Tune the Violin
He sat up in bed, trying to catch the end of the dream and the details. The dream came to him more often these days. The same dream, the one that was so vivid when he was sleeping, and yet so elusive when he woke. He remembered there were shadows, threads of conversations, an outdoor fire, and a sliver of moonlight fading in the dark blue sky. If only he could remember more details. If only he could figure out why he had the damn dream!
Rubbing his eyes and yawning, Wesley Schyler got his ass out of bed and into the shower. "Damn! That's cold." He adjusted the water, a shudder going through him before it began to warm. "Not in the friggin' Marine Corps anymore. Why do I do this to myself? I don't have to prove anything to a drill instructor. I don't have to..."
It hit him like a ton of bricks and he fell back against the shower wall, oblivious to the hard tiles and the water cascading down his body. "Violins!" he exclaimed. "There were violins. There's always a violin."
He was extraordinarily pleased that he remembered this detail, so pleased that he didn't remember shaving, dressing, or drinking coffee. On his way to work, he wondered what it meant.
It had been one of those "once in a blue moon" kind of days. The paperwork was piled up, but he didn't have any appointments. He plowed through 302's, budget reports, case files, forensics, and Agent Harrison's weekly love letter to his wife, which the agent had accidentally left in the McTeague file.
Wesley sighed. "The man's been married twenty years and he still writes naughty notes to his wife." This latest one was especially graphic, making Wesley ponder whether someone could really maintain an erection in that position. Mrs. Harrison must be every man's wet dream. He slipped the letter in a blank envelope attaching a note for his assistant, Marta, to deliver it to the love sick, albeit lucky, agent.
Standing and stretching, he checked his watch and discovered he had worked through lunch. "God! I'm starved. Time for a break."
Grabbing his jacket, he swept through Marta's office with a curt nod, and headed for the elevator. Not paying attention, he got off in the basement instead of the garage, and was halfway down the hall before he realized his mistake. He shrugged. May as well see what my favorite agents are doing while I'm here.
"I'm telling you, Sanders. I heard violins." Mahoney was adamant.
"You need to go to bed for a change, Mahoney. Stop watching those disgusting porn channels, get your ass off the couch and sleep in your bed for a change. It'll do you a world of good," Sanders stated in her cool, clinical voice, dismissing Mahoney's ramblings.
"Couch is more comfortable," he mumbled, "and there aren't any sheets to change." Standing, he tried to coax his partner. "Come on, Sanders. I'll show you."
"No, you won't. I'm not getting involved in any more of your hair-brained theories. We have real cases to solve. We don't need your fantasies."
"What violins?" AD Schyler asked, startling both agents, neither of whom had heard his approach.
Mahoney blinked at the sight of his supervisor leaning casually against the doorjamb. "Uh, sir. There seems to be violin music coming out of the furnace room." Knowing how absurd his words sounded, he added, "Faint violin music. You can barely hear it."
"But you did," Schyler confirmed.
"Yes, sir. I did."
Mahoney was surprised, but pleasantly so. He gave Sanders a smirk, and a thumb's up, and led the way to the furnace room.
Schyler was silent, not commenting on why he was interested in the music. Mahoney was joyfully delirious that his boss wanted to check the source of the music for himself.
"What were you doing in the furnace room, Agent Mahoney?" his boss asked as they walked down the hall.
"Well, I wasn't really in it, sir. That is, I... was in it, but I didn't mean to be in it. I was..."
Wesley arched a brow at him as he opened the door to the furnace room and gestured to Mahoney to proceed him.
"I was walking by this room," the agent clarified, "when I thought I heard violin music and stepped inside."
He put a finger to his lips. "We'll hear it better if we don't talk, sir."
Wesley stood still, his hands on his hips and cocked his head in the direction of the furnace to listen.
"How often have you heard music coming from this room, Agent Mahoney?" Wesley asked, beginning to feel he was being taken for a chump.
"Almost every day, sir." Mahoney replied, wishing the damn music would hurry up and make itself heard so the AD wouldn't roll his eyes at him in disgust.
Wesley turned to leave. The furnace kicked on. He turned back and listened, then looked at Mahoney who had a very satisfied grin on his face.
Rolling his eyes, he gave a loud snort. "It's just the damn furnace humming, Mahoney. Why you think that sounds like a violin is beyond my imagination." With that missive delivered, he shook his head and left Mahoney behind.
"But sir," Mahoney protested, following him out the door. "It's not just a furnace hum. It really is violin music."
The Vietnam Memorial
Wesley took the wrapper off his sandwich, placed his coffee cup beside him on the bench and watched the masses touring the Wall. He was always surprised at how many people seemed to be on vacation in the nation's capital in the middle of the week. Sipping his coffee, he leaned against the back of the bench and thought about Mahoney and violins.
Wishful thinking on my part. I don't know why I thought I'd hear violins in the damn furnace room. He snorted, questioning his sanity and his naivete. It's that damned dream. Even had me believing Mahoney. Christ!
He took his time with the sparse meal, enjoying the break from the job, knowing he was going back to his office to put in another four hours of paperwork. Some days, he wondered why he thought being an assistant director was better than being in the field. Tossing his garbage into a nearby trashcan, he moved toward the Wall. He felt obligated to pay his respects to the dead. The names were more than names; they were people who had died. Wesley knew better than most. He had been there too, and counted himself lucky to be one of the ones who survived.
The mementos people left at the foot of some of the panels tugged at his heart. Though he was not a sentimental man, he felt a great deal of sadness when he saw what was there - a child's picture in a filigree frame, flowers, a doll, a football, a teddy bear, wreaths, poems and letters. It was heartbreaking. After all these years, people still left pieces of themselves at the foot of granite panels engraved with names.
One item caught his eye. It was a tiny violin. Attached to the violin was a note. Unashamed, Wesley knelt to read the words.
"My dearest Papa Sergei, I finally came to Washington to see where your name was put on the Wall. I wanted to let you know that Mama died. When the chaplain came to the door all those years ago and told her you had been killed in the war, she locked herself in your bedroom and played her violin. That was the last time. She never played it again. She cried for you until the day she died. She's in heaven now. You must be glad to see her. I miss you both. Your loving daughter, Alexis"
Sergei? My middle name... a violin? Wesley Schyler didn't believe in coincidences. He stood and carefully scanned the panel, looking for a name that included Sergei. If it was there, he didn't spot it. The note and the violin, and the hum coming from the furnace troubled him, even if it was only Mahoney's inventive and overactive imagination. And of course, there was the dream again last night.
He worked later than usual, the pile of paperwork consuming his energy. A few late nights a month were necessary if he was going to stay on top of it. He wondered if the FBI would actually collapse if some of the crap got incinerated, by mistake, of course. He could certainly do without all the expense reports and the constant paperwork justifying new cell phones for his agents. Sighing, he redid the numbers on Agent Mahoney's latest expense report. He knew he was going to have to approve another new calculator for his brilliant and very eccentric agent. Man can't add to save his life!
He yawned, stretched, then checked his watch. "God, I'm tired. That's it. Enough for one night," he murmured to the dwindling pile of files on his desk. He locked his desk, grabbed his jacket and headed for the elevator.
Closing the doors, he punched the button for the garage and immediately heard music. Violins? Wesley froze, listening. I have lost my mind, he shook his head. "I'm ready to be committed. What the hell is going on?"
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