Department number?”

She hands me the phone and gives me the number.

I dial, dreading what I would learn.

“Sheriff’s Department,” the cheerful voice answered.

“Aw… ” I begin and tell her who I am. “I think there was a murder at my business last night, but it could be a joke. Did you have any calls?”

“What do you mean you there could have been a murder?”

“Was there any calls last night?” I insist.

“No,”

“Can you check CAD?” I ask…  my wife used to be a 911 dispatcher, so I know the lingo, it makes me sound smart.

“Nothing happened,” the voice answered.

“I think I’ve been had. Sorry to bother you.”   I hand the phone back to the town clerk and do the walk of shame out of the town hall and across the street.

Inside the bar, away from the gawking eyes – I heard there was a buzz generated amongst the town’s senior citizens over the tape and chalked body – I learned that my detective skills need a little sharpening.   As I popped open the till to replace the tray, there was a big note proclaiming: “April Fools!”  And the chalk next to the till, looked suspiciously like the chalk used  to outline the body.I’m awaiting confirmation from the forensic’s lab if this was indeed the same chalk.

Laughing, I set about to cleaning up the crime scene. Hey, I appreciate the effort that went into the set up.

Did I mention that I have a phobia of rats and mice. They scare the living shit out of me, when I think of them, I get creeped out.  As I write this, I’m picturing a bunch of mice running across a floor and I’m skived out.  Knowing this, imagine my reaction when I bent down and was met with the grin of a big ole plastic rat.  I screamed like a little girl and managed a record for the over 40 high jump.

And you thought you had a tough Monday Morning.

A note to the perps:  Remember boys, what comes around goes around.  You’re fired!