Franklin Cosgraves sat alone at his piano in the conservatory. He was a singer songwriter Franklin rolled his head around in a circle then dropped it to look at the keys in front of him. He stretched out his fingers, steepled them and cracked his knuckles. Franklin then began his warm-up exercise.
Franklin started the movement. Slow at first. Fingers sluggish on the ivories. Soon they sped up, and he found that he was beginning to enjoy himself. Franklin continued through the motions. His fingers were getting faster and faster; a smile crept onto his face.
Franklin craned his head backwards. Looked up through the glass ceiling at the branches the obscured the blue sky on a sunny day. Franklin came to the final movement his hands possessed as he reached the crescendo. He laughed loud. Franklin slumped. His head dropped back down to the keys, squinting his eyes as if he were trying to focus in on that new idea.
Somewhere in the back of his mind, he felt an idea for a melody coming to the fore.
Franklin reached down beside him and grabbed the folder beside his feet and set it on his knees. He opened it and took out the notes that the lady from the government had given him. Franklin looked down at the instructions and thought about what she was asking him. Wanting a brand new song within three days because that was how creativity works. Franklin knew that he could have a song within that time, but it would not be the song that would turn the tide. Franklin only had a few hours before the deadline.
The government had never rejected any of Franklin’s music. More importantly, the government had always paid Franklin. They kept using him more and more often. Used him for more compositions. Each time the deadline would be much closer before he began writing. Franklin knew that there would be a time coming that he would start the project on the hour of it’s due, but it was not today.
Franklin wanted to hand back the song that would make the difference in the war. He had been hired seven times by the government and seven times he had given them what they asked.
Franklin thought about how long the fighting had been going on. The war was going to go on forever. There was a chance that the government was elongating the killing. Franklin looked back at the notes. “to increase the killing of enemy combatants,” had he not seen this before? No, he had spent the wartime in a drunken haze hoping to never come out of the fog. The fog was clearing due to restrictions on alcohol rationing.
The singer songwriter could see clearly.
An extended war.
The government had suspended all elections since the fighting started. Everyone who objected was getting paid to shut up. He included himself. Franklin realized he’d been receiving blood money. Franklin knew that people would die because of his propaganda. His music was an upbeat contemporary flow, jolly little jaunts. It was the lyrics, lyrics dripping with hatred.
Franklin thought the government used his songs as a subtle means to end the war, not increase the killing. He decided that he would do something he hadn’t done in a long time. Franklin wasn’t worried about getting paid. He was going to write a piece of music that would demoralize the soldiers on his side. Franklin would have to do it subtly.
The bureaucrats in the offices would be slow to comprehend. If they did, then it would not matter they would stop using his services. Franklin knew that if he were found out, it would mean arrest and execution. Franklin didn’t care. He wanted the killing to end, he didn’t care about winners or losers. Franklin the singer songwriter played beautifully.