Friday, May 7, 2010

The Old Detectives' Club

I once heard of four old men living in a retirement community. They were all former police detectives and they spent their days reminiscing about how things used to be and discussing how the detectives of today didn’t know what they were doing. One day, they were discussing such things and they began to discuss how that it would be nice if they could pit themselves against the younger generation of detectives and prove that they were better. They discussed this for a while and decided that they would be quite the sight if they were to show up at a crime scene, one of them needing a walker. They were sure the police wouldn’t let them in and it would be hard to investigate from outside.

They let it rest for a while, but then one of them suggested that the thing to do would be to bring the crime scene to them. They discussed how they could do this and decided that they only way it would work would be if one of them committed the crime. It took them a good deal of time to discuss the risks involved, but after deciding that they were too close to death for it to matter. They selected a victim—a young pretty member of the staff—that they believed would ensure the police would put their best people on the case. They chose their killer by drawing from a deck of cards. The man who drew the joker was to do the deed.

The grounds crew found the body the next day, stuffed behind the hedges. The police came out and the four old detectives told them that one of the four had done it. The police listened and had questions, but after they had done the work they arrested the woman’s boyfriend instead of one of the four.

So they four went to work looking for the clues that would tell them which of their number was guilty. There wasn’t much to go on but the clues began to surface. At first, it seemed that any of them could have done it, but in time it became clear that the clues pointed to only one man. The other three then called the police and laid out their evidence before them. The police arrested the man and let the boyfriend go.

The other three congratulated themselves, but they were soon back to playing cards. As they played, one of them picked up the box. “Guys,” he said, “This says this deck doesn’t have a joker in it.”