Wednesday Story Day – AKA – Hump Day

Hump Day


It is Wednesday Story Day again. Last week we saw that Frank Plano had an idea to set up some kind of Agatha Christi drawing-room finale to trap the killer of the Severides. Jason McDonnell was all for it and encouraged him to proceed. The reading audience (that’s you) overwhelmingly commented on how much fun that would be. I, of course, have reservations since this is a dialog only story and there will be a number of suspects gathered. I wonder if I can keep the parties’ discussions separated without using the “said,”convention. (For those who don’t know, I challenge myself to produce cogent conversation and storyline without dialog tags.)  “The hell with it,” my brain screamed. “Let’s do it.” Off we go. It appears Frank sent out letters to each of the suspects along with a subpoena requesting that they show up for a deposition in the Severide murder. The location is Jason’s office and we see everyone gathered in the conference room. Everyone that is except Lucas who is present from the hospital by video conference. Time for us to join the party as we were sent a subpoena too.

“Ladies and gentlemen. I want to thank you for being here on such short notice. Yes, Sheriff, you have a question?”

“I do, Frank. I thought this was going to be a deposition. Why are we all here? Depositions are supposed to be one on one.”

“Good question, Seth. The judge who authorized this gathering decided that there would be some information shared that all of us would want to hear. You are right. This is not your normal deposition. You see, one of you is responsible for the death of the Severides.”

“That is the silliest thing I’ve ever heard. I know all these people except for that guy over there.”

“Right you are, Mrs. Murphy. By the way, that guy over there is Henry Wiscosill. He is a Pharmacist from Kenosha.”

“Hi, everybody.”

“Yes, well, as I was saying. One of you has blood on their hands and we are going to expose you today.”

“Excuse me, Frank.”

“Yes, Alice. What is it?”

“Didn’t Harriet hire Jason McDonnell here to find out who killed the Severides?”

“Yes, he did. What is your point?”

“Why is Harriet here? Surely if she hired a lawyer to find a killer then she is innocent.”

“Would be a good point, Alice, except for one thing.”

“One thing?”

“She hired Jason to prove Lucas innocent. She said nothing about finding the true killer.”

“Mr. Plano. I think you are splitting hairs.”

“Why’s that Trish?”

“If Jason proved Lucas innocent he would have to identify the killer.”

“Notice I said, “true killer,” Trish.”

“What does that mean?”

“It would be very easy to craft a scenario that points to a suspect but not the killer.”

“Is that what happened?”

“Tell me. Aren’t you going to get five million dollars from the estate of your parents?”

“Yes, so what?”

“Could be motive.”

“I didn’t even know about that insurance policy.”

“So you say, Trish. So you say.”

“You leave my sister alone. She had nothing to do with our parent’s murder.”

“Says the lad who was asleep while his parents were lying dead in the next room.”

“You accusing me?”

“No Lucas. Just stating the facts. I think the whole world thinks you did it. The whole world except for Jason and me.”

“As sheriff of this county I demand we stop  this foolishness and if as you say, you know who killed the Severides just spit it out.”

“Nicely said Sheriff but it’s not that easy.”

“Why not?”

“The person responsible for this deed believes they are not answerable to normal rules and morals. This person believes they are above the law. In fact, they have such a solid alibi, a conviction will be all but impossible. No, we need them to come forward and tell us why they hired contract killers to eliminate the Severides. We need them to explain why they took the law into their own hands. We need this soldier of the Lord to come forward and claim the proper credit for eliminating this smear of offal from the Earth.”

To be continued


  1. The killer is one person or more? :/

  2. Nicely done, John (hereinafter referred to as ‘The Tagless One’).
    We always have to be careful of people who think they have a divine calling that is higher than the law, or even than natural justice. They’re usually among the most godless you’ll find – especially when they’re in a position of authority.

    1. My beliefs exactly, Keith. Thanks. 🙂

  3. Religious fanaticism. You’re really covering a lot of bases in this story and doing it really well.

    1. Thanks, Charles. The murders were not random acts. I’ll say not more till next week. 😀

      1. I’ll be waiting.

  4. Gwen Plano · ·

    I’d hoped you’d identify the murderer today, bummer, the suspense mounts. A “soldier of the Lord?” You’ve got my interest! Great dialogue, John, very effective. 🙂

    1. We need the next episode to sell it, Gwen. It takes a little more exposure to bring it home. Thanks. 😀

  5. Aghhh, The nearer we get the further away I seem to be. If there were contract killers I’ll never be able to identify them and forcing the hand of the person who hired them is going to be very difficult. Can’t I just come and stomp on a few toes to get an admission?

    1. You can use bamboo under finger nails if you wish, David.

  6. Wow, John, nicely done!

    I am feeling the energy of that room. Not that it’s the kind of energy I want to be exposed to, but you certainly have a live wire loose in the mix. I do hope you have Tiny guarding the door – looks like it’s gonna get ugly!

    1. Thanks, Dan. I think it just may get ugly for sure.

  7. OMG… left hanging out and blowing in the wind!!!

    1. On the 20th floor of the Plaza Hotel

  8. D.L Finn, Author · ·

    Will we get a confession from this solider of the Lord? Will their ego need to let everyone know their good deed? I eagerly await the answers and hope my guess is right;)

    1. Ans will we be able to sleep after.

  9. Huh, I can lend you a magical hat that can get at the truth, or Clovis. His methods aren’t quite savory, but he gets results too.

    1. He does for sure. I’m not certain we could rule out Clovis as the wet technician.

      1. I like that, a little side work for the old guy.

  10. Well…this is taking an interesting turn. Again.

    1. Again….Ha haha. Thanks, Teri. 😀

  11. Hmm, that was quite an unexpected twist at the end. Then again, this story is full of twists, turns and roller coaster rides. I feel we’re sooooo close to learning the identity. The audience is surging forward in their seats, and the music is building to a crescendo.

    Pins and needles, John. Pins and needles.

    1. Yup. We are going to nail it.

  12. Rats, we’re still waiting for the resolution of this crime! But golly, what an exciting buildup, John. And kudos to you for rising to the challenge of continuing your tagless ways … and very successfully, too, I might add!

    1. Thank you, Debbie. Can’t drink wine and write this sucker. 😀

  13. And just when we thought we were going to finally get an answer, the roller coaster took off again leaving us standing with gaping mouths! Well-played, John!

  14. Kneel if you please… I now dub thee Sir John the Tag-less. Arise and reveal the dastardly killer’s name.
    Well done John. You are a crafty one…you actually had me thinking this was the finale. Have a wonderful Wednesday. Hugs.


    A cliffhanger! So now we have to wait another week! Well . . okay. Just so long as you don’t decide to pull a Game of Thrones on us and put this puppy on ice for eighteen months. I think I can make it a week . . or two . .

    Love that you decided to do it this way John. Your dialogue is so good, and it’s one of the things I love about your writing. And methinks this only serves to show just how good you are.

    Till umm . . . next week?

    1. Oh, didn’t I tell you? The Wednesday Story Day goes on hiatus until October. We’ll be doing reruns until then.

      1. You know what John? That’s not funny . . . 😉

      2. Ha haha. Okay next week it is. 😀

      3. Appointment reading . . .

      4. or reading appointment. (The writer will see you now.)

      5. I can’t wait. 🙂

  16. My comment is ‘to be continued’! There, teaser-lad! ♥♥♥

    1. Ha haha. Thanks, Billy Ray.

  17. I did not expect this. Pretty straightforward to nail or identity the killer. Good, John. Really good. My nails are now nubs.

    1. We shall see. Thanks, Jennie.

  18. Oh no, John. Another cliffhanger. And we have to wait a whole week. A good job on the dialogue. 🙂 — Suzanne

    1. Thank you, Suzanne. 😀

  19. […] first request from the first post in the series is from John W. Howell who also mentioned Whisky for my Men and Beer for my Horses.. I think we can see where this is […]

    1. Thank you for the ping, Sally

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