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The Mystery of the Unlucky Undertaker, by Gareth Chan (age 9), Hong...
Time-length-icon 10m 1s
Plays-icon 245
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Publish-date-icon April 29, 2010
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EPISODE DESCRIPTION

(From NEW TALES OF THE SOUTH CHINA SEA: THE INAUGURAL ANTHOLOGY OF THE HONG KONG YOUNG WRITERS AWARDS; pp. 40-41.)

You have undoubtedly picked out this story by mistake, so I advise you forcefully to please put it down. In this story, all the mischief of men has been faithfully and dreadfully recorded in these few pages. I cannot think of a single reason why anyone would dare enter into a world of criminals filled with misery, mischief, and despair. Every time you come to a paragraph, all I can do is to warn you to think twice. My solemn and sacred occupation is to write this story but it is NOT made to be read.
Now, the story finally begins …

A mortuary quietly stood on the edge of one of the most expensive suburbs in Singapore, along the South China Sea. John Bellamy, the owner of the mortuary, spent his life among the dead. As an undertaker, he did not enjoy his job. His mind became a bit twisted since he spent his days with corpses.

To be precise, he was an embalmer. He embalmed bodies, treating them well by not letting them decay. His face was drawn and pale, while his white hair seemed to stick out all over his head. His nose looked broken in three places. He always wore a sad expression on his face, showing sympathy for the miserable people who had died.

One night he went out for dinner at a local Singaporean restaurant. When he came back he found his mortuary sabotaged. A number of bodies were stolen, the papers were messed up, and his desk was nowhere to be seen. He felt a mixture of anger, curiosity, fear, and confusion. He just did not understand what anyone would want with a dead body.

Just as Bellamy was about to report the robbery, an intruder with a mask on walked in unexpectedly. All of a sudden he realized that he was being watched. Immediately he felt his first stirrings of fear. Completely startled, the old man gulped and slowly walked towards the direction of the mysterious stranger. “Who are you?” he challenged. “People who are not members of the mortuary are not permitted in here.”

The strange-looking intruder covered his face with the mask. He seemed to enjoy his menace by not answering, leaving Bellamy more and more frightened. After a few moments of silence, the trespasser reached in his pocket for a knife and hurled it at Bellamy’s chest. As the knife pierced into the undertaker’s heart, the killer’s mask fell off. In the last moment of life, Bellamy recognized his murderer. Then, his mind closed down for eternity.

Sergeant Murphy, the Singaporean Chief Inspector, walked into the Bellamy mortuary right after he had heard the terrifying news that an undertaker had been murdered. The moment the policeman walked in the mortuary, he gasped with surprise. The mortuary was clearly sabotaged, with some files that seemed to appear missing, and some of the bodies stolen.

He frowned. If there was something he detested, it was murder. Fortunately, he had two secret “weapons”, Steven and Fernando, who simply loved murder cases. And because of this, he knew that this case could be easy to solve.

A few hours later, Steven and Fernando arrived at the police headquarters. As the two incredible detectives listened carefully to the murder, Steven, aka Encyclopedia, took notes.

Encyclopedia and Fernando decided to visit the scene of the crime. They walked to the mortuary, and when they arrived they saw a parrot.
“Hi, I’m Encyclopedia,” Steven greeted the bird.
‘Encyclopedia! Encyclopedia! ” squawked the parrot.

After their visit, Encyclopedia’s notebook was full. When he reviewed all the facts, he let out an outburst of excitement. “Sergeant,” Encyclopedia said breathlessly. “I’ve solved the case!”

Sergeant Murphy could not believe how anyone could solve a mystery in such a quick time. As Encyclopedia shared the facts, told him who the suspect was, why he was the suspect, and how a trap could be set, Sergeant Murphy congratulated him.

The next day, Sergeant Murphy took the only suspect to the location where Bellamy had been murdered. When they arrived, Encyclopedia and the others were already there.
Fernando, dressed as Bellamy, was facing Encyclopedia. Encyclopedia held a knife in his hand and pretended to stab Fernando.
“Alvin! Alvin! Don’t stab me!” squawked the parrot loudly.
For a long awkward silence, nobody said a word.
Then the bird repeated its message.
Encyclopedia beamed. “The only witness to the murder has spoken,” he said cheerily. He added, “Sergeant, you’ve got your proof and can make your arrest now.”
The man called Alvin flared up. “Proof of WHAT?” he screamed. “That dumb bird hasn’t proved anything!” Grabbing a knife from his pocket, he did not give a moment’s thought to what he would do. He shoved the knife right into the parrot’s throat to see the bird die of accusing him of murdering his own father, spilling the bird’s blood on his clothes.

“Alvin,” Encyclopedia paced the park as he said this. “It’s very clear. You’re the one who murdered your own father. Your father threatened not to let you inherit his wealth, and you were mad. So you decided to assassinate him. You wore a mask, disguised yourself, and stabbed him to death.”

Encyclopedia explained everything, until Alvin was lost for words. Finally, Sergeant Murphy put the handcuffs on Alvin’s wrist. There was a noise when the police chief put the cuffs around the killer’s hands. Ignoring the blood that had accidentally dropped on his blonde hair, Sergeant Murphy forced the cold-blooded murderer into the police van.

Encyclopedia and Fernando watched the police van drive away. “I’m glad we solved this case,” grinned Encyclopedia. “But I wish this gruesome case wouldn’t appear in the newspaper.”

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