Thursday, November 29, 2012

"The Dead Man Plays" by Anonymous

The Dead Man Plays

"The judge let you off because of insufficient evidence," Patrolman Dick Stevens addressed the sneering racketeer, Pete Beers. "I'm positive you murdered him—and someday I'll find the evidence that'll get you a trip to the hot seat."

"Pipe down, flatfoot." Pete grinned as he spoke. "Your pal Morris disappeared and you're trying to pin a murder on me. But it won't work!"

Dick stepped forward and touched the shoulder of the departing racketeer as he whispered, "Beers, remember this. Morris said he'd keep playing his violin even after he was dead. Yep, all I'll have to do is follow the strains of the music and I'll find the murderer."

"Sez you," Pete barked as he walked away from the patrolman. "But dead men can't play."

Dick clenched his fists at the thought of the thousands of dollars Pete had extracted from small storekeepers for unwanted and unneeded protection. He also thought of his pal's investigation and sudden disappearance. More than ever he was out to get the haughty Peter Beers.

...It was dark and moonless that night. The huge house was ablaze with lights as Pete Beers shook hands with the last of his departing guests. Guests who had enjoyed a lavish party celebrating his release from prison. Pete turned to his butler and said, "I'm turning in, Mike. Wake me at noon. Most of the shops have been laying down on their protection payments since I was detained by them dumb cops. I'll have to get after them, this place can't be run on peanuts."

Pete climbed the huge stairway to his bedroom. It was a spacious room. He grinned as he glanced at the expensive furnishings. "Some different from that cell," he muttered aloud.

Resting on the soft bed, he dozed off but was soon awakened by the sound of music. He lay puzzled. It was violin music, soft and sweet.

He jumped slightly as the words of Patrolman Stevens ran through his mind. "All I have to do is follow the music to the murd..." Pete squirmed. He turned several times but the musical sound kept on. He could stand it no longer. Pete jumped out of bed, switched on the light and snatched his gun out of the holster.

"I'll settle this once and for all," he yelled aloud. "I'll have no dead man playing in my house."

Pete slipped down the stairs that led into the cellar. "Afraid? Bah, what could scare Peter Beers," he muttered aloud.

The violin played on and on. The music echoed throughout the long cellar. Pete's flesh was covered with goose pimples. He gripped his gun tightly and made his way to a corner of the stone wall.

Carefully, he felt the wall. "You can't play, you're dead, DEAD!" he screamed. "I put you there and you can't play."

The musical strains grew louder and louder. The notes imbedded themselves in Pete's tortured brain. "Dead men can't play," he screamed out loud.

Suddenly, the music stopped. A dark form stepped from behind a pillar to Pete's side and whispered, "Drop that gun or I'll..."

No, no—Morris, don't touch me, you're dead, you're dead, I know it, I killed you," Pete screamed hysterically as the gun fell from his fear-paralyzed fingers.

Swiftly, a pair of handcuffs closed on the frightened racketeer's wrists. "When that wall is pulled down," the voice of Patrolman Dick Stevens said softly, "I'll have the evidence needed to send you to the hot seat, Pete Beers."

Dick led the astonished racketeer to the staircase. At the foot of the stairs, Patrolman Stevens stooped down to pick up the violin. He turned to Pete and said, "I forgot to tell you that Morris taught me how to play."

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