Episode 7 - But Which One?
by Camille LaGuire
I supposed there were a dozen ways I could be wrong. Maybe, when the piano man had tried to leave, he'd flipped that backward lock around wrong and then I'd flipped it back wrong, and so the door hadn't locked. Or maybe that "partner" the sheriff was looking for had been hiding in the closet too, before I locked the door, and he only went out later, after he stabbed Rufus.
But I was thinking maybe that didn't matter. Maybe the question to ask wasn't who hired Rufus to shoot, but who Rufus was shooting at.
"Case!" I called again. "Where was Rufus standing?" I pointed to a spot at the middle of the balcony. "Right about there, wasn't he?"
Casey shook her head and pointed to the railing in front of her.
"Here," she said. "Powder on the rail."
I nodded and looked back at the stage. I tried to picture where folks were when we had first walked in. They had all be standing still, and then they all moved just before the shot.
"He didn't like moving targets," I called back to Casey, as I jumped up on the stage.
"Or bein' seen," she added. She hunkered down, so that she was just peeking over the rail like Rufus might have.
I went and stood where Clarise had been. Casey pointed her finger at me like it was a gun. She looked awful serious about that aim, and I was reminded that I was in trouble with her. I kinda hoped she was imagining that she was aiming at Clarise, rather than me.
"And just before the shot, she went over there," I said, and I moved across the stage like Clarise had. I stopped where she had been standing when the shot rang out and hit the music she'd had in her hand.
Casey's finger didn't follow me so well. She was resting her hand on the railing -- as Rufus might have done, he not being a steady shot. He was also a fellow who liked to take his time in aiming. Casey shrugged and scowled -- that shot didn't feel right.
I went over and stood where Olenka had been and moved like she had.
"The ladies were too far away for the shot to end up where it was," said Casey.
"Maybe he tried to follow them and overshot."
"What about the mustache?" she said, meaning Henri.
Mr. Henri had been sitting in a chair on the floor, and had got up and moved forward. He would have been at the same angle from Rufus the whole time. I did as he had done. Casey kinda frowned over that one.
"Maybe," she said. "But you're taller than he is. And he would have had to aim down a lot more to hit him when he was sitting."
All the same, Henri made the most sense. The ladies were competing hard over him. If one of them thought that he liked the other one better, she just might want to kill him....
But there had been one more person on that stage. The one who had looked up and seen it coming. The only one to move away from the shot, when he ducked. I went over to the piano, and put my finger on the hole in the wood. Casey squinted and aimed her finger at it. I sat down on the bench like I was playing the piano and I turned around, and saw Casey aiming right at me.
"Piano man," she said.
I agreed. Most likely, the person Rufus was aiming at had been the piano man.
"Why?" she said.
"Not sure," I admitted. "He don't seem to care much for any of them, and they don't pay him any mind at all. But he was nervous all right, and so he probably knows why. And maybe who. Don't know why he didn't say anything, though."
Casey swung over the railing and landed in a crouch in the middle of the floor.
"He'll say something," she said ominously. And I remembered how we were sure that Rufus would say something when she caught him... before he got stabbed.
"Case," I said. "If somebody's out to kill him, this would be the best time to do it. The sheriff's looking for somebody else. And nobody's looking for one of them being the killer."
We ran out of that opera house in a flying tumble, hoping we weren't too late.
Stay Tuned For Episode 8 - "Who Will Sing... and Who Will Swing?"
Available after 8am EST, on Thursday, March 28