It started badly: the victim (a secret to the rest of the participants) hadn’t gotten his character information, nor asked us to send it again. He arrived knowing nothing of what he was to do in his complex role.
The girl detective and her mom were detained by a few road adventures and pulled in ten minutes after start time – but we hadn’t started because another character with a big important part thought it was Saturday night, as he explained when my husband called him to ask, “Dude, WTH ARE YOU?”
In the midst of it all, Our Good Chef Kelley hauled me into the kitchen with a crestfallen look on her face. One of the desserts she’d made for the killing had failed – and the plot needed all three.
So Jack raced to Food City to buy a cake while the rest of us did some impromptu introductory activities waiting on the last character, and the victim locked himself in the bathroom to read through his part.
And then it all just came together. One woman used a fake French accent, and the first time she turned “Li’l Bubba” (the victim’s nickname) into “Leetil Boo-Boo” the group fell out laughing. The girl detective had to outline the body, and as she rounded his bum, the victim said, “Hey, that tickles!” Chalk and guffaws flew everywhere.
There were insider jokes (How many Mullinses does it take to change a light bulb?) as Garden Club President Lady Smythe was exposed as a fake from Bold Camp (uhhh, sorry, but Bold Camp is just too hard to explain if you don’t live here) and Guy Smiley’s oration from GOD BLESS THE CROOKED ROAD OF AMERICA was funnier each time he re-started it. (So was the aging ingenue’s audition line, “I don’t know nothing about birthing no babies.” Her husband in real life is an OB-GYN.)
And there were obvious jokes. Annie DoGood, chief protestor, held up a sign demanding “Reusable sanitary napkins” just as everyone was tucking into their dessert jellies. You never saw so many spoons hit the table at once. (But she had others. “Equal rights for cows” during the cheesecakes was generally acclaimed as the crowd favorite.) And then the rival chefs–Kellie Piercing of Third Time’s the Charm Cafe versus Lisa Cupcake of Gerry’s Deli: serving Big Crooked Road for forty years–bonded over a turkey baster.
The gang sorted Bulgarian prefab chocolate sauce from Bavarian chocolate sauce, and the poisoner got caught– except there were two poisoners working independently, and oh, who cares, it was ever so much fun!
Besides our terror that the whole thing was falling apart at the opening, some of the characters had arrived in full stress mode. One had a nasty altercation with her daughter’s coach. Another has such a high-powered job, a stress-less day would signal a coup d’etat. A third has been dealing with the terrible illness of a loved one.