Identifying suspects wasn’t usually part of Klavier’s job description, but when he asked Ema who he was prosecuting and she replied that they were still trying to figure out who did it, he decided to come down to the police station to help.
This was how he and Ema ended up with the witness in front of five men, all about six feet tall with the same build, any of whom could be the murderer.
“She said she didn’t even get a good look at the culprit,” said Ema, frustrated, chewing on a snackoo.
“What about their voice? Did you hear them?” he directed his question at the witness.
She had to think a little to remember. “Oh yeah, before the murder he was singing along to the song that was playing at the bar.”
“Now we can narrow it down. Was he a tenor, baritone, bass?”
Ema rolled her eyes. “Oh my god, fop, she’s not going to know his vocal range.”
The witness assented with the forensic investigator.
“Ja, well, do you remember the song?”
“Uh, it was a really old song, like from the 1990’s. I think it was the Backstreet Boys.”
Klavier nodded, jogging his memory of 90’s pop songs. “Was it ‘Everybody’?”
“No, I don’t think so.”
“‘I Want It That Way’?”
“Yeah, I think that was it.”
“Wunderbar, this is just up my alley.”
“Bad pop music is just up your alley?” Ema teased.
“It’s an excellent song, fräulein .” He turned to the suspects behind the glass and spoke into the microphone. “Number one, can you sing the first few bars of ‘I Want It That Way’?”
The first suspect shuffled in his spot. “Um, I guess…
“You are my fire.”
Klavier looked to the witness for confirmation, and she shook her head.
“Ach, let’s try again. Number two, keep going.”
“My one desire.”
Klavier snapped in time to the rhythm in his head and pointed to the third suspect like a conductor.
“Believe when I say,” —then Klavier said “Everybody!” and all the suspects joined in— “I want it that way.”
Klavier started air guitaring while he sang with the rest.
“Tell me why! ” Ema covered her ears at the prosecutor’s outburst.
“Ain’t nothing but a heartache,” they continued.
“Te-ell me why.”
“Ain’t nothing but a mistake.”
“Number five!” He pointed.
“I never want to hear you say,
“I want it that way.”
At this point Klavier got so into the music that he did an air guitar solo. It’d been a while since he’d sang in front of people, but he remembered why he loved it so much. Maybe he should go back into music soon.
“Very good harmonies, everybody. I got chills.”
The witness interrupted his reverie about the power of music. “I know who it was, it was number five. He’s the one who killed my brother.”
He suddenly came down from his high and looked to Ema for help, who just shrugged and popped a snackoo into her mouth.
“Achtung, I forgot about that part.”