Billy Holmes had just finished dressing up the deceased body of Todd Sanderson in a full Darth Vader costume. He had snuck into Todd’s hotel room earlier and waited in the closet. When Todd showed up and entered his room, Billy crepted up from behind and strangled him with a belt. Billy then put his belt back on around his waist and started to dress Todd in the costume. The tenth annual “Sci-Fi, Horror and Fantasy” con was currently going on at the Wilshire hotel, where Billy worked. His plan was simple. He would kill Todd, dress him up as Vader and then set up the body sitting somewhere among the hundreds of fans watching new footage of an upcoming “Star Wars’ project being shown in the grand ballroom. If everything went smoothly, no one would uncover an emotionless, still body for hours until after the event was over. By that time, hundreds of potential suspects would have entered and exited the hotel. It was now early morning and Billy had to move quickly to get the body down to the ballroom before the hallways filled up with guests and hotel staff. He finished putting the helmet on Todd’s head and then went outside of the room into the hallway. He wheeled in a large canvas laundry cart large filled with hotel linens. Having been employed at the hotel for three months now, gave Billy free access to move about the employees’ areas with no questions asked. He dumped the newly garbed Todd into the cart, threw in his ‘light saber’ and covered the body up with sheets. He then pushed the cart out of the room, down the hall and into the service elevator.
Once Billy had left Todd sitting up in a row of chairs that had been set-up just for the show, he left the ballroom to go start his shift at work as one of the hotel’s maintenance people. He knew he would have to work his full shift today, before leaving town tonight-if he ran into any trouble. For now, everything was going according to his plan. As far as anyone could tell, a Star Wars fan wanted to be the first to see the film, they got up early and snuck into the ballroom for a good seat. Billy felt confident that this would all work out and went about to start his day as the hotel begin filling up with hundreds of fans dressed in costumes.
Two hours after Todd’s body was set up, a very elaborate, rather large cos-play of ‘Jabba-the-Hutt entered the ballroom. The two fans who were working the long, rubber tail of the costume had misjudged it’s movement and smashed the tail into one of the rows of loose chairs. Todd’s body fell down unto the floor and landed on its side.
The police were called in immediately once it had been determined that the deceased had indeed been the victim of foul play. The Ballroom was sealed off and no one was to allowed to leave the hotel until a full investigation had been conducted. Lt. Daniel Kelso from homicide was called in to lead the hunt for the killer. He began questioning some of the early morning staff of the hotel if they had witnessed the deceased (A Mr. Todd Sanderson according to his driver’s license found in his wallet, along with a lifetime membership card to the “Friends of the force” Star Wars fan club) anywhere near the area.
When it came time for Billy’s questioning, he stuck with one of his rehearsed answers to respond with, if he was to be questioned by anyone. He told Lt. Kelso, “That he did see a man dressed as Darth Vader walking around early in the morning but, that’s all he saw”
Lt. Kelso felt uncomfortable in ruling out Billy as a possible suspect. He had a hunch in his gut about Billy but, really had no concrete reason to hold him there as a suspect. Then, a hotel maid had found something and alerted the police. In Billy’s attempt to rush getting Todd’s body set-up, he had forgotten to take the light saber in the laundry cart. According to Billy’s description, the ‘Darth Vader’ that he saw that was walking around this morning was holding a blue-bladed light saber. Possibly, the same light saber that had been discovered by the maid.
Kelso knew that finding the light saber was merely circumstantial evidence and not enough to incriminate Billy in Todd’s Murder. Any passerby could have left the saber in the laundry bin and it didn’t mean that it belonged to Todd himself. Still, Kelso was positive that Billy was the killer and after a more intensified line of questioning, he finally got billy to breakdown and confess.
As Billy Holmes was handcuffed and led away by police, Patrolman Ed Martino who was friends with Kelso approached with a curious look on his face.
“Lieutenant, How did you know it was him, that he was the killer?”
Kelso looked at him with that mischievous grin of his, like the cat that just swallowed the canary.
“I guess you would have to be a fan of the films, Martino. I happen to be one and Mr. Holmes is not. He admitted to me that he hadn’t seen any of the films”
Martino looked at Kelso, perplexed.
“Huh? I don’t get it. How would being a fan have anything to do with this?”
Kelso stood there for a second, then walked over to the light saber, which was being processed for fingerprints.
“Well, according to the suspect, he saw Darth Vader walking around this morning holding his blue-bladed light saber. This same one that was found in the laundry wagon”.
Kelso nodded down in the direction of the light saber.
“See, Darth Vader’s light saber beam is red. Luke Skywalker’s is blue. There is no way that any die-hard Star Wars fan would dress up as Vader holding Skywalker’s saber. Clearly, someone one dressed the victim up themselves and then moved their body. I suspect by use of the laundry cart”
Martino just stood there in disbelief. He had seen Kelso solve murders before, but not this quickly.
“Come on now…couldn’t the victim just picked up the wrong color light saber?”
Kelso quickly turned to Martino with his eyes widened.
“NEVER! These fans are obsessed with details. Something like that, they would never get wrong. Besides, once Mr. Holmes knew that we found his fingerprints on the saber’s handle, he confessed to everything”
Martino looked down at the crime scene technician who was still dusting for prints.
“But, how did you know his prints would be on the handle?”
Kelso leaned in and whispered.
“Oh, I didn’t. Then again, neither did Mr. Holmes.”
Martino smiled and shook his head.
“You always amaze me, Kelso”.
Kelso waited a second, planning his answer.
“It was nothing. I merely used the force”
Kelso chuckled at his own bad joke, knowing that a non-fan would never understand it. Nor would a non-fan ever get away with murdering Darth Vader either.
Written for the Haunted Wordsmith’s Genre Writing Challenge 13
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