A crowded street. People passed by hardly aware of the busker performing in the shop doorway. Suddenly the accordion player slumped forward. As he fell a flash of light bounced off a steel blade protruding from his back and in seconds his white shirt blushed blood red. He collapsed in a heap like a puppet with broken strings, the instrument beneath him emitting a wheezing breathless groan. The audience gasped.
The curtains swept across the stage and there was a stunned silence for a second or two followed by an eruption of spontaneous applause. It was the interval and they made their way to the gilded bar where glasses clinked and chandeliers sparkled; a roomful of wise amateur sleuths each with their own idea of who committed that dastardly deed. Was it the man with the dog or the boy in the hoodie? Could it have been the lady in dark glasses or the beggar with the white stick?
A shrill bell rang time, and they made their back to their seats to discover the outcome of this grisly tale.
An hour or so later the man with the dog, the boy in the hoodie, the lady in dark glasses, the beggar and a reincarnated busker joined hands for their final bow. Then the audience shuffled their way from the warmth of the auditorium into the chill of the night outside.
In a doorway opposite the theatre, an accordion player squeezed a jolly tune. He suddenly stopped and the crowd turned and stared. All the world’s a stage.