When Fred Miller woke up on the morning of Friday, the 13th day of January 2006, he couldn’t have known that this would be his last day on Earth. Despite the enemies he had made over the years, and even though, in a moment of paranoiac weakness, he had recently confided to his closest friends that someone might be out to get him, he never seriously imagined that he’d wind up dead, staring down at the wrong end of a gun.
But sadly, regardless of what the fun-loving fanatic of the psychedelic rock band, the Grateful Dead, may or may not have been thinking, there he was, slumped over in his car, shot down and taken from this world in the prime of his life.
Just over two years later, Frank Newlan, an equally free-spirited, music-loving, wannabe songwriter in his own right, couldn’t have known that a jury duty summons, a routine day at the local courthouse, would alter the course of his life in such a profound way.
Nevertheless, time marches fatefully on in its own uniquely relentless way, and thus, by theoretical extension, where Fred Miller’s story ends, Frank Newlan’s story begins; a story that includes the trial of the man who was accused of orchestrating Miller’s murder; a story that includes a zealous doorman who worked at Newlan’s condo complex and who had ties to a mysterious radical sect; a story that includes the return of a woman from Newlan’s distant past.
And improbable though it might sound, these seemingly separate but somehow related events would converge into one great big Bermuda’s Triangle of a storm which would send Newlan spiraling helplessly into the teeth of the devil.
For like Fred Miller and countless others before him, Newlan suddenly found himself faced with a truckload of difficult decisions which were impeding the placid road ahead of him; weighty choices that, if made haphazardly, could have serious, perhaps even deadly, consequences.
And if this weren’t bad enough, as the trial progressed, Newlan found himself being forced to reluctantly piece together the inconceivable certainty that was taking place before his very eyes. It was a staggering conviction of the heart which was being painstakingly constructed by the attorneys in the case. It was an unimaginable truth. It was a mind-boggling reality. However, it was not, in any way, shape, or form, a precept of innocence or culpability. But rather, it was an ominous connection of the dots which irrevocably linked Newlan’s life to Fred Miller’s death. It was an increasingly eerie set of similarities which bound Newlan’s future to Fred Miller’s past. And yet, despite their likeness, Newlan remained stubbornly unconvinced of the defendant’s guilt.
Newlan’s world was being turned upside down, and in his foreboding mind, the tumultuous upheaval which had overtaken his existence suspiciously coincided with his selection to serve as a juror on this sensational murder trial. And furthermore, it seemed that the more he learned about Fred Miller’s life cut short well before its time, the more he began to fear for his own safety, both consciously and in his vibrantly horrific dreams. But despite his suspicions he couldn’t have known that he was rocketing down the same path to extinction that took Fred Miller. Or could he?
You see, Newlan occasionally suffered from unfiltered bouts of psychic visions, and so as far as he was concerned, his fortuitous connection to Fred Miller was more than just a coincidence.
No, for Frank Newlan, the congruity in their lives signaled a clairvoyant phenomenon which foretold his own fate; a fate that tells a story of life and death; a story of love and hate; a story of relationships both failed and successful; a story that can only be told…from the eyes of a juror.