Trash-talking gingerbread girl sets courthouse abuzz
The Dukes County Courthouse is abuzz this week with a legal mystery thriller worthy of a John Grisham novel. The crime spree includes not-so-veiled threats of bodily harm, a gruesome murder, rival gangs, and the life sentence of a girl who many believe was wrongly convicted. The trail of clues begins, and ends, in the gingerbread village on display in the Register of Deeds office.
Several years ago, employees in the register's office decided to spread holiday cheer with a gingerbread house contest. The annual event provides good cheer, friendly competition, and a sweet snack for the holiday party.
Last week, the competition turned into a gingerbread caper that has transformed the usually mild-mannered competition into a whodunit of delicious proportion.
It began innocently enough, with the arrival of the gingerbread houses for this year's contest. Patrick Flynn, who serves as a liaison for criminal cases and helps keep arraignments running smoothly in Edgartown District Court, has won the contest two years running. That, quite obviously, triggered fits of jealousy in some of the other contestants, who gave Mr. Flynn a fair ration of grief as he brought in an elaborate gingerbread church as his entry for this year. But the caper really began with the appearance of a trash-talking sugar choir girl, posed in front of Mr. Flynn's church, holding a sign with a simple message. "Bring it," said the sign. It was on.
arrived in a body bag at the contest headquarters.
The next day, an anonymous note appeared on Mr. Flynn's desk. Fashioned in letters cut from a magazine, the note said, "Lose the contest, or the choir girl gets it." Pictured was the choir girl in frightening peril, laying on the street with an enormous shoe about to reduce her to powdered sugar.
The following day, another note. This time, the defenseless choir girl was pictured tied to model railroad tracks, with a model train bearing down on her at frightening speed. The lettering read, "You can stop this train." Again, a rather pointed threat directed at Mr. Flynn, who by this time was worried sick.
The following day did not ease his agony. A note arrived depicting the helpless choir girl in a large cauldron, with a cigarette lighter poised to light a flame beneath it. This time, a simple, yet unmistakable warning, "Got soup?"
By now, there was talk around the courthouse about rival gangs, and the opposition had had all they could take. An anonymous note appeared warning the kidnappers: "You send one of ours to the hospital... we send one of yours to the MORGUE."
To the horror of the entire courthouse, the note writers appeared to make good on their threat. Appearing one morning was an official evidence bag. Inside the evidence bag was a small body bag, which looked suspiciously like an envelope. Inside the body bag was a gingerbread snowman.
A warning to squeamish readers: the next development is not for the faint of heart.
The lifeless snowman, complete with a tag tied to his toe, had been decapitated. A short time later, the choir girl was apprehended, put on trial for the snowman murder, and convicted. She received a life sentence, and was incarcerated in a gingerbread jail, where she sat in forlorn desperation behind licorice jail bars.
Just when you thought it couldn't get any more bizarre, a legal document arrived at the courthouse. Somehow, it ended up in the hands of civil trial clerk Jean Wunsch. It was a motion to revise and revoke the choir girl's life sentence, duly filed by Kris Kringle, attorney. Who knew?
The case took new twists by the hour, and every development spread through the courthouse like wildfire. On the very afternoon the motion to revise and revoke the sentence arrived at the courthouse, rumors swirled that advocates for the jailed choir girl have uncovered new evidence. As the rumor goes, the choir girl is innocent, and would soon present proof that she was framed by her evil twin sister.
Who knows how this caper will turn out? Who knows what evil lurks in the minds of gingerbread men? Stay tuned.