"I...h-hate camping," Kogoro muttered, his teeth chattering. A blanket was wrapped around his body as he drove.
"You have no one to blame but yourself," Eri snapped. "I wanted to go to the beach, remember?"
"I-I didn't think it would turn out like this," Kogoro said defensively. Besides, he thought, what's the point of going to the beach if I can't check out all those hot babes anymore?
Indeed, it had been a camping trip to remember; the cabin had a snake in it, all of them had mosquito bites, Kogoro and Conan had fallen into the water while fishing in a small boat, and some wild animal had gotten to the food they brought. And to make things worse, there was not even a cell phone signal out there and the lone pay phone ripped off whenever Nancy yanked it slightly. Someone had ripped out the door to the stalls in the men's bathroom, and the two urinals were stopped up. And some homeless woman had set up shop in the women's bathroom. Oh, and Kogoro tried in vain for an hour and a half to build a campfire, just to then be showed up by Conan, who explained that "My dad showed me how to do that in Hawaii."
It all started whenever Kogoro had the crazy idea of "roughing it" on a half-deserted campsite in the backwoods of Gunma Prefecture. Suffice to say, they should've just gone to the beach.
"Hey, what's that sound?" Eri asked.
There was a sputtering noise.
"Don't tell me..." Kogoro whined.
At that moment the car died.
"YAAAAAARRRRGH!" Kogoro said.
He got out of the car, slammed the door, and started kicking the car while screaming curse words.
I hate camping too, Uncle, Conan thought with a deadpan look, a blanket wrapped around him also.
(Jump by Mai Kuraki)
(In my time as a detective I've learned that tingling feelings are subconscious observations! An old, run-down motel...and a suicide? He perceives the one and only truth! With the body of a child but the mind of an adult, his name is…Detective Conan!)
Sometimes I think the beat is just too fast for me
Other times the beat is way too slow
The clothes passed down to me are a size too small
How can anyone walk in these shoes?
The thermostat is kept a notch too low
My awkward shadow bumps into everything
The silence in my daily life is deafening
And other times the music's way too loud
There is a world for me over the canyon
A world that's just my size, just my tempo
Don't look back, don't look down
Just close your eyes and take a leap into the dark
You got to jump, you got to jump
Like you're reaching for precious oxygen
You got to jump, you got to jump
Like you're aiming for the shining stars
You got to jump, you got to jump
Don't even fall back to get a running start
When your feet hit ground that's its own reward
But you will never know until you jump
The Bullet Of No Origin
Eri got out of the car.
"Hitting the car won't fix anything," she said.
Geez, don't you think I know that, woman? Kogoro thought with annoyance.
"We can call an expert to come fix the car," Eri said. "I mean, we are within range of a cell tower now, and if you'll look behind you you'll see a small motel within walking distance. If nothing else works we can ask to use one of their phones. Let's just stay there for the night and be on our way first thing in the morning."
Kogoro nodded, calming down.
They got close enough to the motel that they could read the sign:
"Super Motel," Nancy read.
It was a vintage pole sign with the design of an crescent moon with a face, wearing a nightcap. The sign had neon lights which probably didn't work anymore.
In short, the sign looked like something straight out of the 1960s, or even the 50s. It had a very American feel to it, even though the words were written in katakana.
They opened the door and stepped inside. Slow jazz music was playing. Kogoro walked up to the front desk.
"Uh, excuse me," he said.
The person sitting behind the desk was an old man who had to be at least in his sixties.
"Yes?" the old man asked, grinning big and revealing his gold tooth.
"Uh, our car broke down near here and I was wondering if there are any available rooms for my family to stay in tonight."
"Certainly," the man said, slowly getting up. "What should I write down?"
"Hey, I know you," the man said.
"That isn't surprising," Kogoro said proudly. "My work is well known throughout the country."
"You're that famous racecar driver, right?"
"Uh, no", Kogoro said with a disappointed look on his face. "Never mind."
The old man wrote down Kogoro's name on a guestbook, getting the kanji wrong. "Hey, Katsuo! Can you give me the key to Room 37?"
There was no answer.
"Dagnabbit," he said. "Kids these days...HEY! KATSUO!"
A teenage boy emerged from the hallway. He took some headphones out of his ears. "Eh?"
"Room 37," the old man said.
The boy named Katsuo went to the backroom to fetch the key.
"He'll be with you in just a moment," the old man said.
They went outside and approached the door with the number 37 written on it, holding all their camping stuff in their arms. Kogoro used the key to unlock the door and they stepped inside.
Kogoro flipped the light switch, revealing a very run-down room. When the lights turned on Conan saw a cockroach quickly scuttle out of sight.
Conan put his stuff down and then pulled the top layer off of the bed; the sheet underneath had a huge yellow stain.
"Dang," Kogoro said, genuinely impressed at how run down this place was. "How does a joint like this even stay open?"
"You need to go ask for another room," Eri said. "I don't want to sleep in a place like this, and neither do Conan and Nancy."
"Every room is probably like this," Kogoro said. "And I don't feel like moving our stuff to another room. I just want to hit the hay."
"You will go get us another room," Eri ordered, a scary look on her face.
Kogoro winced and then immediately left the room to do as he was told.
And so, the Mouris were given the key to Room 39...which turned out to be just as bad.
"Good grief!" Eri said. "I guess we've got no choice but to stay in a dump like this for the night. Conan, Nancy, which one of you is going to shower first?"
"Nancy can go first," Conan said.
"How considerate of you, Conan-kun," Eri said.
There could be something wrong in the bathroom, so I'm having her test it out first, Conan thought with a deadpan look.
And so, Nancy entered the bathroom, locked the door, and began taking a shower. With nothing else to do until Nancy got out, Conan decided to take a walk.
He stepped outside and closed the door behind him. Then he noticed two men and a woman standing outside of a hotel room. They all had motorcycles parked nearby and they were clad from head to toe in leather.
"Ey, you sure it's okay to just take the room?" one of the two men asked.
"Of course," the other man said with a smirk. "The owner can't refuse me. He even gave me the key so that I can stop by and use this room anytime I want."
"Why would he do something like that?" the woman asked.
The man grinned. "I've got some serious dirt on him, and it'll ruin his life if word gets out. Given what I know, unlimited access to this motel room is a very light demand. I ought to make him pay me cash each month."
"That sounds kind of cruel," the other man said.
"Eh, quit your whining. We've got the only decent room here. All the other rooms are total trash; some've even got rat droppings on the beds."
"Just saying, man," the other man said. "What you're doing results in bad karma. One day you're gonna pay if you keep doing stuff like this."
He scoffed. "You really believe in that s**t, Kiyoshi? You really think that some sky daddy is gonna strike me down with lightning if I don't behave? Ooh, I'm so scared. Yui, you're scared too, right? Of being struck down with lightning from heaven. Because that's what Kiyoshi's saying's gonna happen."
"I don't care," Yui snapped. "I'm cold standing on here, so let's just go inside."
The man, whose name was Masato, unlocked the door and opened it.
A**hole, Conan thought.
What he had just heard left a bitter taste in his mouth, so he headed back inside to wait for Nancy to finish her shower.
The Next Day
Kogoro, Eri, Nancy, and Conan walked into the motel lobby to get some breakfast.
There really were rat droppings in the bed, Conan thought, a look of shock on his face.
"So did you get in touch with the mechanic?" Nancy asked.
"Yeah," Kogoro said. "He worked on it all last night, and he says it should be working now. After we eat we'll load the car and go home."
And so they sat down with their plates, which were topped with breakfast foods.
Sitting right next to them were...
"Hey, where's Masato?" Yui asked.
"You know him," Kiyoshi said. "He likes to sleep late, and I think we've both learned by now not to wake him. He'll get up whenever he's good and ready."
"Ah, you two are here with Masato-kun?"
They turned their heads and saw a middle-aged man standing there.
"Uh, yeah," Kiyoshi said. "You're the owner?"
"Yup," the man said with a warm smile. He was Shinzo Hayashimoto, age 47. "I take it he's still asleep in his room?"
"That's right," Yui said glumly. "Geez, why did I choose to date such a lazy guy?"
"Well, if there's anything you need, just tell me," Shinzo Hayashimoto said.
Then he turned and left. As he was leaving, Conan saw that the man was scowling.
They finished putting everything in the trunk.
"Okay," Kogoro said. "I'm gonna go pay and then we'll le..."
The gunshot resounded through the air like a mighty wave. All four of them recognised that sound immediately.
Conan and Kogoro ran into the lobby.
"Where did that sound come from?" Kogoro asked.
"I-it came from...Masato-kun's room," the old man at the desk said.
"I know where that is," Conan said to Kogoro, all pretenses of being a normal child lost in the moment. "Follow me."
Conan and Kogoro entered the room; the bathroom door was open, so they ran in there. Shinzo Hayashimoto was already there, holding Masato's body in his arms.
"Hey!" Shinzo said. "Hey! Come on, talk to me! You can't be dead! No!"
But Masato was already dead; a handgun was in his right hand and a bullet had pierced his skull from the right side of his head.
"Oji-san," Conan ordered. "Call an ambulance and the police."
The forensic officers were taking pictures of the bathroom where Masato died.
Even before turning both Kogoro and Conan knew whose voice that was.
This was Gunma, so the inspector they'd most likely dealing with would be...
"Detective Yamamura," Kogoro said, the look on his face not at all pleased.
The quack detective of Gunma, Conan thought with a deadpan look.
"That's Inspector Yamamura!" Yamamura said proudly. "Geez, Mouri-san, when are you going to get it right? Anyway, you witnessed this heinous crime?"
"There's no crime here," Kogoro said impatiently. "This is a suicide as far as we can tell."
"Eeeeehhhh?" Yamamura said. "How'd you come to that conclusion?"
"We checked the security cameras before you got here," Kogoro said. "According to my watch, we heard the gunshot at 9:16:45. Whenever I heard the shot I quickly looked at my watch for the purpose of recording when the shot occurred. According to the security cameras, nobody entered the victim's motel room until 9:17:05. The person who entered at that time was the owner of this motel, who says he came running in response to the gunshot. We entered a few seconds after that. A gun was found in the victim's hand and a suicide note was found on the bed."
"Aww," Yamamura said, visibly disappointed. "Does this mean I won't get to see Sleeping Kogoro's deduction show?"
Geez, a man died and that's all you're concerned about? Kogoro thought with disdain.
"This could've been a murder disguised as a suicide though," Yamamura said, an arrogant look on his face as though he had just made the cleverest remark in the world.
"Yeah? How?" Kogoro asked skeptically.
Yamamura was stumped. "Uhh...Uhh..."
"There's one thing that's off though," Conan said.
"What's that, brat?" Kogoro asked with annoyance.
"The toothbrush was on the floor when we entered," Conan said. "Furthermore, I saw toothpaste on the victim's face. Wouldn't that mean he was brushing his teeth at the time of death?"
"That does seem a little odd," Yamamura said.
"The bullet entered from the right side of his head," Conan said. "That means he was holding the gun in his right hand...while holding the toothbrush in his left. He's funny, isn't he? I mean, who would do that?"
"Maybe he wanted fresh teeth before he killed himself," Kogoro said with an indignant glare on his face. He wasn't about to be showed up by this smart aleck kid again.
"But if that was the case, wouldn't he wait until after he rinsed?" Conan asked. "Your teeth don't feel clean until after the toothpaste has been rinsed from your mouth, right?"
"H-his motive for brushing his teeth can't be determined," Kogoro said, flustered. "Anyway, this was clearly a suicide."
I'm unlikely to convince him, Conan thought. But this was definitely a murder. The first evidence is...
He looked at the painting of an old sailing ship which was hanging in the bathroom.
The nail above that picture, Conan thought. That's the first thing. The second thing is...
He looked at the floor right below the painting.
Those sheetrock crumbs, he thought. That's the second thing. Evidence for the third thing should be found outside, if I'm right.
Conan stepped outside, where Eri and Nancy were waiting.
"What's the prognosis?" Nancy asked "Was it murder or suicide?"
"And how much longer is it going to be?" Eri demanded. "I really want to go home now."
"Uncle Kogoro says it was definitely a murder," Conan lied. "And he wanted me to check something out for him. He also says he'll quickly solve this after I report back to him."
With that, Conan ran to the corner, off of the pavement and into the grassy area in between the building and the woods. There was a lot of random trash on the ground, and there was an old political campaign flyer on the wall.
The position of the flyer on the wall matches up, Conan thought. But is there...?
He overturned an old bucket and stood on it to get a closer look. Sure enough, there was fresh sticky stuff at the edge of the flyer, and there were paper fragments below it.
That's it, he thought. They believed this to be a suicide, because nobody entered the room before the gunshot and because they didn't see any bullet holes in the wall. Thus, if it was not fired by the victim, then it must've been a bullet of no origin. But now I have all the evidence I need; time to unveil the truth behind this murder.
"Mouri-san, I've done as you've instructed!"
Yamamura re-entered the motel room. With him were five people: Kiyoshi, Yui, the old man at the front desk, the teenage boy who worked here, and Shinzo Hayashimoto.
"Thank you, Inspector," Sleeping Kogoro, who was in a sitting position on the bed, said. Conan was hiding underneath the bed with a voice-changing bowtie in his hand. "One of you five is the culprit, and I intend on revealing who it was."
He called me Inspector, Yamamura thought with delight. Mouri-senpai recognised me as an inspector!
"H-hold on," Shinzo said. "Wasn't this already confirmed to be a suicide?"
"That was the most obvious conclusion, and this the police didn't bother to investigate thoroughly," Sleeping Kogoro said. "However, in truth this was a murder disguised as suicide. Now I will reveal how it was done."
Nancy crawled underneath the bed. She looked at Conan, who awkwardly stared at her.
"Go on," Nancy whispered.
"Uh, first of all, we must note that the victim used this same motel room every time he came," Sleeping Kogoro continued. "This was, after all, the room that he was given the key to, and it's also the nicest room here by his own admission. Also, this motel room is at the very end. This was vital to the culprit's plot. He killed the victim in the bathroom, and people generally kill themselves with the gun pointed towards the left or right side of their faces, so to kill the victim from outside the victim had to be facing the bathroom mirror. Why would he do that?"
"Uh, either to wash his hands or to brush his teeth, right?" Yamamura said.
"Exactly," Sleeping Kogoro said. "The victim had just woken up, so he went to brush his teeth. Now, the security camera footage will show that nobody entered this motel room in the minutes prior to that murder...but it WILL show that Shinzo-san knocked on the door roughly two minutes prior to the shot. Then he ran off quickly. This served to wake the victim up. Once the victim was awake, he naturally went to brush his teeth to get rid of that nasty feeling people have when they wake up. The walls to this complex are made out of thin sheetrock, which means that a person outside with his ear pressed to the wall will be able to hear a little bit from the inside. Brushing one's teeth has its own distinct sound, and if not the culprit would surely recognise the sound of a sink running."
"So the culprit fired through the bathroom wall?" Nancy whispered.
"You'll see," Conan whispered back. "Let me continue, please."
"We'll see what?" Yamamura asked. "And why are you whispering?"
"Oh, uh, nothing," Sleeping Kogoro said. "Anyway, it probably wasn't difficult for the culprit to guess where the victim was standing, and if not the sound of the teeth brushing would help him figure it out. Furthermore, he already knew the victim's height. So he was able to take a blind shot. Now, if you'll go back there you'll find that side of the complex has been neglected, and there's lots of random stuff there, including an old political campaign flyer dated from ten years ago. About a minute before he fired the shot he carefully stripped the flyer from the wall and added glue to the back of it. After the shot was fired he re-posted the flier, this time right over the hole in the wall left by the bullet. That was enough to cover one end. But then there was the inside. First, at some unknown point prior to the murder the culprit put an extra nail in the bathroom wall, which was far above the painting that was hanging on the nail below it. Then he re-hung the painting on the higher nail. After the bullet was fired, he entered the motel room and put the painting back on the lower nail, covering up the bullet hole in the wall. Then he simply put the gun in the culprit's right hand and planted a note at the scene, and the crime was complete. Had I, Detective Mouri Kogoro, not come along the police would've just ruled this is a suicide. Only one person entered the motel room before we did, and that was...YOU, Shinzo Hayashimoto! Now I'll present the evidence for..."
Shinzo sighed. "There's no need, Mouri-san. I confess. I mean, the bullet hole would be pretty easy to find if the police simply took the painting down, and the gloves from the crime are still in my pocket."
Wow, I've never had a perp give up this easy, Conan thought.
"Hey man, why did you do it?" Kiyoshi asked. "I mean, yeah, he could be kind of a jerk, but..."
"When I was 15 my mother and father divorced," Shinzo said. "I went to live with my dad, and a few months after that he remarried. His second wife had also been through a divorce, and she had a daughter who was about my age, named Keiko. She understood me, knew how I felt better than anyone I had ever met. We were inseparable, and in our college years we decided to marry."
"WHA...?!" Yamamura said. "You married your step-sister?!"
"Yeah, I did," Shinzo said. "A month ago marked 25 years of marriage, and we don't have any regrets over that. But then...!" His fists clenched tightly. "About a year ago that punk Masato came to this motel and asked to speak to me in private. He...He knew that Keiko was more than just my wife. He threatened me, said that he'd make that knowledge public unless I granted him unlimited access to one motel room here. I figured it was a small price to pay, until I realised that he was using that motel room as a rendezvous point for clients looking to buy drugs from him."
"Y-you're lying!" Yui snapped. "Masato would never be involved in something like that!"
"I've seen it for myself," Shinzo said. "I feared that if he was ever busted the police would name me as an accomplice to his activities...so I finally decided to kill him and make it look like a suicide. But in the end that did nothing to save my skin...and now this motel will have to shut down."
A double win, Conan thought.
(Natsu no Maboroshi by Garnet Crow, a chord sheet for my version of the song below)
D# Minor B Major F# Major C# Major
(Wordless opening part to the song)
A Major E Major F# Minor C# Minor
Heya no mado no mukou ni hikouki kumo o nazotte
D Major C# Minor F# Minor G Major (E Major)
Kyou kenkashita kimi no koto bakari kangaeteta
A Major E Major F# Minor C# Minor
Sasai na koto de to madotte fuantei de muboubi na
D Major C# Minor F# Minor
Ano koro no you ni sugu ni denwashite
D Major E Major F# Minor
Warai aetara ii no ni ne
G# Major A# Major C Minor G Minor G# Major A# Major D# Major
Chika zuite kuru shifuku no toki wa
G# Major D# Major G# Major A# Major
Itami o tomonainagara ashi oto o tateru
C Minor G Minor G# Major A# Major D# Major G# Major D# Major A# Major
Finally, they were on their way home again.
"Good riddance," Kogoro said. "A place that bad shouldn't stay open anyway."
"You have to feel bad for that man though," Eri said.
"Why?" Kogoro asked. "He turned out to be a total weirdo. I mean, marrying his half-sister...geez."
A rat emerged from underneath the driver's seat.
"GAAAAAHHHHH!" Kogoro screamed.
The car started swerving left and right.
I hate camping too, Nancy thought with a deadpan look.