The Oscillating Harmonicist Equation

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The door to the office burst open. “Inspector Sho!” shouted the man as he darted in. “You’re needed right away. There’s been a murder at the symphony!”
Inspector Sho looked up from the case file he’d been examining; a puzzling problem pertaining to the location of the recently pilfered painting by Juan M. Física, which he called Physical Paradox. Inspector Sho knew where it had been, but not where it was going and there were far too many variables to predict the outcome. No matter. He had plenty of time to collect the pertinent data before it was sold.
“What time is it Constable?” asked Inspector Sho as he threw on his coat.
“A quarter past the hour, sir,” answered the constable with a perplexed look on his face.
“And what time did the murder take place?”
“Right at noon, sir.”
“We got lucky. We might just make it.”
Fifteen minutes later found the duo standing in the symphony hall. “Just in time I would think,” said the Inspector. He looked down at the body of Kal Kulus, a well-known principle from a local university. The man had been knocked from the balcony thirty feet above and hit the ground about four thirds of a second later. That was if Inspector Sho’s math was correct, and it usually was. It probably would have seemed like a lot longer from Kal’s perspective he admitted to himself, though. A mystery in itself.
“If I’m right,” announced Inspector Sho to audience and the orchestra, “the killer is still here with us in this very room.” His proclamation was met with a collective gasp.
“But Inspector Sho, how can you tell?” exclaimed the baffled constable.
“We have the restoring force of the orchestra to thank for that. The culprit would know he’d look guilty if he fled the scene, so he shifted right on back. I suspect if we’d gotten here a minute later though, he would have run.”
Inspector Sho looked around the room taking in every minute detail before spinning suddenly to the security guard at the door. “Guard…Radians, is it?” Inspector Sho asked, reading from the man’s nametag.
“Yes sir, that’s me,” replied the guard.
“Did you keep track of who came in and out of the door after the performance started?”
“No sir,” said Guard Radians with a flush of embarrassment. “I’d gone over to the dessert table,” he admitted sheepishly.
“No doubt digging into the apple pie. Tell me, was there a pie missing from the table that you hadn’t eaten?” inquired the Inspector. The guard’s eye’s opened wide in amazement. “Don’t worry. The missing pie and your lapse of attention might actually help us get to the bottom of this. If you had introduced any friction by trying to stop the murderer, who knows where he might have ended up.”
“Now then,” continued the Inspector. “Do you recall the rally we passed on the way here constable?”
“Sure do,” replied the Constable. “Something about equal representation for the Osmium society.”
“No way he’d have gotten through there. It was too densely packed,” concluded Inspector Sho. “I would say that was about a mile away. So we know that the murder happened here and that the killer took fifteen minutes to get there and fifteen more to get back. We also know they would have been too large to make it through the rally. What can we derive from these clues Constable?”
The Constable screwed up his eyes and a vein came close to bursting on his forehead as he thought. “The killer is an older man in seat R226!” he shouted out.
“Completely wrong methodology!” said the inspector with an exasperated sigh as the man in that particular seat let loose a small fart in shock. “It means we’re looking for a sweaty man who would take fifteen minutes to run a mile there and fifteen more to run back and who has a weakness for sweets.” Inspector Sho spun around on his heels and eyed the orchestra. “Everyone needs to line up by height!” shouted the inspector.
Before the orchestra could do so, a man in the front row bolted for the door. "That’s our sine!” shouted the constable.
“Precisely correct,” confirmed the Inspector Sho raising an impressed eyebrow. With that, he stuck out his foot, tripping the man as he ran down the aisle.
Guard Radians and the constable grabbed the man and pulled him to his feet. Inspector Sho stared him down, taking in the cherry filling on his fingers and pie crumbs on his coat. “Ozzie L. Ater; the harmonica soloist from tonight’s performance. I should have known it was you all along,” declared the inspector. “Not so easy to run when you have to account for an outside force, is it? I’d even venture to guess you’d eaten a whole pie before we caught up to you. Does that sound about right?”
The harmonica soloist grumbled his assent as he was dragged away.
“But Inspector Sho, how did you know?” asked the conductor.
“Why, just some simple physics and a bit of luck. We knew where the man was and how far he could have gone in between the time of the murder and now. I also suspected the man had eaten a pie from the dessert table, and if we’d let him get away, he probably would have grabbed another on his way out. From there, we just needed to find the man whose height and build would indicate the frequency at which he could travel. His penchant to run saved us from doing that work however.”
“Amazing, inspector,” replied the conductor. “I can’t even tell where the luck came in it at all!”
“Well, I had to assume that Ozzie L. Ater walked to the performance today. Is that correct?”
“Yes, I believe he did,” replied the conductor.
“I suspected so,” said Inspector Sho. “If he had driven, this all would have been much more complicated.”

About the Author: 
Chris Weinell is a recent graduate from college in NY having studied Psychology and Anthropology. He is currently travelling and exploring the world.