New Edits to "Rubato"
Introducing Harry Watts, retired homicide detective, father of Reggie Watts
Included in chapter 10
Rubbing his eyes he pushed the vision of Stevie out of his mind and turned over. He had a dream last night. It was about his father. They were working a case together and Reggie was very frustrated that the suspects all seemed to be lying about one thing or another. His father, also a homicide detective, was pragmatic in his approach to interviewing people. In the dream he said very calmly, “Every person tells their story as if they were the hero. Even if they are innocent of any wrong-doing, they are always going to spin the tale to justify their actions. You must learn to ask questions that challenge their story. The questions often reveal the parts they’ve made up to protect themselves. Between their story and the truth, a gap develops. A smart detective excavates the gap to look for motivation.” Reggie pondered his father’s words and how well they applied to this case.
Included in Chapter 15-
Reggie went to church on Sunday, too. His worship was really a gratitude session each week at the care home where Harold Watts lived. Harry, his preferred name, had been a resident since his stroke a few years back. The retired detective went from decorated officer to being wheel chair bound in just a few moments. The first year after the stroke Reggie despaired at seeing his father fight to regain mobility. Harry felt his life was over and he would never be of use again. When it felt that Harry needed more help than his daughter and son could give him, they started the process of looking for a home that might keep his spirits up and his physical body from deteriorating. They found just the place. It took Harry longer to feel comfortable than it did his children.
Once a week Reggie sat with his father and talked. Sometimes it was Harry doing most of the listening. He liked knowing how Reggie’s homicide cases developed. He asked really insightful questions, many of them used later in the interrogation room. Today he asked about the new case.
“I can’t tell you much, Dad. It involves people visiting the United States from eastern Europe. The issue is over a lost and found manuscript of music by a composer named Liszt, like…. shopping list. Stevie has been most helpful because believe it or not she studied to be a concert pianist.”
Harry’s bushy eyebrows raised in surprise.
“Yup, that little tidbit of information was astounding to me, too.”
Harry began mouthing words which Reggie couldn’t understand. The stroke had affected his speech. “See…. there?”
“That man, over there.” Harry pointed to a man sitting with his head down across from them. “He,… he is a musician.”
“Okay. What about him?” Reggie asked.
“He needs help.” Harry looked expectantly at Reggie as if he would know what to do.
“What kind of help?”
“He needs music. Ask your partner to help him.” Harry was very serious.
“What do I ask her?”
“She can bring him music.” They were interrupted by a nurse with a wheel chair asking if they might like to go to the solarium. Harry changed the subject back to the case and Reggie dodged questions that he shouldn’t answer. He thought about what Harry had asked. What would Stevie make of that request?
Included in Chapter 16-
Now that he was sure he was forgiven, he ventured into a longer conversation with Stevie. He looked over at her, watching her maneuver through evening traffic. It was unusual for him to bring up a personal subject. He waffled.
“What is it?” she said quietly.
“I’d like to tell you about my father.”
“Okay, go ahead.” She sounded encouraging.
“My father, Harry Watts, was a homicide detective for thirty years. Some years ago he had a stroke which left him unable to walk and paralyzed on one side of his body.” Reggie stopped and had that recurring feeling come over him of deep despair. He knew if he felt it instead of squashing it down it would subside sooner.
“That’s terrible for him. Where is he now?”
“In a care home which he likes fairly well. When I saw him Sunday he asked me the strangest thing.”
“What did he ask?”
“He wanted me to help a new patient who seems very depressed.” Suddenly Reggie felt stupid going on with his request. What could Stevie do?
“How could you help him?”
“Actually, my father thought you could help him.” He watched her expression to see if he detected any annoyance.
“What can I do?” Her tone sounded like she was asking sincerely with real interest.
“The man is a musician and my father thought he needed music. I mean I don’t expect you would go there and play for him, or anything like that.”
“That is an interesting request because my mother coordinates musicians to volunteer at nursing homes to go and have a singing, listening experience. She has told me how effective it is with Alzheimers and Parkinson disease. I will certainly ask her about it.”
“Really? That would be great. I would like to know more. I apologize for being awkward. It wasn’t an easy thing to talk about.”
“Well, we are around people all the time who tell us awkward things. You are a pro at reading between the lines.” She laughed.
Included in Chapter 22
Included in Chapter 22
“Is that you, Stevie?” her mother called from the kitchen.
“It is. I’ll be right there.” She walked through to the kitchen and gave her mother a hug. “I’ll change my clothes and come back down.” Upstairs in her bedroom she changed her clothes wishing she could take off the heavy emotional memory of the interrogations. The case would be in the hands of the prosecutors now. It was possible she would be called to testify but her responsibility was over. She washed her face and hands. Downstairs she heard her mother playing Liszt. The sound replaced her frustrations almost immediately. On the way through the kitchen she gathered up a snack of cheese and crackers, then settled herself onto the sofa and put her head back. She closed her eyes. The music slowed as the thirds cascaded down into the bass clef. Tears dropped off the edge of her chin. Stevie did nothing to stop the flow.
The music stopped but neither Stevie or her mother broke the silence. After a while Stevie straightened up and looked at her mother. Angelika was still sitting quietly on the piano bench.
“Reggie has a father.”
Angelika moved to join Stevie on the couch. “Well, most people do.”
“He told me about him yesterday. Harry Watts is in a care home recovering from a stroke. He has asked for my help.”
“Doing what?” Angelika asked.
“There is a patient there who is very depressed and he wanted Reggie to ask me if I could bring him music.”
“Are you still in touch with the people from California who started Music Mends Minds?” Stevie asked.
“Yes, there are two facilities here in Seattle who have volunteer musicians come in once a week to do music. I could query my friends and see if that could happen in Mr. Watts’ facility.”
“I’d like to help with that. You taught me that music heals.” Stevie walked over to the keyboard and started the same Consolation by Liszt that her mother had played. Their touch was almost identical but it was even more nurturing to press into the keys and feel the vibrations through the wood. She felt renewed.
And, I thank-you for reading my mystery novel, Rubato. Judith, a piano teacher extraordinaire, makes a decision which, upon reflection, changes the lives of others, not for the better.