Tuesday, June 4, 2013

The Bard: Track 5 (Preview)

The final chapter in the five part preview for The Bard!


Track 5: The Accompaniment
 The bards will sing a song for all the ages
Truth in a hymnal’s pages
The sound the Fly sought
Surely now, the Mouse shall be caught

A pair of suede Dockers clacked excitedly across the over-waxed floors that paved the interior of the NYPD’s Manhattan headquarters, accompanied by chipper humming. Something had changed in Detective Edison Locard’s attire. It was not the clothes he wore—still plainclothes and a tan overcoat as always—  but the expression on his face. For the first time in ages, a genuine smile hung itself above the unkempt tuft of blonde hanging from Edison’s chin.

“What’s gotten into you, Locard?” an officer asked as the blonde detective whizzed by.

“Nothing,” Ed replied. “Just got a good song stuck in my head.”

The merry detective shuffled into his superior’s office, kicking his feet in a dancing manner.  

“Good morning, Joy,” he said with a smile.

“That’s debatable,” muttered the Chief of Detectives’ apathetic secretary, her face practically pressed to her computer monitor.

Edison leaned on secretary’s desk, raising his eyebrows and grinning expectantly. Joy grunted, wrinkling her forehead.

“What do I have to do to get your attention? Poke you on Facebook?”

Joy let out a sigh of derision, too apathetic to retort. Noticing the woman’s bloodshot eyes and the tiny flask sitting beside her coffee mug, Ed surmised the alcoholic had been skipping out on her court mandated

“What does it take to get you to do your job? Beating your highscore on Bejeweled Blitz?” 

“I play Candy Crush Saga now, dumbass,” Joy grumbled.

“How foolish of me,” Edison said, rolling his eyes.

“So you want me to tell Harry you need to see him?”  

“If it doesn’t put you out too much.”

Too bad,” Joy sneered, obnoxiously chewing her gum. “Harry’s not in this office. Why don’t you follow his lead?”

Forty-six and still unmarried, the only man Joy seemed to be able to keep a steady relationship with was Sam Adams. Unable to cope with the stress that comes along with the badge, countless cops fell prey to alcoholism. This factor did not apply to Joy’s case however, as the greatest danger she faced in the line of duty was accidently pricking her finger on a freshly sharpened pencil.

“This is a matter that requires the Chief's immediate attention,” Edison said sternly. “When will he be back?”

“Do you see tarot cards laid out on my desk?” Joy snapped.

“Maybe you aren’t aware,” Ed said, turning Joy’s computer screen away, “but you are Harold’s secretary. Keeping track of your boss’s affairs is your job. If I can risk my neck hunting down killers, you can handle giving the Chief a message. It’s all you really do.”

“I get coffee, too.”

“What, for yourself? Instead of scanning Facebook to see if a former classmate changed his relationship status to divorced why don’t you— brace yourself, this may sound crazy— do your job?”

“I’m not his mother,” muttered Joy, sticking her gum on her mug in order to down more spiked java.

Oh, you’re a mother alright,” Edison uttered under his breath as he left.

Joy turned her computer screen back, and returned to her session of solitaire— a game the spinster had been participating in for her entire adult life.

Foiled by Joy’s incompetence, Edison returned to his office. Detective Locard discovered that not only had his new intern completed all of his paperwork, the kid proceeded clean and organize the entire office. The unpaid assistant plowed down the chaotic redwood forest of documents and replaced it with cold, soulless rows of steel filing cabinets. Where he found the them was anyone’s guess. With nothing more to do, the college student sat himself on the floor and began listening to some tunes.

“You, know when I told you, ‘you shouldn’t have’ last time you cleaned?” Edison asked the intern, making attempt to hide his annoyance. “That was to be taken literally.”

The young detective-in-training nodded silently.

“Still not talking, eh? Is your battery dead?”

The introvert made his regular response: a vacant stare. While Edison thrived on being able to ascertain motives from facial cues, the emotionless intern’s face gave him nothing to work with. Edison felt like he’d been saddled with a prototype human robot. The kid was downright odd, giving off an unsettling vibe. Even his name was spelled weird… Maht Braidee.  

“Double A or triple A? I can get you batteries. Just throw me some letters and I’ll see what I can do.”

Maht shrugged. He failed to understand why Detective Locard constantly poked fun at his work ethic. He didn’t find his behavior strange. Efficiency was all the college student knew— even his speech was economized. Detective Locard initially wrote the kid’s silence off as nerves, but the wordlessness persisted. It became evident that silence was a permanent part of Maht’s personality.

“Tough crowd,” Ed cringed. “Guess us bonding at a comedy club sometime is out of the question.”

The intern nodded, solemnly staring down at his iPhone. As he moved his head, the one earbud not in his ear swung back and forth.

“So, um... how long have you been aspiring to be detective?” asked Ed, confident that he’d trapped the intern with a question open enough to demand a response beyond that of a nod or a shake of the head.
To Edison’s dismay, Maht briefly held up four fingers.
Four? What does that even mean? Four what? Years?”
Infuriatingly, Maht replied with another nod.
“You’d be screwed if I was blind,” Edison sighed, instinctively checking for loose paperwork piled onto his chair. Frowning, Edison eased into his clean seat. “You’re gunna be in for a rude awakening when you actually join up with the NYPD.”
The detective was right. Maht’s gothic hipster look would make him the laughing stock of whatever precinct he ended up in. The intern was dressed in folded up black jeans, a plain white tee and black suspenders. Messy black hair and large black ear gages to matched the monochrome ensemble. Even his eyes were imbued in soulless noire. The only color on the pale intern’s face was the cherry red glasses nestled at the end of his nose.

“If you were blind… you’d be a terrible detective,” Maht finally said. His voice was so quiet, the buzz of a fly would have rendered him inaudible.  
“Mutes make terrible detectives too,” Edison said with a smirk. “You couldn’t communicate even if your life depended on it. Let alone the lives of others.”
Beyond a blink, not a single muscle moved in Maht’s face. Normally the detective relished getting in the last word, but the intern’s apathy left him cold.


The knock trumpeted the Chief’s arrival and converted the still awkwardness into a panicked rush to feign productivity. Maht hid his headphones and Edison sat properly in his chair, pulling out a random case-file.

“Come in!”

Harold Delveccio’s mouth gaped in astonishment the moment he opened the door. The tornado had magically rewound its havoc, and a proud smile stretched out from underneath the Chief’s bushy stache.

“I’ll be damned,” Delveccio chuckled before taking a satisfied bite out of his Boston crème donut. “Look at the state of this office. This is absolutely outstanding wowk, kid.  Can you feel the fweedom, Locawd? I’m suwah you’ll be solving many cases in this immaculate enviwonment.”
Maht made a faint half-smile.
“It’s not that different,” Ed muttered. “He organized using filing cabinets, whereas my system worked with piles.”
“Sepawating cases isn’t like wecycling,” Harold said, shaking his head. “Thewah was no method to youwah madness.”
“Just because you didn’t understand the method, doesn’t mean there wasn’t one. It’s like black holes or the letter R. While you’ll never be able to fathom them, they still exist.”
“Wegardless, I’m impwessed,” said the police chief, disregarding the speech joke. “Thanks for showing me.”
“No, it’s something else entirely that I need to—” began Edison, reaching into his pocket.
“Ugh, this place is too cwamped,” complained a sweaty Delveccio, “Hold that thought. Locawd. I’m a widdle claustwophobic. It’s a weal pwoblem. I always feel like I’m going to die when I get in the elevator.”
“I’m sure everyone feels the same way when you walk into one.”
“Vewy funny, whatevah you have to tell me… say it at my office. It’s biggah and less stuffy.”

To accommodate his boss’s tremendous girth, Edison relocated the conversation to Harold Delveccio’s airy domain. Harold plopped his hulking mass onto his enormous executive recliner.

“Ahhhhhhhhhh, much bettah,” the Chief sighed happily as he sank into his wheeled leather throne. “Go on and take a seat, boys.”

Harold Delveccio’s lofty position came with quite the office. The room boasted a stunning view of the Manhattan skyline that rivaled even that of Leon Silverman’s penthouse perch. Most importantly, it had a working ceiling fan— backed by the six fans Harold brought from home. The conditions were intolerably arctic for the likes of Maht and Ed, but ideal for the blubbered Chief of Detectives. Luckily, the warmth of Harold’s personality made the frigid office survivable. The big guy’s office was so packed with homey knickknacks and smiling photos that it was scientifically impossible to maintain a frown in it.

“Those donuts awah open game to anyone who wants them,” offered the Chief, pointing to the trio of  bright pink and orange boxes stacked upon his desk. “I just picked them up so theywah nice and fwesh.”
Harold opened a case and presented to the intern first. Maht grabbed a pastry, examining it carefully before taking a bite. Upon being presented with the case of donuts, Edison politely waved it away. 
“Mowah foh me,” said Harold, downing a donut in two bites. “Alwight then. Now that I can bweath,  what’s gotten you all wiled up, Locawd?”
Edison smiled and pulled out a small tape recorder, gleaming with the pride of kindergartener presenting his favorite toy at show-and-tell.

Delveccio raised an eyebrow.
“Eddy, I hate to bweak it to ya, but we’ve been using wecowdahs foh yeahs,” the Chief said, shaking his head. “This isn’t exactly a bweakthwough.”  
“Correct you are,” Ed said, hovering his finger over the play button. “The breakthrough is not the recorder, but the recording on it.”
“I’ll bite,” said the Chief, tearing into another baked good. “What’s so special about it?”
“I know you’ll bite, that poor donut can vouch for that,” Edison replied as he placed the recorder down on Delveccio’s desk. “What’s so special? To answer that, I’ll let the Bard do the talking. Or should I say… singing.”
Detective Locard clicked play and then leaned back with his arms crossed. The detective smirked, watching the virtuoso guitar-playing perplex the Chief in the same way it baffled he himself at Café Gitane. Once the smooth indie rock became joined by the lyrical confessions of murder suspect Audrey Baines, the Chief’s confusion changed to captivation. Maht Braidee listened in with wide eyes and open ears, taken in by the shadowy songster’s crime-solving libretti.     

“This is one of youwah open cases, the Clawa Andehson muwdeh,” the Chief murmured, rewinding the recorded to hear the song again. “If this is how you’wah solving cases now, you’ve got way too much time on youwah hands, Locawd.”
“The only thing musical about me is my lactose intolerance,” said Edison. “I can’t take credit for this.”
The music engrossed Harold Delveccio to such a degree that the plump higher up completely neglected the open case of donuts. Even more phenomenal was the fact that the mute intern hadn’t bothered to check his phone in minutes.
“Then to whom does cwedit belong?” the Chief asked.
The Bard, Edison answered.
“Who on Eawth is that?”
“Who indeed.”

Maht stared at the detective and tilted his head. Edison snatched up the recorder, returning it to the pocket from whence it came.

“That’s a question shared by many… including myself,” Edison continued, getting up out of his seat. “When I heard this song over the radio, I immediately called the radio station, 92.3 NOW FM. Apparently, the CD was submitted anonymously a few days ago, along with an envelope. In it contained a check for a substantial sum and note asking for the song to be aired on the radio at least once a day around lunchtime. ‘The Bard’ was written at the end of the letter, so the station assumed that was the name of the artist.”
“Wait, you’wah telling me this song has been playing oveh the wadio… for days?”
Ed nodded.
“Eddy, don’t you see how bad that is!?” the Chief barked, sweating from sudden stress. “This is a nightmawah. If the killah heahs this we’ve got a dead lead, Locawd. Another, even wowse scenahwio… what if this IS the killah? What if this song is twying to fwow us off his twack?”
Maht looked toward the door, wondering whether or not he’d be reprimanded for using the bathroom.

“I wouldn’t worry about that,” said Edison, drumming his fingers on Harold’s desk. “The song clearly implicates the vic’s sister, Audrey Baines— a woman who just so happens to be my prime suspect. Fortunately for us, Audrey’s file states that she hates all noise. She owns neither a radio nor a television.”
“Be that as it may, we can’t wule anything out,” Harold asserted sternly. “All possibilities must be entahtained no matteh how small the chance. We need to pull that song off the aiyah immediately.”
“We live in the internet age, Chief,” said Edison, shaking his head. “Do you know what Twitter is? It’s a micro-blogging social media site that has become practically integrated with society. On Twitter, ‘#TheBard’ has already been trending in the New York City area for a day now. This song is probably on YouTube, Tumblr, Facebook… you name it.”
“Since did you become such a techie, Locawd?” the Chief asked.
“I become whatever a case needs me to be.”
Edison noticed Maht had been staring at him. The intern was impressed by the extent of his mentor’s social media know-how.

“Now what do we do,” Harold groaned, picking up a donut. “Thewah’s all this sensitive infohmation about an actual murdah case out foh the public to hear. We can’t take it down and it’ll only get wowse as time goes on…”          
“I know exactly what we do,” Edison said confidently.
Harold Delveccio looked up at the scruffy blonde sleuth, confused.
“We take this song’s lyrics as seriously as we would any anonymous tip. We drive on down to Caramel, New York and confront this Audrey Baines in secret.”
Then what?” Maht asked softly, finally compelled enough to speak.

Edison Locard smirked.

“We catch ourselves a killer.”

So there you have it... the five chapter preview to The Bard! I feel bad, actually. Chapter 6 is when the action starts... perhaps I could extend this preview if enough of you demand it though. If you could share and promote these chapters on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr or Google+ I just might consider putting up a few more! 

Word of mouth is all I have right now. I will be doing a marketing campaign later on of course... but I would just love to build up a fan base before then. I love writing, and you readers are the reason I do so. With The Bard, I want to entertain as many people as I can-- giving everyone a memorable and unique experience that they can enjoy over and over again! 

So please, take a share minute to share this! Starting with this link: TRACK 1: The Lost Love Song


I've even got helpful sharing buttons at the bottom!

- B