Song Title Challenge #14: Battle Hymn of the Republic – Julia Ward Howe

It’s time for this week’s Song Title Challenge.

Write a short piece of fiction, around 300 words, using the song title as your story title but don’t listen to the song.  You can pick your own genre or use the one suggested to me.  Remember to link back to this post so I can find yours.

If you would like to suggest a song title for a future post, you can do so from the challenge page.  You can also leave a suggestion on the Facebook page.

This week’s song is The Battle Hymn of the Republic by Julia Ward Howe and the genre is Crime/Mystery.  Thanks to bumblepuppies for the suggestion.

Battle Hymn of the Republic

All I had to go on was the address of an office in Brooklyn.  I arrived five minutes early to find the door ajar.  My gut told me to call the cops, let them handle it, but my curiosity won out.  I pushed open the door.

He was sitting behind his desk, head bowed forward like he was reading.  The Battle Hymn of the Republic blared full-blast from an old-fashioned gramophone in the corner.

I rapped on the glass.  “Mr Brody?  It’s Sam Thompson.  We spoke on the phone?”

No reaction.  I drew my .38 as I entered the office.  It was a plain square room and it only took a glance to assure me that we were alone.  I moved toward the desk.

The music rose to a crescendo as the final chorus reached its end, the soprano voice thundering from the gramophone, “Our God…is…march…ing…on!”

The needle reached the end of the record and settled into the central groove.  I became aware of the hum of the AC in the window to my left.

I suspected Mr Brody had fallen asleep, so I reached across and lightly shook his shoulder.  His body slumped forward onto the desk, revealing a gaping hole in the back of his head.

I took a step back, raising my gun out of reflex.  I had to get out of here, quick.

“Freeze, dirtbag!  Put down the weapon and turn around, nice and slow.”

Shit!  This wasn’t good.  I laid the .38 down on the desk and turned around, saying the same words more perps than I could remember had said to me over the years and knowing just how idiotic it sounded.

“Officer, this isn’t what it looks like…”

Copyright © 2013 Herman Kok