Aidan 5

By Asa Montreaux 

When I left the airport in Boston there was a large lump in my throat. This was my test, I guess, to see if I could do tour 2.0. At the same time, though, I felt ready.

It was indeed a smaller venue this time. The car pulled up, and I knew inside of me it was now or never. I closed my eyes, and breathed deeply and slowly. Maybe. There was just the smallest chance I could pull this off. Just maybe.

Once again Calum was waiting for me outside. He looked lovely standing out there.

'Hi, Aidan.'

'Hi, Calum. Nice to see you again.'

'Likewise. So, how you feeling today?'

'I'm feeling better, honestly. Better than last time.'

'That's good. This time will be different. Trust me.'


'Absolutely. Just trust me.'




'Alright then. So, I'll do the introduction this time.'


'And don't worry, right to the chase.'

'Right to the chase, perfect.'

'And no questions.'

'No questions, great.'

'You see? This is easy. We can do this.'

'I sure hope so.'

We wheeled into the store, and over to the setup, just like last time. The crowd was a little smaller than the first time, but nothing concerning. It was a smaller venue. And the book was released now. This time, all the people waiting already had a copy of the book in their hands.

Calum stood in front of everyone. 'Ladies and gentleman, without further a due, the writer of Life in Technicolor, Aidan Soars. He's here to meet you and sign your books. So, let's begin.'

I hadn't passed out yet. I sat down at the desk, and was grateful to be sitting. From there, I felt a certain leg up. I felt easier. I motioned for the first to come forward.

'Hello,' I said.


Hmm. I could do this. She handed me her book, and I opened it and signed the first page: Aidan Soars.

'There you go.'

'Thank you. I loved your book.'

'You’re welcome. And thank you.'

She walked off back to the crowd and the next person came forward. 'Hi.'

'Hello,' I said. This was easy. I could really do this. I could feel myself calming down. I was firmly in this reality, not slipping off into unconsciousness.

One after one, each person came forward. If nothing else, it sure was a long process. But it was easier to address everyone one at a time, then it would be to try and address them as a group. And that was the whole fun of it, the chance to meet the young writer one on one.

An hour later, I was still signing copies. My hand was starting to cramp up. But the line of people was dwindling. They probably wouldn't wait for forever. Or maybe they would. But I calmed myself down, and forgot the thought. But I was proud of myself. An hour of signing books, and I hadn't passed out.

Finally, there were only a few people left. It was easier now because I knew what to expect with each person. I was coming up with a book signing formula. Everything, including how much I smiled, was starting to be all part of a formula.

Finally, it was over, and I looked over at Calum, and he understood instantly to close up shop. Some people were still hanging around chatting, and he said rather loudly, thanks everyone for coming. Then he came over to me. 'So how was that?'

'It was alright. My hand is sore.'

He laughed. 'That can happen. You did good. I was worried at first, but you really held on strong. Janelle is going to be so pleased.'

'Yea. That's great.'

'Come on. We'll get you home. You can have something to eat at the hotel, and have a chance to calm down.'

'That sounds good.'

'Yea. It does.'

'Hey Calum.'

'Yea, Aidan?'

''Are you coming for dinner?'

He laughed again. 'Oh no. I'm heading back to New York. But I'll see you in Philadelphia.'

'Okay. Sounds nice.'

'Yea. Sure, buddy.'

The car was there waiting for me again.

'Bye, Calum.'

'See you, Aidan.'

I got in the car, and it drove off towards my hotel.

The hotel wasn't as glamorous as New York, but it was still pretty nice. I felt cozy and comfortable. First I sat down, closing my eyes, and putting my head on my hand. I felt totally drained. But I felt pretty calm. I felt pretty good.

Calum had been pretty helpful. He didn't linger on the introduction. Was he the reason I had felt so weird? Was he the reason I had passed out the first time? It was certainly a thought.

I ordered something from downstairs, a sirloin steak, and they brought it up and I enjoyed a bit of a celebratory dinner. Everything was really going my way, and I hoped it would keep going my way.


Arriving in Philadelphia I was starting to get the swing of things. I knew what to expect of the hotel, I knew what to expect of the food, and for the first time, I knew what to expect of the signing. I was nervous about it, but it went well, and that was two in a row. Calum was helpful again, and I was starting to find him exceptionally dreamy. 

As the tour lagged on, and we got further west, the death of my friend started to weigh on me. Why had he died? And why had nothing happened to me. But, maybe, I thought, all that was keeping me alive was the fact I wasn't in Los Angeles.

My tour was specifically designed away from Los Angeles, so history wouldn’t repeat itself. I started to wonder whether I shouldn't tell someone what I had witnessed, and what I suspected.

One day after a signing I breached the subject with Calum.

'Calum, I think I know who killed my Dad.'

'What do you mean? Who was it?'

'It was my Dad. He ordered a hit. Because of what the book was about.'

'What makes you so sure?'

'I heard him order it.'

'That's impossible.'


'Jayden was murdered by a homophobic gang in New York. No one ordered the hit. It was a targeted killing carried out for their own reasons. Your Dad didn't order a hit. I hope you don't really think that.'

'Well, that's the first I've heard of it.'

'We're just finding out more information. But listen, it's really important you never go to Los Angeles, for any reason. Okay?'

'Okay. I promise.'

'Good. We wouldn't want anything to happen to you.'

'But my Dad. I heard him order it.'

'Talk to your parents. Maybe it's not what you think.'

I thought about what Calum said to me. It certainly was something of a revelation. But I wasn't sure. I'd believed my Dad was capable of doing that so long, that now I didn't know what to believe.'

I called my Mom.

'Hi, Mom.'

'Hi, sweetie. How's the book tour?'

'It's going great. The crowds are good. The book is doing really well.'

'I know. I've heard. Congratulations.'

'Yea. It's been fun. But there's something weighing on my mind.'

'What is it, son?'

'Did Dad kill Jayden?'


'What! It doesn't seem entirely unlikely. You know what he's like!'

'He did nothing of the sort. You’re lucky he didn't hear you say that.'

'But I heard him. I heard him do it. I heard him order the hit.'

'What exactly did you hear.'

'I heard him say I want him dead! He didn't hold back.'

'Oh sweetie. I have something to tell you.'


'It was me on the phone, sweetie.'

'What? What do you mean?'

'I did have something to tell you. I've been seeing someone else and your father found out. He said he wanted him dead.'

'Well is he still alive?'

'Of course sweetie. He's alive and well.'

'But I heard...'

'You heard him on the phone to me sweetie. I'm so sorry. Is that why you ran away?'

'Yea. I thought he would kill me.'

'Your father and I are getting divorced. He moved out. For good.'


'You can come home whenever you’re ready. Why don't you come home after your book tour?'

'Yea. That sounds nice. Okay.'

'There you go, sweetie.'

'Thanks, Mom.'

'Anytime. How is everything going otherwise? How are the panic attacks?'

'There under control. I had a bad one in New York but since then nothing has happened.'

'Good. Good to hear.'

'Well Mom I'd better go. Nice talking to you.'

'Okay. Bye, hun.'

'Bye, Mom.'

I couldn't believe it. This whole time I'd been wrong. It was really a shock to the system. One I didn't see coming at all. But at the same time I was relieved. My Dad wasn't a murderer. And I still had family! It was a huge relief.


The rest of the book tour was shaping up nicely. We shimied through many cities along the east coast, then slowly hopped through the Mid-West. I’ll admit, dear reader, there were a few close calls. Sometimes I could feel my hear in my throat, maybe more like in my mouth. And then it was almost as if I was losing consciousness… well of course I was losing consciousness. It was like I was slipping into another reality. Anyways.

Calum really seemed to have the ability to calm me down. He could look at me straight in the eyes and it was as if, for more than just a few minutes, he could focus my attention right on him, and then I would forget about everything else in the surroundings, all the stimuli would fade far away. He got me every time. Though on more than one of these occasions I had to scamper off to some corner of the building, the light recessed, the incessant murmur of voices muffled. He would ask me if I was okay, tell me to calm down, instruct me to breathe. Simple stuff really, I suppose, looking at in hindsight. But it was his presence itself that perhaps would calm my soiled nerves. Though I’m not sure what that means.

I was my usual rather garrulous self away from the incumbering book panels. Signings I suppose we refer to them in layman terms, though that’s not what it felt like to me. I instructed him plainly and severely that I was not to fly. I was rather even slightly quite proud of myself. Though as one leg gave way to the next leg I would inevitably have to tow my butt onto some dumb scientifically apostrophic plane and endure hours of painless swimming not just in my chest but in my mind. And I wondered what I was doing this for, though surely you would know by this point in the story there my reason for this. To recap, kind listener, the defense of the great honor of my one and only and now gone best friend Jayden was the reason for striking out on my book tour myself. As awkward and straightforward as that sounds. And I suppose it was for the defense on myself. To see through my work getting published, and to go out there in the world and represent something, an experience, a life, a fiction, that I had written, the art that I had created myself.

And so it happened upon once in a time that I awoke in Las Vegas for the last leg of my book tour. Yes I quite woke up in a bed in a hotel which was may have been more so a casino, though as you can easily intuit there was a plane ride and baggage claim and a taxi and a few Xanax in between. Details. Anyways. My fears surrounded the impending attack by whoever it was that was out there had essentially petered out. Well I suppose it was my father who I quite had felt was trying to ya know murder me and omg, but it seems I was not only plainly over worried but simply incorrect. Oh I suppose it was silly and overzealously inane of me to mentally convict my Dad of violent hate crimes. Such is life. You’re wrong, you look like an idiot. Then you move on. Though really it probably bugs you for like a long time.

I did want to reach out to my father and apologize to him for my suspicions. But the reality is I had not even told him. But did he know. Mom’s being mom’s I am sure that she had went ahead and intimated to him what I had said, the bit about him being a serial killer that had murdered Jayden, though certainly with certain exaggerations and flagrantly fallacious add-ons that quite ruined and though brutally enhanced what I had said, at that time. I feel differently now. I swear it.

So I conclude this non-rambling and entirely coherent passage by saying that I was not looking about for my father everywhere not even through the plaided purple curtains of the hotel and casino. I had let go of my anger and my fear, though looking back I should have been more worried, there was something out there that had hurt Jayden. Yes yes killed him. And by something I do mean a someone or a group of someone’s that probably hated me even more than they had evidently hated writer boy Jayden. Fake writer boy Jayden. I reek of being a writer. And he wasn’t even gay. I probably have quite the stench or aura of that going to.

What was it Calum said to me? Ah, yes. Don’t ever go to Los Angeles. Though, was it not in New York that Jayden was killed. That seemed rather incongruous. What was it he had known that I had not known, was not privy to? This seemed essentially information, stuff my brain may have dismissed as very ignorable obviousness amounting and calculating as something about gangs and where they like to congregate and like straight up kill dudes.

So Los Angeles I would travel to ah not. And yet in the process of thing I had overlooked the fact that Las Vegas was pretty damn close. And really, a practical and never mind, an actual longitudinal row of casinos seemed the quintessential breeding ground for everything to do with gang activity and homophobic sentiment and anti-Semitism. I don’t know about the last one there but I stick by the rest.

Despite my probably easy ability to have thought this through, lets actually refer to his as my casual ignorance of the blunt reality of the situation, I went about my few days in Las Vegas with a very blasé easiness, enjoying a nice buffet style breakfast, throwing in for a bit of black jack, even lounging a la utterly laisse faire, and chatting conventionally with Janelle about the quite unconventional success of my book.

Who could disagree that it would continue to sell. I’d be filthy stinking rich. Well, not really. Not as rich as those mega rich people. I wouldn’t be a billionaire. Not over night, anyways, There is no reason not to set the goal really really high, and then reach for it. I suppose we should set it like really, really high. Ah yes, to become the richest man in the world. Though that’s usually something reserved for tech mega entrepreneur. I’m not sure why I’d repeat the mega phrasing but that’s what made it’s way onto the page.

“But they won’t lose interest in it, will they?”

“I don’t think so… sales will inevitably slow down. Though they should continue to make there way off the shelf at a consistently above average pace. This is one everyone wants to read, not just something flashy and entertaining that will have only have success in the short-term. It’s not a flash in the pan, I’m quite certain.”

“It’s quite funny it sold so well. Am I not a serious writer?”

“You’re novels are very deep, obviously. Something the critics will love to talk about.”

“I am sure they will. For a long time?”

“For a long time, certainly.”

“Maybe I’ll pick it up in a book on a college English class syllabus.”

“Aidan, you should not be thinking about going back to school. It’s definite no-no. We need you to be focused on promoting the book, and then on writing the next book, you see there isn’t this time for lolly gagging.”

“You know school is really not this lolly-gagging. There is obviously valuable skills learned there.”

“I do realize that and I do mean to acknowledge that, I see you had learned some valuable skills that have contributed you’re becoming a great writer. Clearly.”

“I suppose I appreciate that. A great writer though, clearly I’m only a first-time novelist, and only heading into my sophomore novel. Great things are not generally expected.”

“Everyone understands that you will get better with every book. That fact that your already great cements that fact that you are going to become someone in the future that even you yourself do not quite see yet.

“Ah I see. I do quite feel that. My potentiality is more to be excited about than what I am today.”

“Well don’t get too high on yourself. Although, that being said, please do. Confidence is great for a writer.”

“I see. I am sure that it is. I can see you pushing for the second book already.”

“I am not. Though whenever you are ready to get started on that I can more than take that off your hands. Give it a read, give you my thoughts, and undoubtedly get it published for you.”

“Well, of course. You are my agent. What would be the good of you if you don’t get me published?”

“I don’t see any reason I would ever not have you published. I suppose if your work fell off a huge cliff then I’d have to quite not publish you, leave you in a pile of manuscripts destined to be quite never read. But the way you’re writing it seems any pen you pick, any typewriter you pound or any laptop you press buttons with little letters on them will come out as not just publishable but best seller material.”

“So you’re not foreseeing writer’s block already? This early on?”

“Aidan you go ahead and enjoy your book tour. There’s all the time in the world to soak it in and appreciate the experience of sharing your work with people who have read it. And when it’s over then I may be someone poking at you rather politely to get words on a page. And be careful as laziness and slovenliness will get result increasingly – and perhaps very suddenly increasingly – in more and more urgent urging from myself to write the damn book. Whatever, it turns out to be, which I’m sure will be great.”

“Ah, certainly. Well I’m not intimidated at all. I think all be able to write no matter how little or how much pressure you apply. I’ll have it done and ornately polished before you can commence with even the first urging, for me to write said book.”

“Excellent. That is what I like to hear. Now are you ready for the book signing tomorrow? There winding to a close this is almost the last one.”

Right, because we’re not going to L.A. “Yea, I feel fully ready. Everything has gone fine. Except…”

“Except the first one.”


“Ah, that’s nothing to worry about at this point. It will be a breeze and you will come out the other side of it, and the tour will be almost over, the best things seems to happen so quickly. And by the actual end of this you’ll almost have forgotten you were ever scared of any of this to begin with.”

“That’d be nice. And thanks for all your help so far.”

“Don’t mention it. Alright… we’ll talk tomorrow?”

“Uhuh, yea. Tomorrow.”

“Excellent. Bye, Aidan.”


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