The contents of NaNoWriMo Joe have been merged with the Average Joe American home page at www.AverageJoeAmerican.US. This page will no longer be updated. Update your bookmarks and feed subscriptions today.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

The Day That No One Died (3)

Read part one here.
Read part two here.

* * *
Crickets in the yard. Crickets in the bathroom. Crickets in my coffee. What is happening? Daryl wondered as he headed from the cafe to his car. Where are they coming from, and why are they following me? They had to be following him, of course. Didn't they? Why else were they popping up everywhere he went? Could it just be coincidence? Did the cafe have a problem with insects? And how many insects were acceptable before the Department of Health shut you down? Maybe I should call and check on that later, he thought, thought he knew he was unlikely to do such a thing.

The truth be told, Daryl Campa was not particularly put off by the prospect of having a cricket doing the breast stroke in his coffee. It wasn't like it could hurt him. Could it? After all, it wasn't a malaria-carrying mosquito, or a cockroach. It was just harmless little cricket. Yeah, harmless. Tell that to the smashed crickets in the bathroom this morning. I almost broke my neck because of those harmless little crickets, Daryl mused. No, it could have been worse, and now wasn't the time to worry about such things, anyway. Daryl had a rapidly approaching lunch time appointment with his favorite independent musician, and he had at least one stop to make before then. I'm sure it's just some strange coincidence, anyway.

Distractedly pulling into traffic, Daryl remembered his first meeting with Charlie Coulton. It had only been six months, but quite a bit had happened in that short period of time. It was amazing how quickly things could change.

* * *

Daryl Campa was a restaurateur. Sort of. He supposed it wasn't quite so fancy as the word might make it sound. Restaurateur, he told himself. Right. More like Restaurant Manager. Which, in fact, is exactly what he was. Running the day to day operations of one location among many in the popular Tumbleweed restaurant chain. No, he guessed he couldn't accurately call himself a restaurateur. Tumbleweed was not quite gourmet enough for that.

But it was a living, and not a bad one, at that. Decent salary. Good benefits. And an okay incentive plan. Actually, the bonuses could be quite nice, when business was on a roll. But somehow, it just wasn't enough for young Daryl. At the age of thirty-five, he still considered himself quite young. Young enough, maybe. But closing in quickly on the point of no return. If he ever hoped to make a change in his life and pursue his dreams, it would have to happen soon.
With a passion for music and reading, Daryl knew that he was destined for something much more creative than satisfying the appetites of the locals. He had always fancied himself a writer, and had even penned what he considered to be some pretty solid stories during his younger years. Though he hadn't written much lately, he figured it was something he could easily pick back up any time he wanted. Soon, he reminded himself.

But writing -- doing it seriously, anyway -- required such time. Such commitment. Time he didn't have, and commitment he wasn't sure he could live up to. And working it in with his latest hobby -- creating a variety of online content -- would mean that something somewhere would have to give. In addition to his passion for writing, Daryl had always loved music. And while he was no singer -- though he never let that stop him from belting out a tune at the top of his lungs within the confines of his own car -- he had always felt that there was a place for him in music. Someplace.

As a youth, during his high school years, Daryl had given some serious, albeit brief, consideration to joining the schools broadcasting program. With a local radio and television station, students were given the opportunity to learn the business and creative sides of running a station. Daryl always thought he could do a better job than any other student DJ he heard on the station.
But academics had been his focus, with a schedule filled with college prep materials. College prep that had turned into mundane, routine life prep. For Daryl had never made it into college. Never tried, really. Never fancied himself continuing as a student. Instead, he found himself working in a fast food kitchen, flipping burgers and burning fries forty to fifty hours a week. With a little hard work and determination, he had slowly climbed his way to running his own steakhouse, but there was still something missing.

One day, as he was making his rounds through the dining room of what he considered his Tumbleweed restaurant, Daryl stopped cold in his tracks. He had heard what sounded like a very familiar voice, though he was having quite a difficulty placing it.

"The single should be finished this week," the voice said, "and the new album available for download later this month."

I know that voice, Daryl puzzled. Who is that?

"It's been a while, yeah, but better artists than myself have taken much longer between albums. Remember Boston? Try as many as six years between albums for them."

I have got to get a look. Maybe he'll look familiar, too.

"That album sold like hot cakes. Sometimes a little wait can really build up the anticipation."
Daryl slowly, inconspicuously (he hoped), made his way across the dining room, trying not to lose earshot of the voice. He had to find out who it was, but didn't want to miss any of the conversation. Great, I'm a Peeping Tom now.

"Yeah, thanks. I don't need you telling me that I'm no Boston. I'm not sure I would want to be Boston, anyway."

Daryl slowly approached the table, under the guise of a Manager who wanted his customers to have the best. He slowed his pace, not wanting to arrive in the midst of a phone conversation.
"I'll send you a link later this evening, you can download and check it out for yourself. Okay, okay. I'll talk to you again tomorrow."

Bingo, time to make my move, Daryl thought.
To be continued...

No comments: