The next day, the C.O.P.S. team split up once more. Mace and Bowser went off to return the music to the Fancy Fiddlin’ Violin Place where it belongs. LongArm and Hardtop heads off to check out other music stores in Empire City such as The 88s (which sells pianos), Rock On Guitars, and Face the Music Discount Store. Bulletproof and Mainframe, on the other hand, went back to Empire Harps, but it’s still closed.
Mainframe: “Hmm. That’s funny. I thought Empire Harps is supposed to open today.”
Bulletproof: “It will. Look at the hours on the entrance door.”
Mainframe: *noticing and reading the sign* Monday through Friday: 1pm-6pm. Saturday: 1pm-5pm. Closed Sundays and on holidays. *turning to Bulletproof* What time is it?”
Bulletproof: “It’s 9:41am. Looks like we have a bit more than a 3 hour wait on our hands. Until then, you go patrol the area and watch for anything suspicious that lead us to a break in the case.”
Mainframe: *saluting Bulletproof* “Right, BulletProof. See you later.”
With that, Mainframe and Bulletproof split up. Bulletproof, putting on his hat, stop at a near by coffee shop to order some piping-hot coffee and hang out while Mainframe engage in patrolling the streets near Empire Harps and the bank. Suddenly, a speeder zooms by. Mainframe quickly puts the pedal to the medal and speeds off to intercept, pull over, and hand out a speeding ticket to a shivering cold man who’s speeding down the road because he’s running late for work.
Mainframe: “Driver’s License and registration please.”
Driver: *shaking while handing over what she requested* “S-S-S-Sorry Ma’am. But I-I-I-I ov-v-v-v-erslept. I have only t-t-t-ten minutes to g-g-g-g-et to work or else I’ll g-g-g-get f-f-f-f-f-fired.”
Mainframe: “Understood, sir. Still, this speeding ticket should remind you to get yourself a much louder alarm clock to help you wake up so you can get to work on time.”
Driver: “I-I-I-I already have an al-l-l-l-larm c-c-c-clock– or did I-I-I-I?”
Mainframe: “Did you smash it?”
Driver: “Yes-s-s-s, I-I-I-I-I did. I-I-I-I admit I-I-I-I was-s-s-sn’t w-w-w-willing to g-g-g-get m-m-m-m-my-y-y-y b-b-b-butt out of b-b-b-bed.”
Mainframe: “Then what finally made you get out of bed?”
Driver: “M-m-m-my wif-f-f-f-fe and he-e-e-e-er bi-i-i-i-i-ig f-f-f-f-f-frozen bag of b-b-b-b-b-blasted ch-ch-ch-ch-chillin’ i-i-i-i-ic-c-c-c-ce. Sh-sh-sh-she stuffed i-i-i-i-it in my u-u-u-u-underp-p-p-p-pants. Brrrrrr. C-c-c-can’t you bel-l-l-l-lieve how c-c-c-c-cold that b-b-b-b-bag was? Sh-sh-sh-sheesh-sh-sh-sh-sh.”
Meanwhile at the coffee shop, Bulletproof sips his coffee while watching the morning news on the cafe’s TV set for the latest reports on the violin robbery. Whitney Morgan, a well known ECTV News reporter, gives out the latest on the violin heist and the efforts to track down and catch the thieves responsible for the crime. In other news, Whitney plans to head over to Empire Harps this afternoon to do an interview with the store’s proprietor who has a breathtaking selection of harps of all kinds shown on the screen.
The huge selection of harps made a huge smile appear on Bulletproof’s face. They remind him of all the good times he had playing music on his Aunt Candace’s harp many years ago when he was a boy. He used to make all the strings vibrate, producing the sweetest melodies and learning all sorts of great songs such as Polly Put the Kettle On, This Old Man, Pop Goes the Weasel, London Bridge. The thought of all of those good times in the past first came to him when he first saw an ad for Empire Harps in the Empire Times newspaper the other day.
Then it came to him again when he saw the store last night for the first time and now it came to him once more while watching the morning news, making him more than eager to go check out the place very, very much. He wants to play the harp again! He has a good feeling there is something in the store that will bring a major change to his life. And it has to do with a badge, the owner of the store, and a beautifully specialized harp that will ultimately become Bulletproof’s pride and joy and the official mascot of C.O.P.S.
But Bulletproof isn’t the only one who’s watching the morning news. Berserko, still desperate for violin strings to replace the ones he broke, is also watching the news along with his henchmen Lumpy, Binky, and Pooky at his run-down carnival hideout all while making dark, disturbing plans for the harp shop!
Lumpy: “Look at all those strings, boss. Would that be enough to replace the strings you broke on your uncle’s violin?”
Berserko: “Gee, I’ve never seen those stringy things before. Maybe they’ll give us more than enough strings to fix the violin and make my own chubby boss real happy. Say, why don’t we go hit the place and heist some of those string-a-ma-jigs we can use to string up the violin?”
Lumpy: “Good idea, boss.”
Binky: “But isn’t some of the strings too long for that screech box of your uncle’s?”
Lumpy: “They maybe too long, Binky, but we can cut it short.”
Pooky: “And make it to where we can fit ’em on the violin and have Big Boss get his violin back for good with no strings attached other than what’s on the violin.”
Berserko: “Let’s head out there right now.”
Pooky: “But it ain’t opened yet.”
Berserko: “Who cares. We’ll go there anyway, heist those string-a-ma-jigs, turn around and head across the street to fill up these empty bags with a lot of good green stuff coming from the neighboring bank across the road from the harp shop.”
Berserko walks over to a large curtain covering a stage and reaches for the curtain lever.
Berserko: “And do ’em all with a touch of ancient history.”
Berserko opens the curtain to reveal a strange vehicle resembling an ancient Roman palace.
Berserko: “Just like Nero taking the Roman City by firestorm with his fiddlin’ playin, we can turn up the heat, pull a few strings at the harp shop, clean the bank of its filthy money, and come back here to fix the violin in a jiffy. It’ll be a cinch.”
Binky: “Sounds Greek to me, Boss.”
Lumpy: “Then what are we waiting for? Let’s harp to it! Crime’s-a-wasting!”
The crooks merrily raced into the hideout’s dressing room. Five minutes later, they came out dressed up as Imperial Roman soldiers who blew out a trumpeting fanfare with their kazoos to introduce Berserko who appears to dress up as Caligula, the mad emperor. Then, they all got into the Palace vehicle and took off to carry out their criminal plans. A moment later, Ms. Demeanor and Rock Krusher arrived with the actual strings made just for the violin.
Krusher: “Here we are at the hideout. Sure hope he’s here.”
Ms Demeanor: “Big Boss is still steaming mad over what Berserko has done to that poor violin last night. Fortunately I have the new strings needed to replace the old ones Berserko broke while fiddling around with the instrument. Come on, Krusher. Let’s go see if he’s around.”
Krusher and Ms. Demeanor both got out of the car and approach the doorway to Berserko’s hideout and went inside, only to find themselves falling through one of the security trap doors…
Ms. Demeanor and Krusher: “UH OH! AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!”
…and sliding through the tubes…
Ms. Demeanor and Krusher: “WHOOOAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHH!!”
…to a room filled with 2 large mechanical teddy bears…
Ms. Demeanor and Krusher: “YEEEEEAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHH!!!!!”
…that chased them all over the place..
Ms. Demeanor and Krusher: “HHHEEEEEEEEEEELLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLPPPPPPP!!!!”
Fix-it: “Uh oh. Hang on, guys!”
..until Fix-it, Berserko’s personal robot janitor came in and pulled the plug on both robots.
Krusher: *panting* Thanks.
Fix-it: “Uh, sorry about those bears, guys. You know how Berserko’s security system is rigged to trapped even us crooks. I fell in Berserko’s traps many times myself, you know.”
Ms. Demeanor: *panting* “We came for Berserko to get back the Stradivarius violin from him. *whew* Have you seen him?”
Fix-it: “Nope. He’s not here. He and the gang have gone out to rob a bank and pay a new music store called Empire Harps a visit so he can steal some strings from one of the instruments I never heard of and use it to repair some priceless violin you guys were talking about.”
Krusher: *smacking his forehead* “Oh Geez! Is he’s so stupid or what? Doesn’t he know that harp strings won’t work on violins? Besides. Ms. Demeanor has the actual violin strings right in her hand.”
Fix-it: “I don’t think he cares, Krusher. To him, a string is a string. It doesn’t matter what type of string there is out there. All he wants are strings to repair the violin and give it back to Big Boss so he can play it to his heart’s content.”
Ms. Demeanor: “Do you know where the harp shop is?”
Fix-it: “Beats me. Never heard of that place before. What you can do is follow those tire tracks they left behind. Maybe you’ll find Berserko, his gang, and the violin that way.”
Ms. Demeanor: “Thanks, but we have other ideas on where to go to look for Berserko.”
Krusher: “Yeah. And hopefully it doesn’t involve falling into *gulp* treacherous traps. *looking nervously back at those 2 fearsome mechanical teddy bears*”
Later, at 11:28am, all the C.O.P.S. team members regrouped at the precinct to make their report.
Mace: “Well the music’s been returned to the Fancy Fiddlin’ Violin Place.”
Bowser: “Yeah. And I never seen the store’s owner so happy to have them back. I wish it’s the same for the owner of the Melody Tunes Music Store.”
Mace: “So do I. How did you guys do, LongArm and Hardtop?”
Hardtop: “Everything’s ok at the other music stores. How did you two handle it at Empire Harps, Mainframe and Bulletproof?”
Mainframe: “We weren’t able to go inside the store because it’s still closed. It’ll open at 1pm this afternoon.”
Bulletproof: “I can’t wait. There’s something about that place that could bring me pure joy and delight that will cause my arms to sway and my fingers to wiggle in a much graceful fashion.”
LongArm: “Um, am I suspecting that you are going to play the harp, sir?”
Suddenly the crime alarm went off before Bulletproof has a chance to answer.
LongArm: “The alarm!”
The C.O.P.S. immediately head to the radar map to find a flashing red dot appearing in a certain area.
Barricade: “There a robbery in progress at The Double Edge Shop*.”
Bulletproof: “Berserko must be there with the violin. Mace, LongArm, proceed and bag ’em at once.”
Mace: “Let’s get it on.”
LongArm: “Look out, crooks at The Double Edge Shop, here comes double trouble straight from the C.O.P.S.!”
At once, Mace and LongArm head down the tubes and into the streets on a rendezvous course with another criminal bust.
*a store that sells knives, swords, and spear collectibles in Empire City. Watch out Mace and LongArm!
*to be continued*