The Mystery of the American Mushroom Party
● By Steven Hoffman
Good fortune certainly played a role in John Walker Goodluck’s rise.
Goodluck won the largest lottery in U.S. history and set aside a significant portion of the winnings—nearly $1 billion—to establish a viable third party alternative to the Democratic and Republican parties. He slowly built up a national organization that could compete at the local, state, and national level. With the negative ratings for the Democratic and Republican parties at an all-time high, this third party—the American Mushroom Party—was poised to firmly establish itself as a political force.
The American Mushroom Party decided to hold its convention in Kennett Square, the Mushroom Capital of the World, so that delegates could finalize the party’s platform and select its nominees in the upcoming election. Goodluck himself had emerged as the leading candidate for the presidential nomination. As American Mushroom Party leaders gathered in Kennett Square on Aug. 5, the excitement was building. The national media arrived to cover the celebrities, business tycoons, politicians, and other power-brokers who were going to shape the future of the party—and change the course of U.S. history in the process.
But then, with shocking suddenness, John Walker Goodluck’s good fortune turned bad. His dead body was discovered right outside the Genesis Building on State Street, the apparent victim of murder after sustaining a blow to the head with a blunt object.
With the streets of the town practically overflowing with suspects, the chief investigator, detective Harry Whodunnit, enlisted the help of hundreds of local people who were deputized so that they could help interview anyone who might have information that would lead to an arrest.
It quickly became apparent that John Walker Goodluck traveled a sullied path to fame and fortune, and a lot of people had motivation to want him dead.
“I didn’t like him. I didn’t like him at all!” exclaimed Amos Stolzfus. Standing outside the Friends Home in Kennett, the Mennonite would tell anyone who asked that Goodluck was a bad guy. Goodluck left Stolzfus holding the bag on a business deal gone bad, and then had an affair with his daughter, Anna. During a different time, this scandal alone would have torpedoed Goodluck’s political ambitions. Stolzfus was holding a heavy garden tool, but denied that he had anything to do with the murder.
Iwanna Goodluck, the wife of the victim, had perhaps the best motivations to want Goodluck dead—jealousy and murder. But she firmly proclaimed her innocence.
Anna Stolzfus’s affair with the billionaire produced a child, but she, too, denied having anything to do with the crime. Even so, she was holding a hammer as she sat inside Kennett Square Jewelers, and certainly held ill will toward toward the murder victim.
Ophelia Winfield who looked and sounded an awful lot like a beloved billionaire talk show host whose name rhymes with Shoprah Shinfrey, was very politically active and had butted heads with Goodluck. But she couldn’t have possibly committed murder, could she? Seated inside the Market at Liberty Place, as she enjoyed a treat from Punk’d Pineapple, she declared her innocence.
Fortis Knox favored Goodluck’s political rival, Doris Johnston, and openly talked about how he didn’t think Goodluck would be a good nominee for the American Mushroom Party. He claimed that he saw Kelly Green, a strong advocate for protecting the environment, arguing with Goodluck just before he was murdered.
Could there be a political motivation behind the murder? Who better to ask than James Carneval and Mary Contrary, the longtime couple who found love in a hopeless place—the corridors of power in Washington, D.C.? He is a former advisor in the Clinton administration who supports Democratic candidates. She was a political consultant turned commentator who is backing Donald Trump during the current election cycle. Seated outside Mala Galleria, the couple hardly seemed like they could have been involved in the crime. If they could make their marriage work despite their political differences, clearly they were both slow to anger. Carneval thought that Roberta Woodstein might have had motivation to kill Goodluck. Contrary was suspicious of Amanita Proboscis.
Jo Somebody stopped by at the Longwood Art Gallery to look at some of the local art, but she was soon being questioned. People seemed to be very suspicious of her laptop bag, and whether she could have brandished the computer as a weapon. She denied having a role in the murder, but readily admitted to having political differences with Goodluck. Somebody claimed to be at Victory Brewing at the time that the crime was committed.
A more sympathetic figure was Lotta Goodluck. Outside Sinclair’s Sunrise Cafe, she came under suspicion for a bag of coins she was carrying. Was it a murder weapon, or simply the only money that she had on hand after her wealthy father gave away some money that she felt rightfully belonged to her? She pleaded for the investigators to solve the murder quickly.
“I want to find out who murdered my dad,” she said.
Aristotle “Aire” Jordan was outside Advanced Fitness greeting passersby, many of whom recalled his glory days as a basketball player. More recently, he was looking to capitalize on his fame to enter politics. He denied having anything to do with the crime against Goodluck, but had plenty of suspicions about others.
As the evening went on, the alibis and accusations continued to fly around town. The amateur investigators were making real progress as they checked out some of the alibis. By 8:30 p.m., Detective Whodunnit gathered all the investigators together and reviewed the results of the evening’s work. While many of the suspects had been seen at other locations at the time Goodluck met his demise, Whodunnit determined that Somebody’s alibi simply didn’t hold up. She claimed to be at Victory Brewing at the time of the crime, but no one could corroborate her whereabouts. Whodunnit demanded that she be taken into custody for the murder.
Goodluck was not going to be the President of the United States. The future of the American Mushroom Party was in doubt after the demise of its founder and main benefactor, but at least the streets of Kennett Square were safe again.