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Thursday, August 14, 2014

Conception. Off the Hook. Fragment

‘No way!’ Rosemary was beyond herself with excitement and incredulous bewilderment. ‘No effing way! That total HOTTIE Rob Florin performing at… at your OFFICE! Gosh, this is the first time I’m jealous of your job, Gatie… The T’s. Do you have any idea how big they are?’
‘Actually, no, I don’t,’ I said, arranging a bouquet of dahlias in a thin tall vase.
I traced the sparkling facets with my fingers and sighed. It was a sparkling night, too. That Saturday night when we talked for a couple of hours without noticing anything or anyone around. I for one didn’t.
I also had no idea how big a celebrity he was, until now when Rose, red in the face, was positively bursting with excitement at this news.
‘No, I mean… well,’ she said, taking the lighter flame to her cigarette with trembling hands. I paused to look at her.
‘Rose, are you OK?’
‘No, I mean, Baristacrat is great, of course, but it’s no Madison Square Garden, and it’s just one big mystery, and I’ll never forgive you for not inviting me last Saturday…’
‘I told you already,’ I said, exasperated. ‘I had no idea who they were!’
‘Still won’t,’ said Rosemary. ‘Forgive you. To think I’d miss such a thing… being in one room with Rob. Arrgh,’ she groaned.
‘Did they really perform at the Madison?’ I asked, interested.
‘He – they – are about to. Before embarking on a world tour, in April or something like that.’ She inhaled deeply. ‘You’d know that if you didn’t shun TV like the plague, and knew all the hot bands like a regular gal.’
‘I hate TV,’ I said. ‘And I thought we all agreed I was not a normal girl.’
‘I said “regular”, not “normal”,’ answered my friend, twisting one of her black ringlets around the index finger of her cigarette-free hand.
‘How unusual of you,’ I retorted sarcastically.
‘Gatie, you are normal, but you have very weird habits for a twenty-first century person. Sometimes it’s hard to tell whether you come from a past age or a very future one.’
‘You can’t say “very future”, it doesn’t have comparative degrees,’ I corrected her absentmindedly.
‘Oh, shut up,’ said Rosemary with emphasis, then continued, rather inconsequentially, ‘now tell me, tell me everything… what's he like?’
‘Surprisingly smart, for a pop singer.’
‘Oh God,’ she roared. ‘Typical you. Do me a favor, OK? Rethink your male priorities.’
I shrugged. My dahlias were still unsatisfactorily arranged, so I started over.
‘Come on. Tell me. Is he really as gorgeous as in his videos?’
‘Better,’ I sighed. ‘Although I’ve never seen his videos, so I can’t talk.’
‘Never? Why, you’re in for a treat.’
She rushed away to get her laptop, while I plucked at the petals of a discarded purple dahlia. He'll call me, he'll call me not... Yeah. He's probably too busy with sex and rock-and roll, drugs being something we both disapproved of, as I found out that sparkling Saturday night. Yeah...
The bitter mix of dahlia scent matched my mood.
Rose dashed back into the kitchen, her laptop under her arm. ‘Look,’ she said as she typed ‘The Trespassers Out of Looking-Glass’ in the YouTube search bar.
And there he was, with his band on the backdrop, not doing much, just singing, propped on a high stool, his long legs stretched relaxedly, his usual garage glamour look firmly in place, minus the sunglasses.
The camera could not convey the way his blue eyes shined. He smiled, it seemed to me, a little ironically, as if amused with his own simplicity and aloofness causing such mayhem in girls’ (and some boys’) hearts all over the world.
But the scenes in-between band shots…
‘Wow,’ I breathed out. ‘It’s beautiful.’
The video storyline was about that very Alice and her adventures in the wonderland of Harlem, done in anime style. Yet it had such expressiveness, such finesse of color and emotion I would never expect to find in the anime genre.
‘See?’ said Rose, looking at the screen dreamily.
‘Yeah,’ I answered, dreamy myself, then shook my head, realizing how goofy we probably looked.
‘At least it’s not Hentai.’
Rose giggled. ‘He’s too classy for Hentai.’
‘Look, they actually don’t have those big bug eyes I hate so much in anime.’
‘Forget anime, you nerd! You had this totally amazing man at arm’s length and all you can say he’s smart. Hell, everyone knows that,’ she added, hitting the “pause” button. ‘I mean, listen to his lyrics, they’re actually his, and you surely know what I mean.’
I did. Those songs were no moon and June stuff.
She’s a superstar of triple X
Shot by no one in the labyrinth of Harlem
Dirty angel living to the max
Called “you bitch” but never called “my darling”
‘Why is he in town, anyway?’ asked Rose, her eyes on the screen.
‘Came to perform at Bookends, obviously, why else?’ I said acidly. ‘In fact, he told me he actually lives here. Well, of course, where he really lives is hotel rooms, with touring and stuff, but his place is here. Île Bizard, no more no less.’
Rose whistled.
‘What, did you expect him to be poor?’
‘No, but… I wonder why he even bothered buying a house here…’
‘I didn’t ask. But he told me he does a lot of Hollywood, too, so… well… it is really weird. Just as you said. The T’s performing at a little arty café. Highly unlikely.’
She nodded thoughtfully.
And then I said, surprising myself in the first place: ‘Can you hit replay, please? I just…’
‘Oh, come on!’ laughed Rosemary. ‘He’s got you, I can see that. And who can blame you? He’s walking sex.’
‘And you’re a hetaera.’
‘Whooo?’
‘Ancient Greek for priestess of love for sale.’
‘For sale my ass,’ snorted Rose.
‘What an unconventional sentence structure for you.  And you missed the verb.
‘Oh, one of these days...’
‘Hit that PLAY button already!’
She snickered and hit the “replay” button. This time, watching him intently, I noticed an unusual tattoo on the right side, at the base of his neck, just above his collarbone.
He wore a black shirt and denim jeans in the video. And right in the next scene… the signature scarf was back in place.
I wondered why. Why hide such an item from the general public?
As for the tattoo, it was weird. Obviously a signifier; it meant something. But it wasn't a hieroglyph, or a rune, or a Celtic symbol. It had elements of all three, probably, but it mostly reminded me of the crisscrossing lines and dots on a computer wafer. It looked kind of cool, actually. Why was he hiding it?
Rosemary sighed lustfully, and I flinched out of my reverie. He was a dream, he was. It was then when I realized why people fall in love with TV faces.
They’re all real people at the end of the day, actually.
‘So, what else did you talk about?’ Rose asked, getting up to put a new pot of coffee on the stove. ‘I mean, how did you make it through the conversation, you being… well, you? I am as far from shy as ever a person can be, but I think I’d freaking lose it in the situation… just stay there and gape. Probably with side effects like unfocused eyes and minor drooling.’
‘Must say, we started quite unusually,’ I admitted. ‘I bullied him.’
‘You WHAT?’
So I told her the story. About the drunk Orc, me being unusually nervous and irritable, with no obvious reason, and finally, getting to talk to him as if we were ancientest friends.
Rose listened without a single interruption, sipping her coffee, then said, ‘You like him. Maybe even acquired a crush on him, I daresay.’
‘I didn’t!’ I said indignantly. ‘I’m not thirteen years old, for heaven’s sake! To fall in love with a celebrity? Moi? Just because he turned out to have a brain?’

***
This is a fragment of my previous novel, "Conception". It was published under the title "The True Story of the Vortex. The Conception Files" a couple of years ago, but I am back to rewriting it... every time the deliciously imperfect characters of "Caelin" tire me, I am back to the snarky but romantic Gate and Rob, Rose, Lena, my beloved villain Lord K'Ramol and my other children of the SunVortex. Enjoy!