Sunday, June 20, 2010

The Lost Chord: Table of Contents

A maniac is loose at Lincoln Center.

Intent on locating the old wisdom of the Great Composers, he has placed a severed ear on the plaza's fountain and summoned the little-known, self-styled composer and musicologist Dr. Dick to do his bidding. Will the headless Mozart bobble-head doll found in a practice room deep beneath the Metropolitan Opera House really lead him to the unknown location and will he be able to find it before it's – gasp – too late?

Meet the evil tattooed villain who goes by the trendy name of Tr'iTone, a composer who also masquerades as Dr. Iobba Dhabbohdú.

Meet the diminutive director of security for the International Composers Alliance, Yoda Leahy-Hu, and her team of intrepid ICA agents Kay Gelida Manina, Oona Furtiva-Lagrima and Eddie Pensier.

Why does Lincoln Center architect V. C. D'Arcy question whose side they're really on?

The ear belongs to Robertson Hope Sullivan, the chairman of Lincoln Center and an old friend of Dr. Dick's. Joined by Robertson's sister, LauraLynn Hardy Sullivan, Dr. Dick & V. C. D'Arcy are pursued by both Tr'iTone and the ICA, a chase that leads them onto the stage of the Met during the first finale of “The Barber of Seville,” much to the confusion of the cast and the delight of an audience usually skeptical of unconventional productions.

And that's only the beginning...

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Here are links to the individual installments (in chronological sequence) for THE LOST CHORD, a music appreciation thriller by Dick Strawser (a classical music parody of Dan Brown's The Lost Symbol). Continuing installments are expected to be posted on Mondays and Thursdays of each week through the summer of 2010.

An Introduction to "The Lost Chord" (posted 6-18-2010)

Installment 1 (posted 6-21-2010) in which we meet our hero, Dr. Dick, who's on his way to New York, and our villain, the trendily-named composer, Tr'iTone who's getting ready for a big night.

Installment 2 (posted 6-24-2010) - three main characters arrive at Lincoln Center: Dr. Dick, LauraLynn Sullivan and the villain Tr'iTone in one of his many disguises.

Installment 3 (posted 6-28-2010) - On the night of the 6th game of the World Series, Dr. Dick shows up in the lobby of Avery Fisher Hall for his pre-concert talk with the New York Philharmonic's World Twelve-Tone Series only to find the place uncharacteristically empty - even for a program of atonal music.

Installment 4 (posted 7-01-2010) - Somebody has left a severed human ear on the fountain at Lincoln Center and Dr. Dick recognizes it as one that belongs to his friend Robertson Sullivan, the Executive Director of Lincoln Center. Meanwhile, as officers Donna Mobile and P. K. Arabesk check out the crime scene, Chief Phil Harmon has an odd encounter with an old German woman in Avery Fisher Hall.

Installment 5 (posted 7-05-2010) - Dr. Dick discovers there is a Latin phrase tattooed around the rim of the ear and he is introduced to the Director of Security for the International Composers Alliance, Yoda Leahy-Hu.

Installment 6 (posted 7-08-2010) - Yoda Leahy-Hu is a bit skeptical about Dr. Dick and what he's found tattooed on his friend's ear. Meanwhile, LauraLynn Sullivan arrives at her lab where she surprises her assistant, Haley Gedankgesang.

Installment 7 (posted 7-12-2010) - Dr. Dick, Buzz, Yoda Leahy-Hu & Chief Phil Harmon stand in the center of the Lincoln Center plaza wondering why the ear had been left on the rim of  the fountain and what significance its location might have had in the plot (such as it was).

Installment 8 (posted 7-15-2010) - we meet Dr. Iobba Dhabbohdhú, find out about a mysterious pizza delivery one Thanksgiving night at the Gilbert N. Sullivan homestead when Aunt Katie Shaw died, and Dr. Dick discovers why, exactly, he's been brought to New York City, something about a curious object Robertson Sullivan had entrusted to his care years ago.

Installment 9 (posted 7-19-2010) - It seems the clues on the severed ear lead to a room far beneath the Metropolitan Opera House. And Tr'iTone modulates to a new disguise - once again Dr. Iobba Dhabbohdhú - as he arrives to meet LauraLynn Sullivan at her secret laboratory. There's dirty work afoot!

Installment 10 (posted 7-22-2010) - they've discovered odd references to an obscure 8th Century bishop, a famous madrigal by Gesualdo and some uncomfortably familiar smells while traversing a dark underground hallway deep in the bowels of Lincoln Center...

Installment 11 (posted 7-26-2010) -  Dr. Dhabbohdhú arrives at the lab's entrance and is just as surprised to meet Haley Gedankgesang as she is to meet him. Meanwhile, the mysterious room deep beneath the Met turns out to be a musty old practice room with some rather startling contents.

Installment 12 (posted 7-29-2010) - Haley Gedankgesang doesn't even get to sing her own swan song; the musty old practice room reluctantly reveals some of its contents, including some that cast doubt on the idea of a mysterious portal leading to some of classical music's most ancient mysteries.

Installment 13 (posted 8-02-2010) -  True, 13 may be an unlucky number to some - Dr. Dick ponders the possibilities of meaning behind the newly discovered Mozart bobble-head doll: is it junk or is it, as the alleged maniac seems to think, something far more sinister?

Installment 14 (posted 8-05-2010) - Dr. Dick connects with LauraLynn Sullivan and warns her she is in imminent danger; then he and V.C. D'Arcy, hanging out in a scene storage shop underneath the Met, have a frank discussion that ends with a rather unsettling realization.

Installment 15 (posted 8-09-2010) - LauraLynn barely escapes from the evil clutches of the monster pursuing her; much to Chief Phil Harmon's relief, Director Leahy-Hu suggests they split up - he's to chase after the hulking creature at Dr. Sullivan's Lab and she and her intrepid ICA agents will take on Dr. Dick & V.C. D'Arcy who, meanwhile, are continuing their interminable discussion about creativity when they suddenly realize there's more dirty work afoot...

Installment 16 (posted 8-12-2010) - Three agents arrive from the ICA and enter the fray; LauraLynn Sullivan, reminiscing about her family's tragic history, recognizes the maniac as the one who killed her Aunt Katie Shaw and murdered her nephew Anthony Shaw, when her thoughts are interrupted by a very loud and very nearby explosion...

Installment 17 (posted 8-16-2010) -  There's been an explosion beneath the Metropolitan Opera House, rattling the singers on stage, gearing up for the first finale in Rossini's "Barber of Seville." Dr. Dick & LauraLynn Sullivan have finally found each other and the villain, making his escape, reflects on his life as Zoose.

Installment 18 (posted 8-19-2010) - Director of Security Leahy-Hu interrogates Buzz Blogster in the security trailer's men's room (there being no other space) when they are interrupted by the sound of a loud explosion. V.C. D'Arcy recalls what a pain-in-the-ass Robertson's nephew had been. And then our heroes take an elevator to the Met's backstage - in fact, it turns out they're actually on stage...

Installment 19 (posted 8-23-2010) - The impact of the explosion is felt in the Met's underground scene shop as well as the interrogation/men's room at the security trailer. Meanwhile, Dr. Dick, LauraLynn & V.C. D'Arcy, with the ICA agents in close pursuit, try blending themselves into the performance on the Met stage, much to the surprise of the cast and, once the curtain falls on Act One, the delight of the audience.

Installment 20 (posted 8-26-2010) - An old man settles in for an evening of reading when he receives a mysterious message. After the curtain falls on a very strange production of the first act finale from The Barber of Seville, our heroes manage to escape the trio of evil-looking agents by hiding in a small, out-of-the-way dressing room (with apologies to the Marx Brothers) as Leahy-Hu has figured out what to do about Buzz Blogster.

Installment 21 (posted 8-30-2010) - Tr'iTone continues his preparations for his Big Night; Leahy-Hu calls Peter Moonbeam about finding a better interrogation room; Dr. Dick and LauraLynn find a clue on the head of the Mozart bobble-head doll; and an old man, having received a cryptic message from V.C. D'Arcy, prepares to help a friend-in-need.

Installment 22 (posted 9-02-2010) - Dr. Dick & LauraLynn start working on two musical clues; D'Arcy is captured and about to be interrogated as Buzz makes his escape but has his coat stolen from him; and an old composer contacts 'The Mighty Widow.'

Installment 23 (posted 9-06-2010) - Tr'iTone's latest composition is officially underway; the ICA agents discover that Dr. Dick has escaped from the Met, unaware that he and LauraLynn have run into Buzz Blogster and taken a cab only to find the cab-driver has heard the NYPD bulletin about them.

Installment 24 (posted 9-09-2010) - Leahy-Hu begins to interrogate V.C. D'Arcy. LauraLynn, realizing their cab driver has called the police, devises another plan of escape. Meanwhile, Tr'iTone has a flashback to the night he broke into the Sullivan Homestead, was shot by Robertson, then left for dead.

Installment 25 (posted 9-13-2010) - Zoose prepares the way for his modulation to Tr'iTone, a musical devil, by studying (and perverting) 'The Artist's Way' and deciding to cover his body in tattoos using chords from Elliott Carter's 'Harmony Book'...

Installment 26 (posted 9-16-2010) - Our heroes discuss the scientific study of creativity; Vice Squad agent Wanda Menveaux helps track down Buzz's wayward coat as Dr. Dick & Co. connect with the mysterious composer referred by V.C. D'Arcy who turns out to be a 100-year-old man named Howard Zendler (well, it is fiction); meanwhile, Yoda Leahy-Hu's interrogation of D'Arcy is about to take a serious turn.

Installment 27 (posted 9-20-2010) - In his specially designed basement, Tr'iTone prepares himself for the final ritual in his ultimate transformation, eventually modulating into 'Tr'iTone the Great."

Installment 28 (posted 9-23-2010) - our heroes met the Grand Old Man of American Music, Howard Zendler, as they tried figuring out what the clue "Crabs Golden Horn Rector Teeter" means and wait to see what happens when Mozart's head is reunited with the body of the bobble-head doll.

Installment 29 (posted 9-27-2010) - A discussion on the legacy of teachers and students leads to a startling realization, while Yoda Leahy-Hu leads V.C. D'Arcy to another, even more startling realization.


Installment 30 (posted 9-30-2010) - The conversation about creativity with Howard Zendler and its possible connection to the search for the Bobble-head Doll's secret continues as they make an unexpected discovery.

Installment 31 (posted 10-04-2010) - Having made that discovery, they're still no closer to the answer when they realize Leahy-Hu & the Police have arrived: they escape to the basement in time to make yet another discovery...

Installment 32 (posted 10-07-2010) - As the World Series reaches its conclusion, the search for solutions to the Bobble-head Doll's clues goes on with yet another clue unlocked with even more surprising results.

Installment 33 (posted 10-12-2010) - calling Dhabbodhú, they get a security agent at his house telling them a man with an ear missing is asking about them but just as they are about to leave, they're intercepted by Leahy-Hu and her officers.

Installment 34 (posted 10-14-2010) - Contact is made with Dhabbodhú about meeting at Verdi Square where Leahy-Hu and her agents then set up a stake-out while Dr. Dick & LauraLynn hurry to Dhabbodhú's brownstown to rescue Robertson before it's too late.

Installment 35 (posted 10-19-2010) - While things at Verdi Square are not panning out as anticipated, neither are things at Dhabbodhú's brownstown where Dr. Dick & LauraLynn find themselves captured by the villain Tr'iTone and meet him face-to-face for the first time.

Installment 36 (posted 10-21-2010) -  Tr'iTone begins the interrogations of LauraLynn & Dr. Dick in a scene that includes a parody of the Interview with the Devil from Thomas Mann's Doctor Faustus by way of the chess match from Ingmar Bergman's The Seventh Seal.

Installment 37 (posted 10-25-2010) -  Left alone to contemplate the meaning of the chaotic-looking matrix on the base of the statue, Dr. Dick figures it out in a flash before Tr'iTone leaves him in the booth and he hears the familiar strains of a distant hymn.

to be continued...

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This is (obviously) a work of fiction and intended as a parody of Dan Brown's novel, "The Lost Symbol."
©2010

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