Saturday morning I awoke to check my social media before doing some writing. On a friend’s page, she had questioned whether or not Tupac Shakur should be an acceptable answer as a favorite poet.
This sparked an interesting discussion about rap/hip-hop as poetry in the comments section, with most in agreement until one particular comment from someone who shall remain nameless in this discussion.
“If [T]upac is considered a poet it just shows how far society has fallen.”
This comment caused me pause. I’ve taken several poetry classes and had numerous conversations with different professors, most of whom I hold in high regard, about how rap and hip-hop are poets, and their writers are lyricists. Often, song as a whole is compared to poetry, especially in the last few decades. I retorted, stating that I simply disagreed and tried to tout the lyrical genius and poetic flow in the music that I had been shown, but this was the response I received.
“Hip Hop idealizes criminal behavior, the degradation of women, drug use, the murder of police officers, the art of being self centered and egotistical, robbing, stealing and fathering children out of wedlock. It represents the very worse part of our society, but due to political correctness, we are afraid to say so. Is it an art form, maybe, like a child coloring on a side walk. There is no real talent there, it's not even music. Music has three parts, Rhythm, harmony and Melody. Hip hop only has rhythm. Occasionally they add a Melody, but more often than not it's "sampled" from another song, so the Melody is ripped off and not original. In short, it's sad that people listen to it, let alone buy it. Just my .02.”
These comments really irked me. I typed out an initial response but had to delete it, arguing whether to leave in that I felt that some of the man’s comments came across as underlined racism, or at least ignorance. Instead I formed what I thought was a pretty well constructed argument to his comments. I managed to do so without picking on him directly, or any other particular musical group, but instead discussed the effects of media and how we as individuals are responsible for what we take from it.
I know that this is an arguable issue. Not everything is gold, in any genre. There is good, there is bad, there are things that are sexist and racist. I stand behind what I said though, it is important for individuals to be aware of what these things are and what they get out of the media they consume.
Someone came behind me though in this argument and did point out that she felt that these comments sounded like they were underlined racist. I was glad that someone had said, said it correctly, better than I could have. Someone close to me once said that people should be called out when they want to make statements like that. I agree, but the response that was given was not what I had expected.
“I can tell when someone has lost a logical argument, they break out accusations of racism, the catch all accusation for the intellectually weak.”
I suppose he had to try to defend himself in some way, but this was a bit disappointing. There really are some people that you can’t reason with. Nothing else I could have said would have changed this man’s opinion or convinced him to try and have an open mind about the subject. We are not all going to agree on what we like, what we think is good and worthwhile. I am not even arguing for the majority of rap/hip-hop, but there is a lot out there that deserves a chance, a chance to be heard for more than just a song.
Wednesday, April 10, 2013
You can find the original article here.
The Washington Post ran an article by Alexandra Petri that asked, “is poetry dead,” but this sentiment seems to be in the minority.
Petri’s article questioned the usefulness of poetry, asking if the medium was still relevant if it cannot change anything? This accusation comes on the heels of Poet Laureate Richard Blanco’s poem “One” at President Obama’s inauguration.
Not everyone agrees with Petri’s statements and her judgment of Blanco’s poem.
“I disagree,” said Dr. Kelly Whiddon, Associate Professor of English. “I think it can, but it isn’t needed for poetry to be worth while.” Whiddon said about poetry not being able to cause change. “She’s a journalist, so she ascribes the standards of journalism to poetry. [Journalism] has to be of mass appeal, but that isn’t needed for poetry.”
Whiddon has recently published “The House Began to Pitch”. As a fellow poet, she defended Blanco’s poem. “That is the job of the poet laureate to encourage, make poetry more accessible to the general public.” Whiddon said, who teaches several of the poetry classes at Middle Georgia State College. Whiddon is not the only professional to disagree with Petri.
“The reason journalism may be dead is because of hacks like her.” Dr. Kevin Cantwell, Interim Chair for the division of Media Culture and the Arts at Middle Georgia State College, disagreed strongly with Petri and continued by saying, “Journalists who write about poetry generally have that one claim they make, that poetry is dead. I would ask is journalism dead?”
Part of Petri’s evidence to her claim is that she has been to several poetry readings where attendance was scarce and most of those present were students who were forced to attend.
“I’ve been to hundreds of readings, some where there are thousands there,” Cantwell argued. “What students say is I didn’t think I’d like this but I did.” Both Cantwell and Whiddon argue that more and more students are enjoying poetry and that now is a good time for the medium. To this Cantwell noted the Seaborn Jones Poetry Contest that the school is sponsoring.
The question is how popular does something have to be to still be an important medium?
“There is something inherently wrong with the way we as a society look at value,” said Whiddon. “It doesn’t have to be a best seller to make it worthwhile.”
Wednesday, March 20, 2013
College is expensive, even though Middle Georgia State College has one of the lower tuition prices in the state, but one thing students fear are books; how much their text books cost and what is the best way to get them.
Though there are other options for acquiring text books, there are new features that students may not be aware of in the college bookstore.
“One thing students should keep in mind is that when they buy from their campus bookstore, that money stays on campus and helps the school and therefore the students in the future as well,” Dane Yoshida, the Course Materials Coordinator for the bookstore said.
The bookstore attempts to keep the price of their products down, but several factors keep the prices up.
“We can’t really help the prices from the publishers. That is an issue of supply and demand,” Yoshida said. “Hardcover books and those with full color spreads and multitudes of pictures have much higher prices.”
Part of Yoshida’s job is to work with professors on making sure that all of the books that are needed for each of the classes will be available in the bookstore.
Whenever a professor decides to switch to a newer edition of a book or an older textbook is out of print, the course materials have to change. The school has to be careful about how they acquire their books, those that can not be returned cost the school more money.
“Every semester we have more materials that are moving online.” The market is changing with e-books and new textbooks that come with both physical and electronic materials according to Yoshida. “The online shift isn’t for everyone. Many will still prefer a textbook in front of them. That works better for their learning process.”
With books like accounting and nursing having new editions every year, this can be expensive to keep up with according to Yoshida. The bookstore is adapting by selling more laptops and tablets as well as e-book codes to keep up with these changes.
Students who are concerned about the consolidation raising the price of text books should rest easy. Yoshida said that the added campuses won’t cause a price jump, but students are still concerned.
“I feel the cost of textbooks is too high,” said Kimberly Folsom, a senior at MGS who says that she still purchases her books from the campus bookstore, but thinks that they could be cheaper. “I know I can get books online, but financial aid is a deciding factor also.”
“Now that we have the rental program students really seem to like it and take advantage of that, being the cheapest option we have,” Yoshida said, noting that the campus bookstore is still their best option. “Not every book is rentable, but it is the best option as long as you bring the books back before the due date.”
For those students who can not take advantage of the rental program, the bookstore now offers book buy back year around now. Giving students options is important. Yoshida says the best advice he can give is to compare before you buy.
Tuesday, March 5, 2013
Many students may not be aware of the Campus Activity Board or what they do for students, but the CAB is a group composed of five student executives and committee members on board (MOB) that determine activities for the student body to enjoy on campus; though overseen by Student Life Program Coordinator Amy Carter, the CAB is a mostly student run organization.
“The purpose of the CAB is a programming board under the umbrella of Student Life,” said Carter, who acts as advisor for the board, emphasizing the importance of student involvement. “Students make the decision of what they want to do and they are given a budget to decide what they want to see. Our tagline is programming for students, by students.”
CAB meets once a week and organizes events like movie nights, the Hunger Games week and co-sponsors the successful WRC Coffee House, establishing a presence on both Macon and Warner Robins’ campuses.
According to Danielle Edwards, a student executive on the board, CAB is an organization ran by the students, for the students.
“As an executive, we are here for you.” Edwards said.
According to Edwards they are there so much for the students that they even have office hours to meet with other students that have an interest in helping out or being on the committee for CAB. The eventual goal is to have the students primarily in charge of all of the CAB activities, with student life acting as a guiding hand.
“Students are important. They are our voice towards helping us spread the word about events,” Edwards commented, emphasizing the importance of student involvement.
CAB has focused on traditional and non-traditional students with a variety of events and family friendly outings like the Brave movie night.
“If a student says there is nothing to do on campus all they need to do is take a look around,” Carter advised. “There is stuff happening on campus every week, whether it is from CAB, student life, or other clubs and organizations. It’s not all geared for traditional or non-traditional students, we have something for everyone. If you need help getting connected come see us.”
Carter said that students should get involved, not just for student life but for their own benefit.
“Students who are more active on campus are more successful,” Carter urged, claiming that many of the reasons for getting involved in campus life isn’t just for college, but the connections you make for it and the future.
The office for CAB is located in SLC 261. Any student can join the committee and interviews are held for executive chairs.
Monday, February 11, 2013
The back office of Ragnarok was a disappointment to say the least. Plain white walls were stricken with age old advertisements for past performers to the club and brown stains that were about as attractive. The overhead fan was broken, the light flickered every now-and-then, and no one had changed out the coffee in the pot for a couple of days, which had generated an odd smell. An old metal desk and four filing cabinets were against the wall, surrounded by old booze boxes, now filled with paperwork, advertisements, and promotional materials for the club. On the back wall there was a large wooden sign that had the word ‘PURSUIT’ on it with dark blue, pink, and purple letters. Richtor thought about how much he hated this office as he adjusted his tie and waited for the first person to be sent in.
No one could read Dwight Richtor’s notes except for him. The short hand wasn’t the problem, it was the fact that he seemed to ignore lines on the page and write over other notes that he thought needed to be grouped together. Sometimes there were doodles that made no sense but somehow triggered responses in his mind that were important for solving them. Back in ’99 when he had just transferred there was a cute and kind young secretary named Sara Hoffstead who had volunteered to transcribe Dwight’s notes for him. The detective knew this wasn’t a good idea, but she was so eager to please that he gave her the chance. Later that day when he was getting ready to leave, he heard Lilly crying at her desk, upset that she couldn’t make up or down of the fourteen pages he had handed her that morning. Since then Dwight did his own notes and barely bothered to type them up until the case was over.
He was tapping his pen against the yellow pad when the door finally opened. Dwight sat with his back to the desk and another folding, much more uncomfortable chair, in front so that the person could face him.
Hunter Stuart, the first bartender, entered slowly. The old wooden door was shut softly behind him. Richtor raised an eyebrow.
“So you’re first?”
“Callie didn’t want to go first,” Hunter responded with an uncomfortable look himself. “I think she is a little shaken up by all of this.”
Dwight nodded, “and you’re protective over her?”
“Well,” the bartender paused. “I guess. She’s a friend.”
Hunter was unsure what to say at first but he quickly nodded.
“You get along with everyone here Hunter, are you guys like a family?”
“No problems with anyone?”
“No,” he paused again. “I mean, bosses are bosses I guess, but they are alright. The security guys kind of hang out on their own you know, even outside of the club but I don’t have any real problems with anyone.”
Dwight nodded and wrote down two letters at the top left of the page and then underlined them individually.
“So tell me about Aura Johnson.”
“She’s,” Hunter stretched the word out as he questioned himself, “a friend.”
Detective Richtor raised an eyebrow at him. He didn’t even have to say the words.
“We were involved off and on…sexually, but she was my friend.”
“I see.” He paused to make a small symbol that could have been the letter S. “Is that why you reported her missing after going over to her apartment?”
“Yeah,” Hunter said, exhaling.
“Why were you heading over there, or was that routine?”
“No, she had asked me to come over. I hadn’t seen her in a few days but she made it sound like she wanted to hang out.” He shook his head. “With Aura though, that could have meant anything from having sex to her asking me philosophical questions while I hung picture frames for her.”
“When you two did have sex, was it over at her place most of the time?”
Hunter nodded and looked off at the wall to one of the old posters.
“Yeah, I have an annoying roommate.”
Dwight made a few more notes up near the corner, underlining everything he had written so far. He eyed Hunter, keeping him under his watch for a bit before his next question.
“Who all here at the club knew Aura, more than in passing I mean.”
“Katie knew her. I think they went out a couple of times, shopping or something. Callie and I knew her of course, we all hung out a few times and we probably saw her the most while she was in the club. She and I would give Aura free drinks sometimes.” Hunter sighed. “I don’t know how much she knew Chris and Josh, the security guys, but I know she and Rick dated. Don’t know how serious it got.”
“Did that bother you?”
“That she was Rick?”
“No,” Hunter’s lip curled. “No I mean, I don’t think they-“
“You know for sure?”
“No, I don’t-“
“So they could have?”
“Yea, yeah I guess.”
Dwight nodded and made another note, placing Hunter and Rick closer.
“So when was the last time you saw her Saturday night?”
Hunter took a deep breath before he began.
“Like I told the police officer, she was dancing in the back room here.” He jerked his thumb towards that door that led to the secondary dance floor. “She told me she gets bothered less back here once the place gets going. I came back to ask her if she wanted to get food afterwards, since I knew she wanted to see me, but she just wanted me to come over and told me that if I got hungry she had food at her place.”
“What was this conversation?”
“2:30, maybe 2:20, I didn’t look at the time. The club was getting ready to close at 3:00 and I was trying to hurry.”
“And then you went to her apartment at what time?” Dwight asked as he wrote down 2:30 a.m. on the pad.
“Well no. I looked for her here first. She usually waits for me, but when she wasn’t there I thought maybe she had go home to make food or she was just really upset about something. She danced to get away from everything so I didn’t,” he trailed off.
“What time did you make it to her apartment?”
“Almost four in the morning, I buzzed, I called. I finally got a guy to let me in the building but nothing.”
“Then you came back the next day.”
“Yeah,” Hunter sighed. “I thought maybe she had just gone home with someone else, I don’t know.” He began to stay something but shook his head. “The building manager knows me. I got him to open the door but she wasn’t there, her phone was gone, it looked like she hadn’t even made it home.”
Dwight nodded and wrote a few more notes, the top of his page looking more like an artist’s canvas now. Eyes rising, he searched for Hunter’s attention. The young man was obviously uncomfortable, concerned, and perhaps a little worried for his own safety, with reason.
“We are going to want to speak to you again, Mr. Stuart.”
“Alright,” he said weakly.
“Just stay where we can reach you if you don’t mind.”
Hunter stood up from the chair and looked towards the door. His eyes showed he wanted to ask something though. Dwight cocked his head to the side waiting.
“You think she’s fine…I mean…you think you’ll find her?”
After a pause, “I’m sure we will.”
Hunter gave a slight nod before exiting. He wasn’t sure what to say, what to think. The door shut behind him though, giving a small bounce against the frame. Dwight looked back over his notes, drawing a short line from one set of letters to another scribbling. He waited for whomever Carter sent back next, his hand absently going to the Rubick’s cube in his pocket. He stopped himself though as he heard heels clicking across the floor.
The other bartender Callie Wright entered. Hunter wasn’t wrong, she did look shaken up. She was shivering it seemed at first, thought it was summer and muggy. She sat down and crossed her legs before trying to force a semblance of a smile.
“You can relax.”
“Easy for you to say,” There was the soft smile finally.
Dwight returned it. “Just tell me everything you know.”
“Just about Aura, right?”
Dwight nodded. “If I want anything more than that, I’ll ask.”
“She was cool.”
There was a pause as Callie’s hands clenched together in her lap and she looked down, trying to find her words.
“Well, something a little more concrete than that.”
“No, I know I just… you know we didn’t know each other that well but we had started hanging out more, talking. I met her last week to go shopping at the boutique a couple of blocks from here. She seemed so nice and laid back I just… “
“She danced in the back room a lot. I was bartending back here until almost one. I saw her dancing for a while. When it isn’t super packed though we pack up the back bar early, I had gone back up front. I waved at her but I thought I’d see her when the club closed, I didn’t think to go talk to her.”
“So you didn’t see her leave?”
“Did you see her with anyone?”
“No, I mean I’m sure she had some guys hitting on her, she usually does. I didn’t notice her dancing with anyone though, or talking with anyone at any real length, nothing out of the ordinary at all.”
“You think she left out of the double doors by the office door back here?” He motioned to them with his pen.
“That would make the most since. There isn’t an alarm on them or anything so she could have gotten out of here if she wanted to. She has never done that before though. She usually hangs around and grabs food with me or one of the guys.”
“Which of the guys does she like to spend time with?”
“Hunter mostly,” she thought. “Sometimes she will talk to Rick or Christ, but I don’t know. The only guy she’s really talked to me about is Hunter.”
Dwight put a few notes down, more interested in the doors now as he looked to the wall, imagining them, imagining her walking through them. Callie watched him for a moment, his silence making her more uncomfortable.
“Do you like working here, any problems?”
Callie shook her head. “It’s not bad, they work around my school schedule.”
Dwight nodded, his pen tapping the pad as he looked back down at it.
“Have you been inside her apartment?”
“What about the dance studio she works at?”
“She showed me the outside one day when we were passing it.”
“She talk about her job a lot?”
“No, not really.”
Dwight scratched the back of his head absently as he pondered her answers.
“Hunter say anything to you about Aura on Saturday?”
She thought for a long moment, frustration building. She didn’t want to get anything wrong. Her nervous gestures showed it. Dwight figured she didn’t know anything or she was a damn good actress. Callie was forming beads of sweat across her brow, just a bit. The office was a bit muggy though.
“I asked him if he had plans, he mentioned possibly seeing her. He didn’t go into any details though, he often didn’t with her.”
“Why is that?”
“I think because she had a tendency to flake out on him some. I know at least once she was supposed to be with him but ended up hanging out with me instead.”
Detective Richtor pursed his lip just a fraction as he wrote the new note and put a line through it.
“We may want to talk to you again if we have further questions.”
“Of course, sure, yeah,” she said standing. “Anything I can do to help.”
Dwight nodded, allowing her dismissal. She couldn’t have made it out of the room any faster if she were trying to.
Monday, January 28, 2013
It was a short drive downtown with slow drivers and NPR. Windshield wipers worked furiously to shoo away sheets upon sheets of rain as more fell to replace it. Dwight parked the car as close as he could get it. What followed was a disappointing moment of realization as he looked into the back seat. He had left his umbrella back at the office. For as smart as he was, he could be so forgetful about the little things sometimes. Luckily there was a three day old newspaper in the backseat of the dark blue Oldsmobile. It would save him some trouble.
The heavy car door opened and the rain was warm as it pelted his neck and hand. Flimsy newspaper overhead for cover, he quickly shut the door and launched across the street, avoiding a small white jeep that only had one working headlight. The brick sidewalk was slick and darkened by the constant water, this part of downtown was mostly brick with green and red overhangs near the banks and restaurants.
and the BB&T
buildings loomed overhead, both over fourteen floors high. Christian
Ragnarok sat In between two older buildings in the downtown area. One belonged to a local school as a part of their offices, but the building didn’t see much traffic on the weekends. The structure to the right though was a dinner theatre called the Barefoot Tavern. Richtor took note of both buildings before looking up at the nightclub. The three businesses were all of a similar architectural style. The base of each was four layers of brick. The outside walls were solid stone with concrete corners and cast iron light fixtures that held dim yellow bulbs. For how extravagant the club was on the inside, the outside sign announcing it was a simple gray rectangle with red slanted lettering, Ragnarok. Dwight wondered who had come up with the name and how much they actually knew about Norse mythology.
Two normal double doors with diamond shaped glass windows had been added recently. The handles were attempting to look ornate in their reflective gold plating, but thankfully that was the only part of the building that had fully been replaced for the most part. Detective Richtor hesitated before touching the handle. He felt uncomfortable, even though he knew he was in the right place.
The doors opened into a lobby area that could have been mistaken for any other club in town. Past the desk were two entrances. The left doorway led to a bar area for those that where there more to drink and socialize, a medium sized room with yellow walls and a lot of old looking light fixtures. Behind the bar was a large well painted mural of Odin, the All-Father. He stood tall in dark colors with an ominous look and two large black crows with hungry eyes, one on each shoulder. Dwight paused to observe the painted mural before looking to those gathered in the room.
He was staring into Odin’s eyes, transfixed on the ideas of Norse mythology when the voice of one of the officers snapped him back to reality.
“So are the rumors true?”
“Hmm,” he couldn’t muster much of a word, more a sound. He realized that the man in uniform addressing him now was Carter Bryan, a beat cop who had been on the force almost as long as he had. “I’m sorry, is what true, sergeant?”
“Someone told me you were retiring at the end of the year.” His words sounded almost remorseful. Perhaps it was a sign that his time was soon to come as well.
“No, I mean yes. That is correct. I’ll be gone at the end of the year or as soon as I can get all of my cases in order.”
“Oh, and here they are slapping another missing person on the pile for you.”
Dwight nodded and looked around at the others in the room.
“Allow me,” Carter said as he pointed to each individual from left to right with a subtle gesture. “On the far end you have Hunter Stuart and the hot read head is Callie Wright. They’re two bartenders that were working the past couple of nights.”
Dwight observed the male a female that were standing very close but off a bit from the others. They had been whispering to one another but ceased when they realized the attention was on them. Hunter was a little over six feet tall with his white hipster glasses and a bowl style haircut that was straight out of the 90’s. His hands were in the pockets of his skinny jeans and he shifted his weight back and forth from left to right, fidgeting nervously. Callie stood around 5’4 with three inch heels that didn’t match her jeans and UGA hooded sweatshirt. Her hair looked disheveled and only one hand had fingernail polish on it. They had all been called in for this and she looked like she rolled straight out of bed.
“Then there is the DJ, a guy named Rick,” Carter paused and checked his pad to make sure he was saying the name right. “Rick Yoshida, he’s their regular DJ and sometimes bartender.” Yoshida was Japanese and Hispanic mixed. He had dark skin and jet black hair with brown eyes and a thin goatee. Dwight noticed the black cloth bands on his wrists and figured that they must have been for sweat while he was performing. The young man had several piercing and some sort of family crest tattooed on his neck that he couldn’t really make out due to the collar of the black button-up shirt he wore.
“And then we have the two security guys that worked Friday and Saturday, Josh Bryant and Chris Lynch.” Carter pointed them out as he named them. All the while, the two bulkier men eyed the cops back just as harshly. “Bryant has some priors for B&E and concealed weapons cases, but he got off promotion about seven months ago.” Carter smiled. “And you should know Chris here. Chris is Jeffery Lynch’s cousin. You know Jeff, from Internal Affairs.”
“Oh,” Dwight said with a soured tone in his voice. “I’ve met Jeff Lynch. He lives up to his name.” Chris Lynch was the one standing in front of him at the moment though; a young man who couldn’t be older than twenty-four at the most but was just as intimidating as his cousin. He stood at a little over six feet and was very athletic. Much like his cousin, he guessed the young pale kid spent a lot of time in the gym or on the basketball court. The other bouncer, Josh, was also probably a gym rat but his skin was covered in tattoos and a band-aid over his nose. It looked like it could have been broken recently. Both Detective Richtor and Officer Bryan took an extra long look at these two men and their stoic expressions.
“Then we have the owners, the last two over here. Caleb Tufts is here on the left and Ricardo Richardson, they call him Big R or Rico. They both co-own the club and that restaurant two streets down on
St., Lucieno’s is the name of it.” Caleb Tufts was
mixed also with smooth fare skin that he took care of. He was wearing a pink
polo shirt, dark blue jeans, and a pair of Vans. Currently, he was running a
purple pick through his mini-fro, watching the police officers with his hazel
colored eyes as Rico whispered something to him. Ricardo was Puerto Rican,
though he didn’t look it with his pale skin and brown curly hair. His attitude
on the other hand came through very clearly by the expression on his face. He
was dressed in a grey hooded sweatshirt and wind pants, looking as if he had
just come from the gym. His sneaker was tapping against the linoleum slightly,
Dwight and Carter stood there for a moment in silence. There was a strong tension in the air as everyone was silent and the two policemen approached the group. Detective Richtor pulled a small notebook from his pocket and began to write some things down, observations he didn’t want to forget; the rest he could get from Carter later. Dwight glanced at one of the other uniformed officers that were there.
“Keep them company for a moment won’t you, Officer Bryan and I going to do a walk through real quick.”
There was an almost collective sigh or grunt of disapproval from those being held there, now forced to wait a little longer. The officer nodded to him and Dwight motioned for Carter to follow into the next room. Both came in with their notepads out, Carter reading off of his and Dwight placing different notes onto the other.
“This is the main dance floor area,” Carter told him as he waved his pen around in a pointing motion. It was a large room that you could enter through the bar area or take the second door in the lobby down a short hallway to skip the bar if you wanted. Two exits that led to one, something to keep in mind. The colorful lights were all off in favor of the few florescent white bulbs that lit the room. They could all be seen though, reds, greens, yellows, and blues that could be mixed and matched and spun on different types of devices to rotate them from the ceiling. There were colored lights on the walls and strung up around the bars and other doorways. The large bar in this room was shaped like a long boat to fit with the Viking and Norse themes. It was different and the spouts had been built into it in a clever design. Other murals of Thor and Loki claimed a wall. The artist had taken advantage of the large canvases he had been given, they were well done. There were also several steel cages that those who wished to dance as an exhibition could climb in and out of. Two were next to the DJ booth, which was raised above the dance floor. The paintings around the booth drew attention to his position, like he were a high priest or reigning god, distributing sound to his subjects.
“This is where the subject spent most of her time from what I gathered. It’s their main attraction and had the most eyes on it throughout the night.”
Dwight nodded. He peered behind the bar as they passed it. The large area had a tiny, almost invisible stairwell that lead down into the storage room. Like many of the other older buildings around this area, that was a common feature and meant that there was likely another exit down there as well. He would want to look at that later.
The two walked through the hallway with the bright neon lights that held three doors. On the left side of the hallway were the two gender-split restrooms with the doors open so that the two could see in. On the right was a small storeroom closet that held all of the cleaning supplies and boxes of toilet paper.
That hallway led into the back room, a second dance floor and bar area with its own music and a large mural of Hel. The background of the full wall mural was a dark image of the underworld done with grays, blacks, and a deep purple at the top. The image of Hel sitting upon her throne took up the center. The figured had a dread gaze with eyes that formed small skulls and features that looked like stone. She was almost lying across the metal chair with green cloth draped over her and one breast exposed in its proud plump pose. A skeleton knelt at her throne served her, keeping those that begged for mercy away. A dark raven sat upon her shoulder, contrast to bright blonde hair. By her side, a wolf lingered with hungry eyes, already contemplating devouring those whom she would find unworthy.
The other black walls held neon paint and strings of hanging lights. The back room was smaller with its own bar that wasn’t themed, just brightly lit with green and purple lights. The double doors that lead out the back and the door to the right beside them that gave entry into the office were painted black. Only an exit sign gave note that there were doors over in the far back corner. Dwight took note of the office but headed to the double doors first.
“So this is the exit they think she was taken through?”
“Right,” Carter said. “It would be the easiest way to sneak someone out if you timed it right.” He opened the door for them to walk out. “It’s the least watched.”
A parking lot that was shared by multiple businesses in that area was revealed. It wasn’t too bad looking in the day time, but Dwight noticed several busted out lights and two pretty intimidating alleyways.
“Not too safe at night, I’m guessing.”
“You’d be right detective. Anything could have been waiting out here for that girl.” Carter shut the door.
Detective Richtor took one last look around before stepping towards the opened door of the office. Glancing in he ran everything he had just seen back over in his mind.
“So what do you want to do now?”
“Use this office to interview them, but keep them waiting a few more minutes while I set up, will you Officer Bryan?”
Carter smiled, “yes sir.”
Monday, January 21, 2013
Aura moved against the lights of the club, chasing them. It was early in the night still, the time that she liked to dance. She was good at it, a childhood of ballet and gymnastics saw to that. She had lived in poverty with a hippie mother and a dead beat father. There had been many struggles that lead to her need to find a release. She found it in dancing, with the help of a kindly neighbor who let her work in the dance studio to pay off her lessons. No matter what had happened in her life, from her mother’s cancer to losing her best friend at sixteen, Aura could focus on her dance. She had tried to find work in the ballet, but it was too competitive and political. She wanted to teach, but that takes a good bit of start-up capital. So she worked at the post office down the street and in her spare time walked down to the club not far from her downtown apartment.
When she arrived to the club early the dance floor was not crowded. Aura had room to move and be free. It was not crowded, like it would be a few hours from now. There were no men trying to rub up against her or dance with her. She did not mind being hit on, or even dancing with someone, but few could keep up with her. No, there was a freedom to this. She could just feel the music coaxing her to move along with it, turning what she was taught and her own style into a beautiful performance. Moments like these, at the top of her game, she loved these moments most of all.
Her body moved against the music, making it her own as she let loose. Her form pushing the air around her, side to side, in the dark jeans with the silver studs that formed the bird shaped pattern on the lower right leg. Aura’s balance did not falter, even in the two inch pumps. A close fitting shirt with the bell sleeves and low cut V-neck completed her ensemble, letting her stand out with splashes of deep reds and dark purples. The Hispanic girl wore a thick red lipstick that accented her brown skin big silver earrings that formed multiple crosses.
She would dance until the club filled up, until her friends got there. For now though, it was just her and the DJ, Rick, she came here so much she knew most of the staff by name, and they knew she wasn’t there to try and get laid or pick up anyone. So they smiled at her and left her alone to do her thing. They were all nice to her, even the owners. They liked girls like Aura coming into the club, attractive young girls brought in more young guys. So they encouraged her to keep coming, buying her a few free drinks and watching her perform. Hunter had even once told Rick that he thought she looked like an angel when she moved.
She would do this once or twice every weekend, up until the night she disappeared.
MISSING PERSON REPORT
Name: Aura Lilly Johnson
Age: 28 DOB: 01-08-85
Height: 5’8” Weight: 118
Hair: Black Eye: Brown
Ethnicity: Hispanic Primarily Language: English
Phone#: 478-955-3743 Other Languages: Spanish
Blood Type: A- Health Risks: N/A
Last Known Address:
938 College Street Macon,
Last Place Seen: Club Ragnarok
Last Seen Wearing: Jeans, heels, purple and red top
Safe Word (if any): N/A
Relationship to missing person: Acquaintance
Synopsis of events leading up to disappearance: Subject last seen on 6/22/12 at club Ragnarok. [Address attached] Crime reported by the bartender, Hunter S. Stuart. Stuart claims that she was dancing in the second room of the club and vanished around 2:20 a.m. He tried to call and went to her apartment afterwards with no answer. Johnson did not show up for work the next morning either and after forty-eight hours is now officially considered missing.
Additional Information: Johnson’s father has been contacted. Edgar Johnson claims he hasn’t spoken to his daughter in nearly three years.
Her file had lain on Dwight’s desk for nearly thirty minutes. He had read it almost six times now. His head was hurting and the constant ringing phones and slamming of file cabinets were not helping. The detective couldn't see the pieces of the puzzle yet, because there wasn’t much to see. Nothing was falling into place. The crosswords didn’t have enough letters, the sudoku problem did not have the right numbers, and the hangman’s bar was short a few spaces. There just was not enough for him to contemplate yet and he would need to go talk to the suspects. Interviews would have to be conducted. From the initial reports no one that really knew this girl could be reached, and that was annoying. Something had kept him here though, re-reading that file. There was something that stuck out to him, an irritation, but he couldn’t put his finger on it and he was out of time.
He stood, pulling his coat up from the old decrepit office chair. He had been asking for a new one for three months now, even though it wouldn’t matter soon. He wrapped the long coat around him tightly as he headed to the side exit of the second floor. The police station was crowded, stuffy, and loud. It had been a busy summer, with several unsolved cases and two state manhunts that had put half of the black and whites on overtime. Tempers had been flaring between a lot of the guys and Detective Dwight Richtor was tired of it all.
The rain had not stopped in almost a week. Off and on, it had almost drowned them out. Much like the water expelled from the heavens, the cases had continued to pile up on his desk. Most of them really could wait, or were just near-unsolvable. There were several that would remain unsolved, ones that he had no hope for. Some, he could pass off to others. The Johnson case though was the newest and most pressing on a very large pile that had begun to lean a bit to the right.
Stepping out under the overhang he glanced over to one of the secretaries from the arson unit smoking a cigarette with Denise, a regular prostitute who was most likely there to bail out one of her cohorts. He did not go near them. He had been down a long hard road out of hell to quit the things and didn’t want the temptation. He had forsaken all of his old smoking partners and with that, much of the habit. It was now just a matter of keeping his hands busy while his mind worked to keep them away.
Leaning against the wall he looked out at the sheets of rain that fell against the beautiful grey sky. He couldn’t help but watch it for several long moments, eyes trying to catch each droplet as it fell with such force from up above. In his mind, it was like the falling rain was some kind of pattern or code. When he was able to pull himself away from the peaceful white noise that Mother Nature was making he reached into his coat pocket. From there Dwight pulled out a near-completed Rubik’s cube. His eyes quickly studied the different colors and where he had left them before his fingers began their work. The act soothed him. His headache was subsiding, slowly but surely.
“You just gonna play with your toy all day there, Richtor?”
Well, it was. Dwight looked up and with a nearly audible sigh he slid the cube back into his jacket pocket.
“Something I can help you with, Drake?”
“Oh no, nothing,” Detective Drake said as he leaned against the wall and pulled out a cigarette. “I just couldn’t help but notice a lot of good hard working cops busting their butts in there,” he lit it. “Then I come out here and you’re taking a moment for a brain teaser while you have plenty of those sitting on your desk. I heard you had a new missing person’s this morning.”
Richtor took a step away as two large puffs of smoke escaped Drake’s mouth. When the man spoke he waved his cigarette wielding hand around to emphasize his point, which sent a thin trail of smoke waving around under the protective cover of the buildings outside, and spread the aroma of the expensive cigarillo, the brand he had always smoked.
“I was taking a break, is there something on your mind or are you just out here to bust my balls?”
“Stating an opinion,” he said defensively, “nothing more.”
“Well Drake,” he said leaning off the wall. “You picked a hell of a time to get a stick up your ass, get it in while you can though.”
Richtor didn’t wait for a response, he had somewhere he could get more thinking done and more questions answered. He headed out into the rain, the brief trip to his car soaking him, showing the storm’s power.
Drake watched the other detective hurry through the bad weather to his car and simply shook his head in disappointment. He flicked the cigarillo out into the drink and went back inside to the station with the metal door making a loud clanking sound as it bounced shut behind him, something akin to his mood now.