Case Closed! — Conspiracies and Mysteries Solved

"Inspired" by Patricia Cornhole's immodest claim that all those Ripperologists may as well give up their theorizing and debating Jack the Ripper's identity because she's written the final word, "Case Closed!" seeks to solve completely and forevermore the mysteries of the world. Case closed!

13 February 2007

The Burgerland Killings

There’s nothing like confronting one’s own mortality to speed along some self-evaluation. My recent escape from Chinese Martian terrorists, who were holding me against my will in Dimensure Nine, has led me to publish a story that I’ve been sitting on for some time. Indeed, the photos for this explosive piece have been hidden in the cushion of my desk chair. Yes, corporate spies, it hasn’t all been Oreos and pretzels!

This scoop has its origins in the early eighties, when I was a cub reporter for the Daily Truth-teller, an old-fashioned truth-telling daily. I received a mysterious package containing mysterious photos, taken quite mysteriously for mysterious reasons. “A mystery,” I thought. The photos were grainy (mysteriously so) and featured what appeared to be spokespersons for Burger King. The Duke of Doubt, Sir Shake-a-Lot and the Burger King himself. The accompanying note read, “Where are they and why?”

Indeed, I thought, where, and why. I realized that they hadn’t been seen in years, and yet I could not recall hearing of any investigation. A quick call to my undercover contact at the National Police Association, Cpl. Terry Stoddard, revealed that all three were reported missing, presumed dead. The case, while not closed, was not being pursued. Stoddard’s explanation was less than convincing due to an ominous string section playing in the background. I grabbed my fedora, placed a fresh “Press” card in the hat band, and stormed out of the office. I was on the case … until it was closed.

Lots of phonecalls and interviews later, I gave up. The trail was cold. Besides, an outbreak of lobsteritis had made for an easier story to cover. I placed the photos in a file folder marked, “Case Never To Be Marked Closed” and went on with my career.

Fast forward a number of years. I’m now editor at The Gumshoe Investigator. And another package of photos arrive. These contained disturbing crime scene photos of several murders. Three McDonald’s representatives, Grimace, Hamburgler, and Mayor McCheese—all dead. It appeared that all had been victims of mob executions made to seem like accidents. At least the police said they were accidents, but that many bullet holes in the head made me suspicious.

Who were we left with? The Burger King, Sir Shake-a-Lot, and Duke of Doubt were missing and presumed dead, but Ronald McDonald was still alive and highly visible. A theory began to take shape. Ronald McDonald, head of the McDonald’s empire, had taken out contracts on the Burger King gang for either strategic or vendetta reasons. But why had several McDonald’s figures also met grisly fates? Retribution? Maybe, but from whom? More likely, I deduced (thanks to years of crime investigatin’) that they were the assassins who took out the King gang, then found themselves victim themselves of the oldest rule of conspiracy: kill the assassins. Ronald McDonald himself was killing off the McDonald’s gang. Of course, it all made sense. By the nineties, Ronald was the only one left to promote the business. I didn’t have the why but I didn’t care—leave that for the philosophers.

I was about to go to press with my exposé when I was visited by the Fry Guys, who delivered a terrible beating, growling about the photos, the photos, the photos. I didn’t surrender the photos, but I didn’t dare go to press. It was too dangerous. At that point, I was still the best, toughest, and bravest crime reporter on the northern coast, and I couldn’t take the chance of dying. So I refiled the story in the “Case Never To Be Marked Closed” folder.

Which takes us up to today. What’s changed on the McDonald’s-Burger King gangland slayings? A lot, actually. Ronald McDonald has disappeared and I think it’s probable that he’s dead or … gone underground. Why underground? Because of the re-emergence of the Burger King! Of course! He wasn’t dead, but had gone underground when his comrades had been gunned down. But now he was back, perhaps after dispatching his arch-foe, Ronald. But there was something not quite right about this Burger King. This one’s face was plasticky, the result of bad cosmetic surgery. In fact, I came to believe, this was not the original Burger King—he was dead, killed by the McDonald’s gang. This new King, I was sure, was Sir Shake-a-Lot or maybe the Duke of Doubt, cosmetically altered to look like the King!

It’s all so confusing. Who killed who? Who’s really dead? Did Shake/Duke kill Ronald? Was he in on the original Burger King Massacre of the seventies, a double agent? Did Shake/Duke kill King? Or are Shake and Duke dead, along with everyone else? Then who is the new Burger King? Who sent me the photos in the first place? Any story with this many unanswered questions must be legitimate! The machinations involved in this scheme are so profound that I fear for my safety and expect to go underground once more.

This case, however, is closed™ (pending new evidence. Send all leads to Manny Fatback, c/o this site.)


At 12:56 PM, Blogger Manny Fatback said...

It's great to have you back again, Cletus. It seems like you really hit this one out of the park. I only hope it means a return to form--even if that form is uneven, sporadic, and kind of round.

You may not be able to tell me, but do you remember where I put the key to my pork rind safe? It's kind of an emergency...


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