Read Chapter One.

Chapter Two

The morning before, the sunlight glinted harshly off my four-alarm hangover. My head felt like the devil decided to sandpaper all the rough edges of my brain out. And the devil was obsessive-compulsive to boot. A knock on the door. Insistent. I knew if I stayed in bed it would never go away. Eternity passed as I moved to open the door.

“You look horrible, man.” Davey was a darker shade of blur in my wincing eyes. Without waiting for an invitation, he walked past me into my apartment. Just as well, I thought. The slug in my mouth that used to be my tongue didn’t feel like making coherent speech at all.

“Listen,” he said, “I gotta show you something different. No hooch, no dancing… just art. Pure art. Out of this world.”

And so, now as I opened the door, I was instantly assaulted by a hundred decibles of chaos. I saw Benny at the drums, cymbals clashing at a one-and-a-two, gunshot drumsticks falling on a snare with field-medic precision. Jason stood to the side, fingers snapping, a “that’s hot, that’s hot” dropping from his lips just before his sax raises to blow stars out of the air. Johnny bit his lip, eyes closed… I didn’t know if he held up his bass or if it held him up. They leaned into each other like two lovers dancing, and his thumbs played a scale on her spine.

I knew these people. They used to be regulars at the club I usually hop to, until a couple months ago… Like a fly being swept around to the other side of a tornado, I finally noticed all the other groups of people. Everyone was sitting in groups of three or four, instruments in hand, scribbling down musical notes on napkins. It was a modern renaissance, in blue and gray and orange.

Davey put his hand on my shoulder. “Ain’t it a kick in the pants?” he muttered with awe. All I could do was nod.