C.O.P.S. Seeing Empire Harps for the first time.


No other musical instrument in the world compares to the harp, one of the most oldest musical instruments in world history. Its heavenly, ringing sound have brought pleasure and joy to millions of people for thousands of years from the grand palaces in Egypt to the towering castles in Ireland. Its ancestry can be traced to the bow, one of the most ancient of weapons which can produce a pleasant, ringing sound by the pluck of the string. An early hunter must have been inspired by the sound the bow makes when an arrow is shot from it. While experimenting with the bow, he gathered a few additional strings and put them on the bow’s framework. Then, he plucked them and found that the short string can create a much higher pitch than the longer string. The longer strings create deep, low pitched sounds, the shorter strings create crisp, high pitched sounds. With this result, the hunter discovers that he can combine many different sounds to form a delightful melody. Thus, creating the world’s first harp.
Over time, the harp made many changes in appearance from the bow shape (Similar to The Punisher’s WarHarp), a square shape, a curvy, Celtic triangular shape, to a more familiar shape we see today. As the harp evolved, methods have been used to improve its sound, such as the adding of the foot pedals used by the foot to operate the rods which turns the disks that tuned the strings into the key of either flat, natural, or sharp during play.
This modern mechanism for the harp was invented by a well known instrument maker named Sebastian Erard (pronounced “ear-hard”) who lived in France at the turn of the 19th century. In 1794, Erard first created and patented the first single action pedal harp which allow the harp to be played only in the key of sharp and natural. Thus, limiting the harp to playing only songs in only those 2 keys. Then in 1810, Erard made major improvements on the harp by developing a new double action pedal harp which allow no limits to the kinds of songs one can play in any key whether it’s in the key of flat, natural, or sharp. The double action pedal harp instantly became a huge hit and prompted other harp companies to spring up and create pedal harps of their own brands using the same methods Erard used to make his harps sound as sweet and heavenly as a certain concert harp named LadyHarp, who will play a major role in the second half of this caper by greatly capturing the heart and soul of a certain C.O.P.S. Officer, help the C.O.P.S. team put a damper on another criminal caper, and then ultimately arose to serve the C.O.P.S. unit as its official mascot.
Back at the precinct, Bulletproof leaves his office with some money he keeps locked tight in his handcuffed suitcase worth $25,000. Bulletproof is a very rich man, but not as rich as the Big Boss who earned his wealth from his henchmen performing criminal acts to satisfy his unending greed for wealth and power. Bulletproof, on the other hand, honestly earns his wealth from fighting crime and wishes to use some of it to purchase a harp. It’s only 5 minutes before Empire Harps opens up for business and Bulletproof is ready to go try out on a great, big, beautiful harp.
Mainframe: “All set for Empire Harps, BP?”
Bulletproof: “You bet. My cash, locked tight in my handcuff suitcase, is ready, my fingers are ready, and so am I.”
The crime alarm suddenly went off once more.
Mainframe: “Oh, no. What now?”
Looking at the map the two notice a flashing red dot located at — of all things — the street where Empire Harps is located!!!
Bulletproof: “NO!”
Mainframe: “‘fraid so, BP. Let’s get out there!!”
Down the tubes they went. Into the Ironsides and Bulletproof’s green car they go. “ZOOOM!!” went the Ironsides with sirens screaming in full blast. Other officers joined in to provide backup. When they arrived, they find exactly what the 2 have dreaded, a tank in shape of a Roman Palace that crashed into the bank. But Empire Harps have not been touched. Nevertheless, the two C.O.P.S. and the officers quickly armed themselves ready for battle and stormed out to face the crooks. They race toward the emergency door. Bulletproof kicks open the door and the team barge in.
Bulletproof: “FREEZE!!! WE’RE C.O.P.S. AND… *looks about* ..and.. *looks about again* and.. ??”
The team became puzzled. Lowering their weapons and looking around, they notice that everything around here seems to be running smoothly as if nothing happened save a shattered door to the bank vault that have been blown open by the now-destroyed tank (its gun is plugged up by a large arrow), 3 unusually dressed crooks being lead out in handcuffs by what appears to be a different kind of independent law enforcers, and scattered debris lying around at the main entrance being cleaned up by the bank’s custodians.
Citizen: “and what, officers?”
Bulletproof: *lowers his weapon* “Never mind, citizen. Carry on.”
The team walks up to the teller’s booth to ask questions about what happened.
Bank Teller: “May I help you?”
Bulletproof: “There is… or was… an armed robbery in progress here. But by the time we arrived, everything’s seems to be under control. What happened?”
Bank Teller: “Mr. Erard has just thwarted a bank robbery attempt and apprehended the would-be bank robbers with his outstanding archery skills. They’re being escorted to prison at this time. Unfortunately, one of them got away. I hope he gets caught soon. Everything was fine until a strange tank shaped like an ancient Roman Palace suddenly appeared, crashed into the bank, and blast open the safe. Then, 3 men dressed in Roman soldier outfits, armed with bows and arrows, came storming out of the tank and shouted something like, ‘Alright! Hold thou hands up to the ceiling and allow us to render unto Caesar what belongs to Caesar!’ That’s when we heard, ‘The nearest prison cell is where ‘Caesar’ shall be rendered unto along with the likes of thee!’ coming from Mr. Erard himself who then dove into battle, working his magic with his archery technique.
The 3 men fought back with the tank and their own brand of archery, but they were no match for Mr. Erard who first plugged up the gun with one of his huge arrows, stormed inside the tank, and destroyed the controls, causing the tank to overload and conk out. He then pinned the 3 criminals to the wall by their costume, forcing them to drop their weapons to the ground and surrender. As his 2 assistants came in to arrest the 3 would-be bank robbers, Mr. Erard turned his attention to ‘Caesar’ who was approaching Empire Harps across the street for some reason. Mr. Erard quickly confronted him just when he was about to break inside. ‘Caesar’, being armed with a sword tries to cut him down, but became pinned to the ground himself by Mr Erard whose skill in archery is said to be second to none. The sword ‘Caesar’ tried to use was torn from his hand by Mr. Erard’s own powerful bow and arrow. He then proceeded to arrest him, but ‘Caesar’ slipped through his silly Roman Caesar outfit and took off in his underwear, holding a broken stringed violin in his hand for reasons I can’t understand. Mr. Erard is pursuing him now. As for his 3 hired henchmen, Mr. Erard’s assistants, whom I believed to be his sons, is bringing them into custody as I speak. The tank will be taken in to be confiscated as well. Oh, look. There goes the tank now.”
The team turns and runs to the entrance to see the faux Roman palace on wheels being pulled away…
Bulletproof: “Gasp!”
Mainframe: “Holy Moley!”
….by a large thick chain attached to the most unusual, heavily-armored police vehicle they have ever seen.
Never mind Berserko’s outdated-by-thousands-of-years jalopy, take a look at what’s pulling it! A huge, eye-popping, 4-wheeled, 30 foot tall, Celtic harp-shaped vehicle (No kidding!) that resembles the famous harp icon seen on Guinness beer products.
Guinness harp detail.
Now picture that harp with wheels. Two large wheels in the back and two small wheels in the front. The curvy pillar with a flight of steps leading to the top of the neck that serves a cockpit for the vehicle. The soundboard that has a door at the very back that opens up to reveal a barred cell where the captured criminals gets placed inside to be taken to prison. In the front are 4 holes, two at the bottom, two at the top, which serve as normal headlights and a very large row of police lights lining the edge of the neck in the front. If you can picture that in your head, then you’ll have an idea of what this bizarre police vehicle looks like. The team just couldn’t help marveling at that eye-popping spectacle as it rolled away, hauling its criminal cargo all the way to prison.
Mainframe: “Wow!”
Bulletproof: “You can say that again.”
Bank Teller: “You should’ve been there to witness it all. Mr. Erard and his assistants were phenomenal.”
Bulletproof: “He’s a sure fire candidate for C.O.P.S. membership whoever he is. Is Empire Harps open?”
Bank Teller: “It should by now. Why don’t you go visit the store and check out its wonderful selection of harps?”
Bulletproof: “We will, citizen. Cuz’ It’s Harp Plucking Time!”
Bulletproof orders the officers to help secure the area as he and Mainframe left the bank and head across the street to Empire Harps which is now open for business. The two went inside and begin to gaze at the store and all of its wonderful harp displays such as these.
Inside a harp retailer store.
A role of harps at another retailer store.
Many different types of harps fill every isle of the store. There’s a section where harp accessories, books, and music sheets are sold and right at the back of the store next to a showcase displaying a collection of ancient harps coming from places such as Ireland, Africa, and China is an entrance to the practice room where people can go to either practice the harp, do harp lessons, or rehearse for an upcoming concert recital.
Mainframe: “I’ve been to music stores before, but nothing quite like this.”
Bulletproof: “These are the most magnificent harps I’ve ever seen. Look at this one.”
Mainframe: “I love the floral arrangements on this one. These guys who made this sure took themselves long hours to carefully craft this harp so well. I love the designs they painted on the soundboard. *reaches over to plucks a string* Ooo, I love that sound.”
Bulletproof: “Now this is interesting. A small harp that’s colored green. Hope it’s not sick.”The Salvi Erie in a green finish.Mainframe: “*giggles* No, they’re not sick, BP. It’s just the way they painted it. Usually they made the harp to come in brown and yellow finishes, but not this one. Nowadays many harps like this one now come in very odd colors like blue, red, black, purple, pink, even orange.”
Bulletproof: “The gold color along the outline and the crown match well with this harp.
Bulletproof looks at the label engraved on the mechanism section of the harp.
Bulletproof: “Manufactured from Aoyama harps. I bet this is a company from Japan that’s one of the best harp manufacturers out there.”
Mainframe: “This harp must be a real old one. *gently sweeping her hand across the strings* But it still has a beautiful sound.”
An old L&H Style 17 semi-concert harp.Bulletproof: *looking at a Salzedo harp* “Unusually well designed. I suspect Lyon & Healy got the idea to design this harp from playing building blocks.”
Mainframe: “Look at this one, BP.”
Bulletproof: “Beautiful! Look how it’s beautifully designed A splendid style 23 if I do say so myself.”
Mainframe: “How do you know it’s a style 23 harp?”
Bulletproof: “Look at the poster.”
Mainframe looks at the poster advertising the Lyon & Healy style 23 pedal harp ans sees what Bulletproof is talking about.
Mainframe: “Oh.”
Bulletproof: “I think I’ll play this harp here. How about you? What harp would you like to try playing?”
Mainframe: “I think I’ll try this one with the floral appearance.”
Bulletproof: “I’ll get some chairs for the both of us to sit behind the harps so we can both go a-pluckin’ and a-strummin’ like angels.”
But just as he turned to go find 2 chairs, suddenly a loud distress beeper coming from Bulletproof’s com link begins to go off.
Mainframe: *startled* “Wha–?”
Bulletproof: “The com link. It’s sending out a distressed alarm. *grabs his com link* Bulletproof calling the C.O.P.S. team. This is Bulletproof. Can you read me? Over.”
A certain harp: “Pl-l-l-l-link bing!” [“Uh oh!”]
Bulletproof: “Where are you guys at? Tell me!”
Mace: “We’re trapped..at the Carnival..of Crime..inside a video game machine! AAAAAIIIIIIEEEEEEE!!!!!”
Bulletproof: “Video game machine? What video game machine?”
Mainframe: *grabs the com link* “What “video game machine” are you trapped in? Come in, you guys! What’s going on? Are you still at Berserko’s hideout?”
Mainframe: “It’s dead. *gives back the com link* No doubt our friends are in the worst trouble of their lives. We gotta get out there and save them.”
Bulletproof: *whining* “Waaaaah. I wanna stay and play.”
Mainframe: “Oh, stay and play, you big cry baby. I’ll go out and rescue them myself.” *turns to leave*
Bulletproof grabs Mainframe by the arm to stop her.
Bulletproof: “Not without additional backup you will. *speaks through the com link* “Attention all units available. Priority one emergency. LongArm, Hardtop, Barricade, Mace, and Bowser and Blitz are in dire straights and need of rescue at Suspect Berserko’s Carnival of Crime Hideout. Proceed there at one and bring ’em out alive!!”
Highway: “Highway here! I’m zooming on it!”
Mirage: “Mirage in disguise! I’m on my way.”
Sundown: “Sundown’s a-heedin’ and I’m a-goin’.”
Bullseye: “Bullseye flyin’ into the danger zone. We’ll bail ’em out!”
Mainframe: “Mainframe here. I’ll meet you all the hideout in less than a minute.”
Bulletproof: “Here. Take some of my disks with you.”
Bulletproof reaches underneath his shirt to pull out a handful of explosive disks from his cyberchest to give to Mainframe.
Bulletproof: “They’ll certainly come in handy in fighting off what you’ll find at Berserko’s carnival of crime.”
Mainframe: *takes the disks* “Hang on, guys! Help is on the way!”
Mainframe rush out of the store and called the officers to join her. She hopped in the Ironsides, revs it up, and speeds off to join her teammates in the rescue mission with the officers follow not far behind.
Meanwhile at Berserko’s sinister hideout, Fix-it the robot is having a grand ol’ time accumulating a huge hi-score on “Cop Killer.”
Fix-it: “HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA!!!! Getting’ tired, coppers?”
Hardtop: *panting heavily* “Please.. no… we… can’t.. go.. on!”
Fix-it: “Sorry. Can’t stop now. I’m just gettin’ ready for the final stage of the game– Death in the line of duty – Armageddon style!!! HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA!!”
With that, Fix-it presses the button to reveal another city scene. This time the scene depicts an apocalyptic scenario depicting a city in ruins and destruction everywhere in the aftermath of nuclear attack.
Fix-it: “Prepare for The End, coppers! Cuz’ it’s now Judgment Day!”
Mainframe: “Wrong, Rust face!”
Fix-it: “Wha-?”
Mainframe: “It’s actually game over for you and your tin-can machine!”
With that Mainframe tosses one of Bulletproof’s disk at the machine.
Electrical currents surge throughout the machine, forcing it to release all the C.O.P.S. members (in tattered uniforms) trapped in the machine.
Freed C.O.P.S.: *dazed and hurt* “Ooooohhhhhhh..- Uhhhh.. – Ohhhh.. – Uhhhh. – What happened? – Where am I? – Aaaahhhhhh.”
Bullseye: “Back where you belong, guys. Safe and sound.”
Fix-it: “My lovely video game! It’s destroyed! You’ll pay for this, flatfoots!”
Fix-it runs up to another hideous video game machine called “Heck in the Sewers” and reaches for the machine’s button.
Fix-it: “Now let’s see if you all can survive being burned in– ”
Quickly, Mainframe throws another disk at Fix-it. It hit right smack dab on the robot’s forehead.
Fix-it: “AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa ” *collapses on the floor and conks out*
.and Fix-it’s criminal days are over and under arrest!
Hardtop: “Thanks, Mainframe. You save our lives.”
Mainframe: *nodding* “Don’t mentioned it, Hardtop. Anything to get friends like you out of trouble.”
Mace: “Whew! Glad to be out of that darn game!”
Barricade: “Me, too, pal.”
Hardtop: “I’ll be more glad to get out of here. I’ve had enough of this ruckus-of-a-circus for one day.”
Blitz: *affirming Hardtop* “Arf Arf!”
Bowser: *slowly getting up* “You said it, Blitz.”
LongArm: “Hold it! We mustn’t forget these things. *points to the stolen items on the broken crane machine* These are all the rest of stolen loot taken from Babydoll Toys and various jewel outlets we’ve uncovered at last after looking all over for them for several months.”
Bullseye: “Wow! So that’s where the rest of the stolen jewels and toys have gone.”
Barricade: “We gotta bring them back to the precinct so we can work on returning them back to their rightful owners right after we nabbed that virtuoso villain and recover the stolen violin before he damages it further.”
As the team gathers up all the stolen items and load them, and Fix-it, too, inside their vehicles, Mace took time to destroy the evil arcade machines with his “Teddy” so that no one, cop or citizen, will ever go through what he and his team have been through. As soon as everything were all loaded up, the team loaded into their respective vehicles and drove away from Berserko’s hideout to bring the stolen items to headquarters to be returned back to their rightful owners later and cart Fix-it the robot off to prison. Then Mainframe leads the team to Empire Harps where they all find Bulletproof behaving like a kid in a candy store, having a ball harping on the lovely style 23 harp, pluck, pluck, plucking away at the strings.
Bulletproof: “Hmmm. *strums* Such a great instrument of jubilee. *strums* Not bad for an amateur like me. *strums* How good a Bulletproof Harpist will I be *strums* is something we shall see.” *rolling glissando*
Sighing merrily, Bulletproof pause to savor the moment.
LongArm: “Uh, sir?”
Bulletproof: *turns to look at the team* “Oh! It’s you, folks! Hello there and welcome to Empire Harps! I’m Special Harpist Agent Bulletproof Vess and..”
C.O.P.S.: “Huh? Wha-?”
Bulletproof: *bursting out into loud hysterical laughter* DA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA!! I’m only kidding! Glad to see all of you all here!”
Putting the harp down, Bulletproof gets up to greet his team members who told him about their ordeal with Berserko, Fix-it and his arcade of doom, and the rescue that happened after that.
Bulletproof: “You guys must have had it real rough trying to escape Berserko’s terrible amusement hideout. Was it really hard for you Mainframe, Highway, Sundown, Mirage, and Bullseye to infiltrate the hideout to save the rest of the team?”
Bullseye: “Nope. It was no trouble at all.”
Mainframe: “And a few disks you gave me sure did the trick in short circuiting Fix-it and his virtual arcade of doom.”
Bulletproof: “Did you encounter anyone else at the hideout?”
Highway: “Nope. No one else was there. But we did uncovered the rest of the missing loot the crooks stole a few months ago from Babydoll Toys and the jewelry outlets nearby.”
Mirage: “Which leaves Berserko and the stolen Stradivarius Violin to contend with.”
Mace: “Say. There a big hole and huge tracks underneath it at The Bank of the People. Was there a robbery attempt made a while back?”
Bulletproof: “You guys have just got to hear about a certain individual by the name of Mr. Erard whom I’m determined to make a welcoming addition to the C.O.P.S. team. He was the one who successfully thwarted the first robbery attempt at the bank across the street, but I’ll tell you about it later. Berserko is still on the loose with the stolen violin. He could be hiding within the vicinity at this moment for an opportunity to strike back at any time. Back into the streets, all of you. Track down and apprehend Berserko before he strikes again.”
C.O.P.S.: “Yes, sir!”
All the C.O.P.S. saluted their leader and raced out of the store. Into the vehicles they went and off they go to find and arrest Berserko and get the violin back.
Bulletproof: *wiggling his fingers* Now to resume my harp plucking fun!
A certain harp: “Ching Tink!” [“All Right!”]
*to be continued*


Sherry Konkus

Sherry Konkus lives in Owosso, MI. She is the proud owner of the Camac Athena EX Concert Grand Harp named "Grover" and Camac Mademoiselle named "Ernie." She's also the proud author of The Punisher Harp Zone. Sherry is the one who came up with the idea of portraying The Punisher from Marvel Comics as the punishing harpist who plays the harp in memory of his family who was killed by the mob years ago.