Skip to main content
Public Access

The Thin Pan


Somewhere in greater New York, the two happily-wedded investigators hold the inevitable mystery-ending dinner party. She is wearing her sleekest cocktail dress, complemented by her elegant fur (which, of course, she never removes). He is wearing what the vulgar might call a "monkey suit." They down their twentieth banshee cocktails, and address their twenty guests.

He: I'm glad you could all join us to help us clear up this mysterious death. But before we do, there are a few other matters we need to clarify.

She: Yes, it seems that each of you has committed a crime against someone in this very room!

He: Yes, each of you is the perpetrator of one crime and the victim of another! And... what's that you have there, darling? File folders?

She: Yes, dear, I thought I'd organize the twenty perpetrators into five groups, each in its own folder. Note that in addition to the three groups you'd expect, I've also got one for our open-minded cousins from across the river, and one for the folks that everyone else is looking at with such unwarranted disdain. And I've numbered the folders 1 to 5, in order of closeness to us (1 is furthest, 5 is closest).

He [kissing her on the forehead]: What would I ever do without you, my pet? Now let's get the ball rolling. [Turns to one guest.] During the three seasons you spent trucking around with your partner, you spread malicious rumors that someone in this very room was a draft evader!

She [continuing around the table]: You played drums alongside Fleegle and your other bestial bandmates until your music made someone in this very room hallucinate, even when not under the influence of psychoactive substances!

He: Back in your days rampaging at Camp Wannaweep, you even dared to put a notarizing seal on a fraudulent affidavit implicating someone in this very room! (And, as it happens, you were the first perpetrator, and the last victim.)

She: You had your aristocratic but loincloth-clad colleague summon elephants so their intimidating size would dishearten someone in this very room!

He: You kept improperly signaling for right turns in your partner Philo's truck until someone in this very room, stuck behind you, exploded like dihydroxycyclopropenone!

She: You teamed up with a jewel thief at the Majestic Hotel to steal jewelry worn between the arms of someone in this very room!

He: You imitated a master of ceremonies introducing a band called "Evolution Revolution," but really you were drilling holes in the stage while someone in this very room was trying to perform!

She: And you, Bright Eyes, when you were fighting in 11th century Spain on your horse Babieca, your really big knife injured someone in this very room!

He: You, Goldilocks, used your influence as the valet to the High Evolutionary of Counter-Earth to kidnap someone in this very room, forcing others to offer money to free them!

She: You big purple so-and-so, you created a huge disturbance, loudly repeating your own name over and over and offending the young, innocent, ladylike ears of someone in this very room!

He: You used your mental powers to convince a stinging insect to sting the Flash, but instead someone in this very room got stung!

She: When you were just an adolescent show-off on that reality show, you, Sam, Makena, and the rest broke out of the house and smeared someone in this very room with the most slimy substances you could find!

He: You may be the king of your own island, but that hardly gives you the right to punch someone in this very room, bruising their mandible's edge!

She: When you and your friend Phil and all those others went on a cargo ship to Africa, you took along ten tons of the oxide of element 68 rightfully belonging to someone in this very room!

He: As my lovely wife would say, and you, Bright Eyes, you climbed up a mountain, came down with stone tablets, and threw them directly at someone in this very room, breaking a dental appendage!

She: We read all about how Sophie rescued you in that National Book Award finalist, but what they left out of the story was you giving the go-ahead to an elaborate con game against someone in this very room!

He: As you were managing the Unseen University's book collection, you reedited a math text by someone in this very room so its proofs had less logical exactitude!

She: And you, Bright Eyes, just this year, you got suspicious about the "plankton wafers" we've all been eating, went digging where you shouldn't, and now someone in this very room is covered with adobe!

He: After you and Rabatto tried to steal Hibiki's Bangaata, you pinned your attempted crime on the blue-footed bird of someone in this very room!

She: You met up with your porcine pal in the urban area where you live, missy, and then you broke into the home of someone in this very room, and stole everything they owned, leaving them in a state of poverty!

He [turning back to his cocktail]: Well, I guess that clears it all up. [He holds up a thin pan.] Bananas Foster, anyone?

All the guests: What do you mean, that clears it all up? WHO KILLED HIM??????

She [refilling her glass]: Him? Oh, he died of natural causes. Murder's against the Law, you know.

[They clink their glasses, inscribed with C and Z, and down the contents, gazing at their view of the beach and the Statue of Liberty.]