ORIGINAL FICTION: "The Man Who Would Not Be King" (Part 7)

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PLEASE NOTE: This is part 7 of the story. Part 1 is online here http://www.republibot.com/content/original-fiction-man-who-would-not-be-... , part 2 here http://www.republibot.com/content/original-fiction-%E2%80%9C-man-who-wou... , part 3 here http://www.republibot.com/content/original-fiction-%E2%80%9C-man-who-wou... , part 4 here http://www.republibot.com/content/original-fiction-man-who-would-not-be-... , part 5 here http://www.republibot.com/content/original-fiction-man-who-would-not-be-... , and part 6 here: http://www.republibot.com/content/original-fiction-man-who-would-not-be-...
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He was wrong. Nothing was up, he was just being paranoid, and yet he couldn’t shake the feeling that something was up. He wandered around aimlessly through the theater complex for most of Orbison’s set, unable to concentrate. Eventually, he wandered backstage. No sooner there again, when Lennon the Brit came up to him.

“How the hell did I come to this,” he said out loud without realizing it.

“Life is what happens while you’re waiting for a bus,” the Brit said.

“What?” Aaron asked, confused.

“Hey, Presley, you wanted me to tell you if I saw anything unusual?”

“Yeah.”

“Well take a look at this,” he led him on a winding course through the ropes and counterweights attached to the curtains, eventually coming to a large cask that had evidently fallen from the rafters.

“Some of those apes in the catwalks knocked this loose earlier. I noticed it, thought it might be beer, and, well…it isn’t beer, mate, but it is leaking.”

Aaron put his hand in the stain spreading from the broken boards. It was thick and sticky and cold, obviously blood, but whomever it had belonged to had been dead a while. He kicked at the lid until it came loose, and a bald middle-aged man in a tuxedo spilled out. The two of them wrestled the body out of the barrel, and Aaron quickly went through the pockets for ID. There was none, but the tux gave it all away.

“That’s why no one reported any missing security…it wasn’t one of the guards…”

“It was someone in the orchestra” Lennon said, “But wait - wouldn’t they all notice an imposter?”

“No, the Miami Orchestra came down with a case of bad clams or something. Half of these people are replacements who’ve never met before. Lennon, you need to get up to Evans in the security booth, you know where it is? Good. Tell him it’s someone in the orchestra, and we’ve got to prevent the President from going on stage, ok? Go! Now! Run!”

John Lennon ran from the back stage area while Elvis Aaron Pressley hauled ass for the pit.

“Ladies and gentlemen,” Burt was saying, “Please stand for The President of United States.”

“Oh, hell,” Aaron thought as he tore around the corner and across the floor. Everyone stood in unison, making it much harder for him to get through. He tripped twice, knocking over a fat man and his even fatter wife. The Orchestra launched in to ‘Hail to the Chief’ as he finally made it past the stairs and in to the pit. But where was the assassin? Without trying to attract too much attention, he drew his pistol and wove along the back wall. It was a very long rendition of ‘Chief’, since the president had his foot in a cast, and was taking forever to hobble out to the microphone. Were the basses a bit off? The music washed over him as Aaron was almost paralyzed with fear. He couldn’t figure out why the music should keep mattering to him at a time like this, but it kept coming back to the bass….and…

…suddenly…

He knew. It all clicked in his head. He ran towards the stage at the front of the pit. By the time he got there, the man with the blonde hair had already pulled the front off of his upright bass, and was pulling out a rifle. No time to get there, no one else had noticed yet. Aaron Tennessee-rolled himself up on to the stage and took off at a sprint, yelling “West, Basses! Shooter! Get him!”

It was too late, the blonde man already had his weapon up and sighted. Aaron lunged himself through the air, just as the blonde man shouted “Power to the People!” and pulled the trigger. The bullet tore through the air at supersonic speed, leaving the barrel just an instant before West tackled the guy low and hard from behind, breaking the assailant’s spine. The shooter went down without a sickening snap that only West could hear, and which would haunt his dreams for the rest of his life. The two of them tumbled through the string section, knocking instruments, chairs, and musicians everywhere.

An instant before, however, the bullet had found a target, but not the one the shooter had intended. Aaron’s mad dive through the air had intercepted the slug before it could hit Nixon. He screamed in pain and was instantly unconscious from shock before he even hit the ground. A dozen Secret Service goons stormed the stage and dog piled atop the president and Presley, not quite realizing what was going on. A near riot broke out with panicked members of the audience stampeding for the doors.

Evans’ voice came over the PA, “Please remain calm. The President is OK. There is no cause for alarm.”

In the booth, Evans hollered for Tom to call out Boeing security to contain this panicking crowd before it turned in to a riot, but there was no reply. He turned to look, but the man was gone.

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TO BE CONCLUDED NEXT WEEK!
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