Willum Mortimus Granger was beside himself. In fact when his body was found the top half was right next to the bottom.
Granger's body was split in two. "Well, we can rule out suicide" said the coroner. "I rule out NOTHING!" I replied.
Self bisection was not at the top of my list of likely solutions. I hate ceding any ground when it comes to crime deduction.
"Maybe this was self inflicted. Then how do you explain the 3 1/2 other victims just like this I have at the morgue?"
So Granger wasn't the only one cut down in his prime. "You said 3 1/2 victims. You have half a body?" "No. Siamese twins."
Willum Mortimus Granger and 3 1/2 others (as per the coroner) were dead, their bodies sliced in half.
I stared at Granger's lower torso. Marshall McLuhan famously claimed that the wheel was an extension of our feet. Now I got it!
Granger had owned a perfume concern, a blue coal mine and two pickle factories. His company was called Lavender Blue Dilly Dilly.
Hit hard by the economic downturn, LBDD failed the smell test, couldn't sink to new depths and finally everything didn't go sour.
A cloning pioneer, Granger had replaced every part of his body. Calling his lab ‘Body Parts R Us’, he was literally a self made man.
If the economic downturn had hit Granger's cloning lab, Body Parts R Us, like it did at LBDD, he could have lost an arm and a leg.
I knew a lot about Granger. By chance I'd just read his NY Times best-seller "100 Things You Need To Know About Me Before I Die"
"I was born at a very young age." begins Granger's autobiography, 100 Things..., "I was very close to my mother at the time."
Born to a family of neo-vegans, Granger ate only oats ‘til age 17 when he became the first entrant to win the Kentucky Derby without a horse.
A self-taught fly fisher, when Granger discovered the sport's purpose was to catch fish, he released the flies back into the wild.
I looked at Granger's severed torso. Here... and here lay the remains of an entrepreneur, athlete, scientist and podcast mime.
Sure he was a failed entrepreneur, uncertain athlete, questionable scientist. But he was undeniably a world class podcast mime.
Who can forget Granger's podcast masterpiece, "Man Walking Against the Wind"? Or "Man Trapped in an Invisible Cube"?
Now he was ready to perform his final mime podcast "Man Silent as the Grave." Placing my cell next to his torso, I ...
pressed RECORD. Willum Granger was dead because, despite all his advantages, he couldn't be in two places at the same time.
We stood a moment in a respectful silence which the doctor broke asking "How can you do mime in a podcast?" Just then my cell rang.
Granger's last podcast would be ruined! I scooped up my cell wondering when I uploaded "Torn Between Two Lovers" as a ringtone.
My own phone was strangely silent. By the time I pried the other cell phone from Granger's cold dead hand, the music had stopped.
Looking for Caller ID I saw two things: Granger had been on Twitter at the moment of his death and the battery was almost dead.
Granger had been Tweeting when he died! This phone was the Holy Grail, the Rosetta Stone, the Jeopardy Daily Double of this case.
If Granger tweeted his assailant's name, or some clue, I'd wrap up this case and tackle those 3 1/2 other victims at the morgue.
If Granger wrote "Hey, Larry from LBDD! What are you doing here?" Or "Saw Vince from the lab" Those would be a definite leads.
Granger had married twice, divorced 3 times. His last wife had been really, really mad at him. Perhaps she would be fingered in a Tweet.
I needed to know three things. What was the motive for the murder? What was the method? What was this stuff I just stepped into?
"What is this stuff, tapioca?" "No," said the coroner "That's his spleen." "It looks just like tapioca." "Believe me, its not."
Doc's words reassured me. Tapioca always turns my stomach. Wiping my shoe on Granger's shirt, I tapped the phone on with my pen.
As the phone came to life the coroner scoffed "Do you seriously believe you can solve this case by following Granger on Twitter?"
"I won't follow his tweets to learn where he'll be. I already know with grave certainty where he's going to be from now on."
"I'll solve this murder not by tweeting forward, but by retweeting backward," I hit ENTER and Granger's final Tweet appeared:
Either Granger wanted his followers to know he suffered an extremely slow, painful death, or his finger got stuck on the "a" key.
"aaaaaaaa...?" said the coroner. "That's it?" "It may be a code of some kind." I replied "All I have to do is figure out the key"
The coroner continued, "Facing imminent death, as a final act Granger logs onto Twitter and tweets 'aaaaaaa…' to his followers?"
"Does that description do justice to the scenario you're painting here?" "Maybe we should look at his next-to-last tweet."
The coroner was getting on my nerves. I should put him on my suspects list. Once again I tapped the cell to view Granger's tweet:
"Stomach unsettled" Granger had tweeted, "I guess that tapioca didn't go down well." I glared at the coroner. He just shrugged.
The lab team was done and wanted to put Granger into body bags. His phone too. There wouldn't be another tweet out of either.