Clued-In: An Introspective Journey With Colonel Mustard

16 May

Like his condiment namesake, the most frustrating thing for Colonel Mustard was that people used him all too often.

A warrior tormented by his peaceful heart.

Colonel Mustard lay in his bed–the soft, mechanical whirring of his fan providing the only sound of the evening except, of course, for the muffled, effeminate weeping of Professor Plum next door, as he watches the 1997 version of Flubber.

“There’s an older version that’s better,” Colonel Mustard mouths, pleading from his bed. “If you’d watch the older version…If you’d watch the older version maybe you wouldn’t cry so much.” He wasn’t quite sure why he believed this. The fact is, Colonel Mustard didn’t know much of anything anymore.

Arriving to the party that night, his expectations had been high. His divorce finally final, Colonel Mustard was single and ready to mingle, but when the big double doors of Mr. Boddy’s luxurious New England mansion swung open, revealing the patrons within, he was aghast and crestfallen.

Surely this isn’t everybody, he thought to himself, once again performing a head count of every one in attendance. His heart sank every time he got to five, then, in desperation, counted “the help,” Mrs. White, and got to just six. Six people?! He thought to himself. Six? He allowed his hand to trace up his jacket’s lapel and then to the hard spot just over his heart where his flask rested, cached from all others. Tonight, old friend. Tonight, I will need thee more than ever. He immediately remembered that time in 2002 when he saw A Walk to Remember with his church’s children’s group. He shuddered to himself and retracted his previous statement.

Although there was a 3:3 man to woman ratio, the whole thing still had the unmistakable feel of a sausage-fest. Perhaps it was because of Ms. Peacock’s patently clear unavailability that it felt there was one less woman in the room than before. It was her haughty air and great wall of pretension that assured all around her that she would come to you, and not the other way around. Colonel Mustard knew she would never come to him. He wished so badly for her, but he always insisted on wearing a monocle, which forced his face into a constant state of tension–a tension that seemed to push women away. Also pushing them away was his mane-like facial hair that covered roughly seventy percent of his slightly above average face. I bet Ms. Peacock likes well-shaven men–men with smooth, kissable cheeks and mouths you can see when they talk. Dare I shave? He thought, but knew he could not–ever. Shaving would reveal the Tweety Bird tattoo that he had for so many years worked so hard to conceal.

Look closely. Look closely and observe an old man's secret shame.

There was Ms. Scarlett (Scarlett the Harlot as Mustard called her), but Colonel Mustard hated syphilis, had fought a bout with it in Mongolia, and decided that at his age, the doctors and nurses at the free clinic would no longer look at his impropriety as whimsical and a product of youthful exuberance, but rather, would see him as a hairy old man with junk on his wee-wee. Mustard wasn’t one hundred percent certain that Scarlett was afflicted by the disease, but he thought she had a whorish gait and the way she drank her punch was much too suggestive for a “clean” woman.

Finally, he came to Ms. White–the help. Her skin, almost as translucent as wet tissue paper, hung loosely from her body, and revealed a vast network of blue and purple varicose veins. She was a sweet woman, though, and her eyes seemed to be like small windows revealing a still-roaring furnace. Perhaps Ms. White is the one who needs cleaning. Perhaps she’s the dirty girl. Colonel Mustard thought. He threw up in his mouth a little bit, removed his handkerchief from his pocket, dabbed the spot on his mustachebeard where he guessed his lips were, and put the erotic thoughts to rest.

Why must I find a woman to enjoy myself? There is something to be said for a quiet evening among friends! He declared to himself. For a moment, the colonel felt genuinely happy. He felt connected to these sometimes-strangers, these amicable-acquaintances. They sat in a foyer, sipping wine and chatting quietly. The calming serenity the group had cultivated was shattered, however, by Mr. Green. No one was sure who invited Mr. Green.

“And so then I says to my wife, I says, ‘Honey, listen. Let me worry about the money, okay? I got only one kind of job I like you to do.” Mr. Green then mimes fellatio and cackles the dry, wheezing laugh of a lifelong smoker and perpetual windbag.

“Mr. Green,” Colonel Mustard responded, “Do you think that’s an appropriate way to speak to your wife? Or to speak before these ladies in attendance?” Colonel Mustard waved his hand over the two women seated at a couch to his right. Professor Plum was blushing fiercely. “Look, you’ve upset Professor Plum as well.”

“Mustard, I’ll talk to my wife in any way I’d like.”

“Well, if I can’t influence you to speak to your wife with more respect, perhaps I could implore you to keep your vulgarity to the confines of your own home, instead of letting the swill of your personal life spill over onto our pleasant evening.” Colonel Mustard was now speaking with the understated power of an exploding kitten. Mr. Green seemed to sense this, and paused a bit longer than he had previously before he spoke–calculating his words.

“Well, I suppose that’s fair.” His face was red, and Mustard wasn’t sure if it was from the wine, embarrassment, anger, or a dangerous mix of all three. “I’ll watch my tongue.”

Just at that moment, Ms. White burst into the room, her hair askew and a look in her eyes of sheer terror. “Mr. Boddy is dead!” she screamed.

“Is that whose house we’re at?” Ms. Peacock asked. No one really blamed her for not knowing. She usually kept her nose so high that she required an assistant to lead her around and this craned-back position made it almost impossible for her to see name plates or read invitations or make a substantial introduction. Ms. Peacock was pretty much useless. “That Mr. Boddy always was such a stiff,” she said, irreverently. “And we thought this party was dead before!” she jested. Colonel Mustard glared sharply at her, commanding silence. She didn’t see it, though. The craned-neck thing, remember?

“Everyone needs to calm down. There is no need to panic,” Mustard said to the group, but it became clear almost immediately that no calming was necessary. Mr. Green had fallen asleep. Ms. Scarlet was texting someone.

“I think we should call the police,” Professor Plum said, standing.

“I agree,” Colonel Mustard said. “Ms. White, is there a phone here?”

She led the two of them to a phone–the only phone in the house–in the study. The phone was lodged securely beneath the lifeless frame of Mr. Boddy.

“Well, clearly we can’t use this phone, Ms. White,” Mustard said, exasperated. Professor Plum, sickened by the sight of a cadaver, had left the room to vomit.

Ms. White shrugged. “You can still use it. It still works.” She began pushing Mr. Boddy off of the phone and dialing.

“Stop that!” Mustard said, swatting her hand away. “This is evidence you’re fiddling with. Mr. Boddy has clearly been murdered.”

“Murdered?” Ms. White asked. “But by whom?” Her hands, now clenched tightly to one another, were brought to the level of her collar bone. “And with what?”

“Well,” Colonel Mustard said, “It seems this party just got a bit more interesting. Someone at this party killed Mr. Boddy. I’m sure of it. This mansion is practically impenetrable. Plum!” he called to the corner of the room where Plum was orally evacuating his bowels. “Let’s get the rest of our house-mates. There’s a mystery to be solved.”

When they enter the living room, everyone has left. The front door was wide-open. The sound of screeching tires can be heard outside.

“Well, shit,” Mustard said to a visibly shaken Plum. “I suppose we’ll be blamed for this now.”

And so the police arrived and arrested Colonel Mustard, Professor Plum, and Ms. White on suspicion of murder.

Colonel Mustard now lay in his holding cell, awaiting his trial. The only sounds the whirring of a ceiling fan and Professor Plum weeping next door.

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