Charles Brian Orner
SOSTENUTO - A Novel
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JJ

JJ

He coaxes the chair into rough shape and empties his pockets on the remnants of the seat. It’s standard butler fare, more or less; a wallet, a handkerchief, a Swiss army knife, a book of matches…and a Beretta. Sixteen rounds, thirteen in the magazine, one in the chamber, and two in the ninja. He’s got three hundred bucks and an Amex Platinum to bribe the Grim Reaper, and a Pennsylvania driver’s license to identify the remains when that goes badly. Ouch. Does anybody ever look at these things? The DMV can make anybody look like a member of the John Birch Society. Then there’s the pocket watch, the bifocals, and the pin in his foot. Down here, the pocket watch is a kind of punishment; the thing’s got no bling, and luminescent coral is like emerald green on Prozac; it’s fine as far as it goes, but it won’t last nearly long enough. And if he ends up needing that pin, well, maybe he’ll just go ahead and bribe the Grim Reaper with his pistol instead. Other than that, it’s just his clothing and his devastating good looks. Everybody seems to like his clothing.