The Musician

Pages of the novel. The entire work is below

1. http://wp.me/p1FpfB-bN Post 105 first pages

2. http://wp.me/p1FpfB-wO Post 218 Next Chapter .

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Here is what it looks like in story format

The boom of the lightning bolt shook the building so hard that the Musician sat straight up, no longer asleep.  Damm, he thought, another night shot to hell.  As he rubbed the last vestiges of sleep from his eyes he noticed that the clock radio next to the hotel bed was dark. The through the wall air conditioner so prevalent in these 1970 era roadside hotels was silent as well.  I guess the power went out with that last lighting bolt, he thought. Light or dark, the Musician did not care.  He had stayed in worse, slept in worse and woken up in worse. At least (so far) he was not sleeping in a jail cell tonight.

He pushed the button on the side of his watch to illuminate the face. 2:45 am.  Then the light went out. If anyone had been in the room with him they would have noticed his kind eyes and the slightly crooked twist to his nose.  All battle scars, water under the bridge, he would tell you. As he got up to walk to the bathroom he sensed something was out-of-place in the room. He squinted and slowly looked around. There was no light, not event he street lights were working.  He slowed his breathing down, and crouched down to make himself a smaller target.  And he waited, listening. When he was satisfied that it was only his nerves playing tricks on him he finished getting up and went to use the bathroom. At least the hotel still had water pressure. They must have city water. A power outage would have shut off a well.

As he left the bathroom he stubbed his left foot on something that was not where he left it. Back on alert, he crouched into his tiger stance. Scanning left to right and back again. Still nothing. He reached down and found his bag had fallen off the desk during the night. Wow, he thought, that must have been some lighting strike.  He put the bag back on the table and walked over to the door. He stared at the door, almost willing it to tell him what was on the other side. He listened and did not hear any movement nor did he hear any rain. That was good since walking in the rain was one of his least favorite things. And it was not good for his instruments.

He turned around and quickly got dressed, not wasting motions. Jeans, shirt, socks and boots, all where he had left them just a few hours before. He grabbed his guitar case and his traveling bag and reached for the door. Stopping, again listening. All quiet. He opened the door and quickly slipped out, slightly crouched to mask his height. Down the corridor, down the stairs. Never take an elevator if you can avoid it.  Outside. Yes, freedom from that building felt good. He turned to his right to start walking towards the interstate when he caught a flash of light or a reflection of some sort. He dropped to his knees just as a shotgun discharged from about ten feet away. The belch of fire illuminating the dark night. He felt the wind as the buckshot flew just inches from his face.

Then all was quiet. No talking, no running, no cars, no voices, nothing. The shooter was waiting to see if the Musician was alive, dead or somewhere in between.  Far from in between, perfectly fine. Many might have said his actions in the room and earlier that evening were the tell-tale signs of someone suffering from delusional paranoia. But he was not paranoid, people, person, something was definitely after him tonight.  Comes with the job I guess, he thought to himself. Enough quiet time on the ground, now it was time to turn back his attacker and get moving on to his next gig.

Leaving the guitar case and the traveling bag on the ground where he dropped them, the Musician moved slowly, crouching to his left. Most people move to their right so he was going the opposite direction. Slowly, slowly now he was off the black top and into the scrub grass next to the parking lot. A few more steps and he kicked something heavy and soft on the ground. Keeping his head up, he reached down and felt a man’s right leg. The leg was still warm, but there was a sticky substance on the pant leg. He brough his hand up to his nose for a smell. Smelled like blood, he knew that smell anywhere.  He reached back down and followed the leg to the torso. He felt for a femoral pulse thought the pants, nothing.  This night was getting crazier by the minute.

Screech..  Tires spinning to his left. He dropped flat on his back as a black Crown Victoria Police Special squealed out of the parking lot. The car had been sitting in the dark not twenty feet from the body and thirty feet from where he had dropped his guitar case and travel bag. Weird, had the person in the Crown Vic shot the shooter? As he felt around the body in the dark, he found the shotgun, the barrel was still warm.  He picked up the shotgun and still crouching, walked over and picked up his guitar case and travel bag and started walking once again toward the highway. Sunrise was four hours away.

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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