The butler didn’t do it

I think if a door-to-door insurance salesman comes into your house to try to sell you a term life policy, and he’s wearing thick leather gloves the entire time, it’s OK to ask him if he’d like a glass of lemonade.

And then, while his back is turned, you should conk him over the head with the biggest flower vase within arm’s reach because chances are he was going to try to strangle you anyway.

But maybe you shouldn’t, because he just might be embarrassed about a wart on one of his fingers and, what’s he going to do, wear only one glove?

And why does he have to explain himself?

What’re you, the glove police?

If I was going to murder someone again I think I would use poison because at least you could share a nice meal together before one of you died … and something tells me it will be much less messy than stuffing the mailbox with rabid weasels.

When you both are done eating, your victim will likely start sweating and complaining about stomach cramps and double-vision instead of complimenting you on the linen napkins and the radish roses.

And, you’ll probably get really angry and think, “Man, I wish this guy was dead.”

And then, while you’re pouring coffee and slicing pie, you’d be like, “Oh yeah, the poison!” (Note: keep a short list of names of people you could frame for murder.)

The old cliché in murder mysteries is that the butler did it. By “it” they usually mean “murder.”

Of course, if you’re watching a show about butlers who are really great at, say, ice-sculpting or making authentic Texas chili, then “it” could be referring to an entirely different subject.

Anyways, the butlers are always taking the heat for the death of some Bulgarian countess who mysteriously threw herself off the roof after fatally shooting herself in the back six times.

It usually goes a little something like this: “Whoever could have beaten Lady Farington to death with this frozen turkey leg?”

Then some detective always goes guest by guest, naming off all the reasons they had to kill Lady Farington before he finally gets to the real culprit.

“Admiral Scheizenstein’s motive was that he once had an affair with Lady Farington and Lady Farington told all her friends he was hung like a gopher.”

Then Admiral Scheizenstein would shout “Nonsense!” while lighting his ridiculously huge pipe.

I mean so big that it’s obvious he’s trying to make a statement but not so big that you’d automatically think he has a small penis.

But then his eyes would dart back and forth all suspicious-like, and everyone would start wondering just how big a gopher is down there.

Then, after spending like an hour convincing you that these twenty people each had a great reason to kill Lady Farington, the detective would point at the butler, who is probably busy emptying the ash tray that Admiral Scheizenstein keeps filling up every ten minutes or so. You know, because of the giant pipe.

There’s never really a good explanation as to why the butler did it.

Perhaps it was out of boredom, or maybe he saw some other butlers doing it and he just really wanted to fit in with the cool servants.

But, if you think about it, the butler really is the last person who would commit a murder.

For one, he’s so busy cooking and cleaning and answering the door for all these rich and important dinner guests (who apparently don’t have anything in the fridge at home) and lighting giant pipes and refilling brandy glasses and measuring gopher weenies for curious guests, that he simply doesn’t have the time to pencil in a homicide.

And then there is the job security.

If he kills his own employer then he’s out of a job.

If he kills one of his master’s dinner guests he’s going to be fired at the very least.

And, how long do you think it’ll be before word gets out that Jeeves has a psychotic streak?

You might not know it from staring at the sun for hours on end, but rich people talk to one another.

When they talk it’s generally through clenched teeth and using words like “indubitably” and “pishtosh” and “Don’t look now but here comes gopher dick!”

Most importantly, even if your manservant does develop a sudden blood-lust, he’s so busy shining your shoes and fluffing your hemorrhoid pillows that he’s not going to make more work for himself.

If he does decide to drop a thousand-pound crystal chandelier on Colonel Fatso, guess who’s going to be the one sweeping up the shards and dragging 300 pounds of khaki and sideburns (Colonel Fatso just returned from an African safari) down to the incinerator?

That’s right, the butler!

These murder mysteries are often the subject of some crazed braniac seeking to commit the perfect murder.

I sometimes think about committing the perfect murder, usually when I’m waiting for the priest to wrap up his sermon but also sometimes when I’m stabbing a homeless person in a dark alley, or when the delivery guy forgets the French dressing for my garden salad—again!

And, though it would cost around $8.5 billion and take nearly a year of planning, I think I’ve come up with the ultimate plan for getting away with murder.

Step 1: Find a really trusting rich guy and ask to borrow $8.5 billion.

Step 2: Swim in money like rich cartoon duck. (How often is this opportunity going to present itself?)

Step 3: Hire mad scientist to either clone you or build super lifelike robot. (See if Stallone’s plastic surgeon is available.)

Step 4: Purchase ticket on Russian space shuttle for robot/clone. Has to be done like a year in advance. (Establishes alibi. Cop: “Where were you at the time of the murder?” You: “I was in space with the Russians.” Cop: “OK. Seems legit.”)

Step 5: Treat yourself and robot/clone to a day at the spa. (You’ve been working hard and could use some relaxation. Go on, you’ve earned it!)

Step 6: Choose victim who deserves to die. (Possible list could include George Zimmerman, Michael Vick, pizza delivery guy who keeps “forgetting” your French dressing.)

Step 7: Learn victim’s daily routine. (Be sure to wear dark sunglasses, top hat and trench coat so as not to arouse suspicion.)

Step 8: Send away for mail-order hippopotamus and trainer. (Don’t skimp on the quality of hippo or trainer. Cannot stress this point enough.)

Step 9: Train hippo to attack on command. (While the trainer is at it, might as well teach the hippo to get you beers from the fridge and roll over and play dead when you hold your hand like a gun and say “bang!”)

Step 10: Sick trained hippo on trainer. (Can’t have any witnesses. Probably should avoid becoming friends with trainer or things could get awkward.)

Step 11: Take hippo out for day at spa. (Might as well get hippo’s nails painted and Instagram it. “Spa hippo” has got to get a gazillion shares.)

Step 12: Stop screwing around. (Better get the robot/clone to start shoveling hippo dumplings or it’s going to be to the ceiling in no time.)

Step 13: Create fliers that say “Free Hippo Rides.” (Paper victim’s neighborhood with fliers.)

Step 14: Go to pizza shop and order lunch. While waiting at the counter, talk loudly about how much fun hippo rides are. (Say things like, “Man that hippo ride sure was fun and it was free, too.”)

Step 15: Check bag before leaving to make sure they remembered the napkins and the goddamn French dressing.

Step 16: Eat lunch at home while waiting for delivery driver to show up for his free hippo ride. Try not to stare menacingly out the window too much. (Try to smile casually at neighbors who pass by. Important: Don’t smile like a guy who has a killer hippopotamus—you know the type.)

Step 17: If delivery guy doesn’t show up, you’ll have to call for more food. (Make sure this is same day as your robot/clone is going up in the Russian rocket. Remember, a good murder is all about the alibi. Also, be sure to give robot/clone enough cash to bring back some sweet souvenirs, like a set of those nesting dolls and maybe some Siberian tiger jerky.)

Step 18: When delivery driver shows up, tell Steve to attack. (Probably should have mentioned the hippo’s name is Steve. Hey, when you have a hippo, you can name it anything you want.)

Step 19: While Steve is mauling the delivery driver, now would be a good time to wrap up your extra salad and bread sticks. You can always take them in to work tomorrow for lunch.

Step 20: When robot/clone gets back, put him to work giving hippo rides for like $5 or something. After all, you’ve got to figure out how to pay back the $8.5 billion. (Hey, you’re a murderer, not a liar. Oh, be sure to check out the going rate on hippo rides so you don’t undercut yourself.)

Step 21: Just sit back and smile as the hippo cash rolls in. (Try not to smile like a guy who just committed the perfect murder. You know the type.)