Old rockers have dark secrets.
Stars twinkled in the summer sky above, though the brightest shone on centre stage at the Narson Gardens Arena. James Carson faced his thousands of adoring fans begging for more. It was a familiar scene; plastic cups flying through the air, beer raining down like an intoxicating waterfall and people rubbing up so close they almost amalgamated into one.
James turned to his band mates. Rocco on the drums swigged a beer, his eighth of the night. Fortunately he improved with alcohol. Sammy balanced on the edge of the stage wearing his guitar behind him, pointing at various attractive females in the crowd. The crowd reached fever pitch. Everyone was having the time of their lives. Except James.
‘Are you ready to blow the imaginary roof off this place?’ James screamed down his microphone.
The crowd rushed forward, answering his call with an almighty roar. He strummed the first chords of their hit finale song, “God is a Fraud”. Rocco bashed on his drums and Sammy strummed along. At the end, in typical last night of the tour fashion, James smashed his guitar off the stage sending pieces of wood and metal flying.
‘God is fraud, God is fraud,’ the crowd continued chanting without the music.
The band ran off stage and hugged each other in excitement as another tour ended, more millions hit the bank and free time arrived to spend it all. Rocco and Sammy were still enjoying the high life and had booked a yacht to sail around the Mediterranean.
‘Guys, let’s get changed and hit the town tonight. Party time, am I right?’ Sammy said raising his hand for a high five.
Rocco obliged. ‘Damn right brother. Let’s go get ourselves some fine female company.’
‘You guys go on and enjoy yourselves. I’ve got an early morning.’
Rocco and Sammy shook her heads as James departed down the corridor to his separate dressing room. He unlocked it but made sure to re-lock it the second he was inside. The bright blue eyes of his personal assistant bulged. He likely screamed but it was impossible to tell through the duct tape.
‘Hello my friend,’ James said to his assistant while he sniffed a shiny stainless steel knife he’d pick up from his real instruments. He sat it down and picked up a pair of pliers. ‘Maybe I should start with the fingernails tonight.’
Two years ago, James realised he’d developed a numbness towards music and life in general, despite all the fame and acclaim in the world. Then he accidentally killed someone and his pleasure centre came out of hibernation. It seemed to stick, at least up to now. The personal assistant would be number seven, though none after the first were an accident. James had discovered a new way to feel pleasure, not from anything in life but from taking it.