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A murder attempt E-mail

Wilson Packard breaks into Hank Barnett's bus and tries to kill him

Wilson Packard was at Barnett’s room at the back of the bus when he heard a noise from up front. Somebody had got on the bus. He glanced back quickly. It was Randy Austin, Barnett's bass player, silhouetted dimly by the light filtering in from the truck stop parking lot. He stood silently in the stairwell, unsure whether he ought to investigate or go for help.

What the hell? he was wondering. He was sure Simmons, the driver, had locked the door. A trickle of sweat ran down the middle of his back. He stood motionless, listening intently, peering toward the back of the bus. Only a couple of dim reading lights were on in the lounge area. The hallway was dark. He could see nothing. He quietly reached down and picked up the tire iron from under the driver’s seat. If someone’s in here, he’ll regret it, he thought, confident in his machismo. He reached over and flipped on the hall lights from the control panel over the driver’s window.

The lights in the hall weren’t real bright, and two of them were burnt out, but they seemed like a searchlight at a prison break to Packard, who stood exposed at Barnett’s door.

“Hey!” Austin shouted, more in surprise than anything, when he saw the bearded stranger at his boss’s door.

Packard, trapped, shook his head in impotent rage and fired the Ruger at Austin. Austin ducked and the bullet glanced off his shoulder and went through the right side of the windshield. Austin dropped the tire iron and fell down on his back in the stairwell, out of Packard’s range of fire. The explosion was deafening, and Packard’s ears rang.

Suddenly Barnett’s door opened and there he was with a pistol, a little Colt .22. He looked with bleary eyes into the face from his dreams and fired at it. Packard moved quickly, but the bullet hit his gun and ricocheted harmlessly into the padded ceiling. Packard’s gun went bouncing down the hallway. Barnett fired again and Packard jumped backwards and slid sideways into the nearest bunk, which happens to be Osgood’s. He crunched Osgood up against the wall, and the little fiddle player gasped in pain.

Barnett, 1/3 drugged, 1/3 drunk, and 1/3 awake, staggered down the aisle, not sure where Packard was.

“Hey!” Barnett shouted. “Motherfucker!”

Packard doubled up his legs and pushed off against Osgood and lunged out and grabbed Barnett around the legs, bringing him to the floor. Osgood screamed in pain; Packard had smashed his left hand against the plywood wall of his bunk with the heel of his boot.

Packard easily overpowered Barnett and grabbed the gun out of his hand. He grinned maliciously, cocked it and put the gun to Barnett’s head.

Barnett stared up in horror at the grinning face from his dreams. Packard pulled the trigger.


The gun was empty. Packard heard shouting. They were drawing a crowd; he had to get out of this goddamn bus. He glanced over his shoulder as the light from a flashlight shone through a window and Barnett took the opportunity to squirm away and get back to his room and slam the door shut.

Packard, dripping sweat, got up and rushed down the aisle, still clutching Barnett’s empty gun. He spied his own gun in the aisle, half obscured by a Whopper wrapper, and dropped the empty toy Colt and picked it up. Austin was in the stairwell, groaning in pain. Packard stomped over him and jumped through the open door, waving his gun menacingly. The small group of surprised curiosity seekers, just some sleepy truck drivers and a lot lizard or two, drew back, offering no resistance, and he vanished like a shadow into the darkness. Nobody was feeling like a hero, and he got away unmolested.

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My eBooks

I wrote some books all by myself that you might be interested in if you like country music, steel guitar, the 60's and/or mysteries.

Steel Guitar Insanity, the book

My latest book. A compilation of the blog of the same name. Buy now.


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My 2nd ebook: The Beast From the Back of the Bus

A musician procedural. What it's like to be on tour through Texas with a murderous White Supremacist on your trail.

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My first ebook, a mystery, available at Amazon, Smashwords, Barnes & Noble, Kobo and the the Sony Reader Store.

Hot Rods, girls, music and murder from 1963. More at Chevy Summer.

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