Sunday, October 28, 2012

Murder Book - Try the Beef - Grant McLaughlin

1 – Tiffany and Brad (original characters, both early thirties) sit across from each other at their dinner table. Brad is noticeably overweight. He wears business casual clothes, but they are dirty. Sweat stains are clear under his armpits, his shirt is not tucked in, his tie is loosened, and his topmost shirt buttons are undone. Unshaven, he looks like, while he used to be an attractive man, he no longer takes pride in his appearance. Tiffany is not much better off. She looks permanently tired and worn, run down by the struggles of life. While she is still made up, it's clear that she is also not as attractive as she once was. Brad eats some food – his plate is almost completely empty. Flushed, Brad leans back, hand on his full stomach. He wears a satisfied grin on his face, but it's not terribly warm. Tiffany doesn't have a plate or any tableware in front of her. She sits with a bored, unhappy expression on her face.  There's a serving plate between the two that is virtually empty, all the food having been eaten.  A doorway to the front hall is visible in the background, along with an end table in said hall.

BRAD (1): Ooh, I'm stuffed.

BRAD (2): Are you sure you don't want any? I feel bad having so many helpings of your dinner when you're not even eating.

TIFFANY: I'm fine.

2 – Tiffany's neutral expression remains.  She looks directly at Brad.  Brad is stunned by her words. His flush increases, as does his sweating.

TIFFANY: I don't love you, Brad.

BRAD: W-what?

TIFFANY: It's been a while now.  I thought maybe we could work things out.

3 – Tiffany's expression is unchanged.  She looks down towards Brad's plate.  Brad moves a hand to his throat, having difficulty breathing.

TIFFANY (1): It's a shame that the meat was off.

TIFFANY (2): I understand that botulism isn't a pretty way to go.

4 – Tiffany is up and walking towards the front door. Brad tries to follow her down the front hall. His eyes are bugging out and his grip on his throat is tightening. He stumbles into that end table seen in panel 1, which has some pictures on it.  The misstep knocks it and him over.

TIFFANY: It's also too bad that I was away on business this weekend.  If I'd been around, maybe this tragedy could have been avoided.

5 - Brad lies face down on the carpet. The table is overturned, the pictures scattered all over the floor. One lies next to him. Face up, it is a picture of Brad and Tiffany on their wedding day. The room is dark and the frame's glass is broken, but it's still clear that in the picture Brad and Tiffany look much healthier than they do presently. Brad has an athletic body and Tiffany is positively radiant. The biggest difference, however, is that both of them smile happily.



  1. Simply stunning Grant. You have layers of narrative weaved into a single page. The break down of a marriage, a woman pushed over the edge, the set up of a fake alibi all such strong beats to build a tense and dark story.

    Tiffany's last line in panel four followed by the great visual storytelling in the final silent panel is one of the best beats and moments I have read on the site to date. Top marks from me mate.

  2. I think this weeks pick is going to reveal just how twisted we all are. You sick puppy, you.

    This is another great one pager with an excellent last panel. You also left that last panel silent. It didn't need dialogue or captions and it's all the better for it.


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