The Case of the Nicaraguan Snuffer.
I know you were expecting to read a summary of Survivor Nicaragua's eight episode but something much more serious is happening in that little Central America country. I know you will want to read all the details.
My name is Patrick Shane. I am a member of the RBI, the Reality Blows Investigations. The Nicaraguan authorities requested my help because they are baffled by a series of murders involving Americans living in local resort areas. There have been 9 victims over the course of the last 8 weeks and the murderer, nicknamed the Nicaraguan Snuffer, strikes every week on Wednesday night as if daring the authorities to catch him.
A nervous Burnett greeted me as I approached his villa by the sea: “We only have 5 days until the snuffer is to snuff again. It may not be ‘nuff to figure out this stuff. The people wearing buffs may think we bluff but, to make it tuff to snuff, we put cameras everywhere and merged both camps into one.”
With that, he disappeared, leaving me with one of his lackeys to guide me on my way to the new camp.
Immediately, I realized we were dealing with someone either bold or careless because he still snuffed after the merge. The latest victim was Alina, a woman that talked her way into being a threat.
The first Victim was called Mrs. Chatterbox.
Then we had Mr. Potty-Mouth
An NFL Coach that had a lot to say
A Loud-Mouth who only had one thing to say but said it over and over again
A Big Guy that said things the wrong way
A One-legged Woman who had nothing to say
A woman without a clue
A woman with a clue but that didn’t want to have it.
All the bodies were discovered just outside a graveyard, on a path leading to a property strangely called Loser Lodge.
Who is behind all these murders?
How does he choose his victims?
Who will be next?
Looking at all these victims, it’s not easy to find a pattern that could give us an idea on the next victim and help us build a profile of the killer. Not easy for an ordinary detective but I do have special abilities because I am the Dementalist!
Probst turned to me and asked: “Only 11 are left. Which one of them is the Sole Snuffer?”
“Not so fast” I replied. “You are still a suspect in this. It took a perverted mind to commit these murders and we’ve seen you in action before. All your staff, including Burnett, is also a suspect in my eyes and, since this is one of your little Survivor Adventures, all 300 previous players are suspects and so are all your viewers, which would make roughly another 300 or so. Where were you when you last saw Alina?”
“We were at Tribal Council where I did my best to get them to vote out Na’Onka but they never listen to me. They voted out Alina instead and we sent her packing for the trip back home except she never made it.”
“That’s interesting.” I turned to the 11 remaining Survivors sitting on their little wooden stools. “Which one of you voted her out?”
None of them said a word so Jeff replied: “This shows that you are still working as a group but that can’t last. Anyway, I have the urn and I can tally the voters: Everyone but Jane voted against Alina.”
Jane responded to that: “I was hoping everyone would do the smart thing and send Marty home.”
Benry stood up: “Yeah, I voted for that dirt squirrel, so what?”
“What did she do to you to call her that?”
Benry opened his mouth but nothing came out. He looked around for a few seconds, a thought almost forming in his head but his red buff was too tight so he sat back down.
Seeing that I wouldn’t get anything out of him, I tried for a different approach: “What led to this vote?”
Jeff, trying very hard not to be upstaged by my presence (this is SEEBS, not HBO so there’s not that many Emmys available), intervened: “All twelve Survivors solemnly walked in the council area and I tried to look interested. I asked Holly if she could feel the game starting to change.”
Holly interrupted Jeff by saying: “What a stupid question that was! What was I supposed to say? No, it’s still about getting to know each other and having fun on the beach. Of course it changed. We could all be snuffed. People want to save themselves so they are going to do anything they possibly can to get to the end.”
Marty jumped in, saying: “I absolutely believe that there were going to be some big moves made. Sometimes the opportunity for big moves shuts quickly and you’ve got to seize those opportunities if you want to get ahead in life like I have. I want to clear the air a little bit, in front of the whole tribe because there have been some misconceptions about me…”<Man! That Marty guy sure likes to talk> “Miss Jane thought I didn’t like Miss Jane and that somehow I wanted to snuff Miss Jane”<I take that back: Marty likes to hear himself talk> “The fact is that 30 minutes after the game started, Jane made some bad mistakes and some bad decisions, namely aligning herself with three of the weakest players that were subsequently eliminated.” <A wall of text, Marty, that’s what you are> “You don’t make an alliance within 30 minutes; I don’t even know her name. All I’m saying is; you let the little old lady from South Carolina that catches the fish and does her little dance get to the end, if you let her get to the final 3, if you have watched Survivor, this woman will take my million dollars.” <Wall-of-Text-Marty, that’s what I’m going to call him. Wall-Marty for short.> “I would never let Jane anywhere near the end because she has the saddest story here of tragic human loss, of needing the money desperately… <I’m starting to feel like Jeff; my eyes are blinking, trying to stay awake and my head is bobbing up and down, almost like a hammer knocking on a nail.> You can’t write a better story. I will go one step further and this is going to be the final compliment I pay Miss Jane: If she makes it to the final 3, I will cast my vote for this woman. <Oh! Oh! I think Wall-Marty is angling for a job as politician. Wall-Martea-Party! Or is he trying to be the next man snuffed?> She would deserve it and the people who let her get there made a strategic error and they don’t deserve the million bucks. I don’t care if people are black, white, old, young, gay, straight, everyone can be snuffed. If you think someone is going to take a million dollars out of your pocket, that’s what you got to be thinking about.”
Dan spoke up: “Mr. Detective man, we had two oobatz on this tribe steal off food. They took the frying pan and, if I wanted to whack someone, the frying pan makes a good weapon. Nay and Alina took the food.”
Na’Onka jumped in: “Hey! It was me, just me. Alina was just with me but I was the one that robbed the tribe and I was doing that to get enough votes to win Fan Favorite. Don’t forget people: Text “N-A-O-N-K-A for the WIN” to CBS.”
“So, maybe you killed Alina to get rid of someone that could take votes away from you?”
Na’Onka looked insulted by that: “Aleeeenah? Voters wouldn’t remember she was even here. They’ll remember me!”
I asked Kelly if she thought Alina could have been whacked simply for stealing food.
Kelly: “Did she get the milk?”
Jeff came to Kelly’s help: “Alina said that she was to blame also but that she had been put in a difficult situation. She witnessed Na’Onka taking the food but didn’t want to rat her out. Then she explained that she was a good swing vote. Her words were: “If you want to be smart in this game, you don’t pick somebody who is the powerhouse, you pick the pawn and I’m a pawn.”
That told me Alina hadn’t watched the first All-Stars because Big Tom wasn’t successful with that pawn tactic either but I kept those thoughts to myself. Instead I said: “I see that nothing interesting happened during that tribal council. Where was Alina before this?”
At first no one answered but finally, Jane spoke up: “We were in camp and I remember all the girls hugging me after I had won a necklace. I told them I only wanted to beat Marty. I thought everyone agreed that my number 1 choice for elimination was Marty.”
“So” I said, “you planned on eliminating Marty but got Alina instead? I think we need to have a chat.”
We walked away from the others and found a secluded spot by the river.
I told Jane: “I heard what Marty said about you so, if you got angry and decided to teach him a lesson, I’d understand…things got out of hand, you didn’t mean to kill anyone, Alina simply was in the wrong place at the wrong time…the authorities would understand.”
Jane replied: “My only goal was to beat Marty in the challenge. I wanted to prove to him that I may be little, I may be small but there is no way in hell that in an individual challenge, he was going to beat me. Ask Kelly, she’ll tell you that’s what I said.”
I went to Kelly and asked her if Jane was telling the truth.
Kelly said: “We need to keep the girls together with Sash because we were the ones getting the milk.”
“But what about Jane?”
“She knows that milk is good for you”
“Will you shut up about milk and tell me about Jane and Marty!”
Realizing that getting anything out of Kelly would be like getting milk from a rock (dammit, it’s contagious!) I turned to Chase, Holly and Na’Onka and asked them: “Can you confirm that all Jane wanted to do was vote out Marty?”
Chase answered: “She came to us and said that we had the numbers to vote him out. We had us 4 and Jane was certain she could also get Brenda, Sash and Kelly. Just ask Kelly.”
“OK, I guess I’m responsible for Kelly not talking.”
Na’Onka took the opportunity to say: “Jane was the one that pushed for Marty. We were all still thinking it should be Alina. That’s what would make me look like a Villain and would help me win the Fan Favorite vote. (Remember: Vote Na’Onka) Stupid Chase had to go tell Dan we were undecided between Marty and Alina so, of course, Dan told Marty who came rushing to talk to us which is the last thing we wanted.”
I found that so interesting that I went over to Marty who was sitting alone on the beach.
“People are saying you were aware you could be voted out. What did you tell them to save yourself?”
Marty answered: “Chase is in my book of morons because you don’t go around planning a blindside if you don’t have the numbers. You don’t even broach the subject. I told Sash: Chase said he was going to blindside me tonight and I never heard from you. I give you all the information I can but I’m not a player in this game…<Great, now Wall-Marty will never stop. This guy is worse than Castro.> “I told them that I don’t have power, I don’t have numbers, I don’t have an idol anymore, I have nothing. That’s it. I may as well be naked. <No Marty, please don’t.> I am a zero threat so people spending an ounce of energy trying to vote Marty out is crazy…”
He went on but I left him alone and I don’t think he noticed or that he minded.
Returning to Sash, I asked: “If Marty was getting on your nerves so much; why didn’t you vote him out?”
Sash skated around: “Marty being paranoid does put a bigger target on his back. His best move would be to lay low but I gave him my word that I’d keep him safe for one tribal council if he gave me the idol so I asked my alliance to help me keep my word to him.”
“And they let you?”
“I guess they trust my million dollar smile.”
I couldn’t believe that people would be so foolish so I went to Holly who told me: “Are you saying that I’m crazy? Brenda and Sash were going to vote Alina but I was still on board with Jane and Alina if we could get enough votes. Alina said she could count on Kelly Purple, Chase and Na’Onka. All we needed was Fabio.”
Kelly walked by so I asked her if she was still on board voting out Marty.
With that, I had to ask Fabio what he had discussed with Alina.
Fabio: “She asked me if she could count on me voting Marty out first. I told her it should be Na’Onka first. She was happy with that because the votes would go 6-5-1 against Marty. I told her that was why people wanted to vote her out. She’s too smart for everyone else. That made her dangerous unlike me who no one worries about. Right Kelly?”
Before all these shenanigans, you were at the Immunity Challenge. What happened there?
Fabio yelled out: “I won Immunity dude!”
“Good for you, you’ll be number 1 on the lists of those who give a crap about such things.”
Gathering the whole group, I asked about the competition,
Jeff said: “Jane won for the women. That turned me on a little bit.”
“Calm down Probst. I see you’re still having a dry spell since Julie dumped you. Tell me what you saw during that challenge.”
“After all the guys came on in, I took “Baby Cortes” away from Dan.
“Kidnapping? Are you admitting to kidnapping Dan’s baby?”
“No, “Baby Cortes” is the name of the tribal immunity idol. It was out of play because they would be competing for individual immunity. One necklace for a man, one for a woman. They would have to use two metal handles to hold on to a rod for as long as they could. If they released the tension on the handles for just a moment, their rod would slip, their tile would break and they’d be out of the challenge.”
“So, you mean you had 12 people standing motionless, holding their rod for as long as they could and you wonder why your show hasn’t won an Emmy?”
“Well, it didn’t last very long…3 seconds in, Purple Kelly dropped her rod…”
Used to ignoring her, Jeff just went on: “Dan lost his rod right away also.”
“So Dan, let me get this straight: You finally had a challenge where your bad knee wouldn’t matter and you still fail? What do you have to say for yourself?”
Dan: “The sun was in my eyes.”
“Alina fell out soon after.”
“So we can rule out that someone knocked her out because they were jealous of her challenge domination.”
“Brenda and Benry also fell out early.”
“Benry? So, you mean the self-proclaimed king didn’t outlast the girls. What do you have to say about that, Benry?”
Benry stared intently in my direction; you could tell he was trying to say something but he bit his lip and walked away in shame.
“Na’Onka beat out Sash but she still went out of the challenge before the two older ladies.”
“I got to tell you Nay; that won’t help you get Fan Favorite votes.”
“Holly was struggling while Jane was smiling and soon she was the only woman left standing. I told her she had won so that she could let go.”
Jane: “I wanted to beat the men so Jeff told me to go for it!”
Jeff: “Those are the moments we love but Benry wasn’t too happy about that.”
The fumes coming out of his ears told me all I needed to know.
“The smile on Jane’s face grew wider when Marty admitted defeat and let his rod slip through the metal rings, breaking his tile. It was down to Fabio and Chase…and Jane. When Chase fell out, Fabio gave a big smile to Jane and let go. She walked proudly off the pedestal so that her rod wouldn’t break her tile.”
“OK. I heard a lot of reasons why Jane could want Marty eliminated, why Benry could want to kill Jane, Fabio and Chase or why Marty would want to get rid of Jane but nothing about Alina. I will have to ask you what happened before that.”
Marty answered that one: “That’s when Jane walked into camp and said “I caught a fish” and she did a little dance. I tried to tell everyone that the longer Jane stayed in the game, the more complicated the game gets. We could all see the connection she made with Chase. I bet you that can’t be unwound, the whole Carolina thing: “My Momma told me” and all that crap has now infected Chase and it’s going to continue to spread like cancerous tentacles through the tribe. I told Brenda: You let somebody like Jane get under the radar, the farther it goes, the more dangerous it is. Her story is the saddest story on earth and when she catches fish, every time she catches fish and does her dance, the little Jane dance, all that stuff is just like, you will be sitting there and going Holly cow it’s a done deal. Anybody who goes to the finals with her, you’re cooked.”
I turned to Jeff and whispered: “If this guy makes it to Final 3 and you ask him to state his case to the jury, you’ll run longer than an Oscar ceremony!”
Brenda didn’t notice, she just replied: “Marty has the wrong perception of Jane but Marty is someone to watch because he is talking to Benry and Fabio and Dan and, if he wants somebody out so badly, maybe he already has a very good strategy to get to the end. Maybe it would have been good to get rid of it before we all start getting warped.”
I was getting frustrated: “What does that have to do with Alina?”
“Alina, the one that just got killed? That Alina.”
Na’Onka perked right up and said: “There was MY scene. Alina was in it but, of course, it was all about moi. It started during breakfast when I cooked breakfast for everyone…”
“You mean you actually did things for others?”
“Of course. I’m a nice person. I made some nice tortillas for everyone but then Fabio! He had to take a big-ass bite. I was very irritable because I made the tortillas and the fact that I was the last to get anything and I got the smallest tortilla…If you want to play, I can play too.”
Holly reacted: “That was crazy: This morning, after we were done eating breakfast, Nay took the flour and she put it in her bag. She got up and she walked out of camp. I thought that was a little strange. Why did she take the flour and not someone’s shoes?”
Nay: “I hid the flour because those tortillas were good and everyone was being stingy. I pour my heart and soul making them things and I made one big one just for me and they all took it. They really made me mad. I’ll make them mad. Don’t play with me in this game I like to play dirty.
While everyone was out bathing and I was getting dirty, I went back to camp and grabbed some fruit from the chest. I also stole equipment to make tortillas, I’ve taken bowls and I’ve taken food. It tastes better when you are stealing it! Like a sweet victory.
As for Alina, everyone was against her then but I didn’t mind being that one person that told her a little something. She asked me if I was still with the Espada 6 because she was worried about me spending so much time with Brenda. I lied and said I was still with the six and that Kelly would be the one to go. Kelly was sunbathing close to us and we could see that was all she was good at.
I told Alina that they were gunning for her, that she would have to win immunity. She was shocked that people lied to her so, to calm her nerves, I gave her some of the fruit that I had hidden in my dreads. There were some oranges, a mango…I even told her that no one thought she had an alliance, that she was a threat but would be easy to get out.
My reason for telling Alina that she was going to be the first one out: that is a vote I would have guaranteed when she’d be part of the jury. So, I had to be smart. I kept on talking to Alina because I wanted her to feel safe with me. I wanted her to know that I had her back even though I kinda don’t but I kinda do at the same time.
Right after that was when I was busted!”
Fabio was still upset: “What about the frying pan? Why did that have to go? Did you think we’d say it had been swept by the tide? It was pretty obvious someone stole it and, since you were still wearing MY socks, guess who I thought had taken our stuff? I was so mad when I realized all that food was missing that I made a fist with one hand and punched my other hand. I couldn’t understand why it had to go in your bag.”
“Fabio, stop, I was going to put it back.”
“We’re not asking if you were going to out it back but why you took it in the first place.
Chase intervened: “We knew it was you.”
Nay came clean: “I lied to you guys, I was just playing the game. I did not do it with the intention to starve everyone. I was trying to get the viewer vote for Fan Favorite at the end. They love that stuff. Fabio, don’t say a word or I will always wave my finger in your face.”
The preceding announcement was paid by the campaign to “Vote Na’Onka as Fan Favorite”. SeeBS and its stations do not approve the content of the announcement but SEG certainly does.
Sash: “I ended the fight by getting everyone to agree to protect Nay. She wasn’t one of the favorite people in camp at the time but that worked perfectly into my game plan as having her as one of the final three because that pretty much guarantees her that she will not receive any million dollar votes. I told her she was my number one girl.”
“So you took it as nothing more than a college prank…”
Marty didn’t let me finish: “You steal food in Survivor? You would think that doing what she did, she would be like instantly gone. I mean, I didn’t do anything as bad as that but the vultures were circling around my head. I was practically a dead carcass on the beach, scavengers picking at my flesh. I was dead-man walking. I can’t believe this game put me where I’m at. There are people left that I think have no right to be in this game. I simply did the best that I could to hang on in this death-camp until Fabio came with news that we were moving.”
“Tell me about the merge, Fabio.”
“I brought back tree mail to camp and all the girls were excited. Brenda saw that it contained a map and a key. I gave her the key and unrolled the paper. It said: Pack up all you will need for the duration of your stay on the island and follow this map to your new home… Kelly was jumping with joy.”
Marty: “I was ecstatic! I knew the authorities had called for some help so I was given another chance.”
Chase said: “We found a big chest and it had a note that said “Company will be arriving soon.” We knew someone was coming to our rescue but we didn’t know it would be the Dementalist. We’re still not closer to finding out who killed Alina and all the others.”
Benry commented: “It was becoming more an individual game and I had to do the same. Alina had burned some bridges early on and she was supposed to go home next when we were the original LaFlor tribe so it was funny that she assembled the troops and tried to unite us in voting out the new arrivals. Anyone could have done it to her.”
Na’Onka agreed: “That was funny. No one was really on board with Alina’s plan. Not even Uncle Dan. Alina was on that plan by herself. A one woman army! She can be GI Jane all she wants but she will not have an army behind her.”
Holly: “I was the first to spot them coming around the bend. We had a nice meal with many nice surprises like rum and chocolate chip cookies but we didn’t have any flag or paint to decorate it. Talk about a lame merge.”
Marty: “I came up with the name Libertad which really resonated with me because it means liberty and it could mean freedom…”
They may call themselves Libertad but they look like they are in a prison in the middle of the jungle; prisoners of Burnett and his game and also prisoners of the snuffer that is waiting to eliminate one more.
Na’Onka: “That food was yummy to my tummy. I was so good that my booty… (pfffffitttt) I even snuck some nuts and put them in my bra, my panties and my dreads. Want some?”
Probst asked if I wanted them to re-enact the events that had led up to here: “Previously,,,on Survivor” he said. I let him ramble on but I had already figured out the identity of the Snuffer.
I asked everyone to go back to tribal council where I would reveal the identity of the killer.
When they arrived and sat on their stool, I stood in the spot usually reserved for Jeff. (It was actually funny to see Jeff sit on one of those little stools that I waited a little bit before speaking, not so much for dramatic effect but for the laughs.)
“It was Sash that put me on the right track when he said that Na’Onka would never win the jury vote despite being such a huge Fan Favorite. He was saying that the game doesn’t always work for the one that makes the biggest moves and that was exactly what someone else had said: The killer is none other than…RUSSELL HANTZ!
Russell hated how the jury interferes with the game and he wasn’t about to let Na’Onka suffer from the same injustice he faced over the last two seasons.”
“Shane, you’re crazy” yelled Jeff, glad to be able to say that after all this time. “We haven’t started assembling the jury yet.”
“You don’t know Hantz. He wasn’t going to take the chance on replacement jurors. It was going to be decided by popular vote or it wasn’t going to happen.”
“But Hantz would never set foot on a Survivor set again. Anyway, the Nicaraguan government knows better than to let that troll in the country.”
Shane turned his back on the host and simply said: “My job here is done. Be glad Jeff that I don’t tell the authorities that you enabled Hantz, helped him commit his crimes…”
…Previously…before Survivor, a young Dan Lembo slowly walked in a remote Nicaraguan cemetery, carrying what, under the reflection of a crescent moon, appeared to be a dead body. His face was strained by the effort and his legs buckled under the weight.
“Damn, I think I just busted my knee…But it will be worth it! With this hit, I’ll be legendary in the organization.”
Setting the body down, he dug a fresh grave. When he judged that the depth was sufficient, he bent over the body and retrieved the dead man’s wallet from a breast pocket. After tossing the body in, an evil smile came on his face as he stared at the ID card that he had taken out.
“They’ll never find you here, you dirt squirrel Hoffa. This is my ticket to the rich life! I’ll become the capo di tutti capi, I’ll be able to buy all the cars I love and as many houses as I want. Maybe I could even get me some Alligator shoes! Those are so comfy. If any Americans ever come snooping around here, I’ll simply whack them also or rather I’ll get my buttons to do the job for me. They’ll all be working for me like good little ants!”
…And, a few years before that, a very young Dan, still a cugine, walked around a city that was in effervescence until he found what he was looking for: “That grassy knoll looks perfect…”
Ils sont fous, ces Romains!