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broadwaybeyonder, August 24 in CBUB Rated Matches
Sheriff Howard Utley walked into the town diner, shaking off the winter cold. It was a popular restaurant for the small, Illinois town, despite the fact that the décor looked like it hadn’t been updated since the 70s. At the moment, just after 8, the first customers had yet to come in yet. He scanned around the room until he saw a man in a suit sitting in a corner booth drinking a mug of coffee with a plate of half-eaten pancakes in front of him. Utley took a deep breath and briskly walked to the booth. The man looked up from his plate and waved a hand to Utley.
“Sheriff Utley, sir,” said Benoit Blanc. “Please, have a seat.” Howard looked over his shoulder before sitting down across from Blanc. “I’m sorry to keep you waiting, Mr. Blanc,” Howard said in hushed tones.
“No need for apologies, Sheriff,” Blanc said. “I arrived here early. It has given me time to indulge myself in this fine establishment’s cuisine.” A waitress walked up to the booth and smiled. “Mornin’, Sheriff. What’ll you have today?”
“Er, nothing, Cheryl. I’m fine.”
“Oh, nonsense,” said Blanc. “You should at least avail yourself of these delicious, buttermilk pancakes. They are every bit as delectable as you said they would be, my dear.” Cheryl chuckled. “Gee, thanks, mister. Sure you wouldn’t like something, Howard? You know it’s on the house if you want it.” Howard cleared his throat and shrugged. “Alright. I guess I’ll have a couple of those pancakes. And some water.”
“Coming right up!” Cheryl hurried back to the kitchen as Blanc took another bite of his pancakes. “I was hoping you would be keeping a lower profile than this,” Howard whispered. “What could be more natural than two men sharing a friendly breakfast?” asked Blanc. He took another sip of his coffee, wiped his lips with a napkin, then fixed his eyes on Howard. “But since you are obviously very eager to speak to me, why don’t you tell what is wrong in your precinct?” Howard looked taken aback as Blanc stabbed his fork into another piece of pancakes. “Forgive me for being so forward,” Blanc went on. “But it is a trifle obvious that all is not well in this charming town of yours. For you to call on the services of Benoit Blanc implies you require an outsider’s perspective. And to not meet at the station in your office, and instead here in the early hours of the morning away from prying eyes implies that you don’t want the people of your fair town or the men of your department to know that Benoit Blanc is here.”
Howard shook his head in amazement and sighed. “I understand this is unusual, Mr. Blanc. A small-town sheriff calling a world-renowned detective like you. But I need your help. I have a suspicion that my department has gone bad.” Blanc set aside his fork and folded his hands. “Do go on, Sheriff.”
“This town has had it’s bad element. Gangs trying to deal drugs, cause trouble. We’ve been able to keep them under control, but lately… it’s been like they’ve been three steps ahead of us.”
“And you believe someone in your department is giving them a head start?” Blanc asked.
“Yeah. And I don’t think they are in it alone. A couple of the others on the force may be in on it. Stealing evidence, running shakedowns. But I just can’t believe that this one man is at the center of it all!”
Blanc stroked his chin as he thought. “A sad circumstance, and unfortunately one all too familiar. Just who is this man that you have suspicions of?” Howard reached into his coat and pulled out a Manila envelope. He handed it to Blanc, who opened the folder and pulled out the picture of the suspect. Blanc coughed and looked confused at Howard. “A dog?”
“Not just a dog,” said Howard. “Detective McGruff.” Blanc’s eyes narrowed. “Sheriff Utley, you seem to have me at an extreme disadvantage. If my recollections don’t fail me, I was under the impression that McGruff was merely a character in a series of police public service announcements.” Howard looked around the diner then leaned across the table to Blanc.
“That’s what the public believes. But McGruff is real! He’s always been real. He was left on the doorstep of the police station when he was a baby. Er, a pup. The department raised him, took care of him, taught him what a meant to be a police officer. Then somebody got the idea that McGruff could be a great mascot for public outreach campaigns. He’d make appearances and people would just believe he was just a guy in a costume.”
Blanc massaged his temples. “If all of what you say is correct, why would… Detective McGruff decide to dishonor himself?”
Howard loosened his tie and looked down at the table. “There… had been talk around the station. Word that McGruff campaign would be shutting down. McGruff… didn’t take it well. The campaign has been his life, and he’s been making quite a bit of money off his likeness being used for it. He went off on me, barking about how he had done more for the police than any officer had ever done. We got him to calm down, but ever since, we’ve been getting these bizarre reports. Accusations that McGruff is going into business for himself.”
“And after his years of service, he has no doubt gathered a band of loyal, rabid followers, so to speak,” Blanc concluded. “And that’s why I need your help, detective,” said Howard, his voice growing urgent. “If I’m reading the evidence wrong, I could bring disgrace on a good officer. But if he is dirty, and he knew I was onto him…”
“Say no more, Sherriff,” interrupted Blanc, putting on his coat and sunglasses. “You have succeeded in gaining my curiosity, and my attention.”
“Thanks a million, Mr. Blanc,” said Howard. “I only wish I had the money to pay you.”
“Sir, to work a case in this nature would be payment enough.” Blanc picked up the folder as Cheryl walked up with Howard’s order. “Are you heading out, mister?” she asked Blanc. “You aren’t finished with your food. Was everything alright?”
“Oh, it was delightful, Miss Cheryl,” said Blanc, pausing to give an amused look to Howard. “Please save the rest for me in a… doggie bag, if you would be so kind?” Cheryl set down Howard’s pancakes, picked up Blanc’s plate, and followed him to the register. Howard looked the ceiling in silent prayer, then started to take a bite out of his pancakes.
Blanc is looking for the evidence he needs to prove McGruff has gone bad.
McGruff has officers loyal to him as well as small town gang members.
Blanc wins by getting the evidence and exposing McGruff.
McGruff wins by squashing the evidence and doing away with Blanc.
Another great set up!
I will have to think about this one for a bit.
You certainly set a high standard being our first entrant.
So do you qualify?
1: Considering McGruff was set to help keep teenagers out of trouble, I would say he certainly fits the role. Not all Heroes are successful Heroes and not all heroes wear capes. He is also portrayed as the villain in this story - Qualification met!
2: McGruff has never been portrayed as a villain - Qualification met!
3: The change of heart, though very Ironic, falls in line with he character portrayed! - Qualification met
4: Was there an act of evil being portrayed? Now here you have it a bit murky, considering we never see his point of view, the act itself is never actually portrayed, however, describing what the act is as well as linking it to the character... - Qualification met.
Congrats your set-up qualifies.
Now on to my judgement -
Originality - I have seen this scenario played out many of times with many characters. It's a common trope to have characters "go into business for themselves" after being dissatisfied with work.
Expectation -Considering McGruff the Crime dog character had no impact on actual crime, I can definitely see him going down this route. Ironically enough there was a real life situation where an actor who portrayed him was arrested for drugs and weapons charges.
Quality - As always you set the standard for this website, the writing was spot on enough that I could visualize the characters as if reading it from a script on set. I would have liked to see McGruff perspective a bit here instead of it all being from Benoit's perspective, but outside that Very well done.
I'm voting for Benoit here, he is a world class detective and had he been called in not having any leads this could have been a bout worth watching. But considering he already has a head start and the acts being portrayed would lead to a federal court, I'm thinking McGruff goes down fairl quickly here.
I'm giving it a 4/5!
I'm going with Benoit. He seems like he is quite intelligent and crafty. I think he'll get the evidence he needs
Everybody is saying Benoit so I guess I'll go with the group.
Very good challenge entry, broadway. You laid out the story for McGruff's heel turn very well. You even managed to throw in a few dog puns. I would've given it a higher score if, as mentioned, we saw some part of the story from McGruff's perspective.
As for the match, I haven't seen Knives Out, but since Blanc is apparently a world-renowned detective, it probably shouldn't be that difficult for him to crack the case against someone who's relatively new to crime like McGruff.
Speaking of puns, looks like McGruff took the wrong bite out of crime this time. 😛
I love how you handled Blanc's character Broadway. You captured a lot of charm he had in the movie. Well done.
Match Final Results
Member Ratings:4.70 - DSkillz
4.00 - IKA
5.00 - Boratz
4.90 - leroypowell3
4.90 - Twogunkid
FPA Calculation:5 Total Votes cast
23.50 Total Combined Score
23.50 / 5 = 4.70 Final Rating on the match
MATCH SCORE Benoit Blanc: 5McGruff The Crime Dog: 1
THE BOTTOM LINE
An excerpt from the memoirs of Benoit Blanc.
I don’t know what disappoints me more: my tardiness in detailing my investigations or the quality of the investigation itself. I do not mean to say that I would consider bringing a corrupt detective to justice something to sneeze at. But this particular case was not so much a donut whose hole needed to be filled. Rather this entire affair was so straightforward it could be considered a Danish. Or perhaps, given the guilty party, a bear claw would be more zoologically appropriate?
Being pointed in the direction of McGruff by the sheriff, it didn’t take me long before I was able to tail him to one of his many rendezvous. He was meeting with a group of local vagabonds, exchanging a box of evidence for a satchel of money. It saddened my heart to see such a loyal friend of a police department go to the dogs. So to speak.
Following a search of his one room apartment, wherein I uncovered more stolen evidence and files, I quickly alerted the sheriff to have a warrant made out for McGruff’s arrest. He attempted to ‘skip town’, but he was apprehended by the town’s K9 unit. Proving that not all police dogs share McGruff’s greedy, treacherous nature.
After that, there isn’t much left to be written. The townsfolk were grateful for my assistance in bringing McGruff and the rest of his lackeys to justice. They even gave me a bronze plaque and the key to the city. But something within still longs for a more challenging case for me to undertake.
But then again, maybe I should take some time to rest myself. Ready my mind for the next endeavor awaiting Benoit Blanc. Perhaps somewhere abroad? I hear Greece is lovely this time of year.
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