Musical Notation

Here’s a link to a very cursory news article:

ATLANTA — Officials at Grady Memorial Hospital are asking for the public’s helping in identifying a critically ill patient.

The man was brought to Grady at around 2:30 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 1, after first being dropped off near the emergency room at DeKalb Medical Center, according to Grady spokeswoman Denise Simpson. He had been shot and had no identification on him.

Simpson described the patient as a black man in his early 20s, about 6 feet tall and 190 pounds. The man has short hair and a goatee, and has a tattoo of six letters with musical notes above them on his upper right side of his chest.

Anyone who can identify the patient is asked to call Grady Social Services at 404-616-5331.

This is one of those gems that could lead in nearly any direction. Who dropped him off “near” the emergency room? Clearly, someone who themselves didn’t want to be identified. So now there’s two layers of anonymity. We don’t know who this guy is, and we don’t know who dropped him off, so behind that there’s probably a third layer: who shot him? And then we have the tattoo, which sounds like something from some dreadful serial killer novel in its sheer symbolic weirdness. In a really crappy novel, the musical sequence would somehow unlock something: imagine the detective playing the notes on a recorder and the man sitting up and speaking in tongues.

Or we could go still weirder and imagine that this poor fellow was held captive for long enough for some sadist to tattoo him and for the tattoo to heal sufficiently for the Grady personnel not to be able to figure out that the tattoo is quite that recent. Then of course the question would be what non-batshit motive would there be for tattooing the man, and how is the tattoo the key to something else? Imagine some other guy reading this and taking a careful look in the mirror at the dumb musical-note tattoo he’d got while blacked-out drunk a few years ago. What’s it all mean?