Bad for You

By: Candy J. Starr

Finally, the doors opened. I ran for the stage area. Meadow ran for the toilet.

“I’m not saving you a space,” I called after her. Bladders were for weaklings. I’d get my spot and I’d stake it for hours until Devon came onstage because that was more important.

A few people had joined me at the barrier when Meadow came back from the toilet but not that many. I put my coat over the rail to mark my spot and we sat down on the floor.

“Nothing to do but wait now,” she said. She got out her phone. “Let’s take a selfie.”

By the time the support bands finished, my back ached. I bent over to stretch it out. Meadow did the same.

“We’re getting too old for this,” she said. “Next time, let’s get seats in the stands.”

We looked at each other and laughed. As if. That would ruin all the fun. I needed to be close enough that maybe Devon would make eye contact. He did, once. November 13, 2013. He’d looked right at me and winked. My legs had turned to jelly and my insides became liquid so that I could barely function. I couldn’t even remember what songs they played for the rest of the night. I lost all sense of colour, of sound, of breathing even.

Then the lights dimmed and people crowded forward. Bitches would try to push me out but I’d not be moving for anyone. I’d be crushed against that barrier with the criss-cross of wire pressed into my stomach so I’d have that pattern for days afterwards. That was the best way to deal. I hooked my arms over the top railing, anchoring myself and planted my legs firm. If those bitches wanted to be up close, they could get here early and put in the hard yards like I did.

A guitar played off stage, then the lights went up and my screams intensified. This was it. The magical moment.

As Devon moved into the spotlight, I grabbed Meadow’s arm and bounced. I was sixteen again. There was nothing between Devon and I, nothing but a few photographers on the other side of the barrier, a stage and some fold back speakers. His voice soared over the crowd. I lived for these moments.

As he started singing, everything else in the world disappeared. I loved him. I loved him so much that no other man could compare. I didn’t need to ever meet him or speak to him. He just needed to exist. I loved him so much, I doubted my heart could hold it. One day it would burst open, showering pieces of my glittery, rainbow-coloured love over the world.

Chapter 3.Devon

I came off stage in a foul mood. The show had gone okay, but I wanted more than okay. The new songs just hadn’t worked like I’d wanted them to work when I performed them live. You know when there’s a buzz in the room, and you know when that buzz dies. People decide to head to the bar for a top-up drink or take the chance for a toilet break. That’s death when you’re playing.

We needed to work harder, that’s for sure.

I grabbed a towel off one of the staff and wiped down my face and neck. Then Pete came over. I hated that jerk but I wasn’t willing to go hunting for a new manager. It wasn’t that he was a bad manager, more that he just got under my skin.

“Ready to talk to the press?”

Shit, I’d forgotten he’d set that up. The last thing I wanted to do was answer the same boring bunch of questions. Press interviews pissed me off. I used to love them, loved talking about myself, but I’d reached the limit. They’d ask me about the new album. I didn’t want to talk about that.

“Grab me a beer first,” I told him. “Actually, make it something stronger.”

I went into the band room and grabbed a clean t-shirt out of my bag. I hoped they weren’t taking photos. I looked like shit and felt even shittier. If they wanted photos, they could use the live shots. I knew I needed to shake off this mood but I had no idea how.

The manager came back with a half-empty bottle of vodka. “Ready?”

I followed him down the hallway. The press dudes looked like a bunch of twats. Surely they could just get the press kit off the manager and write something from that.

We did introductions. I forgot their names as soon as I heard them and swigged on the vodka. It went down hard but made me feel better.

“What’s the direction of the new album?” one of them asked.

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