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Red Hot Jazz (standard:horror, 2401 words)
Author: Rene AmadorAdded: Jan 30 2002Views/Reads: 2097/1323Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)
A down on his luck musician buys a trumpet and gets more than he expected.

Red Hot Jazz by Rene Amador 

Johnny's trumpet had been stolen a few days ago.  Whoever it was broke
into his car and lifted it from the back seat.  You would think that 
people would take some things scared like a man's instrument.  He 
decided that if he went down to the local pawnshop there was a chance 
that he could buy back his original trumpet.  It was a good thing that 
the pawnshop was open all day and all night, probably because people 
were in desperate need at all hours of the day. 

Johnny walked in and saw the vast collection of wares offered.  Second
and third-hand goods sold off in order to pay the gas bill on time.  He 
found the musical instruments and looked over the trumpets one by one.  
None called out to him until he saw it.  There was a trumpet that was 
superior to his old one in every manner.  The mouthpiece was solid 
brass and although it looked ancient it had a luster about it that 
seemed to scream out its history.  The valves shone with a silver tint 
and were begging to be used.  The bell reflected the light from the 
fluorescent bulbs overhead into a single point that fell onto Johnny.  
It was beautiful and Johnny fell in love with it right away.  That's 
when Johnny noticed the shopkeeper. 

The shopkeeper was an old man, spry and lanky.  He seemed to be eagerly
waiting for death to put him out of his misery but he didn't mind 
waiting.  The pipe he smoked produced a faint, sweet, herbal odor that 
hung in the air and spread around the shop.  It was like he marked his 
territory.  As his overgrown fingernails clacked on the counter, he 

"Can I help you find anything, sir?  Perhaps interest you in a
television?  I just bought it today and can vouch that it works." 

"No," Johnny started, "that's not what I'm looking for today." 

"Oh, I see.  I couldn't help but notice that you were eyeing the trumpet
as you walked in.  It's a beaut, isn't it?  Each and every item here 
has a story to go with it, including the horn that you're so interested 
in, Johnny." 

"How did you..." 

"I know all of my customers' names.  It's good business to know who
you're dealing with at all times.  Am I right?" 

"Yeah, I guess so," Johnny stood and looked at the old man for a second.
 He couldn't place his finger on it, but he swore that he had seen him 
somewhere before. 

"Then I take it that you are interested in purchasing that trumpet?" 

"Yeah, how much is it?" 

The old man leered over the counter to get closer to Johnny.  Very
faintly, his fingernails scratched the glass counter. 

"Well, before we discuss the price, would you like to know a little bit
more about this trumpet?  It has a fascinating history..." 

"Actually, not tonight.  I'm kind of in a hurry." 

"Say no more," the old man said.  "Tonight, it's on sale.  I'll let you
take it home tonight for the song of one hundred dollars.  Do we have a 

"Yes."  Johnny set the money on the counter while the old man took the
trumpet off of the display stand and placed it into its own carrying 

"The case is free of charge." 

"Thanks, I really appreciate it." 

"No problem, Johnny.  If you have any problems with it, any at all, just
bring it back within twenty-four hours, no more than that.  Do you 

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