The hall in the restaurant was dazzlingly lit with festoons and balloons fluttering all around with a large banner in multi colors announcing Happy birthday. There were about 60 people both ladies and gentlemen with a large sprinkling of young children to celebrate the birthday of a boy decked in a brightly laced sherwani who was standing near the center table. A cluster of balloons of different hues with a large red balloon hung over the table. A large well decorated circular cake with candles inserted on it were burning ready for the commencement of the function. There was a continuous chatter and loud laughter around. At one end of the hall, a long table was lined with glistening steel containers with food over the dimly burning lamps for the buffet dinner to follow.
As the gathered members gravitated towards the center table to witness the boy blow the candles and cut the cake , a man in dark suit with his face save the eyes covered by a black silk entered through a side door. Sharp came his baritone voice jerking everyone to turn towards him.
“Ladies and gentlemen, I am sorry for this unwelcome interruption but regret it is unavoidable. This should be over very soon with your cooperation, I am sure,” he said and pulled a shining gun from the holster.
There was a rustle of feet amid the dumb struck gathering, when he spoke loudly and peremptorily. “Pray, do not create commotion and hurt yourselves. I have only one target and the rest can breathe easily. I must warn you to raise your hands across the chest to clap and cheer the boy when he blows the candles. Beware, no funny tricks and I am dead serious on this,” he thundered.
Turning his attention to the boy, he said “Start the party by blowing the candle. Have no fear and you will have all mirth and fun immediately.” Amid the ashen and sweat drenched faces, he urged the boy “No time to waste. Blow the candles I say,” as the lights dimmed and the hall became dark.
The boy half in fear and half in mirth blew the candles when they heard a loud report of the gun. Immediately the lights came on amidst the shower of small pieces or streamers of glittering metallic material in bright colors from the balloon above. The hidden mikes blared Happy Birthday song. The dazed crowd recovered fast to realize the prank played on them by the hotel entertainer in conspiracy with the boy’s father.
There was a loud clapping and shouts of happy birthday as the entertainer in black suit now without the black silk on his face gave the boy a big and richly decorated gift box as was customary on such occasions.
Little did they or entertainer notice amid the fanfare one person standing on the fringe had fallen a prey to a gunshot fired at the same time from somewhere. Who did it and why?