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Dean started the first day of summer with a morning run on the beach. At a little past 8, the sun was already blazing and he began sweating through his faded NY Dolls t-shirt in minutes. Nirvana's You Know You're Right began playing on his ipod and he started comparing that group's singer, the late Kurt Cobain, to Silas Bane. Silas looked a little like Kurt, especially the blond hair, but Silas was taller, and more masculine. The angst and honesty in their voices were strikingly similar. As Dean passed the first pier, a coldness came over him. He shook and then heard Sympathy for the Devil by The Rolling Stones in his ear buds. He ripped them from his ears and stopped running. The song wasn't supposed to be in his ipod. Did Ev put in there, he pondered? Then, he looked at the edge of the tall pier and looking over him was his nightmare. Dean said nothing but inside his heart screamed...NO.
"Morning, Dean. Good to see you again. It has been almost twenty years . You have aged well. Taken up jogging? I am impressed. I hope you are eating and drinking better than I remember." he conversed. Dean looked around, the beach was unusually quiet for the time of the morning. e replied, nervously, "What could you possible take from me, that you already haven't?" The man smiled, wickedly, and jumped from thepier, landing perfectly in the sand and responded "Oh Dean, you are still do not see the big picture. I guess your relationship taught you very little. First of all, I can take anything I want, especially if you gave me something already." Dean looked back towards his house, almost two miles away. The man continued talking, "Dean I have no interest in Evelyn. Neither do you, by the way. Godo job convincing her you care about her long term. You still have your way with the women. Then again, she is just as confused as you are. Broken is how I would describe her. Pretty, witty, caring, but hopelessly broken." Dean didn't wondering how he knew all of this. The first time they'd met, outside a bar in New York City, he told Dean more about himself than Dean knew. "Just get to the point you evil bastard", Dean answered. "Silas Bane", he said. Dean didn't get it and said "What about Silas Bane? I don't even know him". The man explained, "He's the special. Right? Reminds me of you twenty years ago. Except he may be more idealistic. I dislike that in a musician. The chase is this, Dean. I want Silas Bane. I want you to get him for me." Dean was dumbfounded. This man could get anything and anybody he wanted. Throw some liquor and women at Bane and he was his. Dean didn't even know Silas Bane. He returned "You don't need me. Plus we are done with each other unless you're going to kill me. I don't even remember if that was in our agreement before." The man shot back, firmly, "Your life means nothing to me Dean. Neither does young Silas'. I want his talent, his charisma, and his soul. Just like I wanted yours. I do not think he will give it all up as easily as you did. You can convince him even better than I could." Dean knew not to ask it, but he felt like being rhetorical, "What's the point? I mean, will you leave me alone for eternity or can I expect you back in twenty years to deliver another young, dumb guitar playing fool?" The man laughed, and said "Oh Dean, I have missed you. I like the fact you are still naive at your age. It makes you interesting. That stunt you pulled with me after the party in Malibu made me angry but I never acted on it. This is me tying up that loose end." Dean became furious and yelled "you killed her you monster! For no reason, you took her from me! You want to say we aren't even?" The man calmy retorted, "Maybe this time, you'll understand why it was so easy to deal with you last time. Selfishness is something I enjoy. Especially when it makes others so vulnerable. You need to track Silas Bane down, today. Lead him into the temptation of that record deal that awaits his group when they return to Orlando in two weeks. Make sure he does the same thing you did. Scorched earth greed and avarice, Dean. That's how I got you. I'll check back with you tomorrow. We will meet at dawn. Even I am sweating in this heat." He looked through Dean with his piercing black eyes and drifted away. Dean just stood, frozen in the sand, like glass.
Mallory Powell opened the tattoo shop five minutes early. She had some flash to draw and didn't feel like stopping to unlock the doors to the public a few minutes after starting. The phone rang, which annoyed her, "The Inktank, this is Mallory." The voice on the other end stuttered then replied, "uh, yeah, I was seeing when you opened and if, well, you know, I needed an appointment." Mallory, found the appointment book, which is pointless, there were no solid bookings all day, and said "yeah, you do. I just opened, but the artists are, you know artists, so they come in when they come in. Want to do something at 2:30 this afternoon?" The voice answered, "That would be beast. My name's Silas Bane. I am looking for something small, near my rib cage maybe. I'll bring a picture. Is this really Dean Hellenbach's place?" Mallory recognized Silas' name but she wasn't about to let him charm her. Plus she was protective of her boss. "Yes, Mr. Hellenbach is our proprietor." Mallory just realized she had never used the words Mister or proprietor when describing her employer. Silas Bane was charming her into acting stupid. Dean Hellenbach walked into the shop and heard part of the phone call. He put up his index finger and grabbed a note pad and scribbled "i'll ink him, book it." Mallory ended the call by saying "You know Dean, uh, Mr. Hellenbach will see you at 2:30." She hung up the phone. Dean said, "what did he say and when have you ever been polite or called me Mister?" Mallory rolled her eyes, and said "I just got you an almost famous person's business, don't hassle me, Dean." realizing she was embarrassed and settling back into her normal anti-social personality, he smiled and said "thank you Mal. Here's a bagel and an iced coffee. you're welcome."
The Smiling Skeptic: An Excerpt from THE MIRACLE GIRL
50 minutes ago