“Who wants this piece of junk?” A heartbroken Christie is furious at her late grandfather for leaving her his old violin case. She scolds him and refuses to forgive him until the violin case breaks open, revealing a long-held secret that will bring her unsuspecting riches.
“What are you going to do with that? Become a street violinist?” Nick sneered at his 19-year-old sister Christie. “Gosh! Grandpa Joel left you his dirty old violin case. That’s wild! Don’t you dare come to me begging for money, you hear?”
After their grandfather Joel died a week ago, the family solicitor had called Christie and her 23-year-old brother Nick in to read the will and hand over what their grandfather thought each of them really deserved.
So while Nick got a cheque for $50,000 as his inheritance, all Christie got was an old violin case that had been sitting in the corner of her late grandfather’s house. She was angry at her Grandpa Joel… terribly angry… for giving her just that.
“I hate you for doing this to me, Grandpa… I’ll never forgive you for making me a laughing stock in front of my brother,” Christie scowled as she hailed a taxi home. She stormed angrily into her one-bedroom flat, where she lived alone.
“Who wants this piece of junk? Really, Grandpa? I love music… but I didn’t ask you for this. It would have been better if you hadn’t left me anything at all than this worthless old thing.”
The sight of the weathered and worn violin case lying on her bed drove Christie mad. She had never seen her grandfather play the violin. He never allowed anyone to touch it, not even Christie, even though he knew she loved music.
For as long as she could remember, the violin case had remained untouched by the fireplace in her grandfather’s parlour, until she got her hands on it now. And she didn’t want it, and couldn’t understand why her late grandfather would want her to have it in the first place.
Christie decided to get over it. She dined alone while surfing the internet for internships on her laptop. Christie wanted to be a musician, but now she was on her own.
When they were young, she and Nick lost their parents in a car accident. Their grandfather Joel raised them until they came of age and moved out to start their own lives.
While Nick stayed with his girlfriend in her apartment in the same city, Christie lived alone, shuttling between college and her part-time waitressing job. With her grandfather gone, she had no one to turn to for help and felt the need to find a better job.
A disappointed sigh escaped Christie’s lips as she closed her laptop. Almost all of the internship offers were abroad and Christie knew she could not leave things behind. Upset and annoyed, she retreated to her bedroom as her gaze returned to the old violin case.
Christie pursed her lips and decided to open it. “Grandpa never allowed anyone to touch you…” she muttered, picking up the weathered violin case. “Then why did he want me to have you? Grandpa and his old violin case… both strange!”
Christie tried to open the case, but the lock was jammed from rust and refused to give in. After a few failed attempts to open it, Christie lost it. In a fit of frustration and anger, she threw the violin case on the floor, only to jump back in shock.
“Oh my God… what on earth is this?” Christie cautiously approached the old wooden case that had burst open.
“Do I look like a joke?” Christie fumed. Her anger was heightened because the violin case was supposed to contain a musical instrument. But to Christie’s disappointment, there was no violin.
“Damn… I should have known earlier… I wondered why the case felt so light… now I know why… you just wanted to waste my time and play a wicked prank… laugh your butt off now from heaven, Grandpa…”
As Christie picked up the violin case in disappointment, she couldn’t help but notice a strange string sticking out of the velvet padding. She pulled the string and to her shock, a small secret compartment popped out.
“Wha—What…Jesus Christ…what is this thing?” Christie gasped when she found a note folded in several layers and what looked like an old copper key. Smitten by curiosity, Christie sat on the edge of her bed and unfolded the letter.
I know you’ll probably be mad at me for finding an empty case. And for giving you just this old violin case despite knowing how much you love & worship music.
But there’s more to this case than meets the eye, dear. Take the key to the address below this message. You’ll find answers to all your questions.
With Love, Grandpa Joel.”
Christie could not understand anything. It felt like her Grandpa had waited for this chance to bring some secret to light. What kind of secret and what impact it could have on her life haunted Christie.
She spent a long sleepless night staring at the key and the note and decided to visit the address first thing in the morning.
At 11am on a pleasant Tuesday, Christie found herself on the doorstep of 75-year-old Paxton, whose address her late grandfather had given in the note.
What worried Christie was that she had no idea who this Paxton was. As far as she could remember, her grandfather had never had a friend by that name. So it didn’t make sense why her late grandfather would want her to meet this man.
The door creaked open as an older man with a white beard and moustache stood on the other side, staring suspiciously at Christie. “Yes?” He said.
“I’m Christie… I know we haven’t met before. But last night I found your address on a note left by my late grandfather Joel. He instructed me to meet you…with this key,” Christie said with a smile.
When Paxton heard the name and saw the key in Christie’s hand, blood rushed to his face. He almost lost his balance, even with his walking stick. And if it hadn’t been for Christie, he would have collapsed on the floor.
“Careful… are you all right?” Christie helped the older man onto the sofa in the living room.
“I’m fine, dear…can I see the key again, please?” Paxton said, holding out his hand.
“Sure!” Christie said as she carefully handed him the key. “Do you have any idea what this key is for? I mean… I got this old violin case in my inheritance. And then I found this strange key and a note that said I’d find answers here. Please tell me… what’s going on?”
The older man looked painfully into Christie’s eyes. “I still remember that day…it haunts me day and night. I couldn’t make peace with my past…and when I wanted to, I found myself standing in the cemetery watching my old friend Joel being laid to rest.”
“Wait…what?” Christie was shocked. “You and Grandpa were friends? But I’ve never seen you before…”
Paxton’s eyes welled up with tears as he began to tell the story of that fateful day 35 years ago when more than two hearts and a friendship were broken…
It was the autumn of 1981. Best friends Joel and Paxton were in the bar celebrating Joel winning his first country music artist award. It was a local event. Not the kind that attracted the attention of the mass media and the paparazzi. But Joel was already starting to feel like a star and wanted to live among the stars.
“So what now, man?” Paxton asked, chugging a beer. “There’s plenty of opportunities to make it to Hollywood. Why don’t you compose some kind of fusion and sell your work?”
“You read my mind, mate!” Joel chuckled. “I’ve been working on some tunes. I played a sample at The Music Studio… and they absolutely loved it! I can’t wait to finish composing the last song…then I’ll be all set for a bright future…and who knows! I might be living my Hollywood dreams very soon!
But Paxton was not as pleased as Joel. “You were secretly composing music…and even got yourself a gig without telling me?” He exclaimed.
“Ah, come on, mate! You never really had a taste for music…besides, I wanted to surprise you when everything was set. I’m so happy today that I finally got the chance to spill the beans!” Joel said.
“Well, man… I’m really happy for you. So when are you going to finish the last song?” Paxton asked.
“It’s almost done. It’ll be done tonight!” Joel replied excitedly.
“All the best, man… I can’t wait to hear your songs on the big screen!” Paxton chuckled. But deep down he was seething with jealousy. His business had recently collapsed. He was drowning in debt, and the thought of his best friend reaching great heights unsettled him.
Of course, Paxton and Joel were best friends. But when jealousy takes root in a man’s heart, it can destroy even the strongest of bonds, and friendship is no exception. So that night, Paxton decided to steal and destroy Joel’s melodies.
Paxton crept into Joel’s garden and climbed up the pipe to Joel’s bedroom window. He saw Joel putting the sheet music into a small wooden box and hiding it in the wardrobe.
“I’ll have to steal the box…” Paxton thought. Determined to stop at nothing, he quickly climbed down the pipe and rang the doorbell to distract Joel.
“Who is it at this hour?” Joel wondered as he slipped out of bed. But when he opened the door, there was no one there. “Strange!” He thought, guessing that little Paxton had bought himself enough time to sneak into Joel’s bedroom through the window and steal the box.
“…I’m still so ashamed of myself for letting my best friend’s dream fall to the ground,” Paxton finished tearfully.
The revelation froze Christie. “Oh my God! You stole my grandpa’s music? Is that why Grandpa never played the violin? How could you do that to him? What happened to his career afterwards?” She asked.
Paxton sighed painfully. “I wanted to sell that music for some bucks but never found a good deal. Meanwhile, Joel’s career in music hit rock bottom. And my bad luck…he even found out I was the one who stole his music. He was mad at me. It took him months to compose those tunes. I destroyed his dream in a split second. Our friendship broke that day. He never returned to composing music again…The last words he ever spoke to me were: ‘You’ll never be able to get your hands on my music without the key!’ And I did not understand what he meant by that until you showed up.”
Christie could not believe her ears. “Where’s the box? Do you still have it?”
The next thing she remembered, she found herself holding the fateful box that held her late Grandpa’s dream music compositions. The box opened with a soft click, and a rush of excitement surged into Christie and Paxton’s eyes when they saw stacks of musical sheets, hundreds of them, inside.
“But why did your Grandpa want you to have this?” Paxton grew curious.
“I know why!” Christie replied and immediately left with the box in her grip.
A year later, Christie’s doorbell buzzed. “Nick?! So what brought you to my home?” She sneered. Nick was standing outside his sister’s luxurious mansion she had recently bought.
As it turned out, Christie loved music, just like her Grandpa. She had always wanted to make a career in the music industry, and when she found the music composed by her Grandpa Joel, she had an idea.
She met with the music production studio that had wanted to sell her Grandpa’s compositions all those years ago. Although Christie used her Grandpa’s original tunes, she fused them with her own compositions and brought a fresh, sassy piece to the producer’s table, thus impressing them and bagging her ticket to stardom.
Christie’s hard work finally paid off! And the next thing she knew, she had several music contracts in tow. Her ladder to success started right there and there was no looking back.
Meanwhile, it was not all rainbows and sunshine for Nick. His girlfriend dumped him, leaving him with a broken heart and a mountain of debt.
“Christie… aren’t you going to welcome your brother into your home?” Nick snapped at Christie. “I’m so happy for the great heights you’ve reached!”
“Thanks to Grandpa’s DIRTY OLD VIOLIN CASE!” Christie snapped. “Have you ever heard those words before? And I’m so sorry, Nick! You were never there for me at my weakest moment. I doubt I can ever be there for you. Never let money spoil you… Grandpa would say that, remember? I hope you’ll learn to work hard instead of trying to live off me!
Christie turned her back on her brother and slammed the door. An hour later, she drove to the cemetery to spend some quiet time with her late grandfather.