"So what have we got?" Olivia looked over the data she and Sonicfiend had plotted out over the course of the three months it took them to buy all those expensive poster boards they used to put the data on. Detective work isn't cheap.
"Well," Sonicfiend took out a pen, beginning to circle things on the paper. "Sam told us during the interrogation that Max nearly shot 'a patron' of The Inventory during the game, but the bullet found in MarioMaster's skull matches the one in the Big Kill."
"I can't believe it took us three giant poster boards to write all that down." Olivia sighed, looking at the bills, the cost of which was common for this line of work.
"I have extremely large handwriting…" Sonicfiend said, embarrassed. "Anyway, it had to be either Sam or Max. I searched this place clean—and believe me, with all the discarded, decaying nachos in here, that's not easy to do—and I couldn't find a single bullet or remnant of any of their firearms. Besides, isn't Strong Bad's gun just a water pistol with nunchucks on it?"
"That sounds awesome." Olivia was slightly taken aback by this firearm, it sounded like something she'd like to have herself, as a substitute for the revolver Sam never wanted to see again, a horrible reminder to her, as well as Sam himself, of what had happened on that unforgettable night.
"It does, actually. Should we interrogate Max, as well?" Sonicfiend inquired.
"I…" Olivia was terrified, saying the word in almost a whisper, as if she were about to faint. "I don't think we can…"
"Why no—oh…" As Sonicfiend stepped forward, peering over Olivia's shoulder, he too, saw why they couldn't ask the other half of the Freelance Police the many questions they had burning in their minds.
The two of them stared long and hard, mouths agape, at the headline of a dampened newspaper, dated September 7th.
Rabbit found dead, best friend meeting psychiatrist.
"He's dead…Max is dead…" A tear rolled slowly down Olivia's eye, landing on the paper's jagged edge, not that the liquid damaged the paper any more than it already had.
"But…" Sonicfiend walked closer, and noticed something mysterious about the picture. "…Where's his head?"
It was true, Max's head was absent from the picture—but strangely, everything below the top row of his teeth remained.
"Hmm…but Sam would never do anything like this, even in the state he is now. The two of them would take a bullet for one another if it came to that." Sonicfiend pondered over this, but was interrupted by the sound of footsteps. Someone else was in The Inventory with them.
"Did you say…take a bullet?"
The voice the two of them heard behind them had a thick British accent.
"Who might you be?" Olivia asked the man.
He had a red robe and a wood pipe; he looked like a classy man, very conscious of style. But the robe had a few rips in it—not very noticeable, but still big enough to be visible, something a man of his supposed stature would not tolerate under normal circumstances.
"I am legally obligated to call myself The Host." said the man. "As you may or may not have guessed by now, I was the one running the show during that horrible event. And…"
"And?" Olivia stepped closer, her eyebrows narrowing.
"…I shot someone that night. He looked young and full of confidence, but not as much as that Strong Bad fellow."
"You shot MarioMaster?" Sonicfiend stepped closer too at this point. "Why would you shoot anyone, or even bring a firearm in here? Aren't you supposed to be the unbiased one, who periodically raises the blinds to make more of a profit?"
"Ordinarily, this would have been true." The Host admitted, "But despite my vow to remain impartial, I just didn't feel safe with Max even a room's length away from me."
"I don't blame you there—" Sonicfiend said, taking a punch to the shoulder from Olivia that had more than a little force behind it. "What? Have you seen where he puts that gun?"
"Regardless, I've always had a revolver handy, after The Spy gave it to me as a buy-in." The Host showed the two of them the revolver, which it had been rumored, used the same bullets as the Big Kill.
"But why would you make us try to go after Sam?" Olivia questioned, finally relieved that this case was coming to a close.
"I didn't make you go after Sam, young lady. You two are just terrible at being undercover officers."
"I see where you may have gotten that—" Sonicfiend said, taking another punch from Olivia with significantly more force behind it, if that was even possible. "Ow, it's bruising now. Look—look what you've done. My poor shoulder."
As Sonicfiend pouted like a child, Olivia continued the interrogation.
"What about Max's Head?" It seemed like her face actually got red with rage at this point, her eyebrows squinted, absolutely willing to murder this man, regardless of what his answer to this question would have been.
"It's in the back, in a hidden room next to my office." The Host showed the two of them a picture of the head, resting atop a safe in a back room. "It was the only way to truly be rid of that terrifying lagomorph."
"You're lucky I'm bound by the force to have suspects turned in alive…" Olivia told The Host, as she handcuffed him, taking the revolver. "We'll have to take you in for more questions," she told him. "You'll like Seth. He's even crazier than we are."
She smiled as she walked him to the car, Sonicfiend following, with his lower lip still stuck out, as it would be for entire hours after that.
The car drove away, in the drizzling rain, sirens blaring. One light flickered on and off in The Inventory, as the taps dripped the last amount of beer the place would ever serve. It was home to a poker game that changed everything in many people's lives.
And now, you've read the tale of The Murder at the Inventory.