It Was a Dark Stormy Night
Copyright © 2011 Bill Donnell
I finished work on my spread sheet and was just
about to turn off my computer when I was inspired to write a book. I opened my
word processor and began to type… “It was a dark stormy night.” Then what? I
had writer’s block. Words would not come. I was distressed and called my friend
C. E. Weith, a well-known published author.
I told him my opening to the story and my problems with writer’s block.
He said that the opening was the worst he could think of. Thousands of stupid
amateur would be writers had used it. “Get out of your sedentary life style. Go
out into the world and search for things to experience that will make an
I took his advice and began my quest. I was
determined to write an exciting adventure story. This necessitated me
experiencing an exciting adventure. I could build a barrel and float over
Niagara Falls or Parachute from an airplane at thirty-thousand feet, but people
had done that before. I needed something original but couldn’t think of a
suitable adventure, so I decided to write a murder mystery. I would murder C.
E. Weith. It would be a perfect crime and make a great story.
I laid my plans carefully. The use of cyanide would
be the vehicle. Weith had asthma. I would pay him a visit and ask him to review
a fake story I had written. While he was reading it, I would say I had to use
the bathroom. While there I would inject a lethal dose of cyanide into his
inhaler and flush the toilet so as not to arouse suspicion.
No one would
suspect the inhaler. It would be a perfect crime.
I put my plan into action. When I returned from the
bathroom I asked Weith what he thought of the story.
“I want to be as gentle as possible with my
criticism. It stinks.”
“Your nose sounds a little stuffy. Is your asthma
bothering you? Here’s your inhaler. Why don’t you take a snort?”
“Don’t need it. I haven’t had an attack in two
years. It’s out of date. Throw it in the waste basket.”
I had to think of something else. Weith took long
evening walks. On his way he would pass by an isolated area where a group of
thick bushes grew. I would dress in black, put on a mask, jump out and assault
him. During the struggle I would cut his throat and take his watch and wallet. The
police would believe it a robbery and I would never be a suspect because I was
independently wealthy. This effort
wouldn’t exhibit much imagination but maybe I could spice it up a bit in my
The night came when I put my plan into action. The
struggle didn’t last long. Weith kicked me in the groin, drove his elbow into
my kidney and delivered a bone breaking punch to my nose. I didn’t even have a
chance to pull my knife. As I lay on the ground, I observed him calmly
proceeding on his way. In his younger years, Weith was once a karate champion.
During the seventeen days I spent in the hospital I
had plenty of time to think. At last, I devised a most ingenious plan. It was
brilliant. I would sneak up to his house at night and with a razor blade and
cut a small splinter into the handrail that ran beside his front steps. The
splinter would be coated with tetanus bacillus. He would run his hand along the
handrail when leaving his house and receive a small prick. Weith would regard
it as nothing but a small irritation. When the full blown symptoms would appear,
the best medical efforts would be unable to save him. Foul play would never be
suspected. Now I was really on to something.
It would make a great story.
Before Weith died, I visited him in the hospital and
thanked him for his advice and said because of him, I had written a book that
had been accepted by a major publishing house. He said he was delighted to have
It became a
best seller. The royalties poured in and I was in great demand for book
signings and speaking engagements. During my last signing, two very rude
gentlemen pushed their way to the front of the line. One of them handed me his
book, and asked me to write him a little note above my signature on the
flyleaf. I asked him what it was he would wish me to write. He dictated the following, “My gratitude
extends to the New York City Detective Bureau for reading my book and arresting
me for the murder of C. E. Weith.
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