Detective John Charles Turnbuckle had been in the diner since seven fifteen that morning, and after more than six hours in the close, grease laden atmosphere of the little restaurant, his claustrophobia was making him more than a little anxious. He pulled a Vandoren reed from a little box inside the pocket of his tweed sports jacket and began to suck it gently as he again surveyed the aftermath of the carnage in the diner.
“Professor, we got a call from County General, you may want to take this.”, shouted one of the uniforms from just inside the stainless vestibule.
JC Turnbuckle had come to law enforcement as a second career choice. As a youngster, his parents had envisioned a promising future for him on the concert stage. A child prodigy on the clarinet, “Little Charlie” had toured venues the world over and was destined for world acclaim, when a most embarrassing accident involving “the big black stick” and an overly inventive and kinky girl named Evelyn during his tour of Israel, had soured him on the clarinet forever.
Thankfully, this episode had never come to light within the force and JC was known throughout the station as “The Professor’, not because of his Doctorate in Music Performance , but because of his resemblance to the Disney cartoon character, Professor Ludwig von Drake. Turnbuckle’s fly-away fringe of graying brown hair, his small, steel rimmed glasses, ubiquitous tweed sport coat and sweater vests, combined with the awkward waddling gait (an ever-lasting reminder of the “Eve” incident) made him the human embodiment of the hyper-educated duck.
Turnbuckle had returned from Israel fourteen years ago determined to spin his life in a completely different direction. He had enrolled in criminology classes and graduated cum laude in a record two and a half years, and settled down in this peaceful Maryland village. His only remaining connections to the musical universe he had left behind were the box of reeds he sucked on when nervous or in deep concentration, his distinctive walk, and a collection of scars, both mental and physical, that the world would never see.
“Hallo?, Turnbuckle here. Talk to me.”
“JC?, Hey,It’s me, D’Aquisto- Look, I’m over at the hospital and the waitress just died. Looks like you’ve got a triple on your hands.”
Copyright Michael G. Stewart All Rights Reserved


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