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THE PERFECT CRIME: A Doggy Whodunnit (2021) LIVE ZOOM PERFORMANCE work-in-progress by Lee Campbell


** SCROLL DOWN THE PAGE FOR THE TRANSCRIPT OF THE POEM **

RECENT AUDIENCE COMMENTS

‘I love how this builds and surprises you. I think the rhyming works really well in this way, part of the game. I like imagining Rufus with a gun, wearing a balaclava, parking, etc. And the mixture of humour, darkness, and tension’

‘This is brilliant to listen to, I chuckled my way through it and really related to the tension in the 3-way marriage’

‘Darkness and comic light touch – that space in between the light and the shade in the piece was wonderful’

‘So gruesome!”

‘Brilliantly creepy!

‘Mesmer-eyes-ing!’

‘Well and truly horrific!

‘Glad my dog isn’t in the room to overhear any ideas!

‘So sickly nice but really horrible!!’

‘This has everything written into it; A dog, a bit of Hitchcock's Psycho, a lot of blood, some witnesses, traces of hair and the print of a paw.

‘Obsessive, funny, and wacky’

‘That was just magical. Dark, and magical’

‘Spoken word nightmare fuel!’

‘Hilarious! My dog loved it. He had his notebook out.’

This year, I released a short film in the vein of a horror which explores control in gay male relationships called Mugged: Revenge Served Cold (see link in list of moving image works below). Through its playfulness and dark humour, the film provokes the audience to ask: Who controls who and who is the killer? Rufus the dog? This previous work about me, my partner Alex and Rufus, the dog we dog-sit, Rufus intrudes somehow in our relationship but was light-hearted.

Imagine Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho meets Roald Dahl’s Revolting Rhymes... The Perfect Crime: Queering the Queer Whodunnit is a lo-fi suburban psychodrama that develops the narrative of ‘Mugged’ into something much more sinister with a new set of imagery appearing projected on my body - an embodiment of the crime! This imagery appears like artefacts, or evidence from a court case. It relays my experience of me almost sharing Alex with Rufus whenever he is around with Rufus dominating and me battling this creature by me becoming him by me dressing up in a dog costume, ultimately leading to a crescendo that is totally captivating. The poem starts with me and Alex and Rufus on a day out (I’m a bit jealous of the dog because Alex loves him)and then I morph, I become Rufus, I become my enemy! The viewer can’t see my eyes when I perform the poem live via Zoom as I crop the shot just under my eyes but you see my eyes throughout hovering over the centre of the screen – spine-chillingly creepy!

In its current work-in-progress form, the poem is humorous in tone and uses end of sentence rhyming couplets for poise and wit and dramatic effect when performed are their sugariness becomes increasingly demonic… the idea of being strangled with a dog lead. The poem is indeed written for performance; the listeners gets a whole extra dimension hearing me read it, somehow both more soothing and more unsettling as the story veers bit by bit into more ominous and surreal territory as an examination of the uptightness of suburbia and the dark underbelly of suburban life. On the one hand the story feels inspired by BDSM puppy play with the leather fetish kink scene then on the other has the feel of a childhood story book.

It includes me writing in the first person where its listener gets a sense of my emotions and personal feelings around a particular situation that I have with Alex and Rufus interlaced with references in TV soaps, TV murder mysteries and old well-known films; nothing too highbrow but the listener gets an insight into the psychological aspect of a murderer.

At times, the poem adopts a style of writing akin to a factual police report written in the past tense to provide narration to a series of events where the listener is unsure who is the criminal protagonist. Me being influenced by how artist Chris Burden often recalled his very dangerous live performances using a police report style of writing, this writing-up style in the poem extends how I wrote up my own performance artworks as police reports as part of my PhD dissertation in 2016. Parts of the poem are based on actual happenings. It is the audience’s job to untangle fiction from fact. Could it really be possible that, quoting a section of my poem-in-progress, ‘11:02PM On CCTV, a car was caught speeding down the A23. A witness told police, although seen from afar, they spotted a dog at the wheel of the car’?

_________________________________________________________________

THE PERFECT CRIME
Queering the Queer Whodunnit
by Lee Campbell

Alex loves Rufus, a Welsh springer spaniel
I’m frightened of things that don’t come with a manual
I’ve often drawn Rufus to understand better
But I don’t share the bond that those two have together
You might think I’m silly and I’m being pedantic
But sharing bed sheets with Rufus is far from romantic
I speak doggy voice, almost wear a dog collar
Should I dress up as Rufus and¬ star in a horror?
Everyone to the slaughter, beware of his paws
Deep in the water, Rufus is Jaws

In Lee and Alex’s bedroom, an emergency summit
For a group of bears to discuss an eventual whodunnit
In attendance are teddies, the soft-type cuddly toy
Many of them Lee’s had since he was a boy
Chief Bear Ted begins, ‘We are here to discuss today
what must be done to keep Rufus away
Every time he come visit, we are shoved in a drawer
To keep us out of his sight and out of his jaw
Just remember comrades what happened to poor brother Ed
Rufus that scoundrel left him for dead
To all of our horror, to our disbelief
Rufus jumped on the bed and grabbed Ed by his teeth
It took more than one cycle in the washing machine
To get Ed back normal all cuddly and clean
But the poor little bear, he’s not himself former
His eyes can’t disguise the extent of his trauma
Give Rufus some cardboard, he’ll tear it to shreds
One day mark my words that will be one of us teds
Give Rufus some paper, he’ll rip it to pieces
That is you next and your nephews and nieces
He’s coming to get you, we must act and act fast
He’s got to be stopped and stopped at long last
We can’t have a repeat of that Goldilocks story
She stole all of our porridge and claimed all the glory’

Less Midsomer Murder, more Hitchcock thriller
Who controls who and who is the killer?
Is it all fiction this whodunnit of mine?
Or is there some truth in who does the crime?
He’s got murder in mind – just look at those eyes
They might be all sweetness but they’re sugar and lies
Delicious, delicious doggy delicious
sweet baby Rufus can sometimes be vicious

Be jealousy free, come out of the fog
Don’t play second fiddle when it comes to a dog
You can joke with your partner, ‘It’s the doggy or me!’
But when they stumble to answer, it’s a marriage of three

From what was the greatest romance that’s been told
To a love story turned gory and revenge served cold
Not death by the ways you’ve read in crime fiction
But the kind the most gruesome, by doggy infliction

He’s one of the family, he’s man’s best friend
But in the dark of his kennel, he’s plotting your end
This might sound dramatic, can this get any absurder?
But that bone that you give him is a weapon of murder

The public are advised to stay well clear
of a dog wanted in connection with a murder last year
He goes by the name ‘RUFUS’ and has gone on the run
He’s aged seven in dog years and height 2 ft.1
He wears a brown coat with patches of grey
Have you seen Rufus? Call 999 right away

11:01 On CCTV, a car was caught speeding down the A23
A witness told police, although seen from afar,
they spotted a dog at the wheel of the car

11:27 PM. The car is spotted arriving
At an all-night McDonalds, at a services drive-in
CCTV shows on their video recorder
A dog in balaclava placing an order

11:56 PM. In our sleepy cul-de-sac
He parks outside 16 and sneaks round the back

12:04 AM. Barking and screaming
‘That’s Rufus with a gun!’ claims a neighbour
‘But I could’ve been dreaming
All of a sudden, in the dead of night
Screams of ‘RUFUS HAVE MERCY!’ gave me one hell of a fright
With my torch and my golf-club, I entered next door
Shivering with terror from the full horror in store
Overcome by the sting of that sinking feeling
When you see someone's blood dripping down from the up above ceiling
Upstairs, in the bathroom, stone cold in the shower
Lay my dear sweet neighbour in his final hour
Drowning in blood, in his own red liquor
Who could do such a thing, who could get any sicker?
It’s clear who’s the killer just look on the floor
Trace of brown dog hair and the print of a paw
A dog is not just for Christmas but for life is the measure
He’s getting life for sure, behind bars - at Her Majesty’s Pleasure’

Two weeks prior in a fancy-dress store
A shop owner was surprised by all that she saw
Phoning the old bill to share what she’d seen,
middle-aged Cath from Camberwell Green
‘Hello yes, Constable, how do you do?
I have some vital information of much interest to you
A man in his forties entered my shop
wearing black Adidas trainers and green hoodie top
I remember his beard, white on one side
I was dying to ask him if it was natural or dyed
Thinking back, it was strange now how in the shop with toy bone
He began pointing and shooting like Sylvester Stallone
He said ‘I’m looking for a dog-suit one that will fully camouflage me’
‘Why certainly sir, what size?’ I replied.
He answered ‘Oh size extra-large me’
I showed him the full range of our man size dog-suit selection
‘Only Welsh springer spaniel’ he said in his quest for perfection
‘Here is a photo. I need an exact copy
Big brown puppy dog eyes please and ears furry and floppy’
I told him for what he was asking it will be tailor made
He didn’t care what the price was on his credit card paid
When I jokingly said that we’ll throw in that toy bone
His response both alarmed me in content and tone
‘A lead would be better’ he said ‘perfect to strangle a man
Made of razor-sharp leather, do you think you can?’
I took his reply as the words of a joker
But when I saw the news later my stomach churned over and over
David Lynch would flinch at the full extent of my error,
the terror all consumed me like an attack of the jitters
I might sound delirious but could you really take serious
a man dressed in a dog suit from Canine Costume Outfitters?
This is Beckenham Junction, we’re almost in Kent
David Brent off the telly with his middle-aged belly
Constantly smelly with Brut as his scent
Suburbia is everything and nothing you think
It might not be the city but it’s the centre of kink
Royal Tunbridge Wells where they only vote Tory
Its suburban hells boast a far dirtier story
Well-groomed men in their forties dying to spice up their lives
Trying all that they can to entice back their wives
If Mr Birds Eye is called for, they’d grow a big beard
But role-play in dog suits, that’s a whole other weird
I was surprised to hear that those involved are queer
I thought they all lived in the city and not around here
I guess for the gays it’s the same as us straights
When your dogs are your family, they’re more than playmates
I think for that Rufus he became saturated
Too much love he was given. The bleeding’ obvious stated
It’s so sad in a way that it came to this end
‘You’ve got a friend in me’ goes the song but this dog was more than a friend’

An interview starts in nearby Forest Hill
Two cops and a dog at the local old bill
‘I’m PC Jones, to my right PC Camilla
We are joined here today by the accused alleged killer
State your full name please, speak it into the mic
This is being recorded, bark if you like’

‘WOOF WOOF’

‘OK Rufus, now in your own time. Recall all your movements leading up to the crime’

‘Okay your honour I’ll remember all that I can
Remember a dog’s memory is not that of a man

MONDAY 2PM. A large parcel arrived
Canine Costume Outfitters on the sticker outside
I knew right away the contents within;
the man-sized suit I’d ordered of furry animal skin
No tumble drying allowed. Hand wash at 30 degrees
If the tail fails to wag properly, give this button a squeeze
Stripped to my pants, I slipped inside and zipped up
But not before too long, I’m getting hot from being inside this pup
Not much ventilation inside this rather snug fit
Just a hole where his nose goes and where his eyes are a slit
Lesson One. Dog position, walked around on all fours
Lesson Two. Play with tennis ball not with hands but with paws
Having completed this training, I made my way to the park
I felt a great sense of achievement when I gave my first bark
‘Oh, Mummy can I stroke him’ this child persistently beg
If the little shit tries I’ll poke him and try to poo up his leg
I stole this boy’s ice cream, he started shouting ‘OI YOU!’
I found a hole in my dog suit to pee all over his shoe
Back home, out my costume, my dog-self back in its box
Hid it deep in my drawer underneath all my socks
Later Alex comes home. Asks me what kind of day I have had
I reply like I do always, ‘Oh the usual, not bad’

THURSDAY 1127 PM I get an attack of the munchies
Been drinking Stella all day. Eating Mars bars and Crunchies
At a McDonalds drive-in, I get Happy Meal with Big Mac
To fill me up nicely before my unhappy attack

1204 AM. Put my plan into action
A window left open much to my satisfaction
I just about squeeze in and make my way through the lounge
Getting a little bit peckish, I hunt and I scrounge
Nothing but cake crumbs left in a dish
I commit murder. I gulp the goldfish
The zip on the back breaks getting hotter and hotter
Deep fat fried from inside like Brie or Ricotta
God, give me some air as my paws creep up the stair
I remind myself there I’m the mastermind plotter
I’m not the one getting shot by a gun
If it’s me getting stung then shoot me I’m done

I get to the bathroom. It’s the midnight hour
Singing way out of tune, I can hear him having a shower
Ready to enter I take a deep breath
He’s singing Fix You by Coldplay which he’s murdering to death
That song they put on at times of bereavement
Death by Coldplay. Well, that’s quite an achievement
Tonight, I will fix you as Chris Martin croons
I bet he wish now he’d been humming happier tunes

I’m turning the door-knob as slow as I can
All of a sudden something scuppers my plan
Through the slit I can see a copy of me
He’s me a dead-ringer another Welsh spaniel springer
He barks, ‘Move over clown, there’s not room in this town
for more than one Rufus, get your paws off my crown!
I aint got that long. I’m parked outside on a meter
Don’t move now, you’ll regret it. I’ll bite you then eat yer!
He tries to get by and gain control of the knob
I push him aside and bark ‘Paws off my job!’
This is not what I’d planned, not what I’d rehearsed
As we scuffle and fuffle, who will make it in first?’

Shortly after the crime, the bears reconvene
To debrief all that’s happened and what it may mean
‘Well done comrades!’ Chief Ted begins
‘Rufus is paying for all of his sins
He’s permanently staying behind cast iron bars
He’s been perfectly framed like Roger the bunny
Let’s crack open the honey and dance under the stars!
Good work Sooty bear for secretly cutting his hair
And at the scene of the crime carefully placing it there
And getting a print of his paw onto the floor
Let’s dance all night long, sing the Bare Necessities song!’

All hail Sooty bear, you’ll go down in history
As the one who framed Rufus and created the mystery!
Sooty… what? Sooty.. what?
But what on earth dear Sooty, what on earth is the matter?
This is way out of character like some raging Mad Hatter
I know we can’t hear you, we’re not Harry Corbett
But what are you saying? We cannot ignore it
Sooty, please whisper into Angus’s ear and let’s hope she can hear
Angus, please tell us what Sooty is saying
Like the games Lee and Sooty in Lee’s childhood once playing

‘OK Chief Ted, I’ll imagine his sound
Like a ventriloquist dummy the other way round

Here goes, Sooty says:
‘Sorry Chief Ted, there something you’ve missed
Framing Rufus for murder has one final twist
If this was EastEnders, it would get its own doof-doof
The doggie equivalent would be its own woof-woof
You see, when I arrived something startled me there
Two doggies I saw at the door at the top of the stair
I couldn’t believe it, Rufus in double
My vision is perfect. I’ve never had trouble
I wasn’t seeing things. That’s Rufus times two
I couldn’t tell them apart and neither would you
They were deep in dog drama at the bathroom door
Fighting and scrapping paw after paw
As the minutes went past things got heated and heated
I had to get into the bathroom, get the job done and completed
Summoning all of my breath, I growled and growled
‘Shit, we’ve got company!’ both Rufuses howled
‘Paws up’ I demand ‘You’ve run out of luck’
Handcuffed them then bundled them into the boot of my truck
I went back inside and completed the deed
I slit the guy’s wrists until they started to bleed
I looked out of the window and what did I see
An opposite neighbour staring at me
Had he been watching all Hitchcock’s Rear Window
This horror unfold like a spying flamingo?
Wearing my dog mask to cover my track
I shouted ‘RUFUS HAVE MERCY’ to cover my back
Knee deep in a red sea, the room started to flood
Imagine a pool where you’re paddling in blood
About one hour later on the M25,
I parked in a lay-by. Are they still alive?
I opened the boot and what did I find
The dogs had escaped. I went out of my mind
I turned on the radio. One had been caught
Trying to board a ferry to Calais at Dover seaport
Our Who Framed Roger Rabbit didn’t go quite to plan
Yes we framed Rufus but we don’t know if we framed the doggy or man?’’

R for revenge
U for unkind
F for fanatic
U underlined
S is the sentence Rufus has started
serving for murdering the dearly departed

Those capital letters together, what do you get?
R .U. F. U. S spells RUFUS. Are your palms starting to sweat?

  • Lee Campbell
    Director
  • Project Type:
    Experimental, Short
  • Runtime:
    18 minutes 14 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    April 25, 2021
  • Film Color:
    Color
  • First-time Filmmaker:
    No
  • Student Project:
    No
Director - Lee Campbell