Discount Prophecies – Chapter 4 – Can I Get a Witness

Belinda walked into the Salisbury Center to find a large group of movie nerds. She used her Sight to pick out four who would be important. She didn’t know why they were important, other than her future self told her so. She didn’t try to See much farther. This was a job for her present self. Otherwise, her horrible memory would muddle the details and she’d botch the whole thing.

This would be a simple process. Through her interviews with the four, Belinda would find enough evidence to convict Floyd for Pandora’s murder. They knew him and should be able to tell her more about his temperament or any violent tendencies he’d been known for. Heck, maybe they’d seen something that would prove his guilt. She didn’t know what she’d find out, but she trusted her future self to steer her right. She usually had a good sense of these things.

“Come here, Floyd,” Belinda commanded. “Do you know those four people?”

As she pointed the four out individually, she knew what Floyd would answer, but she let him say it anyway.

“Yeah, I know them. I know almost everyone here. We’re a pretty tight-knit community of nerds. A lot of us don’t even bother having friends outside of the club. We’d rather hang out with people who share our passion.”

“Excellent. Bring me the woman first.”

As Floyd fetched the first witness, Belinda found a small table in the corner. She set a chair for herself so her back would be facing the walls. She put a chair opposite hers for the witness to sit in, and another chair to the side for Floyd. She looked at the set up and decided that Floyd was too close to her. She scooted the chair as far as she could without excluding him completely.

In a few minutes, a 40-something woman was sitting across from her. She was dressed in the kind of ultra-stylish clothes Belinda would never be able to afford. She probably had an Instagram account full of duck-faced selfies.

“Corrine McAdams,” the woman said when asked her name.

It turned out that Corrine was the president of the movie club now that Pandora was dead. The two women had run against each other, and the election had gotten dirty. Pandora won in the end and Corrine had not been shy about vocalizing her bitterness. Under different circumstances, Belinda would have asked more about that, but she already had the murderer.

“As you probably figured out,” Belinda said, “I’m here to investigate the murder of Pandora Ross. I already know Floyd is the murderer…”

“Hey!” Floyd interrupted. “I thought you were going to conduct an unbiased investigation.”

“I never said anything like that. I just said I would take your money,” Belinda said. “Like I said, Mrs. McAdams, Floyd is the murderer. What can you tell me about him that would be relevant to the murder investigation?”

Corrine frowned.

“I wouldn’t have thought Floyd was capable of murder,” she said, “but I do remember he used to get a lot of mysterious injuries like black eyes, big scrapes that looked like fingernails, and a broken nose one time. This suddenly stopped when he stopped dating Pandora. I think, maybe, he was resentful of his girlfriend beating him up.”

Belinda jotted this all down and said, “Thank you, Mrs. McAdams. This was very helpful.”

“Wait a minute,” Floyd said indignantly. “Aren’t you going to ask her about the election? She was pretty bitter when she lost. She benefited from Pandora’s death. It seems like you could investigate her a little more.”

“Do you really think I would kill just to be president of a movie club?” Corrine asked incredulously.

“I wouldn’t have thought so, but I know I didn’t do it,” Floyd said. “Look, I’m not paying if you don’t at least use your power on her.”

Belinda rolled her eyes.

“Fine… I don’t see anything unusual in her future. She’s going to be president for several more terms because no one else wants to be.”

“Awesome!” Corrine said. “Can I go now?”

Next up was a man in his thirties. His clothes weren’t fancy, but they were job interview worthy. His name was William Bosco, and he was Pandora’s former best friend. They had a falling out when Pandora discovered he was stealing her identity. Apparently, this was very recent, and she hadn’t had a chance to press charges before she died. He still had a key to her house and could have let himself in.

“Tell me you’re going to investigate him!” Floyd demanded.

“I don’t see anything interesting in his future,” she said. “I think there are a few arrests, but I can’t remember the specifics. Bring me the next one.”

The next one was another man, probably in his thirties. He had a receding hairline, but dressed like a teenager, including the patchy beard. His baggy t-shirt was old and holey and featured the face of The Bro, an actor with good looks, but little talent. He grinned when he told Belinda who he was, as if the name Justin Bailey was special somehow.

Justin had an unusual obsession with The Bro and had wanted to buy the cutlass that Floyd had used to kill Pandora. It was the movie prop that gave The Bro his scar and that the incident could be seen in one of his movies, so it was extremely valuable to a collector like Justin. Pandora had promised to sell it to Justin, but she backed out. When she told him, he had exploded in front of the whole club. Everyone heard him tell Pandora that if she didn’t sell it to him, he would break into her house and murder her with it. With that introduction out of the way, Belinda asked him the important question.

“What do you know about Floyd that proves he killed Pandora?”

“Hold on!” Floyd demanded. “He threatened to kill her, and that threat perfectly matches the actual murder!”

“We’ve all said things when we’re mad that we regret later.”

“You’re the worst investigator ever!”

“I’m not an investigator. I’m a Seer. Maybe next time you should hire the right person for the job. If it makes you feel better, it can’t possibly have been him. He’s going to get murdered in exactly the same way that Pandora did.”

“I’m what?” Justin said, freaked out.

Belinda dismissed him with a wave of her hand.

“Thank you for your time, Mr. Bailey,” she said.

The last witness refused to come to Belinda’s table. He was a man in his fifties wearing a Hawaiian shirt and short shorts. His hair was long, stringy, and nearly gone. Belinda observed his interactions with other members of the club. He would approach a much younger woman, make too much eye contact, and disregard her personal bubble. When she finally shook the man off, he would find another woman and repeat the process. Belinda asked around and learned that the man’s name was Rick Hightower. He was a notorious creeper, which made Belinda a little glad she wasn’t talking to him personally. He had also been obsessed with Pandora. Belinda used her Sight to see if there was anything about the man she would need to know.

“Floyd! Come here!” she commanded.

“What is it?” he asked a moment later.

“Look, I’m not saying you’re innocent, but I just saw something that might be a reason to doubt. Probably not. I’m sure you’re still guilty. There could be two murderers in the room.”

“OK, well, that’s better than you being a hundred percent sure I’m guilty. What did you see?”

She nodded subtly towards the creepy old man.

“Rick Hightower is going to try to kill me tonight.”

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