Where: Sand Point
When: Friday, November 30
The Uber couldn't go any farther. It dumped The Stranger in the middle of a dark, narrow road. We clutched our coat close and strode cautiously forward, our heels clicking on the wet pavement. The Count was expecting us.
The drive opened up to reveal a mansion. We walked through a curved Hobbit-hole-like archway. The property sat squat on Lake Washington. Someone—we're not saying us—would kill for a view of Kirkland like that.
"They live here?" someone nearby whispered.
"I'm pretty sure that's a hot tub," said another.
We knocked on the big, wood door. It swung open. A man in a tuxedo bowed to us, "Welcome to my home. I'm the Count." He asked us to take off our shoes. Ritzy.
It was a murder mystery party. Everyone was dressed elegantly. One girl, who confused "formal" with "costume" on the invitation, was dressed as Kiki from that Miyazaki movie. The Stranger crafted our own character. We were a divorceé loosely based on Indiana Jones. Write what you know, right? We channeled the animosity of our divorced parents. Method acting.
We gathered in a living room with high ceilings and windows that took up entire walls. There were three floors, from what we could tell. An upper and lower balcony and a dock that could suit at least three boats. Seven men in their twenties shared this place. All of them worked in computer science. We strode past a closet that was left ajar. There was a bed in there.
"Is this set up for the mystery?" we asked.
"Nah," someone responded. "I think that's someone's room. I heard their rent is $500."
"I built everything I own," said the man whose character was a tech worker, "my company, my wealth, my girlfriend." That girlfriend was an AI. She laid down on the ground, eyes closed. She was charging.
During the Count's welcome toast—"He's gonna die," the girl next to me singsonged—the lights shut off, people screamed, and when the power came back he was spread-eagle on the floor.
"Is someone a doctor?" cried the butler.
"I have a Ph.D.!" yelled the college professor in the red turtleneck.
"He's dead. Nobody leaves until we figure out who did this," the butler said firmly. The rest of the characters milled about, some filled up their champagne flutes, others topped off their wine glasses. We set down our questionable mixture of Tito's vodka and Martinelli's sparkling apple cider.
The Stranger didn't realize how much we'd like a murder mystery, but we really liked the murder mystery. We ventured out onto the deck despite the rain in search of clues—"Think Gatsby's green light," the previous one had read. Two men in the sunroom sat drinking. "To moist socks," they cheered and clinked glasses.
Our character's ex-husband (our real-life boyfriend) was, admittedly, better than we were at solving clues. We quizzed characters while he cracked a safe's code. Inside, there was a will.
We inquired about a dog portrait resting against the mantle.
"Ah yes, that's Scooby, the Count's late dog," responded the butler.
"To Scooby!" The two men still in the sunroom echoed. "Rest in power!"
We raced into the garage and saw trays of printed QR codes. Wow, we thought, the attention to detail is insane. When we asked one of the hosts about it he looked puzzled "QR codes?" he asked. Then he broke character, "Oh, that's just some shit my roommate does." At the end, after two wills, and a lot of alcohol, the AI was found to be the killer. That seemed about right, the party agreed.
Then we all raised our glasses. "To Jeff Bezos killing us all!"
After the mystery was solved our boyfriend showed us a notification on his phone. George H.W. Bush had kicked the bucket.
"Huh," our boyfriend said. "Poetic."
One of the drunker girls nodded. Then shouted, "Alexa! Play Avicii!"
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