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Rated: E · Fiction · Mystery · #2259242
How is it possible for a bus of musicians to vanish?
         With the sirens blaring and the red and blue lights flashing Captain O'Leary screeched to a halt next to two yellow school buses still idling in the town square. Tugging an incident book free of his shirt pocket and flipping it open O'Leary strode to a group of disheveled people advancing on the local mayor with raised voices.
         "Hey, hold on there, I'm Captain O'Leary and I'm willing to pretend I didn't just see a mob attempting to lynch my boss if you back off and settle down. You're not the only ones who want answers and to that end I'll be asking the questions."
          Ignoring the scowls and shrugs the Captain waded into the seething scrum scribbling furiously as he absorbed every shared observation, every panicked theory.
         Rubbing the coarse stubble on his cheek O'Leary climbed aboard the first parked bus that he understood had meant to be the middle vehicle in a three-bus procession. At the rear he discovered two plastic cooler chests still stuffed full which jibed with the statements of the confused passengers who reported grumbling stomachs they could not understand because they'd all planned to party during their trip. After a few fiddled switches, O'Leary managed to turn on the overhead monitor which assaulted his eyes with bright dancing images and droned in a steady monotone. Someone shaking his arm and shouting his name snapped the officer back to the present where he swayed on his feet gripping the head rest of the driver's seat. O'Leary stumbled out the open bus door massaging his temples, fighting to control his breathing.
          The walkie talkie on his hip squawked, "Fife here, are you there Captain? Some hikers phoned in a report of a bus full of sleeping kids tucked into a forested trail head. Mrs. Stone thinks you might want to check it out 'cause that sounds hinky."
          Without an invitation, O'Leary grabbed a spluttering Mayor Writon and stuffed him into the front seat of his cruiser.
         "Buckle up Mayor, we have a lead and by the way who did I just tear you away from?"
          "That odious toad is Letzall Singh the former and fired choir master offering to fill in for the missing entertainers who he pointed out were probably sleeping off a night of exuberant uncalled for celebration."
         The two men settled into a tense silence as they bucked and bounced over the wallows of a winding dirt road.
          Clambering aboard the waylaid bus, O'Leary and Writon checked pulses relieved to learn the kids were indeed sleeping and not injured.
         Pausing outside to gather his thoughts and still fuzzy-headed like the witnesses had been, O'Leary tripped over a pair of large boots attached to a man's inert body under the front of the bus. Growling a curse, he barked into his walkie talkie, "Fife send the Doc up to my location and then hurry yourself over to the festivities to look for a suspect."
         After an exceptionally busy two hours, Writon at the wheel honked and waved as he parked the once missing bus in the town square to the roar of cheers.
         Striding to a microphone Captain O'Leary assured the Founder's Day celebrants he'd solved the latest mystery to befuddle Bardstown and he revealed Letzall Singh to be the callous mastermind who'd meant to avenge his unfair, demeaning dismissal.
         "He also murdered his accomplice Ralph Cramptin who drugged his musical passengers and kidnapped them as their supporters were hypnotized on their bus into thinking they were following the first one which had disappeared from the route."
( 21 lines )
          The mind-boggling prompt that precedes my above unravelling.

*News* Bard's Hall News!

*PoliceCar**Police* *PoliceCar* *Police*

Cop Shop Mystery!

What happened to the Greyhound bus bringing the choral group and band to perform for Bardstown Founder’s Day event's 21st decade?

*ConfettiR* It’s the 21st decade of The Town’s Founding! *ConfettiB*

It’s hard to believe that ten years have passed since the eventful night of the time capsule opening and the embarrassing secrets that were revealed. But then, life goes on!

Yes, the Founder’s Day celebrations will be in full force, with music, dancing singing, raffles, carnival rides and lots of games and food.

Mayor Writon had spent a couple years wheeling and dealing to arrange for the best school marching band and chorale in the country! They were expected to arrive in town at 4:00 p.m. to be all set up for their performance. A couple other buses were to follow along behind that busload of talented youths. Those buses would carry the proud parents, relatives, and fun-seeking tourists from other towns who were anxious to celebrate along with the Bardstownians.

At four O’clock the sound of buses filled the town square. The mayor was beside himself with joy as he watched one, bus, two, bus … “Wait! We are one bus short!” *Shock2*

When the first busload disembarked, the people's faces were visibly shocked! *Shock2*

Back at The Cop Shop:

Ring-Riiiiiiiing! *Phone*

“Captain O’leary, how may I help you?”

“O’Leary, why are you answering the phone? Where’s your help, you know what a big night this is!”

“Well mayor, it’s like this, Jones’s wife went into labor, so he’s at County General. Young officer Tibbs, asked for a leave of absence so he could be with his mother during her surgery recovery. He was up for a vacation, anyway. As you probably know, Officer Smith is already at the town square, along with officer Dooley to help with crowd control. And …”

“Quit your babbling O’Leary, I need you now, do ya hear me? Now! We are missing a busload of students. The bus disappeared right in plain sight. The tourist buses are here, but our musical entertainment for the parade and start of the festivities never made it here.

Oh, and the kicker? All three buses were traveling together! Find a retired cop, deputy or even the dang fossil of a librarian to watch the shop. I need you here, NOW!

“Ahh, yes, sir I’ll get on that right away. You do realize Old deputy Fife is getting a little frail, not to mention that Mrs. Stone, the librarian is close to a hundred years old – but, I’ll get them down here.”

“Thank you, beg, bribe whatever they want to answer the phones give it to them!”

Yes, sir! I can tell you that Deputy Fife loves corn-dogs and spun sugar. Mrs. Stone will probably need lots of yarn and some knitting needles to keep her happy.”

“They’ll have them! Be here as soon as your replacements get there, and my son Sam will deliver all their necessities for the evening.”

The Mystery to Solve is:

What happened to the bus?

Who took the bus?

Why was the bus taken?

Where are the people on that bus, band, choir and music directors? *People*

*Idea*Possible Suspects:

*BulletGr* Mayor Doyle in Spearestown?
*BulletB* Judge Leonard, who’s son is celebrating his 21st birthday on the same day?
*BulletO* The mayor’s son, Sam, who's sick of being under the Mayor's thumb?
*BulletV* Disgruntled, fired, choir master, Letzall Singh?
*BulletG* Ralph Cramptin, the bus driver
*BulletR* Officer Tibbs -- is he really with his convalescing mother?

OR, is it another person? ... Create a character who could have been "the one."
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