Chuck’s at it again. He’s asking us to mix up genres and elements for our flash fiction challenge entries like a… like a… well, like a big genre and element mixing machine, that’s what. What? It could be a real thing. So, with another three sets of ten things to choose from and mix together what are the ingredients for today’s flash fiction.
- Sub-genre: Murder Mystery
- Setting: Brothel
- Element to include: Cloning
I’d like to present (and indeed will)…
Flash Fiction: Murder at the Orient Sex-press
‘I know who the murderer is’ said Detective Johannson as he paced around the dressing room of the Orient Sex-press, a very well-known but often denied, brothel. The manager Richard Sole had been found dead in his office a week ago but thanks to the keen investigative mind of Detective Johansson, he had figured everything out. The clones were waiting for him, and all three of them were completely identical. They had different hairstyles, and clothing but they were all spookily similar.
Johannson had tried to find out the clones’ names but every time he asked he got the generic response of ‘Whatever you want it to be, baby’ which did little to further his investigation, so instead he gave each of them a letter of the alphabet.
‘So you say you know who killed him?’ said Clone A, who wore a sugar-pink and ludicrously short gingham dress as she twirled her blonde pigtails between her fingers.
‘I do Clone A, and what’s more I know that one of you did it.’ Johannson loved this bit, it’s the whole reason he became a detective. The summing up, getting to unmask the culprit. His job wasn’t anything like the detective stories he had read as a child said it would be, but he tried to do the best he could to inject some old-school murder mystery into things.
‘Von of us? I do not sink zo’ said Clone B with her usual over-the-top Austrian accent as she caressed a riding crop between her fingers. ‘I should punish you for zat insult’ she barked whipping the riding crop fast through the air.
‘No. No thank you, Clone B. Maybe another time.’ Johannson blushed a little ‘I’m afraid it is one of you and I know which one of you it is.’
‘Surely sir, you can’t possibly suspect little ol’ me?’ Clone C sat in her ladylike stance, her large white dress completely covering the chair she was sat on. She held a parasol over her shoulder and stroked a small lamb on her lap. Johannson couldn’t help liking Clone C the most. He knew she was simply playing a part but that southern belle routine, really made him… No, that wasn’t why he was here.
Gathering his composure the detective cleared his throat in what he hoped looked authoritative and did not betray his nervousness. ‘The Murderer was clever. We gathered more forensic evidence than normal from the body, but the murderer knew that forensic evidence would be next to useless in this case. After all you all have the same hair, the same fingerprints, DNA. There would be nothing to distinguish the murderer from the other two.’
The clones smiled back to Johannson. They’d taken that as a compliment. ‘Damn clones’ thought Johannson ‘Rubbish at sub-text.’
‘So who is it?’ said Clone A as she unwrapped a large brightly coloured lollypop.
‘You all had motive…’ Johannson was enjoying himself far too much to skip straight to the end. ‘You all hated him for what he cloned you to do. Any one of you would have gladly killed him for that. Plus, none of you could really give me an idea of where you were at the time due to the genetic retargeting sequences you say you were in at the time of his death.’
‘Vot was your conclusion?’ said Clone B, rubbing the riding crop up and down her thighs.
‘The conclusion was that either you were all involved somehow.’
‘That’s an interestin’ idea, you have there hun’ said Clone C ‘but Mr Sole was found with only one stab wound on his whole body. We can’t all have done it. You think we all held the knife or somethin’?’
Detective Johannson paced the room silently, smoothing his suit. He wanted to wait until just the right moment. Suspense is the key to a successful summation delivery.
‘Forgive me Miss, but I did not say you all killed him. Just that you were all involved. Only one of you wielded the knife that killed our victim.’ Johannson spun round quickly his accusing finger pointed directly at Clone A. ‘…and it was you A. You took the knife from the kitchen, ran back to his office and plunged it into our victim. No doubt being seen by the other two. Though seeing as you all share exactly the same brainwave pattern and moral compass an agreement between yourselves to hide the crime would have been reached quickly.’
Clone A gasped.
‘Please Miss, don’t bother to fake being surprised. It was you.’
‘All right, you have me. You’re right. I did kill him said Clone A. ‘He was a pig, to all of us. After what he cloned us to do it was the least he deserved. Go on then, arrest me take me away and decommission me for murder.’
‘I’m afraid not Miss’ said Detective Johannson. ‘I cannot arrest you because you technically haven’t committed a crime.’
‘Vot ze hell are you talking about?’
‘You sure ain’t making any sense, sugar.’
Detective Johannson waited the right amount of time, only a few seconds but he knew he had the entire room waiting on his every word.
‘The man you killed wasn’t Mr Sole.’ Johannson waited another few seconds of suspense ‘The man you killed was a clone.’
‘WHAT!’ said the clones in perfect harmonic unison.
‘Mr Sole had cloned himself. It was the only way that he could manage his philandering lifestyle. With one or two clones running things here he was free to spend some time with his second wife.’
Clone B laughed out loud ‘Poor baby. It looks like he stiffed you again, ya?’
‘So what happens now?’ said Clone A.
‘Well Miss you haven’t committed any crime, well not as far as the law states. As you know clones don’t have the same rights as human beings, so we can’t arrest you for murder. In short this is really not that different from someone’s pet chewing on the couch. He might be able to claim on the insurance for the damage caused to his property. Anyway, ladies If you’ll excuse me, I’ll let myself out.’
Detective Johannson closed the door behind him, leaving all three clones in confused silence.
Yeah, things were definitely different.