The MusiCurmudgeon - The Final Adventures of Sam Sonata
Music Detective - Chapter Ten


Sam Sonata
I realized then that the previous episode was merely a passing tone leading me back into the key of my life, as I pointed my 45 - Neil Young's "After the Gold Rush," at the terrified cabbie and demanded he take me to my car back at the lot. I would've paid him out of the change I keep in my car, but once I got out he drove off into the heavy traffic like a motor city madman. Meanwhile, the Carnival of Animals blocked several streets with their wild dancing and rock and samba music and the music cops had been called in to protect the New Order. Rubber bullets filled the air. It took me two hours to get back to my office.

Entering, I discovered with horror that my files had been ransacked - records, stereo equipment, and music scores were scattered across the floor. In one corner I found Ruby, bound and gagged, but apparently otherwise unharmed.

"Don't worry about me," she said bravely in her endearingly tuneless little voice as I untied her. "They left a note for you on your desk."

Miles Davis I opened the manila envelope and read the note glued together with words cut from old Rolling Stone and Guitar Player magazines.


An hour later - riding the elevator, I found myself cringing at the techno-lounge medley of Roky Erickson hits that played over the speaker, while I fingered the array of weapons under my coat. Beatles, Zeppelin, The Stones, The Stooges - I brought only the heavy hitters. I even grabbed a few old classical 78s - this was it - I might as well go for baroque.

I advanced into the open office - weapons set to kill - and gasped.

Behind the desk sat the tall, bald, sinister man I had seen only the night before on stage at the Necrodance - The Emcee. I slowly pulled "Misty Mountain Hop" and "Strawberry Fields" from my arsenal and pointed them at my grinning adversary.

"Hello, Mr. Sonata," the man said in his whining, nasal voice. "Forgive me if I don't tremble at your audacious display of weaponry, but I am wearing a music-proof vest."

"If you think that'll stop me from tearing you ear from ear-" I advanced angrily toward him.

"Just a moment, Mr. Sonata. Please notice this room is completely soundproofed from ceiling to plushly carpeted floor. Your weapons have no meaning here."

"Then I'll have to use my bare hands."

"Oh Mr. Sonata - you are so primitive. When will you learn - the song is over and you've played your last note. And I believe you are a little flat."

"It ain't the Finale yet, creep - where is Miss Littlesong?" I demanded.

"You're too late, Music Dick. Check your picture - only her lovely eyes remain - and they too will fade away very soon."

"You'll pay for this!"

"Same old song and dance, Sonata. But I'm afraid no one can stop me."

"Who are you, anyway?"

"Who me? Why I'm the Emcee, the Master of Ceremonies, the M.C., or as some people know me - the MusiCurmudgeon."

"MusiCurmudgeon? I've heard of you. Aren't you that untalented, cynical hack who writes for concertlivewire.com?"

"I prefer talented and perceptive hack, but everyone has their own opinion."

"You'll never get away with this MusiCurmudgeon."

"No - I'm afraid I will, Sam. For you see I have many friends." He motioned to the other room and several people suddenly entered from it and surrounded me: Lieutenant Loudon and his goons, Enema the midget followed by the Rhythm Kings, the albino "Nothing" with Moondoggie on his hands and knees behind her, Leon looking bored - accompanied by a half-melted vixen, Tumult with Damone and his posse, and finally the stunning Mrs. Littlesong.

"I'm so sorry, Sam. He made me do it," she cried.

"Yeah sure he did. You probably sold your daughter to him, didn't you?"

"She's his... daughter," she gasped, sobbing. I slapped her face. "His wife," she cried. I slapped her again. "His daughter," slap, "his wife," slap, "his daughter," slap, "his second cousin twice removed by marriage." I paused, confused by this turn of events.

"You see Sam," the MusiCurmudgeon interjected. "This was all a big mistake. This was supposed to be an exercise in Sonata form - you do know what Sonata form is don't you, Sam?

"Of course - the usual design of the first movement of a symphony: exposition, followed by development, followed by recapitulation. The complete coordination of thematic character and tonality into a structure that is logical and symmetrical. What does this have to do with me?"

"You were supposed to follow the clues and move through an initial theme which would later be modulated, inverted, transposed and given a contrapuntal treatment before arriving triumphantly back through the dominant to the tonic. This was to be my shining hour - the creation of a new prose symphony - a "Nonsense" Symphony in words. But you screwed it all up - started thinking and listening for yourself, and everything got away from me. I had to come out of Haydn and improvise. So now it is time to decompose my little "Unfinished Symphony."

"So the N stood for Nonsense and The M for MusiCurmudgeon?"

"Pretty smart for a fictional character," he hissed. "You were a creation of my fervid imagination, and now the time has come for you to go back to where you belong. These folks here will help you find your way to the Reintegration Chamber."

"Wait a minute, MusiCurmudgeon. What about Melody?"

"I told you - she's dead."

"I don't think so. You've got a bunch of readers out there - and I'll bet if everybody concentrates real hard we can stop you. Try it everyone!"

"What do you think--?"

"See MusiCurmudgeon. Look at her picture. You can see her outline and her smile again. Keep it up Readers! Keep listening for her. Look - she's returning to us. I can almost hear her voice."

"Stop him, my creatures!" he shouted.

"Not so fast everyone." I held up my hand and they froze. "I have one little "Surprise Symphony" of my own, MusiCurmudgeon - as a creature of your imagination, I am a part of you - and as such I too have your powers."

"Take him to the chamber now!" he shouted frantically.

"And as I can imagine anything you can - I can imagine that I am holding a bomb big enough to blow us all off the face of the earth."

"Stop him I say!"

I held up the cartoonish bomb - whose fuse sizzled comically. Lieutenant Loudon and his men covered their ears, Tumult cowered with Moondoggie in the corner, the posse and the gang tried to run and got stuck in the doorway, "Nothing" turned a whiter shade of pale if that is even possible. And the dish ran away with the spoon.

"That's not fair!" he shouted trembling.

"Just pretend it's the end of the "1812 Overture," MusCurmudgeon. And with this mindbomb about to explode and destroy us all I'll just take a brief interlude to say goodbye to dear, sweet Melody and ask that the Readers take pity on her and love and cherish her and keep her from harm--"

"Stop, you maniac!"

"Goodnight Irene, Goodnight," I sang in my earnest baritone. This recital has now ended.


The End
Chapters: One - Two - Three - Four - Five - Six - Seven - Eight - Nine

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