I was watching a group of children who were told to play a game. The adult hadn’t wanted to tell them what to do, but she’d been told what to do, and so the orders came cascading down. She softened it as much as she could.
“What game should we play?” they asked.
“What’s a good game to play?” she replied.
“WINK MURDER,” one girl shouted. Others said “yeah” or groaned. The groaners were in a minority, so the game went ahead. The group was mixed-age, however, and one boy of only 5 stared around him with an expression of happy bafflement. When the oldest child there asked for volunteers, he put his hand up and waved, grinning. She sent the detective out and made him the murderer. However, once the Detective returned from exile it became clear that the young boy had no idea what his role in the game was supposed to be. He just kept sitting there, looking around and smiling, waiting for the game to happen.
After a few minutes the older children began laughing and whimpering with impatience. With no murders taking place and being unable to explain things to the boy, they were trapped in the rules of the game. What do you do with a killer who can’t kill?
One child fell over backwards, shouting “I’ve died of boredom!” The others laughed.
Another collapsed sideways. “I’ve died laughing,” he said. More laughter, and the little boy clapped his hands at all the fun that was being had. A third tipped onto the floor, and began snoring. “I’m just asleep, me,” he mumbled against the carpet.
Soon the detective stood facing the little boy, who was now the only member of the circle still upright. She pointed at him, accusingly.
“YOU are the murderer,” she said. All around her, the other children laughed and muttered to one another. “Finally!”
The little boy looked up at the detective and clapped and clapped and clapped.
“AGAIN,” he shouted, and everyone else chorused “Noooooooooo.”