Genre: Urban Fantasy / Paranormal Pop Fiction
Publisher: Peabo Productions (Self-Published)
Date of Publication: July 8th, 2014
Number of pages: 294
Word Count: 80,000
Cover Artist: Sam Soto
A group of friends are reunited after twenty years to learn that their destinies are entangled with the immortal Muses and a mysterious lost jukebox.
From Vancouver to a New Orleans cemetery, roaming through Los Angeles to Las Vegas; it’s a supernatural road trip laced with rock ‘n’ roll.
It could have ended differently. But it ends like this.
Or, more accurately, this is how the ending begins.
It begins in the summer. It begins in Los Angeles.
Jonathan feels like something not good is waiting to happen. He doesn’t always feel like this, just on birthdays, holidays, and most of the days between. This is a day that holds something bad. He’s been avoiding talking to Fortuna recently, since he feels like he’s been working on these kinds of jobs long enough to be able to find the right answers on his own. But this isn’t an ordinary case. This time he’s going to need help.
He wishes that he could tell Phillip what has really been going on with Pandora, but he can’t. Not yet, perhaps not ever. Phillip has helped a lot, moving in and out of his life like an older brother, no, like a good friend. Ever since Sebastian died. Jonathan looks at his drink. He’s going to need more alcohol too.
Phillip wants him to find Pandora, but that’s something he doesn’t think he can do alone. That’s why he’s convinced himself that he should talk to Fortuna. He still isn’t sure who Fortuna is or how she knows what she knows. Kalinda introduced them one night in San Francisco, but he never learned where, exactly, she came from. He is grateful that she doesn’t mind sharing her knowledge with him. He had entertained thoughts that Fortuna might be involved with black magic, but he knows he’s wrong.
She is beyond good and evil.
Jonathan taps his fingers on the bar. He’s hanging out at Swampland, while the DJ tears up the vinyl, spinning through a mix of early ‘70s punk rock obscurities and British Invasion hits. He turns to look but the DJ booth is shrouded in shadows and dim red light. He thinks about saying thanks for the songs but decides he doesn’t need another excuse to stay. “Right, let’s just get it done.”
It took him a while to find Fortuna. She’s someone that even the dead don’t like to talk about, and the dead love to talk. It took a few visits to Hollywood Forever, a boom box, and an old Shriekback cassette. He felt like a gothic Lloyd Dobler, but he finally got his answer. The Tropicana Motel on Santa Monica Boulevard, Room 29. Now that he knows where she is, the trick is to work up the nerve to go there. Jonathan knows he shouldn’t go. He doesn’t always listen to the word “shouldn’t.” He shouldn’t be infatuated with a woman named Pandora who is the next best thing to a vampire, and not a good one. He probably shouldn’t be trying to track her down either. He knows Fortuna might be able to tell him where she is; he kind of hopes that she can’t.
Clearing away spirits is like tearing down the dusty latticework of old cobwebs accumulating in a musty attic. That he can handle, though it gets a little dirty at times. Vampires, though, they’re solid. Blood-sucking evil solid, and he isn’t looking forwards to dealing with any of them. Not that Pandora is a real vampire, but she’s close enough. He’s been running from her and searching for her at the same time, and it’s getting old.
“Damn you, Phillip,” he grumbles as he leaves Swampland, wishing reality was like it used to be. As far as he knows, Phillip’s the same as Pandora but, at least so far, not evil. Phillip did help Jonathan get settled in Los Angeles.
Jonathan can clean out a haunted dive bar in about twenty-four hours, he can exorcise a possessed drum kit in the time it takes to listen to the extended mix of “Fascination Street”, he can purify a stage from spectral remains before a band returns for an encore. He just doesn’t know if he can take out Pandora. He walks fast down the sidewalk, passing all of the faceless people, and then—
A dark-haired woman moves past him with a sidewalking glare. She struts hard in high black boots. She’s stalking the streets like a storm on the concrete, heels over heartbeat, and Jonathan’s breath catches in a suddenly broken rhythm.
She’s a whiplash girl twisting necks, and he feels the stirrings of a fever. He doesn’t even care about the weather; he just knows it’s better when it’s hot.
This heat holds, and slides out from between her steps. He watches her tight black dress, the fabric painting eyes and stirring blood. Slick lick lips, thigh-high and higher. She hits him with a flash of red, a slip of a smile, like some reptile out for a spin.
Jonathan stops, but it’s not her.
He still has time. He needs to figure out how to get away from Pandora—for good. It feels like they’ve been haunting each other for an eternity, though it’s only been a few years. He needs to know where she is and how to stop her. The only person Jonathan knows who might have answers is Fortuna. She always has answers. She always freaks him out as well.
Jonathan waits for his hands to stop shaking. He watches the sun set in the reflection of skyscrapers, pulling the half moon to rest behind a closed curtain of brilliant clouds. He connects the stars while walking between parked cars. Some quiet frenzy slips inside him, and he hides it from the outside world. He already knows what song she’s playing as he moves up the stairs. He can feel the rhythm tracing taut lines around his veins with a wire’s kiss.
I am the fly.
Jonathan walks through the cold night into Fortuna’s motel room.
The Top Ten songs you’d find on the Devil’s Jukebox
The Devil’s Jukebox is not about “Devil Songs” or Satan’s music. The Devil’s Jukebox plays music that fills you with emotions and memories and depending on what is playing you could end up drifting through a dream or slipping into a nightmare. Everyone has their own picks, but if Charlotte Holiday, our Immortal protector of the Muses, got to choose ten of them—she’d pick these:
1: The Cure - A Strange Day
This is Charlotte and Martin. This is full on 80’s lust in Charlotte’s mind. She’s not one to kiss and tell, but she will tell you that there was no better kiss than the one that hit during this song.
2: Echo and the Bunnymen - Lips Like Sugar
The band that led her into the circle of friends that changed her never ending life, the song that she will always remember singing along to at the top of her lungs while holding on to Annie’s hand at the Orpheum.
3:Sons Of Freedom - Alice Henderson
Vancouver nights, after hours dancing, high school drinking, feeling evil and sexy. Charlotte would sway to this, and Martin would blush. Good times.
4: Xymox - Obsession
When Twist of Shadows came out in 1989, It was, for some people, the go to make-out album. For Charlotte, this song in particular was nothing but darkwaved disco lust.
5:Windwalker - Say Hello, Wave Goodbye
This one, another old Vancouver favorite, always makes Charlotte think about Phillip. A hard crushed cover of a Soft Cell song, Charlotte imagines this is similar to what played out between Phillip and Pandora.
6: Nomeansno - Long Days
Never one to be defined by a single musical genre, Charlotte had a slight hardcore crush on Nomeansno. From the first time she heard them in 1982 she was hooked, and this song always helped her move forwards when she felt stuck.
7: Gene Loves Jezebel - Stephen
Charlotte doesn’t like every Gene Loves Jezebel song, but she adores this one. Every time she hears it, she thinks about Martin, and how it felt to just hold him. Quiet and still; standing, just holding.
8: David Usher - Babyskin Tattoo
Charlotte swoons for David Usher, and this song fills her with loss and angst and longing and hope. It hurts her heart, and she is overjoyed that she has a heart to hurt.
9: The Twilight Singers- Decatur St.
Greg Dulli has a way of making Charlotte feel weak at the knees, and not many people have that power. When this song found her, it took her straight to New Orleans, and that’s a story she’s not going to share with Martin anytime soon.
10: Superconductor - Colors
So many Vancouver music memories fill Charlotte’s soul, but getting to see the massive wall of noise that was Superconductor push out a wailing thick version of this Donovan song was bliss. Viva la cruel elephant!
Marcel Feldmar was born in Vancouver, moved to Boulder, ended up in Denver, went back to Vancouver, moved to Seattle, and ended up in Los Angeles. He is married with three dogs, and enjoys well made cocktails. He is also a coffee addict and an ex-drummer for too many bands to mention. He recently traded in his drumsticks for a couple of pens, and proceeded to complete his first novel. The Paranormal Pop Fiction tale entitled The Devil’s Jukebox.