The crowd was thickening and the tables crammed into an already small place were going fast.

Brad went back over to his keyboard and started fiddling around with a few sounds and playing some chords to check the sound. He looked up with a puzzled expression on his face. "You mean the Gallager that runs the record company?"

John nodded.

"He's big."

"Physically?"

"I mean money. He owned just about every good singer, group, recording studio, and music store around at one time. He was also heavy into the after hours gambling around here."

John asked, "How do you know so much?"

With a smirk on his face, Brad answered, "I listen to people talk. That's all this place is. It's a place for people to come and talk about their day."

"What else do you know?"

"Would this make me a consultant?"

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"I'll pay for our next demo mailings."

"Consultants don't make too much."

John fumbled with some songs while talking to Brad, loosening up his fingers. "So tell me more, my friend. It might just save my life."

Brad walked around his keyboard gear and pulled up a stool next to John. He cracked his knuckles and started. "The car Gallager was driving on the night he died was a spank'n new yellow Corvette. I've heard the brakes went out. Now come on. That's a tough sell. Brakes going out on a brand new Corvette. Sure it's American made but we're not that bad."

"Funny you should say that. When I first read about the accident in the paper, they claimed heart attack."

"Well, he was a big guy. That was probably the first assumption. Did they say for sure?"

"I don't remember," John said as he looked out over the gathering audience. Some were looking back at him, but most were talking and ordering while waiting for the music to start.

"I know a little something else, too."

"Like what?"

"Like he was going to sign your new client to a recording contract with a pretty big company in Nashville," Brad said using his best matter of fact tone of voice. "I'm guessing that she would have a vested interest in him staying alive for a little while longer."

A surge of thoughts ran through John's mind. Only a few minutes ago he was under the safe impression that this case was going to be trivial and bordering on silly. Now everything had suddenly changed color. "How do you know?"