“Detective Song?” A policewoman approached J.J. Song as he crossed the yellow plastic strip around the crime scene. He nodded and extended a hand to introduce himself, but the policewoman grabbed his hand and interrupted him before he spoke. “Oh It’s okay!” she said and brought a finger to her lips to keep him quiet. “I’ve heard all about you, don’t say…,” she winked at him and nudged his rib with her elbow, “I mean don’t sing a thing.” She laughed at her own joke, and J.J. joined her. It was far from the first time he’d heard it, but she seemed to be happy. J.J. nodded at her with a smile and enjoyed not having to speak. “This way,” she said finally and turned around to walk towards a covered corpse.
They reached the center of activity and the policewoman lifted the tarp to reveal the body to J.J. A short, tanned, young man wearing several gold chains and nothing else. J.J. opened his mouth to ask a question, but the policewoman was quick to interrupt him.
“Yep, the guy from that reality show. We’ve already got someone fetching a warrant for the show’s tapes, and the cast is on their way downtown for questioning. Oh, by the way, you can call me Brandy. Like the song, you know?” she smiled at him. J.J. nodded. He did not have a reply to that and instead turned to look back at the athletic corpse. Three different stab wounds dotted the star’s chiseled torso. J.J. walked around the man looking at the body from different angles. He also noted signs of strangulation around the neck, bruises in a strange pattern. Another officer approached them and addressed Brandy.
“We got a confession from one of the co-stars,” the new officer said. “Chase Johnston.” J.J. took in the new information and shook his head. He opened his mouth, but Brandy interrupted him again.
“You’re right, J.J. That doesn’t seem right. But I am surprised that you watch the show too.”
“What?” the other officer asked. Brandy sighed as if her conversation was interrupted.
“Chase wouldn’t hurt a fly. Anyone that watches the show will tell you that.” Brandy explained. The other officer shrugged.
“I’m just the messenger,” he turned to walk away. “But you know they’re just actors, right?” Brandy turned her attention back to J.J.
“Of course they’re actors, right?” She scoffed. “But anyone can see Chase has a heart of gold.” J.J. gave a polite nod, but Brandy kept talking before he could add to the conversation. She pointed to the body. “Drew here was like Chase’s brother. No way he would’ve killed him.” J.J. remained quiet while she thought. Despite her eagerness to talk over him, J.J. considered her a bright young woman. He already had an answer, but he wondered if Brandy would figure it out. After a moment of silence, she kept talking.
“Not by himself anyway… but what if..” her eyes went wide. “MONICA!” She yelled and grabbed J.J. by his dark tie. J.J. nodded at her with a smirk. “That conniving little tart,” Brandy hissed, then she looked at J.J. with an awkward smile. “This is better than the show!” J.J. nodded at the body. “Oh yeah, sorry.”
“I’m willing to bet Monica whispered in his ear. Those marks around Drew’s neck looked familiar, and then I remembered. They look like they’d match up perfectly with Monica’s knit scarf, smart of her to do it in July,” J.J. finally got words out when Brandy’s attention was on the corpse. By the time he finished speaking Brandy stared at him with wide eyes and mouth agape.
“YOU CAN TALK??! They told me you can only sing,” she said. A small blush filled in her cheeks as embarrassment overcame her. J.J. shook his head and gave her a kind smile.
“I can only speak in song lyrics, but I don’t have to sing them.”
“But.. what song are you using now?” She asked. “I don’t get it.”
“It’s not as debilitating, or fun, ” he gave Brandy a stern look. “as most people think it is. In reality, as long as I’ve heard a word in a song somewhere, I can use it. I listened to a lot of music, and then just eventually wrote my own to help get me to reach some words I was still missing.”
“You can write your own music?” Brandy asked. J.J. nodded.
“Sure, it’s just little jingles, but it works. It’s not like my disorder knows what songs are popular and only lets me use those lyrics. Anything set to music I can add it to my vocabulary.” The second officer approached again.
“New victim and they’re tying it to this case. Another cast member, Monica something.”