Once upon a time, the New Bedford Orpheum was a beacon of culture and nightlife for the city. Symphonies of jazz and hope pulled the city through Prohibition and the Great Depression. Nickel film strips kept the populace sane through the Third Reich and into the Cold War. Until the day its benefactors abandoned it to pass through several unworthy hands and the merciless beat of time.
One of those unworthy owners was Pierre Ducraque, member of the Club of French Sharpshooters. A man of sophistication and opulence over substance and sense.
But unlike the Orpheum, he didn’t not suffer the ravage of age anymore. Whatever evil had gotten to him had done far worse, leaving his mangled body on center stage for all to witness.
Yet this was no simple assault, for the old man likely mustered little defense. No, whoever had gotten to Pierre made his body into an offering to the Orpheum itself. In honor of the many operas that echoed within its walls, his tongue and voicebox had been removed, placed inside the 3rd act of Les Troyens. For the many performers to dance across its stage, a fine pair of tap shoes had been mailed to Pierre’s feet.
But for the sychophantic betrayal of the Orpheum into the hands of lesser owners, the Parisian’s intestines were now draped over his neck like a fine scarf, and he held his heart in his hands, bound together in mid-applause the velvet rope that once guided artisans and the elite to their entertainment.
Such a brazen display of death spoke volumes as to motive, as such a kill would take time. This was rage. This was passion. This was a work of art.
And it wouldn’t be the last the Orpheum Killer would claim in honor of their mistress.
My entry for this past week’s Mid-Week Flash Challenge, based on the forgotten bones and soul of the New Bedford Orpheum. Because everyone’s a critic, and not just of art.
I hope you all enjoy.