Reality Skimming
29Apr/14Off

Excerpt from Without Bloodshed Part 4

3Advesaries4
Matthew Graybosch is a Romantic science fantasy novelist from New York who codes for a living. He’s also a gamer, a long-haired metalhead, and a geek who passes for normal by not talking about the nerdy stuff that excites him. He lives in central Pennsylvania with his wife, two cats, and a bicycle that nags him whenever he doesn’t meet his daily word count. He’s hard at work on the next Starbreaker novel. You can reach him by email or on Google+. His home page is at http://www.matthewgraybosch.com/

Chapter 11, "Three Adversaries Walk into a Bar" (Scene 2) part 4

Morgan had not yet reached the bar. He told her he wanted a particular stool: one adjacent to the one Michael Riordan occupied. Approaching the man was impossible; Fireclowns intent on a mixed martial arts match in progress on a screen over Riordan's head crowded him. She spied an upright piano sitting forlorn against the wall in a section of the bar kept clear, and caught the bartender's attention. "Do you think your patrons might fancy some live entertainment? I assume your piano's in tune."

"I keep it in tune for my son; he practices in the mornings after helping me set up. I gotta tell you, though, these guys aren't much for the classics."

Neither am I, tonight. This is a night for improvisation. She shrugged off her armored coat and slung it over her shoulder, holding the collar with a crooked finger. "Do I look like I do the classics?"

She draped her coat over the upright piano, sat down to uncover the keys, and began a rendition of In These Shoes that she often performed when Christabel ducked backstage. Without Sid to play the bass or Morgan to accompany her on guitar, she improvised. The youths with whom she spoke gathered nearby to watch. She played without rest, letting themes and variations develop of their own accord as she entered a meditative trance.

Her peripheral vision suggested the presence of a vast crowd, but she dared not turn her head to verify the size of her congregation. Experience proved an unforgiving tutor in teaching her of the fragility of concentration in a flow state, once achieved.

She let her voice soar and provide a counterpoint to her piano. Without the need to convey lyrics, her voice became a pure instrument. After a time, her voice stilled and her hands settled into another familiar melody. She began to sing again, performing another Crowley's Thoth standby: an art rock song from the 1970s concerning a trip to a fair.

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