The club was hopping for a Wednesday night. Bodies writhed, contorted, spun and cavorted about the dance floor, their movements synchronized to the wailing horns and pounding drums of the bands hoping to make it big on Amateur Swing Night at the Roxy.
If he was an enigma, an outcast, an anomaly amongst all of the revelry he didn’t really give a crap. He sat out of the fray at a back-corner table nursing the same lukewarm bottle of domestic beer that had been foisted off on him two hours ago by a waitress not to be denied. Consumed by the shadows in the nook he’d chosen, he merely watched and waited, watched and waited for…them.
He knew they’d be here tonight. They weren’t without some innate musical talent, albeit uninspired by originality, and they harbored dreams of making it big time someday. Anger burned within him as he recalled they intended to make that big time without him…without his guidance…without the muse of progressive musical inspiration only he had offered them. They would regret that all too soon.
As if there were an invisible cord binding him to them, he felt a psychic pull as the stage cleared and the lights dropped to presage the arrival of the next band. Yes…yes, he sensed. This would be them.
When the drummer began the backbeat and the first strains of the song pulsed outward, the lights blazed on and he saw them as if for the first time. They’d changed in his absence. Their hair teased and colored to unnatural measure, their make-up heavy and overdone and in their eyes burned a hunger to perform bordering on the manic.
Her voice almost a snarl she hurled the lyrics into the faces of the enthralled crowd and sent them into a frenzy of gyrations unparalleled in the previous performances. Through the first two verses he sat immobile and unaffected…immune to their Svengali charms. Perhaps it was the sting of old wounds or disgust they’d chosen to cover a song by Torme but their power did not affect him.
With ever a flair for the theatrical…for the performance, he waited until they launched into the chorus before he moved from his repose. Resting his back against the wall, he withdrew the shortened assault rifle from beneath his long coat and thumbed the selector to full-automatic.
Right now? Right now, indeed, he smiled. His finger tightened on the trigger and the first of the heavy slugs tore into the stage and into the vulnerable flesh of his traitorous former band mates. Panning the room in measured arcs, he did not stop until not a single soul remained upright or unbloodied.
Sliding the weapon back into the sheath he’d sewn into the duster, he spared not a second glance at the carnage he’d made. His thoughts, instead, were fixed on his need to depart the scene before curious outsiders could observe him. It was time to leave this city and its bitter reminders behind….right now!