Ellis is adjusting his boots, not because he believes they improve his drumming but ‘cos he’s vain. King is finishing another long message to his girlfriend. I worry about King and his romantic attachments, he’s so vulnerable.
I peep through the curtains, sweat slithering down the small of my back. A few minutes in this suffocating tunnel expands into millions of microseconds. For all the fuss about schedule, they tell us to keep ‘em waiting, heat up the atmosphere. As if our performance itself can’t do that. As if our image requires my mascara to run, my body paint to melt.
King’s phone beeps, shattering my communion with the granularities of time. He deflates as he reads, almost I don’t dare look at him, for fear of feeding off his discomfort, hope to God she hasn’t dumped him. King can’t take rejection, so he picks it every time. Jeez, I’d rather be with King than Ellis. But know I couldn’t satisfy his need for scorning.
Ellis produces a beer, bottle of, from his multi-pocketed leathers. Removes the cap with his teeth, which always makes me squirm. Offers me a swig, though he knows I’ll refuse. Replays every time. Stale, like the rank odours which collude here in this narrow space. Maybe it’s time I got outta here.
“Ready guys?” I command, without the question mark. And on we go.
House chock full, stage awash with electric green and hot white, but something feels wrong, I can’t become the music like I usually can. Then I hear it, kinda delayed, in slow motion audio. One whopping great mother fucker of a bang. Outbursts of screaming. Darkness. Panic.
I hit the floor, an instinctive sort of horizontal bracing position. Don’t see my life flash before me. Feel strangely cheated. Fear snakes along my spine.
A billion nanoseconds later. Brightness returns. I hear the MC reassuring the audience that it was just a faulty timer on one of the finale’s special effects. Just?
Ellis gallantly proffers his arm, helps me to my feet. My eyes search out King. I see him looking lovingly into his phone. Maybe she didn’t dump him after all.