The Further End-Time Adventures Of Verb McCracken: Chapter 5c, The Sardines, Part 3, “Mystery Solved”

Hey, I’ve read Sherlock Holmes.  I should be able to solve this murder.  I know who did it.  I know it was Chuy and Pedo.  I just have to prove it.

I’ll get that nasty duo to incriminate themselves.  It should be simple.

The problem is to separate those two.  I don’t want them to just agree with each other.  That won’t work.  They could corroborate each other’s story.  They could come up with an alibi.  I need to pin them down and get them to incriminate themselves.

Chuy and Pedo lived together.  I couldn’t visit them at home.  But there was a fellowship meeting at the church on Saturday  It was a celebration of the birthday of their hero, the famous theologian Zwingli.

I’ve watched Columbo so I knew I had to interview Chuy and Pedo.  But I needed some help.   Lieutenant Lapsarian was going to be there.  I enlisted him to separate that couple.  He understood what I was going to do and was more than willing to help.  So he distracted Pedo while I could talk to Chuy.  

Everyone was just milling about drinking punch made from Sprite and sherbet.  So I approached Chuy.  

“Hey, Chuy.  How’s it going.”  

“What are you doing here?” he asked, not so amicably.

“You know me?”

“Yeah, I know you.  Aren’t you that Arminian preacher that they mistakenly got you to fill the pulpit tomorrow?”

“Well, I’m Scottish in origin but that’s probably not what you meant.  Theologically, I’m not Arminian or the opposite, actually really.  I’m just for what the Bible says.  Maybe I’ll explain tomorrow.  I was a friend of Grace, literally and theologically.  Speaking of Grace, you know you were seen on the observation deck about the time of Grace’s untimely demise.”

“Oh, yeah?  Who saw me up there?  I wasn’t even there that day,” Chuy replied cooly.  

“The entire Smyrna youth group was up there on an outing,” I said.

“A youth group?  You can’t trust a bunch of yout’s,” said Chuy.

“They were teens and some of the parents were there, too,” I said.  There were beads of sweat forming on his forehead.

“I wasn’t there.  Plus I got an alibi like I told the Lieutenant over there.  I was folding laundry and watched the Red Sox with my roomie, Pedo.  Anyways, why would I wanna off Grace?”  

“Yeah, why would you, a wonderful, beautiful, young girl like that?  Maybe because she didn’t fit in around here?  Maybe because times are weird and people are getting bumped off all around this city?  Maybe she didn’t hold to the same beliefs as everyone else around here?  Maybe.  Maybe.  I don’t know.  People had told me around here that you and Pedo said someone should shove her sometime.  Apparently, people in the church thought you didn’t like her.”

“Yeah, but I wasn’t gonna snuff her!”

“So you were folding laundry?  That’s your alibi?”  

“I don’t think that’s any of your business but yeah, we had both got a few of those ‘Yankees stink’ T-shirts.  Three of them.  We got some Red Sox socks, too.  Two pairs.  We had just got ‘em in the mail, washed, dried, and then folded them to go to the game next week.”

“Red Sox socks  Two pairs of T-shirts?  That’s quite a laundry list.  OK, hope you enjoy the sermon tomorrow.”

“Yeah, yeah.  Me, too,” said Chuy.  But I didn’t believe he meant it.

Folded laundry.  Hmm.  Let’s see what Pedo has to say for himself.  I could see the Lieutenant was done with him.

“Hey, Pedo, whazup dude?” I asked.

“I ain’t your dude, dude,” said Pedo.

“I was just talking to your roomie,” I said.

“I could see that.  I got eyes, you know?”  Friendly guy that Pedo.

“Apparently, the Smrynan youth group has eyes, too.  You know?”

“What’s that have to do with you preaching tomorrow?” said Pedo, a bit defensively.

“Oh, so you know I’m preaching tomorrow.  So you probably know why I’m preaching.  The pastor here is under surveillance because a congregant might have been murdered from this church.  So I was asked to fill in.”

“Yeah, that lovely Grace chick.  I heard about that.”

“You have anything to do with that?” I asked.

“Whaaaaaaa?”  Now Pedo came alive.  He wasn’t so nonchalant anymore.

Pedo said, “What you have to do with that?”

“Nothing.  I was a friend of hers.  I liked her.  I wouldn’t want to hear that there was any foul play involved.  She was a good kid.”

“Then you wouldn’t mind if I ask you where you were at that time when she leapt or was she shoved?” I asked.

“You accusin’ me?”  Pedo seemed to be in a panic.

“Just trying to help the Lieutenant since I’m not from this church.  So where were you?”

“That’s none of your business but I was with my roomie.”

“So I hear.  What were you doing?”

“I was folding laundry.”

“Seriously?  Folding laundry?”

“Yeah, we had just got three of those ‘Yankees stink’ T-shirts and a couple pair of Red Sox socks.  We got them in the mail so we washed them, dried them, and then folded ‘em for the game next week.”*

“Three new T-shirts?  Two pairs of socks?”

“Exactly, you got it genius,” chimed Pedo.

“OK.  Folding laundry?  OK,” I said dismissedly.  I held up my punch in mock toast to him and Chuy.  I had them.

(To be continued . . . .)

*  Chuy and Pedo told the same, identical story.  It wouldn’t hold up in court.  Notice the guards at Jesus’ tomb told the same story that shouldn’t have held up in court, see Matt. 28:11-15   “Now while they were on their way, some of the guard came into the city and reported to the chief priests all that had happened.  12 And when they had assembled with the elders and consulted together, they gave a large sum of money to the soldiers,  13 and said,  “You are to say,  ‘His disciples came by night and stole Him away while we were asleep.’  14  “And if this should come to the governor’s ears, we will win him over and keep you out of trouble.”  15 And they took the money and did as they had been instructed; and this story was widely spread among the Jews,  and is to this day.”

**  In contrast, the disciples had different stories because they were true.  For example, Matthew said there was an angel at the tomb.  “And behold, a severe earthquake had occurred, for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled away the stone and sat upon it (Matt. 28:2).  In contrast, John says there were two angels. “ . . . And she saw two angels in white sitting, one at the head and one at the feet, where the body of Jesus had been lying” (John 20:12).  Note that there is no contradiction since Matthew did not say that there was only one angel.  And whenever there are two or more angels, there is necessarily one angel.

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