Jul 13, 2005

The Jump Rope Murder, Final Installment

This is the final installment for Short Story Wednesday's Jump Rope Murder. If you missed the first installments you might want to catch up by going

The Sheriff walked outside to explain to the girl he was taking her to stay with the Sister.

They drove through the town square in silence.

She finally spoke. “Are you ‘resting me ‘cause it’s my rope?”

“No, silly, I know you didn’t kill him.”

“I really didn’t,” she explained. “He was already dead. The horn woke me up and I went over to the diner to see what it was. But every time I let go of his head it would press on the horn and honk really loud. I was afraid it would wake up Daddy! So I tied his head up with my rope. That was okay, wasn’t it?”

This case just kept surprising Sam. “Of course it was. But, Sissy, do me a favor and don’t tell anyone else. Other people might not think it was a proper thing to do.”

That night after Sissy was tucked in safely at Sister Mary Ellen’s, Sheriff Westin lay in bed trying to sort out the day.

“Nothing like a good murder to flush out the new town’s troublemakers,” he thought. “To solve a murder is a quick way to get in good graces with the townsfolk, too.”

Now he had to decide who to pin this one on. He had his choice of anyone named Sister. He chuckled at the thought of that stupid parrot on the witness stand.

He wouldn’t mind putting away that manipulative Brother Burns and exposing the tricks he and the Father played on the town. Or he could rid them of that horrible eyesore, Mother.

He laughed again as he imagined headlines in the local newspaper:


But no, the real pest in town was that snooty Mrs. Whittington. She was the one who called incessantly about trivial things like the cow on the highway and the builders dumping trash. Without her his job would be a lot easier.

He’d smudge some of her lipstick on the headrest tomorrow. And maybe smear some on the jump rope, too. Coming up with a motive, though, was tough. But he always enjoyed a challenge.

Then he thought of the night before when he’d slipped quietly into the Father’s bedroom. He could vividly picture the priest passed out across his bed, the strong smell of liquor expelling into the room with each snore.

“A religious figure who drinks is not a good example for the rest of the town,” he thought. Then he pictured jabbing the needle into the crease between Father Pendleton's toes. Sam's hypodermic filled with bee sting serum always did the trick.

When the priest realized he couldn’t breath he must have jumped in the car for help. After he passed out, he coasted into Mother’s parking lot and fell on the horn. Sissy’s jump rope was something Sam hadn’t planned on, though.

“What a stroke of luck—saving her from that monster she calls Daddy.”

He wondered if the father had died from the deadly injection or if an innocent child and her jump rope had actually finished him off. He would probably never know.

“Sister,” squawked the parrot.

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