Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Farewell My Cadence (6)

Time was running out. Every corner I turned seemed to hide a whole bunch of questions. Who was this dame? Who was she seeing? Was there anyone left who'd known her, not just heard about her? Why were there so many bodies in this case? I'd need a whole new year to figure this one out. Hey...

Farewell My Cadence (5)

The guy opposite me was a weaselly looking man, beard, glasses, kinda fusty. He looked like the kind of man who'd sell out his own grandmother for a chance to sell out his own grandfather. Everything he said sounded strange, kinda bored and confident, the kind of confidence that's a con more often than not.

"Of course, no-one knew her like I did, it was my job to make sure everyone else knew her right, " he drawled. "Wanna buy some pictures of her?" The pictures looked kinda old, but the price tag on them was right up to date.

"Yes, I understood her, alright, and it was my job to make sure everyone understood just a little less than me - nothing worse than letting just anyone in on the act. I made sure everyone knew about all her old lovers - the Abbé, the Kaiser, the Rebel, the Joker, the Choirmaster - oh, yes, she had plenty, I can tell you..."

Yeah, plenty of names coming of his tongue, but thy were all old hat, all long gone. I needed to know who she was seeing now, who might have had a reason to stop her seeing someone else.

"Now? Good God, man, she was never seeing anyone now. There were only ever the old lovers. What do you think I am - some kind of gossip columnist? Only the old ones are worth talking about. Oh, sure, I know there are some young bucks who like to say they know her - but they don't, I tell you! Only I do! Only through old photographs, all those faces from long ago..."

He was starting to ramble. I slapped him hard across the face. He fell to his knees and thanked me, asked me to do it again. But I didn't have time. I had to get to the bottom of it all. There were a hell of a lot of bodies piling up in this case, and I was starting to wonder if the dame knew anyone who wasn't dead.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Farewell My Cadence (4)

I got into the Professor's study. Don't ask me how, gotta have a few trade secrets in this business. Let's just say that there aren't too many locked doors when you look at them.

Joint was a mess. Someone had been here before me. In fact, it looked like a lot of people had been here before me. For a guy who couldn't get the time of day the Professor seemed to be at the top of a hell of a lot of visiting lists. Didn't look like many of them had stopped for tea, mind. Just a quick drop-by, overturn the place and get out. Guess they had their own agendas.

There were a lot of papers, all over the floor. Lot of sums. Lot of numbers. Well, a few numbers over and over again. 13 wasn't one you saw anywhere.

1-12-3-10-5-8-7-6-9-4-11-2

2-11-4-9-6-7-8-5-10-3-12-1

1-2-11-4-7-6-9-8-5-10-3-12

12-3-8-5-10-7-4-9-6-11-2-1

XXXXX

???14???23??

!!!

They said the professor had had an even temperament. Yeah, sure looked even to me, equal enough to send a man all slanted about. Whatever he'd been working on made some kind of crazy sense, even if I couldn't tell my augmented octave from my diminished ninth. Someone didn't like what he was on to and had been fiddling with his results to discredit him, that was obvious. The numbers just didn't add up. It was a frame. Damn good looking one, too. I was going to have to watch my back, I was dealing with someone damn clever, someone who seemed to be able to make the finger point at anyone but himself. Everyone's a critic, they say. Maybe it was time to talk to one.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Farewell My Cadence (3)

The Frenchman sat opposite me. His face was half hidden in shadow, but even the half I could see looked like a face to be careful of taking your eyes away from for too long. He smiled and joked, but I could tell he wasn't too much of a giggler.

"Classical Music? Yes, I knew her," he drawled, in a voice as smooth as a silk stocking and twice as dangerous round your neck. "She was - how you say?- quite a dame, yes." I tried to moderate her behaviour, but she had a tendency to run away to... get in touch with people, non?"

"So you didn't like the way she acted with other guys, huh?" I asked. The guy had a charm, sure, but you wouldn't want to get on the wrong side of him, I could tell. Maybe you'd find yourself stuck in the Bastille with the kind of kiss-off that brought the house down.

"Pfff, it's not my concern what she does with... other classes. I know she did the right thing when she was with me, that's all. I made sure she kept up to date, dressed her well... what more could she ask for?"

"Maybe to be shown a little slack every now and then?"

"Ah, I have always been open minded, no matter what... some people may say."

"What about the German, were you open minded enough for him?"

"Oh, I doubt anyone would be. I hardly spoke to him in recent times. We fell out since our days when we plotted to bring the Professor's plans to fruition."

The Professor. I'd heard of the guy, not that people liked to talk about him. Some said he was responsible for the whole mess. Nobody'd ever caught him in the act, but they said you could see his fingerprints all over if you looked. I wondered aloud if I should speak to him.

"Speak to him?" The Frenchman's face cracked into a smile, and a laugh I didn't like the sound of. "Mon Ami, you won't find that easy to achieve."

"Why not?" I was getting a bad feeling.

The Frenchman sat back with a grin across his face like a cat that's inherited the whole damn dairy. "Why, haven't you heard? He's dead."

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Farewell My Cadence (2)

I pulled on my mac and pulled my hat down low to keep the rain off my face. It was a dirty night, cold and wet, and plenty of folks would be glad to be indoors, but in my line of work you go where the action is, when it is.

There was this guy, the German. Lot of folks had his number, they said, a lot of suspicion pointing his way. He wasn't the kind of guy who liked to do things anyone else's way, kinda the dominating type, if you know what I mean - I'd heard pretty strange things about his domestic, too. Kind of man who keeps more than one woman at home is going to be careless with the rest of them they said. And he was into crazy stuff too, weird group action and saying he was from outer space. I wasn't convinced - a bit of kinky doesn't make you a killer, and just because he liked to have the dame in unusual positions didn't mean he'd offed her, just that he had a different appreciation of her.

I was too late, anyhow - the German was already dead himself. Looked like heart trouble, but you never know - guy like that makes a lot of enemies, and some of them are smart, smart enough to make foul play look like happenstance. I was going to have to check that out, but not now. I had to get to the bottom of the case. I decided to grill the German's accomplice - the Frenchman. I pounded the sidewalk again, wondering if I was going to find a killer or a victim. Damn this rain.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Farewell My Cadence

or, Who Killed Classical Music? An exciting Christmas thriller in 12 parts (or fewer, depending how quickly I get bored).

Part 1

Classical Music was dead. Sure, she'd left a good-looking corpse - she was one hell of a dame in her time, and if you didn't look too close she could still turn your eye, and hell, some people were still trying to turn hers. Jeez, some people. If you've got an automobile with no wheels and no engine, it don't matter if it's a Rolls - it's still a jalopy, and it ain't right to take it out for a ride.

Question was, who'd done the deed? Sure, there were some people who wanted her dead, but most folks, if you asked them, were surprised she hadn't bitten the dust years ago, if they even knew who she was. Or cared.

Just because most didn't though, didn't mean that the ones who did hadn't come up with a whole heap of suspects. This was one investigation that wouldn't be wrapped up before the bars opened.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Merry Christmas!



Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Tales from the Back Desk: Brahms and Liszt at night

Speaking of things that go bump in the night (sort of)... the long-awaited new Back Desk is now online!

Look ma, I'm on hiatus

Not sure how that happened. Actually, I'm entirely sure how that happened. A combination of extreme business and personal stuff (none of your business, sorry) that's left no time or inclination to blog.

I've got a few ideas for things to post here, and I wondered for quite a while if it might not be better to wrap up here and start afresh. But I figure the raison d'ĂȘtre of this ol' house has always been pretty vague, and I wouldn't want to inconvenience the 10 or so people who stop by here, so Notations will begin again soon, with a chilling Seasonal Tale.

Shit, I'm blogging about blogging, which puts me down with some of the scum of the world. On the other hand, I have managed and shall continue to resist the temptation to start posting pictures of the cat, so be grateful for that, at least.