Colonel Mustard: This Boddy jackass invites me to his home, promising good cigars and stiff bourbon. I thought it was another soldier paying me respects for what I sacrificed for the country. When I got there, though, it was pretty clear he was not the military type. He had monogrammed shirts and the handshake of a cream puff. I asked him what type of guns he likes to shoot, and he told me he preferred to do his R&R on the tennis court. I took one look at him and thought, That seems about right.
Mrs. White: I don’t know how all the others ended up there that weekend, but I got a cryptic invitation that fawned over my leadership skills. I had not heard of Boddy, so I thought it was presumptuous of him to stage a Davos-type summit at his estate. That’s what the invite implied. I realized when I got a look at that woman—what was her name? Scarlett?—and saw the obscenity tattooed on the back of her neck that I was in for a weird few days.
Professor Plum: There we were, six of us with Boddy and a few of his servants. I had never met any of them. He seemed like an old-money type who was trying to hold onto the last vestiges of privilege and needed guests to pay homage to his pedigree. I was willing to play the role for a few days—you never know when you’ll need someone to endow a professorship.
Mr. Green: Boddy was the typical white-shoe snob. He assumed I was Jewish from my name, which he went out of his way to pronounce over and over. “Do you like the threading in this suit, Mr. Green? Would you like a glass of sherry, Mr. Green?” The main course at lunch was pork medallions, which was no accident. I made sure I asked for seconds.
Mrs. Peacock: The entire time, I never knew exactly why we were there or what was expected from us. I thought Mr. Boddy might be preparing to put me on a steering committee for a gala, but what about the others? They didn’t seem like society types. One night at dinner, that army man drank the water out of the finger bowl.
Miss Scarlett: What a boring three days! A bunch of old people being fake-nice to Mr. Boddy and then complaining behind his back. I thought there would at least be an actor there, or someone in a band. And forget about any of them having coke. I was all, “Don’t you have any friends who are, like, under 80?” I was glad he finally came to his senses.
Professor Plum: Mrs. Peacock had the hallmarks of the high-social-strata female—skeletal frame, face stretched beyond recognition, sense of entitlement. She berated me for lighting my pipe at dinner and then took a call on her cell phone from a fellow shrew. The other end did most of the talking, while she gave a string of one-word responses: “pedestrian,” “vulgar,” “common,” thinking we’re too obtuse to catch on. I never met Mr. Peacock, but the poor man must be a saint.
Mrs. White: That professor reminded me of why I steer clear of academic types. He kept referring to Boddy as a “text” that we, as guests, needed to mediate, and blathered on about deconstructing the concept of “dinner” and its role as a ritual reinforcing social status. I asked him to explain the narcissistic personality type to me, but he didn’t catch on.
Mrs. Peacock: Miss Scarlett was nothing to write home about. It wasn’t hard to guess why Boddy wanted her around. She made him and the other fat, bald men feel like they still had it. She bragged about being a natural redhead and showed the men each of her 11 tattoos. I snuck a look into her room one morning, and the bed had not been slept in. I guarantee she made good use of those corner-to-corner passageways.
Mr. Green: Colonel Mustard could be an imposing figure, until you found out his two “theaters” were Granada and Panama, and that he was nowhere near the action. His whole identity was tied up in the rank. When he pulled off a nice shot at the billiard table, I called him “Mean Mr. Mustard,” trying to lighten things up. You should have seen the darts coming out of his eyes.
Professor Plum: Boddy gave off a fanatical gleam. It was clear he was fixated on something, but he wouldn’t let us in on the secret. At the dinner table, he picked up the massive candlesticks—pewter, I think—and marveled over their “heft” and “utility.” I was thinking, What do you want from us? I asked him how much the candlesticks were worth, but that didn’t seem to be the itch he needed scratched.
Colonel Mustard: At one point Boddy asked me what my favorite tool was. I said it was the Swiss Army knife. He told me his favorite was the wrench because “there’s so many things you can do with it.” Like what, tightening and loosening? Jackass.
Mr. Green: Boddy repeatedly urged us to “seize the day.” I thought he had some investment scam he was going to unleash, but it never happened. He made a point of telling me that he never slept well at nights and often could be found alone in various rooms—the library, the kitchen—at very specific times. I told him, “Sorry, I don’t play for that team.”
Mr. Boddy: It’s all very simple. When I got the diagnosis, I made a decision not to wait around for death to take me—it’s not the Boddy way. I’m an alpha, and I thought it would be fun to challenge people from the lower castes to do their worst. I tell you, I never felt more alive and focused than during those moments when I thought someone would be coming after me at any second. But after two days with those people, I couldn’t take it anymore. There’s no level of heightened awareness that would make me willing to put up with them for another 24 hours.
Mrs. White: In the middle of breakfast he bursts into the dining room, spittle flying, ranting about what effing idiots we are, and throws on the table things that must have come from the toolshed—I remember a gun, a rope, a piece of pipe, God knows what else.
Professor Plum: The American aristocracy may not have inbreeding, but I assure you there’s enough insanity to go around. I started to ask him if I could use his breakdown as a case study for my next paper, but that’s when he started coming at me with the knife.
Mr. Green: It’s strange. When we all were fleeing, a variation on that old polar-bear joke came into my head: I don’t have to outrun Boddy, I just have to outrun Mrs. Peacock. The hedge turned out to be a bit higher than I thought, but I recovered.
Mrs. Peacock: I am not associating with that man or any of his people in the future. Dreadful experience. Even the furniture was vulgar.
Colonel Mustard: What kind of man has a conservatory in his house? I mean, holy Christ.