Rock Star

She stood on the ground, two rows behind the barrier. The Rock Legends played one of their hits, and she sang along. She looked across to her friend, and they exchanged a look of excited bliss. Suddenly, the power cut to the sound. But it took a moment to reach the knowledge of the Rock Legends. She was staring straight at the lead singer, who kept singing. Or rather, miming.

He was looking at her, and the moment of panic in his eyes revealed that he knew she’d seen. She shook her head in disbelief that he would lie to her in this way. The man she had loved and trusted since she was eleven. As she shook her head, she turned and walked out of the stadium. He reached out to her, and watched her walk away. He cursed himself for becoming this – a miming parody of the true artist he had once been. In a moment, he remembered his time playing the small pubs, laughing with the crowds, connecting with people. Now, he barely made eye contact. The only reason he had spotted her at all was that his usual glasses had fallen and broken as he was lowered from the giant lotus flower onto the stage. He looked at the lotus flower, at the lead guitarist with his gold plectrum, the drummer with the heated drum stool, at the bassist being given water by a b-list model. He too shook his head with disgust, flung down his guitar and jumped from the stage. His security guards chased him, held back by the throng, as he wound his way through, ripping off the trappings of his ridiculous life. His authentic yak vest woven with the hair of the elderly medicine woman of a small tribe in the Himalayas, the silk shirt with alabaster paisley and ancient coral buttons, the genuine fake Rolex (produced by Rolex in response to the global piracy campaign). Finally, it was just him, barefoot in jeans.

The music had begun again, with his vocals, but with no one to mime it, the rest of the band looked panicked. The bassist shrugged, threw an arm around his model and headed backstage.

The rock star made it out of the stadium, not even followed by the audience who were too confused about what was happening if they were not fighting over the abandoned possessions.

He made it to the pub across the road, and found her sitting at the bar. A cover band played, ironically a cover band of his music. The audience was laughing and they were joking. He stood next to her.

“It’s all bullshit, isn’t it?”

She turned and stared. She had no response. He gave her a cheeky grin, took a sip from her beer and raced through the crowd to jump on stage. The audience roared displeasure, most not recognising him in his simplified state. A bouncer grabbed him and wrestled him out of the pub. She followed. He sat in the gutter, laughing.

“I’m free!”

“Need a taxi?”

He smiled up at her. “Take me somewhere real.”

She hailed a cab, her heart pumping, wondering what the hell was real to an internationally famous rock star clearly in the midst of a mental breakdown possibly caused by her.

They got in the cab. “St Kilda,” she said. Surely something there would be real. Surely.

 

The fun run

Sarah sniffed and looked around her. The runners were milling, getting ready to head off. She saw a couple of women leaning into each other, stretching. They were muttering under their breath something, probably some mantra or some other weird encouragement. A man a few rows away jumped up and down like a gamboling lamb. A teenager near her stared into the distance.

She hadn’t run long distance since high school, but she remembered she’d found it easy back then. Just concentrate on one foot after the other. Left right left right left right. Glide through the track, past the other runners, past the landmarks, past the finish line. Usually first. Sometimes later.

An announcement went over the loudspeaker system – one minute to start time. Non-competitors quickly moved off the road, taking jumpers and tracksuit pants with them. Everyone faced one direction and got ready to go.

The countdown commenced. “Ten, nine, eight…” Sarah took a deep breath and got into a starting pose. “Four, three, two, one” the starter gun rang out and the runners started. Sarah took two steps and tripped on a lace. She fell to the ground and screamed in agony.

X-rays revealed a broken wrist. Sarah sat on a table, embarrassed, as a jovial doctor applied the plaster. “First person I’ve met to break a wrist in a fun run!” he joked. Sarah laughed sycophantically, and wondered if she would be expected to repay the money she’d raised for Osteoporosis Australia.

 

The Fire

The fire glowed orange and red and yellow and white and the flames reached far above the heads of the crowd around. Frank stared into the fire, amazed at the beauty and splendour. It moved differently every way, yet had a rhythm, a beat, a life of its own. He breathed it in as though it was a part of his soul.

“Nice fire.” Frank flung his head to the side and stared at the girl standing next to him.

“I won’t lie. It’s not bad.” She laughed at him. He looked back to the fire and smiled, pleased that she found him funny.   He looked at her from his half closed eyes and thought that he could trust her with the truth.

“The fire is just so beautiful, but so hot. I wish it wasn’t so hot. You know what I want to do? I want to lay on the fire and have the beauty and colour wrap me like a blanket. That’s what I’d like.”

She laughed, this time a little more nervously. “Don’t,” is all she said.

“No, no, I wouldn’t. It would burn me.”

“A lot,” she agreed. “You’d be quite injured.”

“Quite.” There was an awkward silence. She noticed a space becoming free on the other side of the fire.

“I’m going.”

“Right.”

Frank watched her go, turning into a lizard and sliding under a rock. He wondered if the acid had started working yet.

 

Dancing in the ‘burbs

Her feet went tap, tap, tap, tap, tapity tap along the street as she walked. Everywhere she stepped, she heard music, and she had long since learnt to hide it, to keep the groove inside. But sometimes, it was too much. She took a moment to glance up and down the street, and then let herself go.

She’d never been a dancer, never learned the moves, just did what felt right. Now, alone and not bothering to check the windows of the houses she passed, she tripped along the gutter, taking quick steps across the grass. She took her hands out of her pockets where she placed them to control them, to stop them from fidgeting, from patting out the syncopated rhythm of the music pounding through her veins, to stop them betraying her secret. Her hands flittered around, touching the fences and trees and telephone poles, her hips rocked and her shoulders shook. A wide smile came across her face. She led with one hip, then the other. She clicked and tapped and flung her fingers out in bursts of happy music. Suddenly she stopped. A pause; two beats, three beats. And then back – her butt wobbled, her hips swayed she spun once, twice, three times and bang!

She ran straight into him. She looked up, this man was not familiar, not a local that she’d seen before. She quietly apologised and walked past him. He grabbed her hand and spun her into him. She looked up at him shocked.

“No need to apologise for dancing.”

He spun her back out and walked away. A slow smile crossed her face and she walked on, shuffling to the beat.

 

The Last Second

It came down to the last second. Kim and Sandra ran next to each other, ran for their lives. But they weren’t running for their lives, they were running for the Under 14s One Hundred Metre ribbon.

Kim and Sandra had been best friends for as long as they could remember. They had lived next door as children and had been so distressed when Kim’s parents moved to a bigger house, but as it happens, they still went to the same school and spent heaps of time together on the weekend.

This was their first sports day since they’d started high school. At the school, it was seen as totally uncool to participate in anything, which Kim and Sandra thought was ridiculous. They had signed up for everything they could and had divided the firsts and seconds between them. This was the last race, and they were tied.

Kim looked at Sandra. She thought of all the times that she’d slept over at Sandra’s and she’d cried looking at her old house and thought of how much she missed it. She didn’t want her to be sad, but her competitive streak was strong. Sandra looked at Kim and caught her eye. She winked and took Kim’s hand and they raced over the line together.

Throughout the day, the girls’ efforts had not gone unnoticed amongst the cynical crowd who became more engaged and involved as the girls racked up wins. But this last move turned them. They booed and threw their lunch rubbish. Kim and Sandra didn’t care. They looked around and ran home, hand in hand.

 

Procrastination

The second-to-last entry was a relief to the author and, no doubt, the reader. It had been a struggle over the past few months to think of the next second, and after tomorrow, she would not need to do this anymore! But then, what to write? She was in a dilemma.

She was also concerned that her ‘fictional’ blog entries had suddenly taken on a realistic bent, and so had to make a change. Luckily, a dragon swooped down, grabbing her in its talons and sweeping her away. Somehow, she held the cross-legged position and thus was able to continue typing, and she thought it lucky she’d just charged the battery.

The author began to worry as her time management skills were lacking and she was unsure if she’d get any work done on her novel (which she’d promised herself she’d have chapters one and two completed by the end of the weekend) and she’d already wasted half the day with a dog walk, two coffees in a café with Internet access, an eyebrow wax and a massage. She had to walk the dogs again, plus get some proper work done and have lunch before heading to the NGV by four. She knew that the beautiful weather was going to be a challenge to her concentration, so she asked the dragon to return her to the front step where she could continue her work.

The dragon flicked her into the air and ate her. Guess she wouldn’t make it to that show this afternoon.

 

The train home

The second hour of waiting nearly tipped Mary over the edge. She could no longer distract herself with Facebook. Apart from the fact that her phone’s battery was almost dead, she had harvested all her crops on Farmville, poked most of her friends and liked things that she actually didn’t like much at all.

An announcement came over.

“Attention all passengers travelling to Flinders Street, your train is now approaching.”

Mary sighed and stood, grabbing her tent, her sleeping bag, her backpack and her esky. She gave a half smile to the girl who looked similar to her – kind of dirty and tired looking, but with the fatigue of a good weekend’s festival.

She hadn’t been interested in travelling with her friends this time – not that she didn’t like them, but David and Pippa fought constantly about absolutely everything and John already had two passengers. So, she’d caught the train to Geelong and one of the buses organised by the Golden Plains Music Festival through to the gates. She hadn’t had a problem finding her friends so they could all camp together, and she had quite enjoyed slipping away as they packed up their cars. But it was back in Geelong that she had made the mistake that had cost her a large chunk of the day, the time she’d hoped to be sleeping. Getting off the bus, she had her headphones in and had not heard the announcement of which platform to go to. Her bags had been first off the mark, and she’d just grabbed them, walked to a platform, and jumped on the train that was waiting. Too easy. She’d fallen asleep. And woke in Colac. It was two hours before the next train, and that was because of the long weekend and the amount of people who’d gone to Port Fairy. Normally, she’d have to wait four. She didn’t think she could have waited four.

The train pulled into the station, and she got on. She found a seat to herself and had enough room to manoeuvre her masses of luggage out of the way of the other passengers. She’d be in Melbourne in about three hours; an hour later she’d be back at her little place, for the best shower of the year.

 

Wrapping

She had bought that many last minute pairs of scissors and rolls of sticky tape that a second drawer was bulging, unable to be shot. She told herself that one day she would be organised. She would have a cupboard that was full of emergency gifts for small children, rolls of wrapping paper and a place for the scissors and sticky tape.

She was late for her niece’s party. Again. She could just imagine her sister’s greeting.

“Oh, Maz, you made it! And just in time for the cake! How wonderful!”

She could grin and make some excuse. The fact was, she just had a terrible sense of time. When she had woken this morning, Maz had made a plan in her head of how the day would run. She’d even timed it backwards.

She had to be at the party at 1, it took forty minutes to get there, so she’d leave at 12:10, just to be sure. She wanted a coffee on the way, so she’d be out the door of the house at 12. Say, half an hour to get ready, so that’s 11:30. Reading the Sunday papers, she’d give herself an hour. Shower after her exercise, 10:10. So, 10:30. Dog walk, to get the paper, forty minutes, that’s 9:30. She needed to deal with the veggie patch. It was a nightmare, so put aside an hour. Say, 8:30. And finally, a relaxing wake-up and potter – half an hour. That’s 8:00am. Which is the time she’d woken up, and yet somehow it was now almost 2 and she hadn’t got to the party. As she drove, she tried to find the lost time. She’d done a wash in there and hung it on the line. She hadn’t done the veggie patch. She bumped into Terri on her walk, they’d chatted for a while. And she’d realised that she hadn’t bought a present. By the time she picked one out, then bought paper, scissors and sticky tape, she was quite late. That was it. Annoying. And now she’s have to start a new wrapping drawer, she had another piece of paper leftover that was too small to wrap anything much, and she was barely going to make the party.

Might as well have stayed at home and done the veggie patch. It would have been less stressful.

 

The Housemate

Their second housemate didn’t pay rent for two months, but refused to move out. After having to have the first housemate, Jin, removed by her parents because her affair with her Sociology Professor ended and she wouldn’t stop playing the Smiths every night, they were not keen to call Jim’s parents.

“Perhaps the reason the housemates are so bad is because we keep picking ones with similar names?” said Flynn.

“Get over it,” said Win. “We picked them because they fitted in to our general name scheme.  What are we supposed to do, end up living in a house with Win, Flynn and Benita?  That makes no sense.”

“We could try… interviewing.”

“What? Like for a job?”

Flynn shrugged his shoulders. “Couldn’t hurt.”

“Who’d want a job here?”

“No, it’s not really for a job. Look, next time Jim goes to the pub, we change the locks and chuck his stuff on the nature strip. Then, we sit inside with the lights out for a couple of nights so he thinks we’ve all moved out.”

“Do you think that will work?”

“Sure!  What else would he think?”

“Hmmm… good point.”

“Then, we get down to Centrelink and ask them to advertise the job.”

“No, it’s not a job, is it?”

“I’m so confused.”

“Me too.”

“Let’s watch telly.”

“OK.”

Two months later, Jim moved out with his girlfriend and they got a new housemate. The household was so successful that they had t-shirts made. “Living in a house with Win, Flynn and Chagrin.” 

 

Audition

The second year it was on, Chris decided to audition in as many cities as he needed to get on to Australian Idol. He started in Sydney, for the first audition, staying with his Dad. He wore jeans, a white t-shirt, a suit jacket and a Fedora with a red ribbon around the edge. His song of choice was “Faith” by George Michael. He didn’t get to the chorus before some celebrity cow he’d never seen before stopped him, asking him if he’d had lessons. He’d said no, she told him to go and have some and come back next year. Bitch.

Chris then flew to Adelaide. His cousin lived there, so he had somewhere to crash for the night. He decided to make it a bit crazier, and wore purple, sparkly slacks, a matching purple waistcoat, red platform shoes and sprayed her hair silver. He sang “When my baby smiles at me, I go to Rio” and shook those maracas. This time, the celebrity judge was some soap star bloke who told him that he was no Hugh Jackson. Chris had corrected him – Hugh Jackman. This ocker idiot had just laughed and said, “You’re not him either!”

In Melbourne, Chris stayed in a youth hostel. He spent half a day trawling through the op shops of the Northern suburbs for a new outfit, and emerged in a stunning white suit with flared trousers and a ruffled pale blue shirt. He topped it off with the shiniest black platforms he had ever seen (and Chris was a man who knew platforms) and sang “It’s Amore”. He’d even taken in a fake martini glass and pretended to be pissed. The guest judge was usually on a cooking show, and said, “It’s not amore, it’s not even a-lust-ay, and so, Ciao.” Hilarious. He should be a comedian. Not.

The final audition that he could afford was Brisbane, where he lived. It was good to be home, but he had to work as much as he could to pay off all of the flights. He came straight from an overnight shift and performed in his Maccas uniform with a black t-shirt over the top. The regular judges finally recognised him, and praised his commitment to getting onto the show. He grinned, thinking this would surely be it. But no. His rendition of “Bohemian Rhapsody” was apparently not what they were after.

He left, cursing the format of the show, the presenters, the channel and the sponsors, but most of all, the judges. He went home, plugged in his Singstar and sang “Wind Beneath Your Wings”, tears streaming down his face.