Thursday, June 25, 2009

How to Stab Someone at a Dinner Party and Get Away With It

You can dress up a suspense author, but you really shouldn't take her out.

I have burning questions. And they need answers. Now.

I know I come across as strange. I know a certain hot tub repair man (young, cute guy) from years ago will never forget my animated questions about dead bodies and bubbles from the jets in their lungs ...

This time it was a dinner party. Five couples and I. (Hubby couldn't attend due to a meeting.) Everyone having a good time, eating appetizers before the main course and talking in small groups.

I hone in on the retired doc. "Have a medical question for you."

He gives me a look. This guy knows what "medical question" means in my dictionary. "Shoot."

"Actually I'm not shooting, I'm stabbing. I want to kill this woman by getting to her heart. But I'm coming at her from the back. With a long carving knife. How do I do that?"

Doc doesn't even flinch. What a great guy. "Hm. I'm used to seeing messed up patients in the ER and fixing them. Don't usually think about the other side of things..." He ponders a bit. "Well, you'd have to miss shoulder blades and ribs. If you ..." He launches into where to stick the knife and at what angle. A lengthy discussion ensues. He calls his wife over (a nurse). She gets to play victim as he demonstrates.

By this time our other friends are looking up from their conversations and caviar and Alaskan crab. "Sorry." I draw up my shoulders. "I'm just ..."

They're used to me. Some of them watch the enactment. Others go back to eating. Some do both. Imported cheese and a stabbing. Double the entertainment.

Our fatal conversation finally winds down. I've got my scene. Doc stares off into the distance as if not quite satisfied. He clearly enjoys this stuff as much as I do. "But she's not going to die right away," he says.

"Yikes." Hadn't planned on that. "How long will it take?"

We discuss how long it needs to take for the scene to work. Which is ... not long.

He comes up with a brilliant idea, a twist on the stabbing technique. It's not the knife going in that kills her. It's the knife coming out--from some not so medically savvy folks who are trying to help after the stabbing.

Love the ironic touch.

We launch into a new discussion of how this would work. By the time we're done our hostess is calling us to the table. Doc's wife--the victim--has long since managed to wander off.

"By the way," Doc says. "Does this person deserve to die?"


He winces. "I just killed an innocent person."

I grin. "You're the best, Doc."

Later hubby asked if I'd had a good time at the dinner party. "Oh, yeah. It was quite the killer event."

He knew better than to ask me for an explanation.


Richard Mabry said...

You know, I could have guessed that attending a dinner party with you would never be boring. Glad you didn't decide to off the poor victim with a knitting needle into their ear...or nose. (You can do that, you know). I might have been the one being asked for advice.

Jill said...

I always get a look of shock when I ask something of someone that doesn't know me well. With those closest to me I get a roll of the eyes (obviously a token symbol) before they jump into plots schemes and murder with joyous abandon. They love it, but they don't think it's polite to say so.

Liberty Speidel said...

I read this in a bit of disbelief--because I could see myself doing this if given half a chance! My ears always perk up when I learn someone I know or just met is a doctor or in law enforcement... My next door neighbor doesn't know it yet, but he'll probably get to be a source, or point me in the direction of a source, since he's a city cop where I live!

JBarWriter said...

Wow, what a delectable conversation and quite entertaining, but my question is does the victim have to be stabbed in the back? Could the victim possibly be stabbed from the front instead?
Here is an idea; a large hatpin could be inserted below the breast in an upward angle into the heart. How much damage is uncertain, blood flow should be a minimal
In 1906 a woman was accused of using a hatpin to murder a man, I haven’t read all the article but here is the link: A JEKYL-HYDE CRIME, SAY BELLEVUE DOCTORS; Neil Woman May Have Slain Husband in a Strange Trance. POSSIBLY SHE REHEARSED IT The Murder Cunningly Devised, Dr. Jones Says -- Eyeball and Brain Pierced by Hatpin.

You always write such interesting, mind-boggling post and I look forward to the next topic.

Heather said...

Wow! This post reminds me a lot of myself--only it's dealing with fantasy elements most of the time. I love exhausting the knowledge of all of my specialist friends (ie boyfriend, who's a meteorologist, future brother in law who's a nurse, good friend who researches a lot of medieval stuff...)
Methinks I'm going to have to watch for this scene in one of your future books. :0)

Sheila Deeth said...

I love it!

Donna M. Kohlstrom said...

So enjoyed this post! Wished I'd been at the dinner party!

I have a hard time just meeting people and saying "Nice to see you." when I want to start interrogating them about their profession, life history and anything that comes up in conversation. The info I get from picking people's brains adds so much reality to the writing of my stories.

Lena Nelson Dooley said...

Love your blog, Brandilyn!!!

Crystal Arcand (3Stairs) said...

Oh, to be a dinner party with you...

Judy Vandiver said...

Brandilyn, when can you come for dinner? I have some interesting guests I'd like to invite.

Becca Dowling said...

You are such an inspiration for me! I love it! LOL


Karen Barnett said...

Too funny! I did this to some friends the other day. I was asking how long a toddler could survive on their own after a natural disaster. They all looked at me like I was from Mars. I must learn to tell people WHY I am asking the question before I just start thinking out loud.

Hannah said...

Awesome, BC! I often call my best friend to ask her whether or not the assassin in my book should come into this chapter or the next one, and should he manage to fatally stab my protagonist? :) The fun never ends.

And...since the doctor got to commit the murder, will we as your readers get to witness it someday?

Carmen7351 said...

That is one of the best scenes I've read in a mystery novel. Wow!

Mocha with Linda said...

Oops - I scrolled down too far. This is obviously the post I meant to leave my comment on about you and Harry Kraus writing a novel! LOL

Must still have shaking hands from reading Exposure. . . .

Anonymous said...

Hysterical! I loved this post! Have you consulted Miss Manners on just which knife would be appropriate?

Timothy Fish said...

This reminds me of my pet peeve with television shows. They have a whole rack full of knifes and they always pull out the chef's knife. I mean, surely the intended victim is going to see it, with all that light reflecting from it and even if they don't, its going to be hard to get it through the bones.