The minutes felt like hours. He played with the lighter for a while, then realised he hadn’t rolled one yet. Never mind. The snow, in a straight line. As the gust blew, it got sucked up and accumulated in the clouds. Falling to the sky, it felt like a hurricane. And still, the seconds felt like minutes.
A deep drone filled his mind. It was almost time. Feet stomping on the floor, hands clapping. His name drowning in the noise. His name being chanted by a mad crowd.
The leaves fell on the white paper, that looked like a snow covered ground, and he rolled it up. Put it in his mouth and grabbed the lighter. He didn’t notice the footsteps rushing back and forth in the hallway outside his door. The blizzard raged in his mind, and the smoke helped him calm down.
Thousands of people were calling his name, but he didn’t hear them.
He looked himself in the eyes in the large mirror, admired his own looks. He was older, but he still had it. Running his fingers through his hair, he felt grateful. At least I still have my hair, he thought to himself. He pulled a deep drag and leaned back in the chair. Looked at the ceiling. There was a hook. Why there would be a hook there was beyond him. Maybe they used it to haul things.
On the desk was a bowl of candies. All blue. It was a part of his rider, a bouquet of roses, a bottle of chardonnay and a single malt whisky, beers and a bowl of this candy. All blue. It started as a joke. Would they really put people to work sorting candies? It sounded ridiculous, but apparently they did. If the performer wanted blue candies, that’s what he got.
He looked up again. What a perfectly beautiful hook it was. Would be a shame to have it go unused.
There was a bottle of pills here somewhere. He searched his bag and found them. The drone of the masses sounded like a diabolic symphony as he emptied the bottle of pills into the candy bowl. The perfect blue was now sprinkled in white, like sea foam. He closed his eyes, filled his hand, and shovelled the blue and white into his mouth. Chewed and washed it down with the single malt.
The audience was still stomping and clapping, calling his name. It annoyed him slightly. What did they want from him? The same old songs he’d played for years on end? The same banter between the songs? I wrote this one after… blah, blah, blah. There was this girl I used to know, blah, blah. And then he would hit the chord on his guitar and they would go apeshit. Well into his fifties, he was singing songs about losing teenage girls, written when he was a teenager. What in the name of all that’s good was the point in all this? He still had his looks, mostly, but he was a caricature.
He removed his tie. Why he wore a suit every time was a mystery. He’d started doing it some years ago, probably thought it looked stylish. Grabbed a handful of candies mixed with the white pills. It was a delightful combination. The sweetness of the chocolate mixed with the bitter taste of the pills. The glass was empty.
The tie seemed to fit perfectly through the hook. Standing on the chair, he secured it. Tied the other end around his neck.
His name, the foot stomping and the clapping echoing in his mind. They were getting anxious. It was understandable. He was such fun on stage, telling funny stories, ripping into his old songs and making sure everyone was having the time of their lives.
Why am I so much fun on stage, yet here I feel perfectly miserable? What is this mask I’m wearing? He asked himself every night. Never did he get an answer. Why is it I need thousands of people to scream my name to feel satisfied? And then, why do I feel so empty?
Securing the tie to the hook, he stepped down from the chair. Filled his mouth with candy again. He was getting dizzy. The damn pills were all on top. He should have mixed the contents of the bowl when he poured them in. Too many pills, not enough candy.
He filled the glass again and downed it. Climbed back on the chair. Tied the tie around his neck. He felt how the chair was constantly threatening to roll away. Good wheels, they were. He stood there, dizzy, wondering what the hell he was doing. If he lost his balance and the chair rolled off…
They chanted his name.
A knock on the door and someone shouted, showtime!
This is the twenty-fifth installment in the Moments series