Translate

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Who Killed Cock Robin?

The latest Episode of Murder on the Orient Express





It was a hot July evening as the Orient Express rumbled on its journey from Istanbul to Beirut. In the lounge car, a large international group of well-dressed travelers was drinking and getting to know each other.

One man in particular drew the attention of the others. He appeared to be Arab possibly in his 40s. By his dress and demeanor, he appeared to be someone important. But then again, everyone on the train appeared to be important. No, what drew the attention of the others was the fact that the man was carrying a birdcage, inside of which was a bird.

A dowager-looking British lady in her 60s approached the man and asked, "What kind of bird is that in the cage?'

"It's a  robin," the man answered in heavily accented English. "Watch this." He then opened the cage and the robin flew out and perched on his shoulder.

"How cute," the woman said as others gathered around to watch. "Does he have a name?'

"Yes, his name is Cock Robin. My name is Pierre."

"So nice to make your acquaintance. I am the Baroness Lady Catherine Ashton. Are you French?"

" No, My Lady," the man answered. "I am Lebanese." He then turned to the bartender. "May I have a scotch and water, please?"

The baroness was taken back. "I thought it was not permitted for Muslims to drink alcohol."

"Oh, I am not Muslim, My Lady. I am a Christian. I can drink all I want. Bartender, make that a double."

Sitting in the corner, two Arab-looking men drinking tea stared at Pierre with obvious hate in their eyes.

An elderly man who had been watching the antics with the bird joined the conversation. "My name is also Pierre, and I am French."

"Wonderful," answered the younger Pierre. "Would you like to hold Cock Robin?"

The older Pierre drew back. "No thank you. I am allergic to birds. They make me ill."

The younger Pierre answered, "And what brings you to this train?"

"I am emigrating to Israel. I am meeting a friend in Beirut and from there will go straight to Tel Aviv."

"And why are you leaving France?" asked the baroness.

"The elderly man hesitated before answering evasively. "Let's just say that my business was destroyed in a fire."

"Sorry to hear that," the younger Pierre replied. "How did the fire happen?"

"The police called it a man-made disaster."

It was clear the elderly man did not want to discuss it further. The conversation was dropped. As it was getting late, the last round was served and the people drifted off to their compartments.

Hours later, about 3 am, the elder Pierre awoke and looked for a glass of water. Finding no water in his compartment, he opened the door and asked a passing porter if he could bring a bottle of water. Just then, both men heard three shots ring out from a couple of cars away.

The porter told Pierre to lock himself in his compartment. Rushing through two cars, he came to the scene of the shooting. Other passengers were milled around the open door to the compartment. Inside lay the Lebanese man with multiple gunshots to his torso and head.

He was dead.



"You're a poet and don't know it."


But that wasn't all. Pierre's bird cage was open and Cock Robin was laying on the floor. He was also dead, strangled apparently.

The porter came back into the corridor. "Did anybody see anything?'

"Yes," one man answered. "As soon as I heard the shots, I came out and saw two Arab-looking guys with guns running down to the end of the car. That's where they jumped the train."

"I saw them too," answered an American woman. "They were Syrians. I happened to chat with them as we were leaving Istanbul. That's what they told me.  I saw them jump off the train and run away. "

Sure enough, the door at the end of the car was open, a cold wind blowing through it.

"We'll have to notify Interpol."

The very next morning, two men boarded the train at a small stop. The man in charge was none other than Dick Holder, the famed investigator from the US Justice Department. He was accompanied by a slender, younger-looking man with a funny hat and long blonde hair carrying a guitar case. They began to interview the witnesses. The first witness they interviewed was the bartender who related the events in the bar.

"My name is Dick Holder," the American investigator said. "I am leading this investigation on behalf of Interpol."

"But you are an American," replied the bartender apparently confused. "Where is Interpol?'

"If you want to wait 6 months, they'll be along," answered Dick Holder. "We are investigating this as a possible hate crime."

"And who's the long-haired hippie freak?" asked the bartender increasingly confused.

"This is Professor Mortimer Johnson from the University of  Tennessee at Chattanooga. He is an expert who is assisting in the investigation."

"Expert on what?"

"Everything," interjected Johnson.

The hours passed as Dick Holder and Professor Johnson interviewed everybody on the train, It was clear that two unidentified Syrian men had shot Pierre, strangled Cock Robin, and jumped the train.

Hours before the Orient Express was due to arrive in Beirut, Dick Holder and Professor Johnson were discussing their findings.

Dick Holder: "We have sent out alerts to look for these two Syrian guys. It was clear they did it. But who are they? Who killed Pierre?"

Johnson: "No, the question is, who killed Cock Robin? Answer that question and you will find the real killers."


"What the Hell are you talking about? " asked Dick Holder.

"Look at it this way," replied Johnson. "Who stood the most to gain from Cock Robin's death? We know that this French guy named Pierre was allergic to birds. He hated birds. The way I figure it, he woke up in the middle of the night because he was sick from that bird. So he went to the Lebanese guy's compartment, barged in, strangled the bird, and killed Pierre when he tried to stop him. If you're looking for a hate crime angle, this is it. It was a hate crime against birds, and Pierre just happened to be in the way. Besides, the guy is now an Israeli. The Syrians were just being set up to take the blame. It all makes perfect sense."


Dick Holder sat silently for a moment. Johnson reached for his electric guitar, plugged it in the wall, and began to play.

"Hey! Can you shut that damn thing off? I'm trying to figure this all out."

After a minute, Dick Holder asked, "But what about all the witnesses? The porter said that the old guy was actually with him when the shots were fired. He has the perfect alibi. And what about the Syrian guys who were seen running from the compartment and jumping off the train?"

"Elementary, my dear Dick Holder. This is a Mossad  operation. They are the best at what they do. They planned this all to give the perfect cover to the old Israeli guy and blame it all on the Syrians. How do we not know that everybody on this train is an Israeli agent?"

"You're right", Dick Holder replied. "But why would the Israelis want Cock Robin dead?'

"Answer that question and we'll know why the Israelis wanted Cock Robin dead," answered Johnson.



Tune in next week for the next episode of "Who killed Cock Robin?" Why did the Mossad want Cock Robin (and Pierre) dead? Will Dick Holder and Professor Johnson figure out the motive?

For that you will have to tune in to the next episode (or whenever I can figure that out).

No comments: