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Article last updated on Feb 8, 2018 @ 6:08 pm.
Bulletproof playing a harp singing.
C.O.P.S. Animated Series,  It's Harp Story Time, Punisher!

C.O.P.S. Bulletproof’s First Harp Lesson

Bulletproof playing a harp singing.
Bulletproof playing a harp singing.

The real stars of the show is about to shine their badges on stage. So, come on! The show is about to begin! Oh, that’s right. The show has already begun. Back at Empire Harps, Bulletproof strums a small lyre (much different than The Punisher’s Lyre) and warbles a song as he wanders slowly around the store.

Bulletproof: *singing*

“He who stands for justice, *strums*

armed with the bow and arrow, *strums*

whoever you arrrre, *strums* wherever you arrrre, *strums*

walking along the straight and narroooow, *strums*

I, C.O.P.S. leader Bulletproof Vess *strums* is eager to meet such a hero, *strums*

whose flawless skiiiill *strums* in arch-er-yyyy *strums*

brings the rate of crime way down to zerooooo.” *strumming slowly*

Marvin: “Nice song, sir.”

Bulletproof: *turns around to notice 3 men who appeared through the store’s office door* “Oh, good afternoon, citizens. Which one of you is the store’s proprietor?”

Marvin: “I am. I’m Marvin, owner of this place. And these are my sons, Healy and Carl.”

Healy: “Glad to meet you.”

Carl: “Same here. Forgive us for keeping you waiting. We’ve been very busy on some important business and didn’t notice people like you coming in. Let us take a moment to welcome you to Empire Harps, the first and foremost family owned and operated harp retailer in all of Empire City and the home of a special one of a kind harp we have on display at our extensive showroom.”

Healy: “We have 2 floors of wondrous showrooms featuring a large selection of harps for sale and for rent. This special harp Carl mentioned is on display downstairs in our pedal harp museum showcase where we have a display of very unique harps from around the world dated to the 1800s’ and beyond.”

Bulletproof: *putting the lyre back on its base* “Show me to the showcase please.”

Carl: “Right this way.”

Carl and Healy lead Bulletproof downstairs where the commander in chief of C.O.P.S. marveled at the very unique vintage pedal harps displayed in the showcase. Some are dated to c1830 while others are dated to c1782. Some are single action pedal harps while others are the familiar double action pedal harps. Some are fully restored while others are just unplayable and “dead.”

Bulletproof: “Magnificent harps.”

Carl: “All these harps here are only for display and are not for sale. On the other hand, the harps on the top floor are up for sale or for rent depending on what we have available. The harps we have are manufactured by Lyon & Healy, Wurlitzer, Aoyama, Pratt, Salvi, David, and Thurau.”

Bulletproof: “But what about this special harp you said to be on display here.”

Carl: “Turn around and face right.”

He did and..

Bulletproof: “Wow!”

Healy: “You said it. Isn’t it gorgeous?”

Struck by its beauty, Bulletproof lifted his shades to get a good clear look at a beautifully, graceful harp, which resembles the glamorous, yet highly expensive Louis XV pedal harp, adorned with a large ECPD police badge shown in the center of the coiling part of the pillar.

Bulletproof: “What a fantastic harp! No, correction what a fantastic police harp!!”

Healy: “What you’re looking at is, as an old song puts it, the harp that once through the halls of 647th precinct many decades ago. This harp once belong to Officer Edwin Dennison who used to served the streets of this city many years ago.”

Bulletproof: “Sounds interesting. Tell me about him.”

Healy: “Sure. One of the best Empire City police officers around was Police Sergent Edwin Dennison who served the streets of Empire City from 1946 to 1978, meaning he served the streets for 32 years while spending his off duty time studying and teaching the harp with great skill and dedication. He had 2 sons, Earl and Samson, who are in fact twins. They greatly shared in his love for both the harp and enforcing the law. Eventually they all became harpists themselves, following in their father’s footsteps. His twin sons not only became skilled harpists, but also two of the best law enforcers around who helped their father solved many crimes and send one criminal after another to prison. He and his sons did wonders at times when there was a crisis happening in Empire City. In fact, why don’t Carl here tell you a story about one of Dennison’s greatest acts of bravery ever recorded in the ECPD historical archives.”

Carl: “Back in 1969, there was a major fire that erupted in an old warehouse building and quickly spread over a quarter of the city. It was a lot like the infamous Great Chicago Fire of 1871 but this was much worse. People, living in the area affected by the fire, fled from the flames and made it to the outskirts of the city where they were safe from the flames, yet were still afraid that the flames would come their way and incinerate them at any moment. That’s when Dennison, his twin boys, and Fire Fighter Ian Wallace, one of Dennison’s best harp students, came with an incredible idea of obtaining a siphoning device that will channel millions of gallons of seawater into the city per minute, causing a massive flood that will put out all the flames and save the city from destruction.

So, they went to obtain the device from the ECFD firehouse, normally used to channel massive flood waters out of the city within a few hours, and set its controls to make it siphon the water into the city. It was a real heavy device so they had to use one of the ECFD’s biggest water tank vehicle to do the job. Putting the siphon within the firing range of the flames, Dennison gave the signal. And Earl and Samson operating the controls activated the device while Ian, Dennison, and a whole lot of volunteer firefighters work to aim the tube at the fire.

Instantly, millions of gallons of water was channeled from the ocean and out of the siphon tube in full force, creating a massive man-made tsunami flood that snuffed the life out of all the flames. Within an hour, all the fire have been put out for the price of flooding much of the city. Fortunately, the flooding was short-lived. As soon as all the fire’s been put out, Dennison and his team set the controls forward and channeled all of the water back into the sea, ultimately putting an end to the fiery disaster. Dennison and his men were hailed as heroes. Each were given a harp by the mayor of Empire City as a token of thanks for saving the city from disaster. The harp Dennison was awarded with is the harp you’re looking at now.”

Bulletproof: “An incredible cop he was.”

Carl: “I’ll say. Dennison passed away in 1994. His last request was to have the harp be fashioned with the very badge the harp is now bearing, the very same badge he carried throughout his entire career, and donated to the ECPD Hall of Fame. The harp remained in the Hall of Fame for 4 years until a band of criminals broke into the museum, stole the harp, and hold it for ransom. The harp was eventually recovered by Earl and Samson who stormed into condemn building that once served as the crooks’ hideout to arrest and bring the crooks to justice.

However, in a failed attempt to prevent them from getting back the harp, the crooks tossed the harp out the window, hoping to destroy it. The harp fell 60 feet from the top of the condemn building before it was saved right in the nick of time by Samson who used a grappling hook to grab it by the pillar with only 2 floors away from impact. He pulled the harp up and carried it out of the building and into safety while Earl, now police sergeant like his father, and some of his men stormed in to arrest the crooks and bring them into custody.

To prevent it from happening again, the harp was never returned to the museum. Instead she was kept inside the Dennison family residence until his sons decides to sell the harp to help pay for their own children’s college tuition. My father became so deeply fascinated with the harp after hearing about it and its legacy that he went out, bought the harp, and made it part of his collection where it remains to this day.”

Bulletproof: “No wonder. I’ve never seen such a harp like this before. A harp adorned with a ECPD badge. Mind if I try playing it? Hope your father doesn’t mind.”

Healy: “I’m Sorry, but he doesn’t allow anyone to handle the instrument.”

Marvin: “Oh, that’s all right, boys. Let him try it out for a bit. That instrument could do a little singing for a bit after being silent for a long time.”

Bulletproof: “Thank you, Marvin.”

Carl: “I’ll get a chair for you to sit on.”

Carl goes to get a chair from the practice room, returns with a fine sturdy chair, and places it behind the harp. Bulletproof sat down, tilt the harp back, and begin to play.

Bulletproof playing a harp on a brown harp. This is a drawing I made many years ago in 2006.
Bulletproof playing a harp on a brown harp. This is a drawing I made many years ago in 2006.

He played beautifully. But Healy notice something wrong.

Healy: “Hold it, sir. You’re not doing the fingerings right.”

Bulletproof: “I’m not? Hmm I thought I was.”

Healy: “You have the idea of how to use your fingers to make a melodious sound, but you’re making it as if you got grabby hands. Here’s how you do the proper fingering on the harp.”

Healy reaches out and slowly demonstrates the proper fingering on the harp by curling the hand so that the fingers rests on the bottom cushion part of the thumb and his thumb curls to touch the second joint of the index finger.

Bulletproof: “A graceful move.”

Healy: “Now you try it.”

Bulletproof tries the fingerings again, but..

Healy: “Nope, you’re flattening the hands and making a fist. You’re fingers must curl to make a donut with your fingers touching the bottom cushion part of the thumb and the thumb is curled to touch the second joint of your index finger.”

Bulletproof: “Like this?”

He tries the fingerings again.

Healy: “Yeah! That’s it. Now with both hands on the harp, try to make a donut while plucking the strings.”

Carl: *sitting on another harp nearby* “Like this.”

Carl slowly strumming the harp with the correct fingerings

Bulletproof: “Just like a donut.”

Bulletproof goes to try again and…

Healy: “Bingo! You got it!”

Bulletproof strums the harp again while trying the curl his fingers to form a donut just like what Healy and Carl have demonstrated.

Carl: “Take it slow. Don’t go real fast.”

Bulletproof strums the harp carefully, making “donuts” with his hands. Left hand, right hand, both hands, and so on.

Healy: “Keep going. You’re doing great.”

And keep going he did, until Bulletproof mastered the art of making wonderful arpeggios that eventually followed by a concluding, wonderful, sweeping glissando.

Carl: “Bravo!”

Healy: “That was terrific, sir! Your first harp lesson’s a splendid one!”

Bulletproof: “Thanks, you two. Glad to have my first of many lessons with you.”

Carl: “First of many? Does this mean you’re planning on signing up for harp lessons?”

Bulletproof: “Yes. I want to play the harp as a hobby and pastime when I’m not serving the streets as C.O.P.S. commander in chief.”

Healy: “Well, you’ve came to the right place, chief. We got a lot of inventory of harps in stock to choose from upstairs. As a matter of fact, we actually have another harp we would like for you to try out on.”

Carl: “And unlike this harp, the other harp is for sale. But, just like this harp, she’s a police harp who proudly bears the exact same badge you and your team carry on a daily basis.”

Bulletproof puts the harp down and stands up.

Bulletproof: “Boy, you really got me hooked on the harp big time, citizen! Take me to her!”

Healy: “To the practice room.”

Bulletproof follow Healy upstairs to the practice room where there, standing next to the middle of a large marker board stood “LadyHarp,” a gold pedal harp similar to this Venus harp, bearing a C.O.P.S. badge right in front of the upper part of the pillar; she wears a badge exactly like the other harp downstairs! A huge smile ran across Bulletproof’s face the moment he sees her.

Healy: “Bulletproof, meet LadyHarp. Once own by Ian Wallace, ECFD firefighter, one of Dennison’s best students, who had her fashioned with this ECPD badge on the front of her top pillar in memory of Dennison, his inspiring harp teacher. After retiring from fire fighting, he toured all over the world with this instrument, performing in concerts, weddings, gigs, and even in retirement homes for the elderly. He passed away in 2003 after a bout with liver cancer. To help pay for his funeral, his family auctioned off this harp and I became the lucky one to win the bid and buy this wonderful harp.”

Bulletproof: “Why are you selling her?”

Healy: “I bought another harp about 3 weeks ago. I plan on using it while on tour with the Empire Symphony Orchestra. Traveling all over the world can be pretty expensive nowadays, so I’m selling LadyHarp to help pay for the traveling expenses.”

Bulletproof: “Mind if I make LadyHarp sing?”

Healy: “By all means, sir.”

With that Bulletproof sat on the bench behind the harp, tilt her back, and began to play a beautiful melody.

Bulletproof playing a yellow harp. This one I also made in 2006.
Bulletproof playing a yellow harp. This one I also made in 2006.

Bulletproof: “Aww Gorgeous sound” *singing*

“Pretty, pretty, pretty, pretty little sound.

Pretty, pretty, pretty, pretty little harp.

Pretty, pretty, pretty, pretty little strings.

Sing real high, sing real low, with all your might.

Pretty, pretty, pretty, pretty little sound.

Pretty, pretty, pretty, pretty little harp.

Pretty, pretty, pretty, pretty little strings.

I love you, I love you, my heart’s delight.

Pretty, pretty, pretty, pretty little sound.

Pretty, pretty, pretty, pretty little harp.

Pretty, pretty, pretty, pretty little strings.

Stay with me, be with me for-everrrrr, my shi-ning liiiiiiight.” *strums slowly to a stop*

Marvin, Carl, and Healy applauds.

Marvin: “Great melody, Bulletproof.”

Bulletproof: “Thanks.”

Carl: “Well, what do you think of her?”

Bulletproof: “I think this harp has spunk! That’s what I love about her! She has spunk lots of it! A great way to boost C.O.P.S. morale and lighten up an otherwise dull, gray, gloomy day. *strums* LadyHarp, *singing while strumming a glissando* IIIIIIII choooooose yooooooou!! *talking* You know I think playing this harp is the best decision I ever made. I must have this harp! How much do you want for her, Healy?”

Healy: “$18,000.”

Bulletproof: “Would you take $25,000?”

Healy: “The better to pay for a hotel in Vegas, Hong Kong, Paris, and everywhere else in between.”

Bulletproof: “Then consider the harp sold! I’ll take Ladyharp and have her serve me as the Official Mascot of C.O.P.S., producing melodies to delight the force while I’m on break and when I’m off duty from catching crooks and solving criminal capers.”

Healy: “All right! It’s a deal!”

Bulletproof: “But first I have to go out to my vehicle and get the money I’ve got lock way in my special handcuffed suitcase so I can pay for this harp and get your musical tour off on the right foot. I’ll be right back.”

Bulletproof puts the harp down, gets up, leaves the store, and heads to the trunk of his green car to get out the money needed to pay off the harp and become Empire City’s own Bulletproof Harpist. But just as he takes out the suitcase with the money inside….

*to be continued*

Sherry Konkus lives in Owosso, MI. She is the proud owner of the Camac Athena EX Concert Grand Harp named "Grover" and is also the proud author of The Punisher Harp Zone. Sherry is the one who came up with the idea of portraying The Punisher from Marvel Comics as the punishing harpist who plays the harp in memory of his family who was killed by the mob years ago.

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