Post 218, Sunrise was four hours away..

(second section of the Musician story, read the first part or this won’t make any sense. Link to the story is here)

Writers note: The previous section ended with “and sunrise was four hours away” That is where we pick up the story. I will stitch them together when it is time.

The phone was ringing 5000 miles away as the Musician started walking west on the interstate.  The phone rang six times before the butler answered it. “May I help you?” the butler asked into the phone. Not much of a greeting. No warmth, not fun, just business. Just as he had been trained to do. “Put the old man on the phone” Was the gruff reply.  The butler walked across the checkerboard square parquet floor towards the library. “Just one moment, please” was his only reply.  Upon reaching the closed library door, the butler knocked twice and announced that there was a phone call for Mr. Jones. Not his real name, but the butler had been instructed ten years ago to address his employer as Mr. Jones.  “Come in” was the faint reply through the door.

The library was an enormous room. There were three walls of books from the floor to the ceiling. In the center of the room was a chandelier that hung six feet down from the fourteen foot ceiling. Crown molding circled the top of the three walls where the books were stored. For the fourth wall there was an immense picture window, the full length of the library and floor to ceiling. There were doors built into the window on either side to allow the occupants to go outside. The view, well that was as spectacular as the window that framed it. In the middle of the room under the chandelier was a couch, and a chair. In the chair was Mr. Jones,his chair facing that view. The ocean vista was unobstructed for as far as the eye could see. Not a ship, a person or a house was in sight. In fact, the nearest dwelling that could (if possible) be seen from the chair was 3000 miles away across the Pacific Ocean. The rest of the furniture in the room consisted of a desk and chair set way back against the wall, almost like an afterthought.

Once you entered the library, the door automatically closed behind you. The door was part of the bookcase. A first time visitor would be hard pressed to find the door knob when they wanted to leave. Mr. Jones liked having the upper hand in all things he did. He had a remote control built into his chair that would allow him to open and close the door, dim or raise the lights, open or close the massive shutters on the picture window. The butler silently walked over to Mr. Jones and said, “Sir, the phone is for you”. Mr Jones took the phone from the butler and with a dismissive wave, sent him quickly and quietly back across the library to the hidden door.  Without any difficulty, the butler let himself out of the room and closed the door.

Mr. Jones pushed a button on the arm of his chair lowering the Beethoven Passacaglia and Fugue in c minor that had been playing. What a wonderful and soothing song that was, he thought.  Into the phone he asked “Yes, what have you to report?”  A nervous smile danced on his face, but his voice was rock solid. Maybe this would be the good news that had eluded him for so long.  A very long pause, much too long to blame on satellite phones and other atmospheric phenomena gave the old man his answer without ever hearing the other man speak.  “Dammit!” He cursed, “What happened this time?” The voice at the other end of the phone was clear and concise. “He somehow knew our man was there and ducked at the last-minute,  The shot went over his head. “And??”  “Then some unknown person took our man out before he could get a second shot off.”

“Who was the second shooter?” the old man asked. The voice on the other end trembled a little bit when he replied, “We have no idea. And he did not shoot our man, he slit his throat.”  That answer would have led to the early termination of most people in the employ of the old man. The old man did not accept failure very well. The silence on the line lingered for almost a minute when the old man said, “Track him, find another hitter and call me back when you are ready” With that the old man hung up the phone without waiting for a reply. What reply was necessary? Do the job, get it done, period.

The old man turned his Beethoven back up and sipped on his fine, private label Caribbean rum. He thought back over the last three years of hunting the Musician. How had this man evaded all the efforts of no less than 10 different assassins?  It was a shame that the old man could not hire the Musician to take out the Musician. That would be a case of the best vs. the best. So far, all the second-rate hitters that his man in the desert southwest had come up with fell far short of their prey. The knock on the library door brought him back to the present. “Yes?” he called across the room?  It is time for your massage sir, the girl is here and the table is set up under the gazebo. Shall I tell her that you will be along?” The old man got out of his chair, a massage, one of life’s finer pleasures. Tell her that I will be there in a minute.

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