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by HGsomeone

Lex Turner picked lazily at his guitar. On the other side of the green room, Vince was pacing, glancing up now and then at the clock on the wall as it ticked closer and closer to their cue. Bonnie B, from where she sat slouched across one of several plain leather couches, watched him with a bored expression.

The room was small, a lot smaller than some of the other places they had been told to wait before they were called on stage. It was furnished modestly, with a few mirrors on one wall and a two guitar stands in the corner. One of these had been neglected. Lex liked to feel his instruments weight in his hands, it grounded him. The second held a shiny bass guitar with diamonds studded down its neck and its strings tinted with silver. None of the band's other equipment was quite so embellished.

The world was quiet inside the three by four meter space. The only silence left on the planet because everyone else was partying like the world was going to end. Which it was.

The door opened and a girl with a face like a mouse poked her head into the room. “You're on in twenty,” she said before ducking back out again.

Vince groaned, and his pacing intensified. “Where is she?”

Bonnie B shrugged, “Probably out partying with the rest of them. You know she’s never been able to resist a drink.”

“And a bottle, and a pill, and a whole bloody surgery.” Vince collapsed into a chair, his leg still bouncing.

“Sammy wouldn’t miss this,” said Lex. “Supernova’s singing out humanity, it’s the biggest gig in history.”

Bonnie B spun her almost 40-year old drumsticks nimbly through her fingers. She had played with them ever since their first performance in a rundown pub’s open mike night, singing a messy version of the Beatles ‘Here Comes the Sun’. “This is the last gig in history.”

The room became quiet again. They all knew this, but the words aloud had rubbed salt into the wound.

The door opened, it was mouse-face. “15 minutes.”

Vince leapt to his feet as the door closed once again, “That’s it! I’ll drag her here if I have too. This time she’s gone too far.”

He swung open the green room’s door with more force than Lex had ever seen from the wiry keyboardist. Bonnie B twirled her drumsticks, slid them into jeans that were far too outdated and skin-tight for any other near 60-year old woman to pull off, and followed him out.

“You coming Lex?” she asked. It was hard to hear her with the door now open. Music, laughter and the occasional scream of either glee or hysteria invaded the quiet and made it a distant memory. That’s what quiet was now for humanity, a memory.

Lex sighed and pushed himself off the wall he had been leaning against. “I don’t see why we have to go after her. We could just play without the bass for once.”

Vince stared at him in disbelief. “Mate, we’re gonna play ‘Man’s Salute’. That song’s all bass!”

Lex grumbled his agreement and the three middle-aged rock stars walked down the hallway to look out on the swarming mosh pit of insanity outside.

“Can you see her?” said Bonnie B, straining her eyes. Her sight had dulled with age, but she had refused to wear her glasses because they weren’t ‘rock n’ roll’.

The heat radiated from everywhere after the crisp coolness in the green room. Lex was sweating already. “She’d be with the other drunks.”

“Everyone’s drunk,” said Vince.

“Well, the druggies then.”

“Still everyone, end of the world and all that.”

Lex groaned and took off his leather jacket. He had no idea how they had convinced him to put it on one more time. On the back, written in a shining daggy font designed to draw attention, was the name of the band; Supernova. Behind the word was an explosion of colour meant to depict their namesake.

He shuddered. Sometimes he wondered if they had only booked them as one last joke.

“I see her!” cried Bonnie B, pointing into the crowd.

The three climbed down to the ground and began pushing through the stadium of sweat-slicked skin. The only smell in the air was a combination of beer and human bodies. It was suffocating.

Eventually, they found her, jumping up and down out of time with the music and planting a kiss on anyone who came near, a bottle in both hands. Sammy Silver, once John Richner, had transformed from just a guy who liked to play the guitar into a gal who had sampled every illegal substance under the sun.

“Guys!” she cried. Stretching the word out until it became a meaningless drawl.

Bonnie B rushed over to support her swaying bandmate. “It’s worse than we thought.”

Vince joined her, shaking his head in disgust, “Seriously Sam. The most important day in all of history and you go and kill off half your brain.”

“It was the bad half!” Sammy shouted back. “The bit with all the gooey gross stuff.”

Lex gazed at his friend. Her bleached blonde hair hanging in dreadlocks and her eyes sunken deep. “She can’t go on guys. Her blood’s probably pure alcohol by now.”

“Is it?” Sammy’s eyes widened, and she began to madly suck on her wrist.

While Vince and Bonnie B struggled to stop Sammy from drinking her own blood, Lex felt a tap on his shoulder. He turned to see that it was mouse-face again.

“You need to go on now,” she told him.

Lex looked back at his broken band.

The last forty years had been so draining for all of them. Vince was more often stressed than relaxed these last few days. Bonnie B had once had enough sass to make a tree feel self-conscious, but now she could barely muster up a sarcastic comment. And Sammy, Sammy was a wreck.

Lex felt tired of it all.

He nodded to mouse-face. He was the oldest of them all and had been the first one to suggest the idea of ‘Supernova’, it made sense for it to die with him too.

He rose a hand and waved a final goodbye. Bonnie B noticed and he saw the understanding dawn in her eyes. She smiled and waved to him farewell.

He moved quickly back to the green room and grabbed his guitar from where he had left it lying on a chair. The stage was large, already set up for Supernova’s last song. The drumkit and keyboard looked strange without someone hitting out a tune on them. The sun had the best seat of all, looming over him. The giant ball of flame searing the sky.

Lex ran his fingers down his guitar’s strings and began to play. He didn’t sing ‘Man’s Salute’ as they had planned;

“Here comes the sun

Here comes the sun, and I say

It's all right…”

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21 Reviews

Points: 728
Reviews: 21

Wed Jan 22, 2020 4:17 pm
Em16 wrote a review...

Specific Comments:
“The room was small, a lot smaller than some of the other places they had been told to wait before they were called on stage”. This sentence is pretty long-winded and the phrasing, to me, seems a little awkward. Is there a word for rooms where pop stars wait before going on stage? If so, I’d suggest you use that word here, or at least try to rephrase the sentence to make it shorter and more concise.
“Three by four meter space” is a bit of a mouthful. Also, most American readers won’t understand the reference to “meter”. I would suggest finding another adjective to describe the space.
I like the phrase “just a guy who liked to play the guitar into a gal who had sampled every illegal substance under the sun”. It carries a lot of weight, and shows the transformation Sammy Silver/John Richner has made. The two characters seem totally antithetical, and yet they are the same person.
I was a bit unsettled by the line, “the most important day in all of history and you go and kill half your brain”. The phrasing of this sentence sounds like it’s the first time Sammy has turned to drugs, like they haven’t tried to kill half their brain before. But from what you’ve written in previous sentences, it sounds like they do drugs all the time. I get what you’re saying, and it’s well written, but it just comes off a little weird to me.
I like the way you had Sammy suck her wrist because she thought it was blood. It’s a crazy detail, and totally fits.
I was confused by the paragraph where it says Lex “rose a hand and waved a final goodbye. Bonnie B noticed and he saw the understanding dawn in her eyes. She smiled and waved to him farewell”. This sentence seems more in line with the last actions of a martyr. But Lex isn’t going to sacrifice himself; he’s just playing a different song than they had planned. Why doesn’t he just tell the band what he’s going to do, so they can go up on stage and sing it with him? I did like, however, the way you weaved in the detail about “Here Comes the Sun” being the first song they played at a gig. It was a nice twist at the end.

General Comments:
Nice job! I was impressed by the smooth nature of the narrative, and the way you easily tied in a lot of thoughts and ideas. There were no abrupt stops or starts, and I felt like you guided the reader throughout the whole narrative. There were also a few times where I was particularly impressed by your phrasing, for example when you say “the sun had the best seat of all, looming over him. The giant ball of flame searing the sky” as Lex is playing “Here Comes the Sun”. It’s beautiful, poetic imagery, and reading it touched my heart.
While your writing style was beautiful, there were many times I felt a bit overwhelmed by the themes in your piece. You address the end of the world, the crisis of being an old pop star, the downsides of fame, drugs, and being transgender. As you fit so many themes into such a short space, I thought a lot of them were glossed over, and didn’t get the significance they merited. For example, the end of the world. Why is the world ending? When did humans find out the world would end? Why have they all turned to drugs and drink? There is so much more to explain about the end of the world. I’d also like to know a little more about Supernova, the band. I felt like I only got a superficial glimpse at them. I don’t know much about their history, and what they were like when they were younger. If you added more details about the glory they had in their youth, it would make their old age even more pitiful. I was also confused as to why they were picked to sing the last song. Were they really famous? Unless they were as famous as the Beatles, it seemed to me a little strange that they would be picked to sing the last song ever played.
I was also a little confused about the fact that the end of the world wasn’t mentioned until the second stanza. The phrase introducing it was quite beautiful, but it was so sudden I didn’t really notice anything but my own confusion. It was introduced in such an offhand way, and I feel like if the world is ending, that should be front and center. If it’s there, it has to be a major part of the story, always looming. And it was there in your story, but I didn’t feel like it was as important as it should be. You focused a lot on the band, and finding Sammy, while as a reader, I was most curious about the end of the world. The story just seemed to take so many twists and turns, and it confused me. I’d think the story is about one thing- pop stars- and then it’s not, it’s about the end of the world. But then it switches to being about old pop stars, and then to the problems of drug addiction, and it’s not about the end of the world at all. But then it goes back to being about the end of the world after all. Everything about your story was well written, but the direction was confusing.
I liked, however, the solid imagery throughout the piece. I always had an image in my mind of where the characters were, and what they were doing. You put in a lot of little details, such as saying the room they waited in was “furnished modestly, with a few mirrors on one wall”.
I also liked the whole idea of faded glory that was woven throughout the piece. The main characters are old pop stars, past their prime, on a dying Earth, past its prime as well. I would encourage you to keep that theme, and elaborate on it. I look forward to reading more of your stories!

HGsomeone says...

Thanks for the long comment, all the feedback is really helpful.
I%u2019m sorry Americans don%u2019t have the metric system and I kind of forgot since where I%u2019m from it%u2019s just natural to describe the size of a room in meters. Sorry again, I just wanted to address that one singular comment because I have no understanding how long foot or an inch is and why people still use them. (I%u2019m coming off very pro metric aren%u2019t I?)

Em16 says...

It's fine! America is stupid :)

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21 Reviews

Points: 23
Reviews: 21

Wed Jan 22, 2020 3:14 pm
MadagascarMaiden wrote a review...

Hi, MadagascarMaiden just popping in for a review.
What a sad short story. Don't get me wrong, I love it!! Sometimes stories need to be sad. The depiction of a band of sixty-year olds singing for the last time in all of humanity. And then, because the band is so broken, the very person who started it had to play “Here Comes The Sun” all by himself, at the end of the world. So sad, so absolutely moving. Keep up the good work. :-)

I haven't failed, I've found 10,000 ways that don't work.
— Thomas Edison