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Messages - Baron

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I'm not going to speculate on my own entry, but I'd encourage you to before voting is up!

Best Character: JudasFM for Stephanie, Goddess of Cheeeeeese!  I love it when the mighty are revealed to be just as frail and petty as the rest of us.
Best Plot: WHAM for an eerie tale that sucked you in like a twisting tendril of zombie mist!
Best World: Rocchinator for the otherworldly ocean depths.
Best Style: WHAM for some great mood-setting word choices.
Best Use of the Original Topic: JudasFM for "It's Not Easy Being a Goddess."  I'm probably partial because I chose that topic, but this is the kind of quirky and fun story that I envisaged when I set the rules.

The Rumpus Room / Re: World history quiz thread
« on: Today at 00:39 »
Oooo!  Let's all look at the painting.... ;)

Nope.  Not tanned enough. 

In general, flagrant nudists in positions of power flourished in the era before tabloid journalism.

The Rumpus Room / Re: World history quiz thread
« on: Yesterday at 23:44 »
I'm not hiking all the way down to the river for public nudity. :P  The ice rink across the street is just fine, thank you. 8-)

His dad was also head of state, although the father was more modest in his bathing habits.

The Rumpus Room / Re: World history quiz thread
« on: Yesterday at 22:49 »

If you wear that orange paste all over yourself, are you really nude? (roll)



Kim Jong-un


The Rumpus Room / Re: World history quiz thread
« on: Yesterday at 21:53 »
This head of state swam daily in the nude in his capital city's main river.

Sorry, I've been ridiculously busy with extra work in the evenings.  Is there a chance for a voting extension of a day or two to get me to the weekend?

The Rumpus Room / Re: World history quiz thread
« on: Yesterday at 02:19 »
Cicero definitely had his hands cut off, but I'm not sure about the head.  And I'm not sure about timing: was the guy in charge still Octavian the Ghoulish Gangster or Augustus the Benevolent Emperor by that point? (roll)

The Rumpus Room / Re: World history quiz thread
« on: 16 Nov 2017, 01:05 »
Kissin' Kate Barlow! ;-D

The Rumpus Room / Re: World history quiz thread
« on: 14 Nov 2017, 01:58 »
Dude, it's the biblical flood! ;-D

The Rumpus Room / Re: World history quiz thread
« on: 12 Nov 2017, 22:34 »
The Erie Canal is correct!

The first quote was of a bitter Bostonian, Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr. (father of the supreme court justice).  I just remember the Pete Seger song for the second quote, but apparently the song is much older.  The third clue was referring to Rome, New York and the American republic. :P

The Rumpus Room / Re: World history quiz thread
« on: 12 Nov 2017, 19:00 »
It made Rome a city, but had fallen into disrepair by the 3rd century of the republic.

The Rumpus Room / Re: World history quiz thread
« on: 12 Nov 2017, 02:05 »
Nope, nope.

Another poet mused melodically that "you'll always know your neighbour, and you'll always know your pal" if you'd ever been on this piece of infrastructure.

The Rumpus Room / Re: World history quiz thread
« on: 11 Nov 2017, 23:43 »
It seems like you're referring to the Central Pacific Railroad (that went from California to Utah) and the Union Pacific Railroad (that stretched from Iowa to Utah), which together were the first "transcontinental" railroad, although neither originally stretched to the Atlantic.  But both of those are incorrect. :)

The Rumpus Room / Re: World history quiz thread
« on: 11 Nov 2017, 22:53 »
That's a rather unspecific guess.  Which continent?  Which railroad?

I'll reveal the solution after the voting, since otherwise the speculation phase will needlessly delay us further. 

@ Everybody:  Don't forget to speculate on who killed Dr. Bertie Partridge when you vote! :) 

The Rumpus Room / Re: World history quiz thread
« on: 11 Nov 2017, 21:04 »
This infrastructure project was described by a contemporary poet as "that tongue that is licking up the cream of commerce and finance of a continent."

Wait, wait, wait.  I thought for the Whodunnit theme the solution was only revealed after the voting. :undecided:

The Rumpus Room / Re: World history quiz thread
« on: 10 Nov 2017, 21:45 »
Jack The Elder. ;-D

Edit: Blast!  7 minutes past the deadline! (roll)


Theme: Whodunnit

Started: Not before this competition, but I did have an idea kind of related to how it actually turned out. (roll)

Ghosts of the Pleistocene

   Dames.  I don't know why the seven-letter word “trouble” hasn't gone out of usage when there's a shorter five-letter word that means the same thing.  Dames.

   It's a cold city out there, and I've got the AC turned up to max in my heart.  I'm sitting in my office at 4:02pm on a Friday, counting the minutes until the weekend.  Not that I couldn't take a weekend whenever I felt like it, since I'm a self-employed detective.  But I like the idea of drinking with other people for a change. 

   Then she walks in, all hussed-up like a movie starlet, carried in by a steamroller of thick perfume.  She's got this awful sob tale about a murdered husband and no one to turn to.  Apparently she was looking for a strong shoulder to cry on, and someone to get her out of a fix.  I told her to call a plumber and come back Monday morning, but she threw this hysterical tantrum and now I need to buy a new coat stand and solve a murder in 56 minutes.  Dames.

   “It's like this Frankie,” she moans.  “Bertie was in the museum finishing his piece.  He's a payling-tologist.  The money's lousy, but he had a large inheritance to live off of, and boning was a great passion of his.”

   This is going to require a bit of sauce before magic hour.  I get up to pour a drink, offering her one as I do.  I can see in the mirror behind the liquor cabinet that she's eyeing me through lashes longer than brush bristles.  That must be some kinda fancy mascara, not to run with all the weeping she's been doing.  Or maybe it's still frozen from the frigid temperatures outside....  She refuses curtly, then continues.

   “So Bertie's working late last night, getting ready for the big exit-bition.  He's been working on this ripple-caw of a big cat for months.  The whole skull-eton is there, hanging from the ceiling in the disk-play hall.  And then he gets attacked.  They found him this morning, rivers of blood flowing into the floor drain.  Dead as a door handle.  The police are baffled.  I got no one to turn to, Frankie.”

   It's probably a bad time to tell her my name is Lester.  She's clearly after Frankie Gillespie, the guy who runs the detective agency next door and works weekends.  A real go-getter type that loves this breathless dame stuff.  But I'm hooked on the story now, and I like to drink with other people.  Especially dames in tight skirts with feather boas.  Sure her head seemed a bit empty, but her dress was full in all the right places.  Another 46 minutes of her company couldn't hurt.

   I sit back down and ask her if the police found anything, anything at all.
  “Well, that's the strangest thing.  Bertie was found surrounded by a string of decorations, and two punk-sure wounds in the chest.  They said the wounds were cons-isn't with an attack of a saver-tooth tiger, the very animal whose bones he was working on!  But here's the thing: the skull is rare.  The only one in the whole city was se-curly fastened above him.  And there wasn't a trace of blood on it, or any evidence that it had been moved or tempered with.”

   Now I like a challenge as much as the next man, and this crime scene had all-you-can-eat buffet written all over it.  No murder weapon, and the only suspect was a ten-thousand year old extinct predator.  Maybe 43 minutes was pushing it....

   What was missing from this whole sorry scene was a motive.  I needed to get inside Bertie's head, figure out who might want him dead.

   “Well, he was very respected at the apartment of nah-churl history.  He had an ass-isn't named Marty who was a bit of a buff-loon.  Young guy with a hard time staying folk-kissed.  Eyes and hands always rowing where they shouldn't, if you get my meaning.  And he never got along with Billy Gates the secret-y guard at the museum.  He didn't like that Bertie worked late so often.  Said it made his job more difficult.  Besides those two, and me of course, Bertie didn't have time for other people.”

   As if on cue a tall but spindly man stumbles into my office like a drunken spider.  He trips over the downed coat stand and falls into a chair next to the dame, glasses fogging up from the warm air.  The dame declines to make introductions, turning instead to stare at the frosted window with her pouty face on.  I didn't need the niceties, though.  This guy had “Marty” written all over him, especially on his name badge and on the tag sticking out of his right shirt cuff.  Marty ogles the dame for a little longer than was decent, then turned to face me.

   “Hi, I'm Marty,” he says, extending a hand and knocking over my ink blotter in the process.  He's got well-meaning ineptitude written all over his face in little freckle-sized writing.  “Well, I hope, uh, that Priscilla has already, er, engaged your services to solve the, um, murder of my boss, Dr. Partridge?”

   So the dame has a name.  Interesting.

   An awkward silence ensues as I size the pair of them up.   Marty fidgets like a ferret in a paper towel tube.  The dame just stares at the window frost, practising her duck-face.  They're in cahoots somehow, that much is clear.  How else would they both stumble into the wrong detective agency at 4:26 on a Friday?  Marty can stand the silence no longer and starts to babble:
  “Well, I guess you, er, want my side of the story?  I was, uh, like, helping Dr. Partridge with some last-minute assembly of the, you know, exhibit until 6pm last night.  Mostly polishing the castings, 'cause, uh, he won't let me touch the skeleton after the, er... incident.”

   Marty casts this sideways glance at the dame, and she finally snaps.   “You shoulda been there, Marty!  You shoulda been ass-isn't-ing him all night, and then this woulda never happened!”

   Marty does this this weird triple take at her, then turns back to me, then back to the dame again, then back to me.  God, it's like watching a kitten with a ping-pong ball.  Whoever reckoned he'd make a good paleontologist must've figured he'd just have to hold the pick next to the rock and the vibrations alone would do the work for him.  That, or maybe it was the nice tie that got him in the door.  I ask him where he was between 6pm and the time the body was discovered the next morning.

   “Wha-, me?  Er, I was at the... well, uh...” He glances at the dame again, who blows a blond curl out of her face with exasperation.  To save you ten minutes of me drinking and Marty blathering, the gist of the story is that he was decoration shopping for the big show, and then sleeping soundly at his rooming house all the way out in Minnetonka.  I could ask Mrs. Halloway, the old landlady to vouch for his whereabouts.  Apparently she doesn't sleep with him, but knows he's around because the bolts in the vents rattle.  I don't buy any of it, except the bit about the vents.

   I turn to the dame and ask about her alibi.  She gives me the same withering look she had been saving for sweet Marty, but humoured me in the end.
  “I was at the bingo hall, of course.  Didn't win nothin'.  But my friend Fanny Mae won the graham prize, and she can attend to my presents.  Then we hit a couple of dance clubs to celibate, and I was home by 8:30 to make dinner, you know, in case Bertie came home and was hungry.”  She batted her long eye-lashes at me, trying to waft the nonsense over in my direction.  Anyone with bingo scars knows the main event doesn't go down till just before 10pm.

   I was about to probe more deeply into their likely stories when a fat old man with a walrus moustache lumbered into the office.  The only furniture left for him was my thinking sofa, which he promptly occupied with a triumphant wheeze.  Judging by his uniform and the familiar whiff of whiskey, this was Billy Gates the security guard.

   “Followed the tracks in the snow,” he said gruffly, anticipating my question.  “Been hell to pay up at the museum today..... what with the tragic events happening just under my nose.....  Truth be told..... I've been getting a bit lazy in my dotage.....  But the mind's as sharp as.... well.... it's still sharp anyway.....  Those police investigators just tick the boxes..... but I know suspicious circumstances when I see them.....  The mammalian hall doors being locked up.....  Precious specimens going missing....  Equipment left out blocking the hallways.....  Dr. Partridge acting right peculiar, even for him..... I need a drink.....”

   I'm quick to oblige, partly because this Billy Gates character is the sanest person I've met this afternoon, but mostly because I need a refill and we're on a tight time-line here.  I only hope he drinks faster than he speaks: I've only got 23 minutes left!  I ask him where he was at the time of the murder.

   “I don't reckon I know exactly....  We had a row over the flammable decorations strung up all over....  He was in a right rage.... given it was just a fire-code violation....  So I left his floor alone for half the night....  Came back at 2am to find the door locked....  I could hear him quietly tapping away with his hammer....  Went back at 6am and all was quiet....  I unlocked the door and there he was.... dead as the stuffed dodos in the avian wing....”

   Not a bad story, but the old man was being a little too helpful to be genuine.  Nobody that unenergetic would venture through the cold and storm after a full shift of work and then a full day of police questioning without a really good reason.  I ponder the three of them: the ditsy trophy wife, the bungling assistant, the meddlesome security guard.  What was the motive here?

   “I'd never hurt a hair on poor Bertie's head!  He was my solo mate!”  But the dame did stand to gain a lot financially since her husband was independently wealthy....

   “Dr. Partridge was, uh, like this, er, mentory guy for me.  I, uh, really admired and respected him.”  The good doctor was probably holding Marty's career back, probably for good reason.

   “Why would I.... want to kill him......?” The fat security guard casually pulled back his sleeve to check the time on his gold watch.  Maybe those precious specimens were disappearing under his watch and the victim called him out on it? 

   So three motives and only 16 minutes left.  Time to start wrapping this case up.  I ask each suspect one more question.

   “Of course we had a happy marriage!  Just last week was our second universe sorry.  He took me out to a swanky rester aunt and got all kinds of icks pensive orders.  He never does crazy stuff like that, so it shows he loved me!”

   “Wha-?  The, uh, skull of a sabre-toothed tiger?  Yeah, well, er....  It would weigh, like, around thirty pounds in real life.  But the castings are a lot, uh, heavier, since they're usually made of, like, polymer?”

   “Yeah, equipment right in the middle of the hall....  Big moulds the size of a bar-fridge....  What with the radiators there's no way.... a guy my size could squeeze by....  Another fire-code violation..... is what it was...!”   

   Some say solving a murder in an hour is like trying to solve a Rubik's cube blindfolded, but I usually don't listen to those kinds of people unless I'm drunk.  Which I intend to be in precisely ten minutes down at the bar.  Maybe I might not have all the facts, but I think I've got enough of the gist of the case to take a wild stab at solving it.  What do you think?

The Rumpus Room / Re: World history quiz thread
« on: 09 Nov 2017, 01:34 »
I just remember "Aten" meant sun, and he wanted to be worshipped as the new sun god instead of Ra.  If we go through all the iterations of "Aten" we're sure to hit on it! ;-D

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