Malcolm Stone, Reverie

Writing Sample

I am finishing up the first draft of Reverie (working title).  Reverie will be the second book in the Malcolm Stone series.  I had originally started this story it was two parts.  Malcolm’s old life in Boston and his new life in Vermont.  Reverie is the second part of the original story Malcolm’s life in Vermont.  I split the book in half when I realized there was great potential with Reverie to have a full size novel I split off his life in Boston.  I haven’t focused on the first part (no working title), it will be the next project once Reverie is completed.

I have given a sample of what will be the first book in the series.


      I was nervous standing backstage waiting for the curtain call.  I wasn’t sure I had what it took to be a solo professional musician.  I was used to playing in the orchestra and other ensembles   I had only performed by myself a half-dozen tine without out an accompaniment.  My palms were damp and I could feel the sweat building on my brow.  I needed to do something to calm my nerves.  I had about twenty minutes before the show started.  I found a quiet corner chair.  I sat down closed my eyes and focused on my breathing.  At first I was having difficulty relaxing, not only did I have a terrible case of stage fright this evening, I kept playing Ana and my argument over and over in my head.  I still had a lot of need of practice in letting things go.  After a couple of minutes of my heart and mind racing, I noticed it slow.  I was able to focus more clearly.  I closed my eyes and focused on my breathing and the tension in my body.  I took the opportunity to let my attention fall on every place I felt tension.  I slowly started releasing the stress from my shoulders, neck and back.  I noticed my breathing coming easier and more deeply.  I continued in my relaxation until I felt calm.  I continued to sit with my eyes closed, until I felt a hand on my shoulder and heard a soft feminine voice. “Mr. Stone?”  I slowly opened my eyes and looked up to meet her radiant blue eyes.  “You have three minutes.”  I nodded my thanks.

     I stood, readjusted my attire, checked my hair and walked to my entrance location.  I took a few more deep breaths and motioned to the curtain man that I was ready.  I could hear the murmur of the crowd.  As the curtain rose the crowd went silent. I walked past the piano to the front of the stage and bowed.  The crowd applauded.  I returned to the piano took a seat with my jacket tails hanging from the back of the bench.  I always found the tux with tails a tad ridiculous, but it was insisted that I wear it.  I settled on the bench and raised my hands to the keys. By the start of the second song the crowd had melted away from my consciousness.  I was at one with the piano. 

     At the end of the show I was met with a standing ovation.  The show was a huge success.  I was told by several music critics if I could keep the momentum I would go far in a solo career.  It was just the kind of thing I needed after the argument Ana and I had before I left the house.  The scratch marks on my arms were still sore, though they had stopped bleeding.  I could tell my shin was going to bruise where she had kicked her high heel into it.  We had yelled at each other and I said things I would regret later.  I could only wonder if I had hurt her when I grabbed her arms to keep her from hitting me more.  She had thrown another tantrum.  They were getting more and more frequent I was looking forward to the baby coming so she could go back on her medications.  As I left the concert hall my elated feelings started to come down, as I was not looking forward to going home.  I knew what awaited me there.  She was going to be in a foul mood since I left her at the house.

     Back stage my sister Olivia and older brother David were there to meet me.  I was surprised Ana hadn’t shown up.

     Olivia gave me a hug.   I winced slightly, but I was hoping it went unnoticed.  “Where is Ana?”

     I smiled.  “She wasn’t feeling well so I told her to stay home.”  My family didn’t know the extent to which our relationship had fallen apart.  I didn’t want them to know my failure or my struggles.  I knew my brother would be extremely upset if he knew I didn’t have a prenuptial agreement signed.  “Oh that’s too bad, I hope she is feeling better tomorrow evening for the family get together.”  I nodded.  “Your show was fantastic.  You keep getting better every time you play.”

     David slapped me on the shoulder and I jumped and slumped my shoulder to remove his hand from the bruise.  Unfortunately he noticed the movement and gave me a puzzled look.  “Did you hurt your shoulder again?”

     “Nah, I’m just tense and have a muscle knot there.  I’ll have to get a massage later this week to relieve the tension.”

     I could tell he didn’t buy the story and I had a feeling he was adding up the inconsistencies in my stories.  I was having a hard time keeping the lies I was telling him straight.  I just didn’t want him to know the situation I had gotten myself into.  Luckily he didn’t press it any further, but I had a feeling it would be a conversation that would take place tomorrow in our father’s old study.  It was funny even as an adult I dreaded that room, though our father had been gone for a number of years now.

     After everyone left I walked out to my car.  I turned the ignition and the car purred to life.  I started driving in no particular direction, turning when I felt like it.  Before long I was on unfamiliar streets in a middle-class neighborhood.  I saw a cute little coffee shop/ wine bar so I decided to stop.  I took off my bow tie and replaced my suit jacket with my wool overcoat.  I waltzed up to the doors.  The interior was decorated in gaudy new age modern art.  The type the artists claimed to have some deep meaning hidden in the work, but to the average person it looked like piles of crap stuck together in a random pattern a dog could have put together.  I always imagined the artist laughing his way to the bank after receiving the commission check, in complete disbelief some actually believed his line of bullshit.

      Apart from the “art” the location had a homey feel to it.  The majority of the clientele were late twenties to early forties.   I still looked over dressed with my tux pants, dress shirt and coat.  Most people were dressed in jeans and t-shirts or sweaters.  They were grouped together around the small tables, if you dared call them tables the looked more like Frisbees with legs.  There was a small group sitting at one end of the bar while the other end was vacant.  I chose to sit as far away from everyone else.

     As I sat down the bartender approached me.  She was a small framed thing, gorgeous sets of gray eyes.  I couldn’t help but wonder if the were contacts.  She had a raspy voice that dripped with sugar.  She probably had a wonderful blues voice.  Her hair hung in ringlets to her shoulders it was fire red.  Her smile was intoxicating, I understood why the owner had hired her.  “You aren’t from around here are you?”

     I smiled back and shook my head.  “What gave me way?”

     She laughed.  “Most of my customers are regulars, but that aside your attire is a little off, and that watch on your wrist,”  I looked down at my jewel worked Cartier wrist watch.  “Is probably worth more than I make in a year.”  She laughed when I pulled my sleeve down to cover it.  “And I saw the Aston Martin you pulled up in.  Either you’ve decided to go slumming and doing at poor job at it or your having woman problems.” I furrowed my brow trying figure out how she knew.  She reached over and touched the mononuke wedding band on my left hand.  “That is a beautiful band by the way.  I haven’t seen anything quite like it.”

     “Thank you.  It was custom made in Japan.”

     “So what will it be?”  I paused to think.  “I have some pretty good bourbon  If that would be of interest.”

     “Sure why not.”  She poured me a strong drink.  It wasn’t as smooth I was hoping.  Her idea of pretty good and mine were a bit different.  She laughed as I made a face.  “Let’s not do that again. Do you have any rye whiskey?”  She nodded.  “On the rocks three fingers please.”

     “Wow, a man who knows exactly what he wants.”  She sauntered away to check her other customers and make my drink.  I noticed she spoke with them briefly and there were a few looks my way, but mostly I was left alone and unnoticed.  When she returned she placed the glass in front of me.  “So what’s story?”

     “Honestly it’s not much of a story.  I just wasn’t ready to go back home yet.”

     She gave me an all to knowing look.  I didn’t have her fooled. “So where do call home?”

     “Harvard Square.” 

     She batted her eyes in disbelief.   “So how is it exactly that you ended up in my modest little neighborhood on the other side of town?”

     “Like I said I wasn’t in a hurry to make it back home.  I know what’s awaiting me there and I am not particularly ready to face the consequences.”

     She looked around at her other customers which were starting to thin out by this time.  “Hey, don’t go anywhere sugar daddy I need to take care of my other customers.  I’ll be back I have a feeling you have an interesting story.”  I held my glass up towards her motioning I’d be there for a while.


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