Short Story: Mystery at the Masquerade Ball

The annual Cancer Fundraiser Ball, a party of great importance, was in full swing. Fixated on the spectacle before me, I monitored all the guests with interest. Most were wealthy, arrogant pricks, prancing around wearing masquerade masks and rather expensive costumes to complement them.  The air was thick with envy. Guests within their clicks murmured belittling comments about those, in their opinion, not worthy of being in attendance. For me, the air was thick with suspicion.  

        I observed a pair of elderly women who cooled themselves down with their expensive hand fans. Their only suspicion was why they were there in the first place. Nearby, a group of men stood together, enjoying the euphoric stimulation of their cigars. Suspicion of overinflated egos was their crime, along with their clouded puffs of smoke infuriating guests close by.

         My attention drifted towards the dance floor. Most men were so close to their partner that they could smell the perfume. There! That was who I was looking for! I was sure of it! I had spied them when they walked in, talking loudly about the significance of the event. They looked dubious even then.  All I needed was proof.

         I informed Rodney, an undercover agent blending in with the guests at the party, of my suspicions. Moments later, I witnessed him casually stroll to an elderly, rich widow. With the charisma that blessed him and a gentle caress of her back, he soon was guiding her towards the dance floor. Subtly, he guided her through the dancers and towards the two in question.

       With Rodney wired so I could hear, he was close enough for me to eavesdrop on the couple’s conversation. With my eyes and ears now weapons I could distinguish whether or not they were the guilty party I was looking for.

       Their movements were nervous, their technique not as quaint. 

        ‘You told me this would be easy.’ Her voice was shaky; my suspicion heightened.

        ‘It is all in the timing.’ His manner was calm, too calm for my liking.

        ‘I can’t believe you talked me into this.’ Her nervousness had become more evident.

        ‘We have achieved our main objective, now enjoy the formalities.’

        We had them! Voice recognition was what gave them away. My finger pressed the green button next to my computer.

         ‘It’s them!’ I whispered to Rodney via an oversized microphone.

         Spinning the elderly woman out to within full arm extension Rodney leaned back towards the couple. ‘Excuse me,’ he began, his voice firm, authoritative, ‘I believe you dropped these!’

        Startled by the interruption, the couple looked down and saw a set of car keys in Rodney’s hands.

      Acknowledging this to be true, a brief conversation followed before they retrieved their keys and returned to their first ever masquerade dance. I sat back and viewed the remainder of the screens around me, my third cup of coffee in my hand, satisfied my role had made a difference.

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