Stories Without Rules
One Page Mysteries: Lying Around the Campfire
One Page Mysteries: Lying Around the Campfire

One Page Mysteries: Lying Around the Campfire

Roman Luciano sat on the thick leather couch in his study with his third glass of brandy at hand. His wife, Vicky, sat a few feet away in a black mini dress scowling at the transcript of Vince’s police interview in her left hand, a tissue to dab her eyes in the other. Roman liked Vince, a rough kid, a football star, nothing like the dweeby geeks their daughter usually went with. Vicky resented Vince almost as much as Lexi hated what her father did for a living.

Lexi and several friends had won a fundraising contest and the prize was an overnight class trip hiking a popular trail. Rumor was that Mrs. Wainright, the history teacher and Mr. Buckley, the football coach volunteered to chaperone because they were having a heated affair and wanted the opportunity to spend a night together. Mr. Wesley the English teacher had assembled the team, who won mostly due to Roman Luciano’s contribution.

Roman shuffled through a dozen photos. Each of the campers was pictured alone. In the center was a photo of Lexi lying sprawled over large rocks at the base of a cliff, her clothes stained with blood from a traumatic two hundred foot fall.

The muscled man in the hall announced that the teachers had arrived. Roman held up a finger as he scanned the detective’s notes for the tenth time.

Vince had just won a full ride to Michigan to play football and the scouts expected him to be a top pro prospect. Vince had a .42% blood alcohol when the police arrived and they found an empty bottle of vodka in his bag and women’s underwear in his sleeping bag. Lexi’s friend Julie registered a .30% and the three other football players tested somewhere in between. Lexi’s toxicology report was clean, which meant she probably hadn’t fallen off the cliff. Lexi was no saint, but her mother had found a positive pregnancy test hidden in the trash in her room.

Will, Marty, and Derek, the other players on the team swore that they had been drinking with Vince and Julie and that Lexi had been off with the other nerds. Corey was Lexi’s competition for valedictorian. He swore that Lexi hadn’t been with the nerds around the fire. He said she must have been in the tent with her boyfriend Vince, but when the detective pressed him, Corey said he hadn’t seen her go in, but half of the other nerdy kids said she was in the tent when the detective interviewed them.

Roman knew his daughter liked nerdy guys and he knew her faith wouldn’t allow and abortion. Corey was too scrawny for his daughter to be interested in. Vince didn’t seem her type either. Rough, simple and violent. The guy excelled at football because he released so much aggression, he pancaked his opponents the way Lexi would walk all over him in any substantive conversation.

Roman waved to his man by the door as he took a look at the sketch of the campsite that showed three teacher tents on one side of the campfire and four tents for the students on the other.

Mrs. Wainright stepped in, obviously terrified. Roman asked where his daughter was and she told him that Lexi hung out with the smarter kids and Mr. Wesley on the hike. She was the brightest student Mrs. Wainright had in all her years teaching. When Roman pressed about where she had been that night. She couldn’t answer. He knew why. The kids reported hearing Mrs. Wainright moaning in Mr. Buckley’s tent.

Mr. Buckley came in next with a similar story about Lexi. His tent opened toward the campfire and he’d checked several times and not seen Lexi there, so he assumed she was in the tent with Vince and the others.

Mr. Wesley came in last. He said he was not feeling well and that all he saw was Lexi and Vince drinking behind his tent and then Lexi going off to be with the nerds by the campfire. He said Corey had come to him recently and Wesley told him that he was going to lose valedictorian to Lexi.

The person who did this to Lexi is going to pay. Who is Roman going to have his men throw off that same cliff?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *