When I was a kid, my parents would ship me off to a program called Summer Rec so they wouldn’t have to hear my sister and I whine “I’m boooored” all summer long. It was here that I would play hours and hours of kickball, dodge ball, murder ball, and… Clue.
Clue was hidden back away in the arts and crafts room, where the little craft old lady would give us new crafts to do every day along with an arsenal of Popsicle sticks to build log-cabin type structures that ultimately we would throw away as soon as we got home. Clue was one of two games we could play that did not involve physical activity (the other being bingo, but most of the bingo balls had been lost to time.)
Clue was played on the floor by the TV on the push cart that provided Disney VHS-es after snack time. (The tables were too covered in glue and paint to risk playing somewhere where we could sit in chairs, and anyway, when you’re young, sitting on the floor is better than sitting at a table.) It was played by myself, my sister Annie, and our friends Rachael, Krista, Ryan, and occasionally Jimmy. The girls had the obligatory fight over who was going to be Scarlet and Peacock, and after that was settled, we’d take whatever other characters there were.
Except Colonel Mustard.
Colonel Mustard was reserved for Ryan. No matter how many times he tried to switch characters, we somehow convinced him to be Colonel Mustard. And he was always the first person we would suspect. We would change the murder weapon and room, but until we had established what weapon and room it was, we would not change suspects.
It would always make him a little touchy.
“I’m telling you, it wasn’t me!” was a common thing heard from across the room. Never mind that it didn’t reflect on the player who the culprit was, he seemed to believe everyone thought he actually planned out the murder himself. Most of the time the murderer ended up being Greene or White anyway.
But this One Time.
Ryan was having an excellent day this One Time. He had won dodge ball for our team, he’d gotten the best swing on the playground, and his craft turned out to be a masterpiece.
We all sat down to play Clue.
As per the norm, we continued to suspect Mustard until we got to the end of the case and figured out the murder weapon and tried to find out who the real culprit was.
Only there was no other culprit.
A sense of doom kind of loomed over everyone’s heads. We couldn’t just win the game by telling Ryan that yes, his character had murdered the person. I mean, he was our friend. As much as we picked fun at him, he was our friend, and we didn’t want to actually hurt him. But what could we do? Someone suggested we go see what was going on in the gym, which was no doubt kickball, but we had to try and get Ryan away from the game. We had to sabotage it somehow. Hell, I had three character cards and I would switch any of them for the Colonel Mustard card. But Ryan persisted. He wanted to finish the game first. We played slowly, trying to stall him, walking our pieces around the mansion for no reason, making accusations we knew were false. We were all trying to think of something to do.
Finally, Krista was the one to submit her final vote.
With a smug look on her face, she said very loudly and very confidently, “It was Colonel Mustard, in the study, with the candle stick.”
And we all looked at her. She was on the shit list now.
Ryan made his usual protest of “It wasn’t me!” followed by a genuine laugh. It was the laugh that hurt the most, because we all knew what was coming. He didn’t know who it was because his piece had been shuffled around from room to room while we were accusing him. There was no way he could have known what was coming.
She opened the case file and laid the cards down, thrusted her finger at Ryan, and let out a single “HA.”
Ryan’s face fell. It was like he’d been hit in the face with a wet sock. He got up without a word and left the craft room. All of us kind of glared at Krista, told her she had to clean up the game, and quickly followed him down to the gym to play kick ball.
The moral of the story? Trust no bitch.