Click on image to enlarge.
by Poppy Z. Brite
Description: The 1960's brought Seth and Payton all they'd fantasized about--perfect friendships, a successful four-man band, and most importantly, each other. Together they embarked on a tour that brought them stimulating highs and shattering lows, and they prospered and suffered in one another's arms. The two men carried each other and carried a group that created both a history and a future for rock. But at some point their music blurred with the news of their love and the world was faced with the choice to embrace its heroes or revert back to its deep-rooted prejudices.
eBook Publisher: E-Reads, 2000
eBookwise Release Date: February 2002
20 Reader Ratings:
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [78 KB]
Reading time: 47-66 min.
Seth Grealy's knees buckled and he went down like a house of cards as five bullets tore into him.
What had come out of the cold New York night to inflict this pain? He didn't know, hadn't seen it coming at all though a part of him had expected it for most of his forty-five years. He'd thought it would happen onstage, though, something well-aimed and high-caliber if he was lucky. Not right here outside his building, almost home.
He knew he'd been shot, had heard each pop separately and clearly, a long pause between the third and the final two, as he spun and hit the sidewalk. Had felt the bullets enter his back, his throat. Wasn't the body supposed to go into shock, to start churning out its own natural painkillers? Maybe he'd fucked up his system with all the artificial ones over the years, for the pain was voracious, unforgiving.
The doorman was kneeling over him now, red-coated arms spread wide, protecting him from curious passersby. Where was Peyton? He'd thought his partner was right behind him as he got out of the limo.
"Oh my God, it's Seth Grealy!" a woman screamed. "They've shot Seth Grealy!"
Seth rolled his head a little to the side, perceived the woman as a large colorful shape squatting nearby, doing something to the sidewalk--what?--soaking a scrap of paper in the spreading pool of his blood. The doorman made a grab for her, but the woman was off with her priceless souvenir. Like Dillinger, Seth thought dazedly, not sure if that was right.
"Mr. Grealy, Mr. Grealy, can you hear me? The ambulance is coming."
"I think it may as well take its time," he wanted to say, but what came out was little more than a wet gasp. He felt blood gobbing from his mouth, cascading down his chin. For the first time since he'd hit the sidewalk, Seth Grealy considered the possibility that he was about to die.
Why did the thought make him feel sunlight on his face? There was no sunlight here, only the winter night, the cold wind sweeping off the park, the huge, paralyzing pain.
The ambulance cut its siren as it turned onto the block, but left its red bubbles revolving, washing the faces of the crowd, the black puddle on the sidewalk, the stone façade of the apartment building with a bloody light. The paramedics descended upon him, and Seth could have sworn he saw one of them shake her head--This one's not gonna make it--before they hoisted him into the back of the ambulance.
"Shot the fuck out of him, hunh?" said somebody waiting in the back.
"Shut up, man, I think he's still conscious--"
The medic who'd spoken first was fitting a plastic mask over Seth's nose and mouth. "Shit, this ain't doin' any good, the oxygen's just comin' out those holes in his throat."
The woman medic's voice rose. "I said he might still be conscious, Washington!"
Washington's eyes crinkled in disbelief, then sought Seth's. "Mr. Grealy? Can you hear me? Do you know who you are?"
He thought he managed a little nod, but Washington didn't get it. The big face loomed closer. "DO YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE?"
A philosophical approach was called for, then; had he ever? Through all the money and drugs, through all the women and men, at the heights of his art and the depths of his insane fame, even with Peyton, had he ever known who he was?
The implications of this question seemed vast, and Seth let himself drift on them until he felt the sunlight touching his face again.