Why are the lights on?
Under my feet, I crunch cups, drug paraphernalia, discarded programs. I see the road crew start shouting orders at the newbies. The venue workers start gathering the chairs, both still usable and the ones no longer able to hold butts. It’s just disgraceful that the Band will be charged for damages because some of us that show them the respect they deserve showed our devotion in a different way.
This is nuts. They always do “My almost grand kiss” for the encore before they left. What the hell is going on?!? I stomped a souvenir cup, crushing it flat under my boot. Time was, when I was new to the faithful masses, any merch was handled like pure gold, but now I know that it only holds value if one of them touches it, uses it in any way……ANY way. My mother, who keeps spending more money than she actually has to track me down, dared to ask me how much something such as…an autographed program….would go for online. That was one red flag that said I had to leave that prison. The time that I got a ticket stub signed by bass player Red Marlin, I got a gold frame for it, taking the money from my brother’s wallet when he wasn’t looking.
He had a job, he could afford to get things for his family. Necessary things. He just had to get over it, I told mom before I left for a meet and greet with the Band.
I walked to the side door to demand to know what was going on. I knew Nicky Ricky Rocket, the head of security, having watched amateurs get bounced from the backstage dressing rooms. It was all in the seduction. It will take time for me to get to be familiar enough with him to talk him into letting me backstage to be among the Band. Those men who should be adored like the walking gods that they are. One among us that gave the Band the respect they deserve, Denise, had the same idea and we altered course and met face to face with each other.
“I heard somebody call the performance tonight ‘lame’ and ‘not up to their usual standards’ before I punched them in their smug little faces. I saw them running away crying. ‘Mommy! Mommy! The bad girl hit me!’. What do you expect from some stupid, lame-ass tweeny that just came to the show for the t-shirt and bragging rights?!”
I laughed. Denise was one of us that got me. That got us. Now and again, I meet those of us that are faithful to The Cause. To know that the Band is….well they just ARE! They’re all that is right and good in the world! Not our fault that the rest of the world is so ignorant and lazy.
“Were you going to go hit on Nicky again? Girl, you gotta get over this.”
“I don’t hit on Nicky. I’m using him to get to the Band!”
Denise crossed her arms and gave me her “Oh, is THAT right?!” look. I don’t need this, I get that from my mom and everybody else that I tell how important the Band is. “And how’s that working for you??”
“Shut up, bitch.”
“There he is. Brb, girl.” I adjusted what boobification that I had and swung my hips. I heard Denise behind me holding back a laugh. Not my fault she’s not able to turn it off and on again for the Cause.
More of those goons that think that cleaning up the place is more important than what I’m doing get in my way. Sigh. Nicky smiled and looked me over. Not in a way that can get him prison time, just a “you look nice today, miss” look. If I really wanted to, I could tell some old geezer judge that first part. I’ve done it before when my uncle refused to buy me a backstage pass for the Band for my birthday and told me that I should give up this “hedonist pursuit and come back to the Lord”.
“You look nice today, Breanna.” He held up a hand, palm out again just as our routine demanded, I guess. “Let me spare you the trouble. The guys aren’t here. They already got on the bus and are headed to their next stop in Houston. The manager is really upset about them not doing the usual extra encore because the crowd was less than enthusiastic. Again. It’s nothing personal. Just business, Breanna.”
But it WAS personal! They have to do the show like they always do! The fate of the universe depends on it!! I took a deep breath, let it out slowly and smiled really, really big for Nicky. “Thank you, Nicky. Just as always, you’re a very big help to us loyal fans.” I even gave that smug little troll a bow before leaving. I knew he was watching me leave. Just because I jumped the crowd barrier one time in Albuquerque, I’m a “security risk”. Sue me.
“Shut up, bitch.” Denise stepped into line alongside me and we began marching out the front door to locate tickets for Houston. We check outside the backstage door for the ones with backstage passes to see which ones were fondling their tickets for the next show. The Band, God Bless Their beautiful Hearts, give away tickets to random fans at backstage events to their next shows. Someday. Someday. Derrick DelShannon’s Hand will grace Its Presence in mine. For now, I just relied on mine and Denises’ skill at pickpocketing to score us those treasures.
The steps around them were slick and flawless. Despite our long, but broken, nails, we walked away, keeping our giggles to ourselves until we were out of earshot.
But this time….like Their Song says… “Plans are for those with nothing better to feel..”. The police officer’s hand felt nothing like Derrick’s would have. Especially when the metal clapped around my wrists. No go on screaming harassment. The original ticket holder and witnesses confirmed the ones in mine and Denises’ hands were the ones taken.
No. No. Those tickets are rightfully mine and hers! Those posers had no right to accept Favors from Them!
“What’s your parents’ number, kids?”
“‘I have no rents. I have no gold. All I have is this grave desire to own no one.’” I quoted and laughed. The donut-binging cop didn’t see the humor, of course. He’s probably never heard of the Band. Pathetic.
“Yes, it is pathetic, Breanna.”
“Derrick??!! OMG! What?! What are you….”
“Shhhh”. My holy musical magician appeared before me in his usual stage outfit, gorgeous in his genius. Here, outside the arena. As me and Denise were getting carried away by the law. “You’re alright now. I’ll take care of you. Just trust in only me.”
“I only trust in you, Great One.” I dropped to my knees. I just knew this had to be real, feeling the concrete under them, the bright light around His Head showing me True Godhood. “Help me. Help me see you once again. Not some pitiful opening band, but You only.”
“Yes, child. Your devotion will be repaid in full. Only give up the tickets to me. I will take good care of them and hold them for you.”
Before I could let my head help me out of this, I handed those sacred tickets to Him. To HIM. This was amazing. I didn’t want to wish I was dead or dying, but this didn’t, couldn’t, seem real. “Let’s go.” I bowed my head.
“What’s with these kids? The dogs didn’t smell any pot on them. Where could they score ecstasy or shrooms?”
Nicky Rickey Rocket watched and listened closely to the scene in front of him, watching the two girls helped into the black and white siren capped taxi. He shook his head and snuffed out his 4th cigarette since he heard about the commotion outside. “You guys are gonna have to learn to control yourselves better. You’re getting more of these fans arrested and ruined.” he said, apparently to himself again.
Pausing, looking up at the sky, at the real stars above them all, moving slowly and at their own perfect pace. Painting with artistic precision, trails on the dark background while science attempts to understand why they’re there. “I guess you’re right. You have a plan and it’s not my place to question. See you in Houston.”
Cars drove away, lights went off, trucks drove away, the arena emptied and awaited other brutally life-changing experiences. Nothing divine, though.