Friday, 24 July 2020

A Wrong Note



by Henry Lewi

New Orleans iced coffee 


    He stood watching in the corner of the square, the dawn was slowly breaking and the hot moist night turned into an even hotter humid day. The mist rose lazily from the river obscuring his view of Algiers. The match flared as he lit yet another cigarette and silently and still, he watched and waited.

   The heat became oppressive and sweat trickled down his back soaking through his crumpled linen shirt, in the heat, mosquitoes and fat flies buzzed around, but still he watched and waited. 

   The quiet of the early morning was broken by the sound of the first tram of the day as it clattered and clanged its way along the riverbank pausing at the far end of the square to disgorge it passengers. He could hear but not see the sound of the first ferry of the day lazily crossing the river to the island. 

   The hot sun continued to rise bathing the old square in bright sunshine, and more people began to arrive, seeking shelter along it’s shaded edges and a few brave vendors began to set up their stalls in the square. 

  The match flared briefly, he took a long draw of yet another cigarette and in the heat of the day he silently watched.

  The scream broke the silence and very soon he heard the wail of the sirens and he knew that they had found his latest victim. 

He felt no regret, no remorse just sadness.

 He remembered his time at the Conservatoire, the beauty of simple notes, of harmony, the strictness of the regime, the path towards the perfect chord. He’d tried to fulfill his quest as both pupil and teacher. Smiling to himself he ground out his cigarette, wiped the sweat from his forehead.

  He turned on his heels slowly walking back out of the square to the roads behind, filled with clubs, absinthe and bourbon bars and restaurants. The music began to play and he wandered from bar to bar, club to club, carefully listening to the notes played by the musicians blowing their saxes, cornets and trumpets. He sat. He listened. He smoked. He sipped his bourbon, and then he heard it, a series of wrong notes, he stood silently, watched the musician responsible, and he knew in the heat of the day he had found his next victim.



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