The Irresistible Charade

He watched the scenery slide past the window of his limo. It was just another bunch of gray buildings, in one more god-awful gray city. Was it Seattle? Portland? Or maybe he was in L.A., where hell had finally frozen over.

It didn’t matter.

Where ever he was, it was all just more of the same. He would sing, they would scream. Then it was back to the limo and on to the next place.

Once inside, he shed the skin of the rock star. The corpse of his creation was set aside and inside of this thinly disguised hearse, he was allowed a small moment to be himself.

For someone who was constantly surrounded by people, it was strange to be feeling this loneliness, this hopelessness. The real person inside of him was never allowed to be seen by anyone. The moment he stepped out of the car, he became the man they all wanted him to be. The man they had all paid so much to see.

He wore the mask so frequently anymore, and not just on stage, that each transformation was getting easier. The more fame he had acquired, the less time he spent as himself. He was so terribly afraid that one day the mask wouldn’t come off. He would be stuck as this depraved caricature.

He was a just a no one, from nowhere, who had abruptly been thrust into the limelight. It was amazing. Every dream he ever wanted suddenly at his fingertips. No one ever told him no. It was like being on a never ending high. The power from being given everything he could ever want, it was fucking beautiful.

But too soon, and with more stealth than he’d ever imagined, that beauty had decayed. The sweetness had spoiled, leaving a bitter aftertaste.

His mutinous persona, this Frankenstein’s monster, was a carnal man doing as he pleased. He was all about the excesses, the extremes. Wrapped in his glitz and glamor, he took advantage of the groupies falling at his feet, quite willing to do anything he asked. He wallowed in a never ending river of booze, and partook of the most incredible pharmacopeia of drugs. All these things and more, the mask made denying ownership of the depravity quite easy.

He became intoxicated by how effortless it all was. Within an invincible bubble of constant raw adoration, he could get away with anything at all. The things that he did to people, the things he allowed to be done to him, the perversions he subjected himself to night after night, would this be the only love he’d ever know?

God, he hoped not. He’d sold his soul for this cheap sleaze.

They arrived at the stadium as he poured himself the last of the whiskey. There was a sea of cars and a wave of endless bodies topped with hungry faces. They slid by his window in agonizing slow motion. He couldn’t help being entranced by them as always.

They were all screaming his name. There were burly security guards that had to push back the masses just so the car could enter. There were pictures, signs, and hands, all waving wildly in the air. Women, and men, with their mascara dripping, tearstained, faces turned towards him, wailing hysterically. It was a tidal wave of madness.

And it was all for him.

He passed by them and they pressed their faces into distortion upon the smoked glass of his window. He drained his glass with a shaking hand, and set it aside. Savoring the burn of the alcohol, he continued to stare out at the insanity beyond the glass.

They were all mouth, hands, eyes, and teeth; a whole lot of teeth. He’d never be able to get out of the limo. Christ, they were going to eat him alive! With a soft sigh, he put his face into his hands and closed his eyes. He rubbed his temples, cleared his mind.

After a moment, his hands slowly slid down and clenched into fists. When his eyes opened, they were black and soulless.

All right, then. Come and get me, you fucking animals!

He glanced into a mirror and smirked. He smoothed a lock of hair back into place. He lit a cigarette with a steady hand, stuck it in his mouth, and slipped on his mirrored aviators. With his mask firmly in place, the puppet about to be animated, he stepped out of the car.

The deafening screams and sweaty palms assailed him. He reveled in their sound, in their worship. Flowers, telephone numbers, underwear, all rained down upon him as a security team hustled him towards the entrance.

He let himself be pulled along, the braver of the fans keeping pace with him and trying to reach between the guards. They grabbed at his clothes and screamed their love at him. Just a touch of his hand and his disciples threw themselves at his feet. Good god, who needs a soul when you have power like that?

It’s fucking show time, rock star.