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The Case of the Dancing Stud (Part 3 of 4): The Investigation Takes an Odd Turn

July 6, 2010

Today is the third part of our ILHC mystery “The Case of the Dancing Stud.” Read the first part here. and the second, here.

Part III: The Investigation Takes an Odd Turn

That night we arrived at the Jump Mansion, and Shackelford promptly disappeared, he said to go to the restroom, though he was gone so long I decided to make my way upstairs to where the dancing was. Though it was a little hot, the room was packed with Lindy Hoppers turning and kicking. I found myself a seat in the corner, enjoying myself immensely and wandering if they’d get around to playing a waltz.

After a couple songs, a group of followers entered who were obviously advanced, and a tall one in particular soon started to catch my eye. She didn’t do much, but seemed, over the course of the evening, to warm-up and began dancing with a lot of attitude and power. Even when she looked strange in her angles or choice of moves, it didn’t seem to matter, because her confidence and happiness in dancing made it all okay.

Soon Ms. Gilkenson and Ms. Glass arrived at the dance, and were kind enough to show me a few basic moves I could inflict on the innocent. After about thirty minutes, it was time for a Jack and Jill contest, and everyone cleared the floor for the tap-out contest. After an exciting five minutes, the finalist were paired down to two couples, one of which included the taller lady I have mentioned earlier.

Taking turns in a jam, each couple went out and really gave it everything they got. At the end, Ms Gilkenson and Ms Glass awarded the trophy to the couple with the tall woman, who said her name was Willa-Mae Jewel. After the contest the music began again, and imagine my surprise when I say the taller woman came over to ask me to dance.

She had a great time, obviously, though for me it was horrid. I didn’t know what I was doing, and she didn’t seem to be helping me like, I know realized, all the other followers had been doing. So, mot of the dance was her standing there, swiveling, and me looking confused. However, when we were done with the dance, she said “Meet me downstairs in thirty minutes. I’ll show you some steps.”

She then disappeared into the crowd of much more advanced leads than I. About thirty minutes later, I went downstairs to the practice room next to the Jump Mansion entrance. She was there, sitting on a couch.

“Please close the door, to keep the air conditioning in.” I turned to do so, and when I turned back around, there was no one in the room but my dear friend and detective, the great Shackelford Withersbottom, in a dress.

“Shackelford!”

He laughed a devious laugh and clapped his hands together sharply. “Dr. Wilfred, if you would please,” he said, motioning to the zipper at the back of the dress.

“I have learned a great deal tonight,” he said, throwing on his vest and trousers. “Especially after the contest, the leads who had been hesitant to meet new people suddenly wanted to dance with me.”

“But, Shackelford, I don’t understand! How did you succeed in being such a good follow? You’ve never danced a step in your life.”

“T’was simple, Wilfred….I relied on the hope that a good leader would make me do what was needed. By not having any training…”

“You didn’t have any bad habits.” I concluded, in awe.

“Precisely, Wilfred. Besides, I have the rhythm of a 1930s black woman in my heart,” he said, straightening his argyle bow tie.

Of course, it was pointless to tell him that anyone else attempting what he had done would have resulted in humiliating failure and even more discrimination towards transgenders. And it was just a worthless to point out that great dance followers spend years and years in training; it wasn’t near as simple as Shackelford expected. But, he was a different man than we.

“Well, what did you learn?”

“Many things. First, did you know the reason Chester’s friend and coach George was out of commission for contest this year?”

“Yes, something about his heel.”

“Not just something, Wilfred. Something perhaps very important to the case–he was apparently kicked by a hard, heavy, leather-healed shoes. While dancing. An aimless accident.”

“Really? But how does that figure into the case?”

“It was his dear friend and our dancing stud, Chester, that did it.”

My mind boggled. “Well, though that gives him a motive, I don’t see how he could be the villain He’s unconscious, after all, and we still have the missing Southern California dancer.”

“You’re quite right, Dr. Wilfred. The case grows more interesting with every new clue. I think, however, I am beginning to put it all together. Especially, the curious case of the cat in the nightime.”

“Ms. Gilkenson’s cat, the night of the kidnapping? But the cat didn’t do anything that night.”

“Exactly,” he said. “Exactly. Dr. Wilfred, I’m afraid I must disappear myself for a few days.”

“What?”

“It is unavoidable.”

“But the contest is this weekend–we have to finish solving the case!”

“That is precisely what I intend to do.” He said, and we let the Jump Mansion doors shut behind us.

Stay tuned for Part IV: The Conclusion!

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