Smashwords Edition Pamela Joan Barlow Smashwords Edition, License Notes This ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This ebook may




НазваниеSmashwords Edition Pamela Joan Barlow Smashwords Edition, License Notes This ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This ebook may
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The Quartet

Intro

by ipam

Smashwords Edition Copyright 2012 Pamela Joan Barlow Smashwords Edition, License Notes This ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This ebook may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each recipient. If you’re reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then please return to Smashwords.com and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.

CHARACTERS

Austin Bartholomew Berrington, IV, billionaire, C.E.O., Quartet Associates, Coral Beach, Florida

Franklin Ferdinand Mangrove, III, billionaire, C.F.O., Quartet Associates

Stuart Thant Gage, III, billionaire, C.O.O., Quartet Associates

Thomas Edison Sawyer, III, billionaire, lawyer, Quartet Associates

PROLOGUE

Knock! Knock! White door creaks, oddly. Yellow light glows, eerily. Black wheels squeak, nosily. Silver metal on cart scrapes, loudly. Visible dark skull female voices flute soprano at archway. “Hey, kid.”


Hey!” Child wears yellow leg cast with blue smiley faces & signatures of friends, reads comic.


Clifford, right, kid!” She blows flute soprano.


Clifford cocks, sideways skull, inquires, friendly. “Ya know me?”


Chart, kid.” She points, rudely at clip board.


Oh! Yeah!” He giggles, silly.


Cookies, kid.” She offers, friendly.


COOKIES!” He touches with hand, yells, painfully. “OUCH! Hot!” He drops cookies to tray, rubs sting on finger pads.


Hot plate, kid.” She warns, un-carefully, sits milk carton on tray.


No, your hand.” He clarifies, cautiously, eye burns her fingers.


Hurt, kid?”


Naw. Stings a little!” He grabs cookie, heads towards mouth. She reaches for leg caste. He objects, commandingly. “Don’t! Hurts from the shots.”


What happened, Mom hit you, kid?”


My Mom’s sweet and nice. She’d never do that. She loves me.” He frowns, ugly, talks, nicey.


Pushed out a tree, kid?”


No! Jumped high up, way up on my bike, smashed the bone...” He points, rudely middle of leg caste. “Here.” He chuckles, lightly. “Didn’t cry? Mom fainted. Dad grabbed me. So cool! Bone sticking out. Blood on...leg, me, Dad, car, floor...EVERYWHERE! So cool! Can’t wait to show my pals.” He describes, vividly, chuckles, lightly, bites cookies.


Adventure, kid!”


Kid!” He repeats, boldly, chews cookie, vigorously. “You talk funny...”


Parents, kid?”


Told them stay home. Not scared. Mom cried. Can’t stand that? Girls! Just a bone. Told Dad stay with Mom. I’m brave and cour...age...ous. Ten going to fifth grade. Afraid of nothin’, ghosts, witches...or ugly nurses.” He giggles, spits cookies crumbles onto gown, tray, sheets.


Tough, kid. Ya know, big old hospitals like this one…haunted with souls of the dead.”


Won’t work? Not scared.” He giggles, silly, spits more crumbles from open mouth.


Fearless, kid!”


Yeah, that’s me, the fearless Clifford Milton Burton, the third.” He points at chest, grins.


Moving along, kid.”


Good night, Lady!” Clifford Milton Burton, III hails good-bye.

Tues. June 1.estate manor, Austin Bartholomew Berrington, IV, One Coral Lane, Coral Beach, Florida, 33135, bedroom, Waning Gibbous moon, partly cloudy, 74*F, 2:31 a.m. “CLIFFY!” He screams, bolts upright, rubs sweat from forehead.


Another bad dream, sweetie.” She purrs, softly, rubs, tenderly naked back muscles with soft manicured fingers, smoothes his tense stiff neck muscles.


My godson...a girl…GIRL with dark hair. Again. I saw it, again.” He talks, firmly.


Allow me to relax you…sweetie.” She hums, softly, rubs, tenderly hands over his back muscles.


He moans, lightly from massage of warm hands & sharp finger nails, closes, eyelids, purges, quickly third night dream image of his godson Cliffy dead in bed then he drifts, deeply asleep.


Florida room. party sunny. 78*F. 9:03 a.m. Small remote tip of land locates Southern part of Miami, Florida away from hustle & bustle of U.S. Highway 1 stands print sign painted bright orange letters Coral Beach. Coral Beach is privately incorporated community of Miami-Dade County, boasts mayor, sheriff, physician & lawyer under domed city hall along with facilities such as jail cells, interrogation room, weapons room, firing hole, library & art museum. Beach community houses fire department, helicopter pad, vehicle & boat garages, gardener atrium, mechanic machine & equipment shop, Post Office station, numerous servant houses, surrounds state-of-the-art security system hidden inside iron & concrete decorative gates. Land entrance into lovely & lush Coral Beach at East road from U.S. Highway 1 intersects first sentry gate where armed guards blocks & inspects any warmly welcomed visitors or coldly un-welcomed strangers. If lucky party passes through first sentry, second sentry station blocks & inspects ya for second look-see. Once fully accepted, party ventures along the magnificent majestic avenue of mansions on formal address of “Coral Lane.” Estates surround West by 18-hole manicured grasses, sand traps & water hazards golf course, North with old Banyan trees lining shaded private park and native plants, South and East eyeballs, foot prints & bodies merge, directly into open bluish-green Atlantic Ocean. Yellow cobblestone single road parallels unique gas street lights sitting, prettily on iron curvy poles planted along pink brick walkways displaying four massive pastel-colored mansions: orange, green, yellow & pink. Four colored limousines of gold, silver, white & black bolt, slowly on pretty street, stop, suddenly first residence of Coral Lane. Upright bodies shift, quickly onto front porch like shadows of darkness.


SLAM! SLAM! Double cherry doors on pink mansion, residence of Austin Bartholomew Berrington, IV, Coral Beach, sails, swiftly light speed as delicate glass crystal door knobs crash, nosily against yellow interior walls below whitish-gray granite foyer.


DAMN IT TO HELL! DAMN IT TO HELL! DAMN IT TO HELL!” Deep baritone trombone echoes, painfully as figure enters, rapidly, kicks, accurately wood table with expensive leather.

Healthy green fern & table drops, sideways, skids Mexican tile floor, halts, abruptly edge of three-story staircase bottom step. Plant vomits, ugly sandy dirt from broken terra cotta pot, scatters, geographically different directions from hostile windmill of movement of shadows.

Austin struts, manly towards twin table holding crystal lamp near twin sofa. Table soars, upwardly, hits, accurately pink granite fireplace, breaks, beautifully into two wooden staves, lands, deftly on floor. Lamp sails opposite direction, rolls, smashes into tiny bits of glass near pot.


CRASH! ZANG! POP! BOOM! Austin marches without song like high stepping solider in parade deeper into Florida room, or as other folks call “living room” seeks new target. He raises, quickly leg, aims, perfectly at delicate glass coffee table curved around yellow & white circular sofa.


AUSTIN.” Loud tenor trumpet permeates, deeply from Franklin Ferdinand Mangrove, III, life time brother, permanent business partner & peaceful neighbor of Austin. Austin stops, slumps neck muscles to chest, eye burns helpless tile with intense fury, hate & revenge.


Calm down! We all feel the same way, bro.” Deep bass drum smoothes, tenderly from Stuart Thant Gage, III, life time brother, permanent business partner & protective neighbor of Austin. Stu pushes, gently Austin toward sofa away from table holding delicate glass sculpted chess set.


Sit down, Old Man.” Thomas Edison Sawyer, III, final life time brother, permanent business partner & troublesome neighbor of Austin talks, hurriedly in tenor saxophone, strolls by Austin, shoves, powerfully Austin’s chest into sofa. Tom inquires, friendly. “Does anyone else want a drink?” He races to wet bar located Southeastern Florida room.


Austin stumbles, mindlessly backwards from table, hits sofa with back of legs, bents, sits, quietly on edge, parts feet, places elbows on knee caps, lowers skull into open palms, eye burns clean Mexican tile floor, thinks, mentally, ponders, deeply, wishes, regretfully, hates…everything.


Need I remind you, the hour is nine in the morning, Tom.” Stu instructs, motherly.


Know that. I have a damn watch. I can tell fucking time. I learned that trick in elementary school as a young boy. I need something to kill the butt-ass kicking pain, Stu.” Tom sulks, sourly, grabs glass from cabinet.


Just one, Tom or I’ll tell Janey,” Frank eye burns busy Tom, lectures, fatherly.


You always were the tattle tale in our band, Frank then Stu would kick your fucking ass for reporting us.” Tom laughs, hardy, drops, nosily two ice cubes, pours hot brown liquid measured within three fingers from Jack Daniels distilled corn whiskey into tumbler.


Stu jerks, victoriously both arms in air, hollers, barbaric. “Boo-wah.”


Frank smirks, annoyingly, twists from billiards table, advances twin sofa, observes, acutely that Austin sits, post-morbidly with skull in hands. Stu eye burns worried Frank. Frank neck snaps to Tom.


Tom shakes, sideways blonde skull, advances to billiards table located Southwest Florida room. Billiards table set, prettily pinned colored balls in rack ready for next match. Tom places, gently whiskey on edge, removes rack, grabs pool stick, licks end with squared white chalk, positions white cue ball in middle of table. Aims & fires stick against ball, it breaks, lazily all balls from center, scatters different directions, not strike into pocket.


I’m going to the kitchen for a beverage, Frank?” Stu announces, mildly.


Please, bring me a bottle of Dr. Pepper along with a medium glass filled with crashed ice cubes.” Frank orders, gently, nods, once.


Not only a fucking tattle tale, but the classy and proper ‘Miss Manners’ gent, don’t ya know ‘real men’ drink from the goddamn bottle, Frank?” Tom laughs, hardy, sips, nosily whiskey.


Austin?” Stu poses, soldierly, offers, brotherly. Austin eye burns helpless tile. Stu pivots, shakes, sideways bald skull, disappears into kitchen.


Frank neck snaps to closed double doors, inquires, worriedly. “Where are our lovely ladies?”


Tom explains, slo mo in bass saxophone. “They are comforting...Marge...at her house. Jane said...not to expect them for a while, maybe not until dinner.”


Burton?” Frank frowns, worriedly, asks, softly.


Making the funeral arrangements…” Tom rushes his words, returns, studiously his solitary game of billiards. Cue ball taps against four ball landing in right corner pocket. THUMP!


Frank eye burns lovely North undivided clean, shiny glass windows, views, beautifully swaying field of green tear-shaped banyan trees guarding shaded picnic benches, roped wooden swings, beach hammocks & grass refrigerated man-made huts for storing food and drink (only beer for Tom) refreshments. Beyond Florida’s nature park, golden hot sands dive into Atlantic Ocean, perfect spot for young children to roam free and play unendingly without invasion of rude visitors, mean kids, or half naked sun bathing young girls. Beach & park property inside Coral Beach is private, enclosed & well guarded playground owned solely by Austin, Frank, Stu & Tom. No other foot prints are allowed on sands.


True” benefit of paradise for a billionaire living in the most beautiful spot on Earth…Miami. Weather is warm all year around for swimming, skiing, fishing, boating, sporting, shopping, jogging, walking and…playing. Only money can buy this kind of paradise, Frank has money, lots & lots of money. He has never ever remembered not living without money thanks to his family ancestor of inheritance from his extremely wealthy father, very wealthy grandfather and slightly wealthy great grandfather. His great grandfather is part of the nicknamed street gang called “Fathers of Miami” repeated by local folks living & working within city streets of South Florida.


The boys (Austin, Stu, Frank & Tom) call themselves the “Band of Brothers.” They aren’t biological siblings. They are “blood” brothers just like when their great grandfathers in 1838 formed the eternity “bond” as young teens among the wild farmlands and wilder forests of northern Florida, near the spouting town of Tallahassee, state capital of Florida.


Mangrove, the original had moved as teenager from his beloved native country of Spain along with his favorite stallion, barn animals, furniture, medical supplies & farm equipment to the new lands in America where his Father worked as veterinary & occasional only available human physician inside small township of people.


Gage, the original was shipped as slave from his home land of Africa working on Deep South’s plantation and farm crop fields. He escaped & headed to wild and free lands of Florida bartering his new skills as farmer in new township.


Sawyer, the original of German royalty had been determined to rule his own destiny in the New World rather in the Fatherland. He had left behind family members & family fortune becoming small township’s mayor.


Berrington, the second had traveled the wooden dangerous seasickingly ship over Atlantic Ocean along with other peasants from Great Britain seeking freedom from prosecution as he expanded his tradeship as blacksmith in the place called “America.”


Millionaire? Billionaire? Zillionaire? Frank ponders, deeply that all his money can’t bring that young boy back to life. Clifford & Marge Burton’s only child is found dead less than twenty-four hours inside private hospital room being admitted to Pediatric ward of Charity Kendall Hospital for broken leg, very minor, common & non-threatening injury. Cliffy would’ve worn leg cast for required eight weeks, removed it & continued his young playful full life starting fifth grade at prep school where his father and Frank befriended each other on first day of kindergarten in 1983.


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