John looked at him. "Bad news?"

"You don't see me jumping up and down."

"I worked hard on those songs and so did you. I thought the companies we sent the demos to were open to new artists."

"I know what you mean," Brad said shaking his head. "I guess they mean new artists who have written a dozen or so hits already. Not real new artists. Anyway, there's hope on the horizon, my friend. We still have three more out there making the rounds."

John watched the place fill up. They had a pretty good following that had grown from their small circle of friends to a consistently full room every time they played. "Where's Craig and Mutt?"

"After you called and told me you were going to be late, I called them and told them to be here an hour or so later than usual. What happened to you?"

John shrugged. "I have a good excuse. I was shot at standing at the back door of my office."

Brad's eyes nearly popped out of his head. He walked over and pulled up a stool next to John. "What? Tell me about it. What happened?"

"No big deal really."

"Come on. Tell me what happened. Did you get robbed or something?"


John told Brad everything from the time Tammy Goodchild walked into his office to the theory of the shots coming from the hotel. He left out no detail from his adventurous day. It felt good to get it out.

"Wow," Brad said. He got off the stool and slapped John on the back. "Tough guy we got here."

John shook his head.

"You know what?" Brad asked. "What if those shots were meant for her?"

"I thought about that. The only thing is she was behind me when it happened, deeper in the office. The shooter would have to have been blind to mistake me for her."

Brad nodded thoughtfully, conjuring up another question. "I don't know who could have it in for you enough to want to kill you."

"I'm stumped," John remarked as he looked down at his fingers on the strings as he fumbled with a song.

Brad persisted. "If it had anything to do with the woman, how would the shooter know if you had taken her case or not at that point?"

"Good question. I'll ask the guy if I can ever get my hands around his neck."

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