Guide to Moral Living in Examples: Mysteries

Inspector Bic paced up and down the train car, surrounded by the confused faces of the passengers. Each stood in their pajamas, robes or mostly-transparent slips over mostly-transparent negligees. The conductor kept his eyes straight upon Inspector Bic and his twitching mustache.

"So you see, Conductor Bearnois, that because of the time of death, the murderer must be someone on this train!"

"Impossible, Inspector Bic."

"No, not impossible! Improbable, maybe, but the facts may laugh at us from behind the safety of the hedges of disbelief!" Inspector Bic suddenly whirled on a small heel and peered up into the eyes of Miss Argyle, which was quite a feat considering the combination of his stature and her physique.

"And do you have an alibi, Miss Winfield?"

"Well, no!"

"Then how do we know that you are not the murderer?"

Humphrey Jens leapt up from his seat.

"Sandra! Now is not the time for modesty!"

Miss Winfield blushed.

"I was with her!" Humphrey announced. "My darling!"

"How dare you!" shouted Lawrence, Miss Winfield's brother, rushing towards Humphrey. The two men landed two half-hearted blows on one another before they fell to the ground in a tangle, each expending terrific amounts of rage without actually hurting one another.

"Gentlemen, gentlemen! Not on my train!" The conductor rushed to them and pried the two men apart.

"There is no need to fuss! There are no murderers on board!"

"A shocking claim, Conductor Bearnois! Shocking! Are you claiming that the man stabbed himself?" Inspector Bic jabbed a finger into the conductor's face. "Or perhaps you are our prime suspect!"

"I have never assaulted anybody!"

"Many murderers have hollered the same from their cells!"

Inspector Bic continued to grill the passengers. Each continued to avow their innocence.

"Then there is only one conclusion. The fact that stares us in the face. Each and every one of the passengers, save myself, is a murderer! If everybody tells the same lie, then the truth is the opposite of the consensus!"

The train pulled to a stop as he said this. Inspector Bic marched off the train and returned with a police officer.

"Please arrest all of these people, for they are all murderers!"

The Conductor and the police officer exchanged glances.

"You're all under arrest!" the police said. "Come with me, I'll put you in jail!"

Inspector Bic followed behind the train of people, harrumphing in triumph. They all went into the jail. The police officer put them into the cell and locked the door.

"Is that enough?" the conductor asked Inspector Bic. "I respect you but I am afraid that you have been working too much and need a rest. Seriously, none of us has committed murder."

"Lies!" Inspector Bic bellowed.

"I'm sorry," Humphrey said. "I like Inspector Bic and everything, but I have an appointment." He floated out of the cell.

"I do as well," Lawrence said, and floated out of the cell.

The rest of the passengers, quite literally, drifted off.

"Are you going to just let them go?" Inspector Bic asked the police officer.

"I can't charge a ghost with murder of another ghost on a ghost train, can I?"

The purported victim floated through the wall.

"Why didn't anybody wake me up? One of the attendants told me that everybody was down at the station. Who's in trouble?"

The Moral: before you jump to a conclusion, make sure that you're not a ghost because you need to have mass in order to jump.

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