These are what can dumfound the strongest man, and terrify the most resolute woman.
Simple sentences of words placed in a particular order that designed to elicit a response.
Of course, no one tells you that your life may depend upon the answer you give.
So, when a man is asked a simple question like, ‘do I look good in this dress’, there are so many wrong answers that no matter what he says, the marriage, relationship, romance is over.
Similarly, that simple question, ‘how do you feel’, can be like opening the floodgates, or met with stony silence, or, more than likely, met with a dismissive ‘I feel good’.
There are questions asked in examination papers, the sort that is based on the year’s work, or what was supposedly covered in study groups. As children, these questions hold varying amounts of terror, if you have failed to study.
There are questions asked at job interviews, and sometimes these don’t quite make any sense. For instance, ‘If you were in a store serving a customer and a man came in brandishing a gun, what would you do.’ I’m not sure what answer they are looking for.
Then there is that terrifying question you hoped would never be asked, ‘what do think your weaknesses are?’ I was fine with strengths, that’s easy, but weaknesses, that’s where the job application ended.
There is one other that has a simple answer but it often met with silence, a witticism, but rarely the truth. Asking a woman, ‘what is your age?’
That’s a romance killer right there. Right up there with, ‘where were you on the night of the 14th between the hours of 6pm and 12 pm. You can hardly say you were in bed with your best friends wife, can you?
Can you see the bare bones of a mystery coming on?
20 questions for each suspect and witness, if any, then plot the crime from these testimonies.
I need a few days away from my current book and it seems a good idea for a short story.
I think I might call it ‘motive, means and opportunity, the story of a wrongly convicted man’.