From Dissonance, a Mystery novel by Rosa Sophia
In the summer of 2007, four good friends join an unusual musical troupe based out of Pennsylvania, a motley collection of Indie rock bands that call themselves the Day Trippers. They embark on a cross-country adventure brimming with crazy times, Wild Turkey bourbon and music to titillate the soul.
But what starts out as a way to escape the normalcy of every day life quickly turns into a nightmare. Someone has made it their mission to kill talented guitarists. As they cross the United States, a bloody trail follows and as the murderer narrows his focus and hones in on band, the four friends must find out who the killer is before it’s too late.
It was a chilly night in April. Smoke rose from a huge bonfire, the flames jumping toward the sky, seemingly threatening the stars. Jordan lit a cigarette and hung back in the shadows, listening. The fire crackled as it consumed old furniture and particle board. A piano sat near the fire with three broken keys. Someone began to play.
“Are you serious? You were going to burn this piano?” Somebody was asking the neighbor, whose property it was, why he would get rid of something so cool.
“Yeah, I mean, why not? It just sits here. It’s broken. But if you want it, you can have it.” The older man gestured toward the white farmhouse that stood near his property. “It’d go good in your living room, maybe, and you could play it when your friends have band practice.”
“Hell yeah!” The girl who was sitting at the piano took a swig of a Miller Lite. “It sounds great except for those keys that won’t work. I’ll just have to play on this side.” She began to belt out a tune, and the music melted into the fire like butter on a skillet.
The old man whose piano it was cracked open another beer. No one knew how many he had drunk by now, but he was already staggering. “I knew a piano teacher once,” he said. “His name was Weed. Jacob Weed. He’d work for a bowl and a beer.”
Jordan laughed. A shadow emerged from the darkness and addressed him. It was Benjamin, one of the guitarists from Jordan’s band. “Hey, man . . . You’re not going to like this.”
“Mad. Your friend, Mad Summers. He’s dead.”
Once they were back inside the house, Ben showed Jordan a copy of the local newspaper and pointed to a story on the front page:
Local Musician Bludgeoned to Death
The body of Matthew Summers, age 32, was found two days ago outside the Moose Head Lodge in Doylestown after he and his band, Frozen Sun, played for the Help the Homeless charity function on the night of May 10.
There are no suspects in the slaying, although an unidentified blond woman, possibly in her late twenties, was seen vacating the crime scene just before the body was discovered. Although the police are withholding details, an informant has leaked that Mr. Summers was beaten with his own bass guitar, and then stabbed in the stomach with the jagged end of the guitar’s broken neck. Apparently, the body was found with the neck of the guitar standing upright, embedded in the victim’s stomach. Anyone with information concerning the unidentified blond woman should call the tip line.
Jordan hadn’t seen Mad in a little over three years. He never would have guessed that losing touch with a close friend would have brought him to this moment, this point in time in which he was forced to realize that there would be no more chances of seeing Mad Summers ever again.
“Who would kill Matt?” Jordan wondered. He couldn’t remember the last time had cried. He wanted to now, but he wouldn’t let himself.
Jordan and his friends had known Matthew Summers simply as Matt. Summers had either gone by his last name or the affectionate nickname that his best friend, Lacy, had given him—Mad. Whenever he went on stage, they would introduce the band as Mad Summers and the Lost Frozen Sun. For the most part, the newspaper had gotten the band name right. But the journalist hadn’t known Mad as well as Jordan had known him. Jordan was appalled that they’d released such grisly details concerning Matt’s death and he was struggling against it, unsure as to whether or not he was ready to believe it.
Mad Summers had taught Jordan much of what he knew about music. The two of them had met at the Philadelphia Folk Fest around the time that Jordan had gotten his first guitar. He’d been a teenager then and was only beginning to realize that he’d always had music in his soul.
He had camped at the Folk Fest that weekend and brought his guitar with him. In the middle of the night, playing around a campfire and watching drunks dance in an uncoordinated fashion to the lilting sounds of the music, Jordan had met Mad Summers. He had introduced himself as Matt. His band had played that night. Jordan felt honored when Matt, an established musician, praised Jordan’s musical ability.
Matt was about Jordan’s height, a little over six feet, with long black hair and an obvious Native American heritage in his blood. He wore a ring in his nose, handcrafted silver feathers in his ears and kept warm in the night chill with his blue jeans and black hooded sweatshirt.
Mad Summers was a Jack-of-all-trades and a master of each and every one. Later in life, his talent and connections brought him local musical fame. He also went to college and shortly thereafter carried himself through the day to day as a Criminal Thinking Specialist. He ended up working with gang-related children and even taught some of them how to play the guitar.
One conversation that Jordan had had with Mad Summers stuck in his head. He would never forget it. They had been sitting under the stars at the Folk Fest.
“You know how when you’re making flapjacks, sometimes the batter leaks out around the edges and you have to flip it over again and again until it crisps?”
“Well, it’s like life and music, you know? Sometimes, a little piece of yourself leaks out around the edges, out your eyes or something, and it becomes part of everything else, and you think it’s lost. But then, all you have to do is go back and look for it. And you’re whole again.”
Not much of what Matt said made sense to many people, which was probably why they called him Mad. Jordan figured that he was just as crazy as Matt, because no matter what the man ever said, Jordan understood every bit of it.