Archive for the ‘fiction’ Category

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Greg is looking for volunteer book reviewers.

May 12, 2009

So I’m proceeding a bit slower than I would like.  I’ve been busy with my day job.  But I am crossing the 40,000 word mark and am interested to get an independent view of the book I’m working on.

Is anyone interested in taking a quick read at what I have so far?

Synopsis:
Cross between Sherlock Holms – Dr. Watson as teenagers, Jules Verne, adventure story where our heroes journey to the center of the Earth to rescue the princess of the fallen Atlantis empire from her treacherous half-brother.

Lots of fun stuff, no high falutin’ literature that’s for sure.  I foresee a whole series of books and Millions of dollars for Greg in royalties…heh.  Well we all have dreams right.

It’s a fun read, at least this biased reader thinks it is.

Any takers?

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No I’m not dead, I’m the walrus. Well actually I’m not that either, but here is an update on what I’ve been doing and writing and a blurb from a longer piece that is coming together quite nicely thank you.

December 12, 2008

Despite reports to the contrary I have not fallen off the face of the Earth.  I am in the middle of shipping our product to China and the Philippines at work and my writing has been focused on a longer piece. 

I have made a goal to complete a novel length work in 2009 and submit it for publishing.  Being the geek that I am I have created an excel spreadsheet that measures my progress towards the mythical 100,000 word mark.  Here is a snapshot of one of the graphs.

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I will cross the 20% threshold tonight.   Woo Hoo!

If you want the spreadsheet let me know I think it is pretty cool.

For your reading pleasure, here is a brief snippet from the Jeremy story I am focusing on.


“She’s set fire to the tree! She’s burned the bridges!”

“What!” Shouted several voices at once but by then they were all running for the door. Outside the sun still shown though we’d been working for a whole day, the lack of night still threw me off. I don’t think I would ever get used to it.

We all saw the smoke from a tree across the plaza billowing up into the sky. I saw the crackling flames lapping at the branches and leaves, it didn’t look fully engulfed yet but I could see the fire grow as I watched.

There were city fire brigades already assembling around the tree, they were dowsing the surrounding wood structures and nearby trees in a white substance, soon the whole area around the conflagration looked like it was covered in snow. We all watched as the tree flared and sparked and cracked in painful fiery death.

Everyone except The Magregor, as soon as he saw the flames going up the tree he started looking around the sky in all directions. He was the first to spot it.

“Look THERE!” He shouted, heads turned to look where he pointed. “A ship of the empire!”

I saw it then, its black gleaming hull suspended from a red balloon emblazoned with a black dragon. She was magnificent.

“She’s coming in fast.” Said Maggie who stood to my right.

“Aye, she has no intent of stopping.” Responded Carth.

The airship sailors’ curiosity and admiration could be heard in their voices.

“She’ll have to be careful of the updrafts from the flames.” Said another.

“Look, she’s doused her canvas with water.” Said still another.

“Aye the skipper’s a ripe crazy one that one.” Said the Magregor.

She came right over the top of us, barely 100 feet above our heads, we could hear the shouts of the captain as he ran his crew tightly. Nobody thought of guns, it all happened so fast. The engines were revving and slowing as the Captain fought to hold his course straight for the burning tree.

That’s when we saw Miranda in her green cloak clinging to the highest branches. She’d timed it close, almost too close the flames might still claim her before the rescue? We all watched the show in wonder as the black and red airship dropped a wide net off the stern of their vessel as they approached the burning tree.

We held our breaths as it swooped down on the tree, the captain almost pointing the bow directly at the treetop. It seems that he must have heard the airshipman who spoke of the updrafts, for he was ready. The airship was buffeted and its nose rose quickly as it passed over the leading edge of heat. We could see Miranda climb up to the tip of the trunk upon which she clung, up and up until she wrapped her legs around the highest point and then reached as the shadow of the hull passed above her.

The net came over her and she grasped the bottom of it and was away. Dangling like a fish on a hook.

We watched as the black and red airship dwindled into the distance taking with it Miranda, she’d escaped.

“Gentlemen, we no longer have surprise on our hands.” Said the Magregor.

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Friday Flash Fiction: Cats These Days

October 23, 2008

I quite like this one.

Came fast just like you want FFF to be like.


Margaret fumbled for her key. She had to shift the bag of groceries to her other arm to reach into her right jeans pocket to find them. Before she opened the door she made sure she pulled her gun out, Fluffy was still on the loose.

A cat had seemed like a good idea two years ago when she got Fluffy.

It was just around the time that GenPet® was advertising its NewCat® and NewDog® line of genetically engineered pets: “Smarter, Cleaner, Easier, Better,” said the brochure. They made it sound better than a real cat, no litter boxes and no surprises.

They left out the fact that smarter wasn’t necessarily better when it came to cats.

Once the NewCat understood the relationship situation, the whole pet/owner thing, they tended to exude resentment.

She opened the door slightly and peeked inside.

“Fluffy?…”

Silence.

“Fluffy? Don’t try anything ok sweetums. Mommy’s got her gun out.” Margaret held the gun firmly, showing the skill she had been forced to learn from the many encounters with her cat.

It was a bad sign when Fluffy didn’t show himself, it meant he was angrier than usual.

Margaret entered the house and closed the door behind her. Keeping her back to the corner, gun leveled, steady and ready. She reached into the bag and pulled out the bag of NewCat ‘nipBits®, “Mommy has your stuff dear.” It was considered a good conventional wisdom to keep your NewCat doped up as much as possible.

Margaret had run out of the treats yesterday, now she was in trouble.

“MeeeOOWW!” A fuzzy yellow ball of fur leapt at her from the top of the breakfront!

BANG!

She missed and barely dodged her NewCat, Fluffy raked his claws across her back as he flew by, leaving a four inch swipe .

“OOW!” Shouted Margaret as she lashed out with a foot.

But the NewCat was too quick, bouncing up and off the back of the couch and away into the dining room.

BANG!

She missed again.

Margaret headed towards the stairs up to her room. Slowly she backed up the stairway, keeping a careful aim  on the hallway at the bottom. Fluffy was bigger, stronger, faster and smarter than a normal cat. Sometimes Margaret thought he was even smarter than she was. He was always trying to outwit her.

Something slammed into her back and she felt the teeth of her NewCat sink into her neck.

“AAAEEEEeeeeeee!” She screamed, dropped the gun and reached back to grab the ball of terror. But he was too slippery and wily. She finally just slammed her back against the wall; Fluffy let go.

They stood ten feet apart in the hallway eyeing each other. Fluffy crouched over her dropped gun and laughed.

“hmmmph hmph hmph hmph.”

Margaret was sure it was a laugh, he only laughed when he was committing evil.

She saw now how he had snuck behind her. The window to her bedroom was open. He’d gone outside and climbed in from the tree in front of her window.

But the bathroom had no windows.

She made a dash and Fluffy leapt again to prevent her escape.

She slammed Fluffy’s foot in the door and he roared, an actual lions roar in miniature. But he pulled the foot back and Margaret was able to get the door shut and locked. She collapsed against the door, panting with Fluffy just on the other side mewling

“MMmmeeeooowwwrrrrge.” Margaret heard her name in his meow, Fluffy could talk! “Mmeeowrrrjj, iiiiiimmmm ggrrrrroonnna k-k-ach-kiiiiillll yoooouuuueeeeoooww.”

As she frantically stuffed ‘nipBits under the door, she vowed to herself that she was definitely signing on to the class action lawsuit against GenPet tomorrow.

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FFF: The Blue Stone of the Incas

July 18, 2008

“My Lord!”

The dark haired Spaniard in breastplate that was dull and beaten from conquest, turned away from the view of destruction below him and faced the younger conquistador.

“Yes Nephew.” He answered. The temple complex of the Inca’s was theirs now, it had taken a day of slaughter but, God willing, they had been victorious.

“We’ve found the last of them.”

Gonzalo Pizarro followed his nephew as they turned and walked back into the main temple chamber. There were half naked bodies lying about the large room; shot, stabbed, burned. He ignored the devastation, he had seen it all so often; it was his way.

Deeper they went, through a cloud of smoke, down an ancient stone stairway lit only by torchlight. The air became cool all of a sudden as the heat from above could not penetrate so far. Still they went down.

“How far does this lead Francisco?”

“Not much further my lord.”

Their voices sounding trapped in the long dark stairway.

They finally reached bottom and entered what looked like a temple hall fully 50 feet on each side with columns through the center. The room was laden with gold as was the Inca’s wont. Gold was an adornment, a tool of the royalty and priesthood.

Two more Spanish soldiers were there, guarding an Inca priest in his garish red and yellow costume. He was bound and beaten, but praying still.

Gonzalo ignored him, what more could he learn from them, they were treacherous and ignorant. Best send them on to God, baptized before death, there was no further salvation available for them here on earth.

It was then he noticed the stone on the alter at the back of the room.

“What is that nephew?”

“It is for that I brought you here Uncle.” Francisco used the familiar term as a means to lord it over the other soldiers in the room. Gonzalo smiled slightly, admiring his nephew’s skill in politicking at the young age of nineteen.

[He’ll go far] he thought.

Gonzalo walked up to the alter and reached out a hand towards the large blue colored stone. It looked like a large egg, a little longer, a little bigger than it should be and blue as the sky on a summer day.

As he reached for it he heard the Inca begin to protest in his gutter tongue.

Gonzalo did not turn his gaze from the stone, “Shut the whore-son up!”

He didn’t even look as the blade was sunk into the belly of the Inca. The Inca’s scream was cut short by a second strike from the other soldier. There was no need to look, he had seen so much worse, what was one more death to him.

Gonzalo reached out, slowing his hand as it approached the blue stone; captivated, almost hypnotized by its allure. His eyes playing tricks in the flickering light for the stone seemed to shift, to almost shiver, as if anticipating his fingers.

It sparked. Gonzalo pulled his hand back in trepidation. Then, with his Spanish pride goaded, he reached for the blue stone with a sneer of disdain for himself, for the stone and for the pagans.

The stone almost seemed to jump into his hand as he grasped it, as if it were searching for a palm within which to rest. Gonzalo gripped the cool surface; it felt soft like the softest leather but cool like it had just been pulled from the bottom of a mountain stream. The coolness seemed to seep into his hand and up his wrist, pleasing and invigorating.

“Nephew, this stone feels magnificent. My arm feels rejuvenated.”

The stone started to warm a bit, the warmth like whisky in his veins, wicking up his arm.

“aaaaaahhhhh.” Smiling in pleasure, he motioned for his nephew to come take the stone but as Francisco approached Gonzalo found that he could not release his grip.

“uhhg…it appears to be stuck.” He reached up with his other hand to remove it, but his other hand was pulled like a lodestone pulls iron; both his hands were attached. It was then that the cold-heat changed to pain.

“AHHH! There are nails coming from it, AAAAHHH! My hands!” Gonzalo fell to his knees and began to strike his hands against the stone floor in desperation. The pain now was like needles or molten lead going up his veins.

“Uncle,” Francisco rushed to his uncle’s side but then stopped as Gonzalo fell on his side and started screaming.

“AAAAAAEEEEEEEEEESSSSS” His eyeballs rolled up into his head leaving just the whites of his eyes visible. He writhed on the floor, kicking with his feet and shaking his hands that were still glued to the mysterious stone.

Francisco stood in shock; the two soldiers backed out of the room, fearful that the pagan magic would possess them as well. First one bolted up the stairs followed quickly by the other. The clatter of their booted feet receded up the dark stairwell leaving Francisco alone with Gonzalo; frozen with fear, four feet from his uncle.

“…Uncle…” He reached towards the older man who now lay rigid and burbling on the floor in one long convulse.

Francisco leaned over his uncle and listened.  Gonzalo had quieted, no longer even burbling, but instead no his breath came at a rapid pace.  Still Francisco would not touch him.

“AAAAAAAAAEEEEEEEEE!” He screamed into Francisco’s ear, convulsed three more times and then collapsed, spent and flaccid.

The stone rolled free of its grip.

Francisco did not pick it up.

Finally, tentatively, he touched his uncle’s arm. It was cold as the snow and looked at his uncle’s face and noticed tears of blood running from the corners of Gonzalo’s eyes.

He was sure his uncle would die.

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Friday Flash Fiction: The Red Dress

May 2, 2008

Becker again.  I think I like this guy.  It’s playing out like a future-noir detective piece.  I like where it’s at and where it’s going.

Things are gonna get hot for Becker, in more ways than one.

Part 1: Jazz PIano and Johnny Freefall


By the time the morning came around I knew this was going to be some damn party. I was royally drunk, but so was the crowd. I’d been in a zone now for about three hours. Jammin’ with the band; they were good enough to keep up with me, not many are, but then Johnny has access to good talent.

Finally Johnny Freefall called a break in the action. He snapped his fingers and started walking out but stopped on the top step and held up his hands for quiet.

I couldn’t let him have all the fun and made sure I was the last to become silent, ending in descending crescendo; making the point that Mr. Freidal wasn’t the only power in the room. I had my own domain.

I let the keys rest finally, slowly turned a drunken eye over at the don’t-call-him-a-gangster in the black silk suit and gave him a nice warm smile.

“Thank you Mr. Becker.” Freidal smiled back. Point made.

“Now all you cats are coming back here tonight. Go sleep off your drunk and get some grub and be here at ten tonight. I’m sure we can convince Mr. Becker to be back to entertain us.”

Touché. I guess when it comes to power I play second fiddle. With a smile that showed he knew it, Johnny Freefall left the room with his entourage: couple of goons, couple of “lawyers” and a couple of girls.

“meh,” was all I could say, that bastard’s got it figured, don’t know if I hate him or respect him.

I picked up my Macallan and tossed the last drink back just as cliché’ boy in the dark sunglasses came up, “We’ gots you a nice room wit’ a bed.”

I’m sure you do.

****

The shower felt great. I let the water flow over my neck and peed in the drain. Even the towels were top shelf, thick and rich.

I was slipping into the bathrobe when the door chime sounded with three pleasing tones.

I shuffled, tired and still somewhat drunk, from the marble floor of the bathroom onto the plush carpet of the bedroom and then back onto the marble hallway in front of the suite’s door.

I knew this wasn’t gonna play out good the minute I saw her standing there. Blond, blue eyed and perfect. It was one of Freefall’s dames.

“Becker…”

I put my hand out in front of me, palm out, trying to stop the inevitable, “Listen Lady, I don’t know what you want…”

“Hear me out Becker,” and she barged into my room leaving a trail of perfume loaded with pheromones. The scotch in me blunted her seduction a bit, but my libido still said [hey what’s this then]?

Crap!

I closed the door, trapping the alluring aroma and the bombshell within.

“I need your help.”

“Yeah…yeah…look lady I play music, I don’t help people, I help one person, me.” I headed past her back to the bathroom. I was trying hard to ignore her curves and gaps, enhanced so well by the red dress she wore.

“I think Johnny killed my sister.”

“Crap! Listen…what’s your name?…”

“Mira.”

“Listen Mira,” I grabbed the towel, “I don’t do this sorta thing. You follow me? I DON’T. It’s bad for my health.” I rubbed the last of the drips from my hair, trying to keep my thoughts in order.

“I need to find out what happened to her.” Mira said as she slowly walked towards me. “All you gotta do is go ask my friend MIckie, he’ll know what to do.”

“Why…eh…why don’t you ask him yourself…” Man she moved great, I gotta get another drink. I let the towel fall to the floor.

“Johnny don’t let me talk to nobody.” She said, coming even closer, sidling right up next to me and bringing a hand up to my wet hair.

“Figures.” I broke away and maneuvered around her over to the bar, I needed to add some ammunition in the war between the scotch and her mysteries.

“Look, Mira, I can see you’re in a tight spot, but I kinda like being alive and what you’re askin ain’t gonna help that.”

She looked right at me as I was twisting off the cap of some Glenlivet, “Isn’t there something I can do for you? Something that might help convince you?” She started to slide a strap of her dress off her shoulder.

Dammit!

“Woah lady, we’re not gonna go down that path.” I almost dropped the bottle on the counter as I rushed over to stop her doing what she was gonna do. I grabbed her hand and pulled the strap back up onto the shoulder.

“You ain’t gonna help?” She said. Her shoulder felt really nice: smooth, warm, just the right curve. My hand seemed to want to stay there.

I found myself answering, “Well…uh…Mickie you say,” Crap, why’d I say that.

She looked down at my hand then back up into my eyes, they were glazed from the scotch and my wandering naughty thoughts.

I knew why I said that and she knew it too. She had me then, she reached up and moved my hand back down, with me still holding onto her strap.

“You can’t call him,” she said as down the strap went, “nothin’ electronic.” She slid the other strap down and her dress fell away like the opening of an Opera.

I tried to swallow, it turned into more of a gulp. But there she was exposed, a blond Aphrodite.

“You gotta talk to him face to face.”

“yeah…Mira…I’ll talk to Mickie.”

“I knew you’d help me Becker, I just knew it.” And she nuzzled her nakedness up against me and kissed me luxuriously.

It was everything she’d promised.

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Friday Flash Fiction: The Bard and the Girl.

March 28, 2008

Sorry about the length here, but it just wouldn’t stay short. (1353 words)

I liked my Becker character and decided to transport him to a different setting.  I imagine I might do it again somewhere else.  Here he is as a Bard with ill intent.

Oh and not much editing here, I’m pretty busy, so forgive me for some rough spots in this entry.  I will come back to it and clean it up.


Even with the big open fire pit and the roaring flames the cold seeped into the great hall.

Becker stood in the middle of the room, his lute across his chest recounting the exploits of Sir Thalan and the forty gremlins; a humorous tale that kept his audience in laughter from start to finish. He particularly liked starting with this one because it loosened the crowd up and let him gain their friendship before he entranced them and robbed them blind.

Laughter fully filled the chamber as he ended the tale with poor Thalan beating the gremlins but losing his wife to them when she realized they could bed her better than her knight. The gremlins being more ribald and virile and she more hearty and wanton than her man could satisfy.

They clapped and demanded more. The crowd now primed and receptive, Becker moved into the realm of improving his fortunes.

The chords for the next tale began with a melancholy tone, the crowd settled in for a tragedy as clearly the bard was beginning. The fire crackled and popped and Becker used its dancing light to begin his enchantment.

Perhaps it was a story they had heard or perhaps one similar or, more likely still, one based on age old themes repeated in many forms; a tale of woe and sorrow, of madness and anger. He sang of the two lovers forlorn and of their sad tale ending in death.

And as he played his tune and sang the story, his spell coursed with the smoke and the cackling flickering flame to entrance the audience. He began to weave in amongst the tables seeing how strong the spell was, some kept their eyes on him as he wandered in and around the gathered Baron’s household. Others kept their eyes on the fire, already succumbing to his enchantment.

He casually walked close to the flame and while holding a high somber note sprinkled some gindlebrau herb into the flames. The aroma of vanilla and pepper quickly filled the room, doubling the enchantment’s strength. This was a tricky phase of the trancing, the herb was strong enough to enchant the enchanter if he were not mindful of the effects.

Becker knew his craft well, the gindlebrau was ineffectual against him.

A few minutes further on and the entire gathered household was slackjawed and drooling. Becker placed his lute down and set it a-playing on its own with a trivial spell from his childhood. It kept the instrument traipsing along the sad melody. This allowed the bard to walk freely around the dining hall.

He cut purses from waists, lifted necklaces from necks, and pulled rings from fingers. Smiling as he did so. By the time his victims awoke he would be long gone. It was always so easy…

“What are you doing?” Asked a small voice.

Becker froze his smile. A girl of no more than fourteen stood in front of him watching, clear eyed and quizzical.

“ummm…Yes,” he answered quickly.

“Are you stealing m’lords baubles?”

“umm..” Again he brought his vaunted quick wit to bear. This had never happened before.

“Why…no lass, no, I’m…uh..I’m ..uh…merely taking inventory for the king.”

“I think you’re lying.”

Becker decided to change the subject, “Why aren’t you enjoying the nice music like everyone else?”

“I don’t know, it seemed kinda boring to me? Why’ur you stealing from everybody?”

“Boring? How could it be boring? And I’m not stealing.”

“Well I mean it was up until you cast your spell? Then what do you call it if it ain’t stealin’?” She said putting her hands on her hips.

“umm…who are you?” Said Becker now confused.

“..nobody…My daddy’s over there.” And she pointed across the room at one of the fat noblemen sitting stoned in his chair.

Becker was getting scared now. The enchantment would only hold so long, he needed to finish his round and depart; the sooner the better.

“Well little girl,” She grimaced at his patronizing tone.

“I’m not a little girl.”

He lifted another purse in his hand and felt its weight, 30 shillings at least. He looked her in the eye and then he started to continue his way around the room, talking as he went from victim to victim.

“Look girl, everyone’s got their own way of getting by. Your da there,” as he put a jeweled dagger in his bag, “Has lands that provide for him,” A ring from a slack finger followed, “The baron there as well.” He moved on as the girl followed him around.

“Me, I don’t have something like that, all I have is some rare gifts.” Brooch and necklace lifted and pocketed. “A little singing, a little enchantment, and I’m on my way.” He sidestepped his way around a particularly obese woman beginning to tip off her bench. Becker gently nudged her back to lean on what he supposed (and if so pitied) was her husband.

“Not much harm done really.” The fat one did have a very nice necklace though, Becker whistled briefly as it followed the rest of the loot into the bag.

“But it ain’t right to steal.”

“Now lassy, on one hand you’re absolutely right, but on the other you’re completely wrong.” Finally he was up to the Baron’s table. He focused on the little baubles, the goblets were too heavy anyways, but the rings and necklaces were light and full of gems.

“The Baron here can afford to buy a new necklace.” As he gently removed a heavy gold and silver chain encrusted with five rubies from around the Baron’s neck, “in a matter of a few seasons…He’ll barely miss it.”

The baroness lost her tiara and some rings as well as the matching necklace to her husband.

“If I were to steal 30 shillings from a farmer or 100 from the blacksmith, now that wouldn’t be right. That’d hurt his family and…well…I’d feel all bad about it.”

“You don’t feel bad about this?” She said walking around following him.

“Nope. It’s fun.” He finished and walked back to his lute by the fire, picked it up carefully so that it continued it’s magic tune and started to walk out of the hall.

“What do you intend to do girl?” He said as he walked backwards up to the great doors, eyeing her.

“What can I? I can’t stop you.”

Becker paused before grabbing the brass ring on the door and looked at her again. She was nearly a woman, but still a year or two short. Was she too old? What would a woman bard be like?

“You know you have a rare gift…umm…what are you called?”

“Carmen.”

He opened the door and repeated himself, “You know you have a rare gift Carmen, it would be a shame to waste it as some little lordlings wife.”

She asked in return, “What are you saying Becker.”

“I have no apprentice, and you are a gifted child…woman…young woman… Carmen.” He pushed the door open a bit further, held it open with his foot, bowed slightly and motioned out the door, “I offer knowledge, adventure, song and dance. The likes of which you will not get in this backwater barony.”

“I…I…can’t. I can’t.” She looked around the room again. Her life was here. She shook her head.

“Suit yourself. Pity though, you have some gifts that are going to be wasted, I would have enjoyed seeing them brought forth.”

And he walked out and let the door close behind him.

Suddenly the music was gone and the crackle of the fire was all that was left. She turned in a circle and looked at everyone there. She tried to find a face of someone in the dazed audience that she cared about.

There was nobody here who mattered to her for more than a bed and a meal for her mother was long dead and her father was a drunken bastard. What did she have to look forward to here but as Becker had said of becoming some lordlings wife.

Carmen nodded to herself, grabbed her cloak and followed Becker out the door.

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Friday Flash Fiction: Jazz Piano and Johnny Freefall

February 29, 2008

I really like this one.  I love it when they write themselves.  The words jumped out before I could practically put them in order.


The night was dark, but the scotch was good and my piano beckoned.

I find as the evening moves on and the scotch clicks in my brain the notes take on a life of their own. They seem to float in front of me: my brain, my fingers, the piano, the keys, the notes in the air, all weave together in a blanket of smoke.

These midnight sessions are private.

Just me and music.

No audience. Nobody around but me.

I hold a chord and take a sip of the Laphroig.

“Mr. Becker?”

I’m startled by the voice, pausing mid sip, but I hold the chord.

I tip the sip back then calmly put the glass back down and continue to play. Tasty.

“yup.” I answer, still not turning to look. This can’t be good, it’s 2:30.

“Mr. Becker, my employer is…eh…requesting your appearance at a party.”

I start working up into a transition, pounding out a few sequences until I hit a nice little resolution on a major third.

“Sorry pal, I’m a bit busy.”

He finally walks up and leans on the edge of the piano. The dude has sunglasses on, what a cliché’. Then I notice they have a digital readout inside ‘em. He’s fully wired.

“Listen Mr. Becker, my boss ain’t the type to take no fer ‘n answer.”

It was then that I found out he wasn’t alone as two goons grabbed me by the arms.

“All right, all right,” I answer as I lift up my hands and my music ends abruptly, the sad silence filling the room, “will you at least let me put on a change of clothes first?”

“Ya, a’ight.”

****

I’d heard about him of course, who hadn’t. But I never expected to meet him.

We hit about ten telediscs before we finally reached the party. Flitting from London to Dublin to Reykjavik to Boston to Chicago to Deadwood to Spokane, Seattle, Portland, SanFran and LA. Took about ten minutes.

As soon as I flitted in there was a cheer, “Becker!” The crowd was primed for a night of it and more. It was barely 9:30 here in LA.

Some people called him Babyface, but only behind his back, he hated that handle. Most people called him Johnny Freefall but I was gonna call him Mr. Freidal. Why be stupid.

The two goons and cliché’ boy politely led me right to his table in the middle of the vast party. He was sitting surrounded by courtiers like a king. Dressed in a nice, pressed black suit, with a black hat and tie. He had sunglasses (digital) too.

“Mr. Becker, so glad you could join us.” His voice was smooth as business.

“Mr. Friedal, I’m so glad to be here.”

That got a laugh. He chuckled honestly and deep, “I’m sure you are less pleased then you let on. I like truth Mr. Becker, even when it’s hidden in a lie like yours.”

I stood with a half grimace trying to hold my cool, the scotch had left me sober. “Watcha want Mr. Friedal?”

“I like you Becker, you don’t bullshit around. Well as you can see I am throwing this party for a few friends and we all want some music, your name came up and I said that’s our man.” He waved over to a piano, with an accompanying band standing and waiting for me, “Would you be so kind as to show us something…eh…show us what Becker’s got?”

“I’d like a scotch.”

Johnny Freefall looked me up and down, “Darlin’ get this man a scotch,” a waitress hurried off to take care of my order, “Boys, show Mr. Becker to the peeeeano.”

The two goons politely led me once again, this time to the piano. A scotch was laid down as I sat on the bench. Sip. Ahh…Talisker, sharp, peppery, just right to get the party going.

I hit them keys hard and fast to start. The band kicked in after my four bars of intro. We lit that place up like kerosene.

Fuck ‘em, I like to play.