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MISSISSIPPI MYSTERY

A Prompt Response for Flasher Friday

This is my response to a prompt from Our Write Side to their Friday Flasher prompt. A short story in no more than 500 Words using four elements

  • Place: on a boat
  • Character: a US Senator
  • Object: a 60% off coupon
  • Smell: roasted peanuts

 

American Queen Steamboat

American Queen Steamboat

Image courtesy of American Queen Steamboat Company, New Orleans

MISSISSIPPI MYSTERY

by John Yeo

 Let me introduce you to Captain Hiram Henburger, a tolerant well liked man, Master of SS Maybelline, a steamboat that carries wealthy passengers on luxurious cruises up and down the Mississippi River.

Captain Henburger has a wealth of experience of cruising the Mississippi River,  there is nothing he doesn’t know about these impressive boats that are authentic models of craft that have sailed this historic river for years.

Today was day one of a 23-day cruise from Minneapolis (Red Wing) to New Orleans, the Master of the vessel was on the bridge as one of his senior officers welcomed each and every passenger aboard. A young couple boarded the vessel, waved off by several family members.

 

“Welcome aboard Sir, I seem to recognise you from your pictures in the news. Of course, you are Senator Planter; I’m pleased to meet you. The Captain sends his apologies, he has an urgent matter to deal with and asks if you would care to join him in the wardroom in an hour.”

“Of course, my wife Betsy here is dying to meet the Captain, aren’t you darling. Sorry, I didn’t catch your name?”

Betsy nodded, smiling as the young officer replied, “I’m Staff Captain Stephen Danvers, Sir. Just follow the crew member here and he will show you to your cabin.”

 

Exactly an hour later the Captain and Senator Planter with Mrs. Planter were enjoying afternoon refreshments in the wardroom as the steamboat sailed along through the impressive scenery on either side of the Mississippi River.

  Surprisingly the Senator revealed he was the fortunate recipient of a 60% off coupon, that had arrived through the post to one of his family. The Captain smiled affably and said, “There are some reasonable cabins in the economy section, I expect you managed to get an upgrade, though.”

“No! The ship is full with no upgrades available.”

“Oh dear,” said the Captain; “We will see you enjoy your voyage, Senator.”

Mrs. Planter was concerned that her dietary information had been received by the catering department. “Under no circumstances must I ever eat nuts, as I have a strong nut allergy that could be dangerous.”

The Captain assured her that he would make the Restaurant and the Catering department aware of this at once. “I will personally inform the Maitre D, and the Head Chef,” he assured her. “Have a wonderful voyage!”

 

The next morning at dawn the ship’s alarm bells were sounded as the ship was boarded by uniformed police. Mrs. Planter had been found dead in her cabin and the Senator was helping police with their enquiries. The cabin steward who found her body had noticed a strong smell of roasted peanuts. The Senator had been stopped from jumping overboard in an intoxicated condition. The ship’s medical officer suspects Mrs. Planter has suffered an anaphylactic shock due to an extreme reaction to roasted peanuts.

There will be a postmortem.

(485 WORDS)

Copyright © Written by John Yeo ~ All rights reserved 

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Friday Flasher: On A Boat

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