THE STARLIGHT TRILOGY by Thea – Part 1, “Echoes of Starlight” – Episode 4
This is a fictional story. The character of “the Rock Star” is only based on Adam Lambert and is in no way intended to be an accurate depiction of his life.
Yesterday in Episode 3: The Author’s story and bad (but fun) decisions are made
CHAPTER 7 – GO! (THE ROCK STAR’S QUEST)
It was quiet on the bus when the driver announced they had arrived in Louisville. The concert was the next night. It had sold out in ten minutes so he knew it would be a full house. The whole tour had been strategically planned.
On the bus the Rock Star yawned and stretched, gathering his things. His eyes fell on his laptop. He remembered his last thought before drifting off. Starlight wanted him to find her. Otherwise why would she have planted the clues in the first place? The question stayed with him as he unpacked in the suite. His mind was tired from all the excitement of the “Stories” and he was looking forward to more sleep.
During the night, his brain processed “One Day Their Time.” Dreams flashed through his soul, assembling images and pieces of information in ways that fleetingly made sense and then dissolved into chaos. He was completely unaware that his dream work was honing his ability to truly understand the “Story” and to discover–and solve–its clues.
The morning of the concert he was up early, once again reading “One Day Their Time.” Afterwards he headed for the shower, luxuriating in the hot water and his favorite gel, shampoo, conditioner and facial accoutrement. Suddenly, in his mind, something clicked. Words began to jump out at him: the “Wishbone” restaurant for brunch, the El, the Lake, the entrenched local political scene, her hometown, the famous talk show. The clincher, the old “Marshall Field.” He’d been right. All of the descriptors of the city were in her story.
Chills ran through him. There was absolutely no doubt. He knew where she lived.
Starlight lived in Chicago. And their next concert after Louisville?
Laughing hysterically, he stepped out of the shower and, ignoring the towel rack, ran into the bedroom and jumped onto the bed, screaming “Yes!” and “Woo Hoo” a lot. The Guitarist and Drummer were sharing the suite next door and could hear the bed hitting against the wall and the screaming. They started banging on the wall and, giddily, he banged on the wall right back. Twenty minutes later there was a knock on his door.
“Man, what is wrong with you? What’s up with all that banging and the screaming and the bed squeaking and what not?” asked the Drummer.
“Yeah. We thought maybe you’d ordered breakfast but decided on room service instead!” the Guitarist chimed in, a sly smile on his face. “We would’ve been over here sooner but we were trying to be considerate. Maybe we should check under the bed.”
“Ha ha ha you so funny,” the Rock Star grinned. He’d been dying to tell the Band about his quest and suggested they call the bass and keyboard players and have them join them in the Rock Star’s suite for breakfast. Everyone agreed to that and then gave the Rock Star their orders to call down to Room Service. He didn’t mind (much!). Soon they were digging in in the suite’s sitting room.
“OK, so what’s the deal?” “Why’d you get us up here?” “Are you sick? You look feverish.” “Is the concert cancelled?”
The questions came fast and together, overlapping and making it hard to tell one from the other. He had no problem understanding them, though. They all wanted him to spill. And in what became a poignant precursor of a future interview, the Rock Star began to tell the tale of Starlight and her “Stories.”
When he finished, there was total silence.
“Well, at least we know what was going on with you on the bus last night,” said the Keyboardist. “We were kinda worried there for a while.”
“Yeah,” added the Bassist. “We were worried, but then somebody said we should just leave you alone ‘cause whatever you were doing, you were having a helluva good time doing it!”
Everybody laughed at that one. But a thoughtful look crossed the Guitarist’s face. Of all the band members, he was the one who’d known the Rock Star the longest.
“So, who is she?” he asked.
Expectant faces turned towards the Rock Star. He looked unconcerned but sheepish as he answered, “I have no idea.”
Another round of questions erupted from the group, ranging from disgust to disappointment. There was curiosity, too.
“Why are you so determined to find her?”
“What do you think’ll happen if or when you do?”
“What if she turns out to be nuts?”
The Rock Star wasn’t concerned about any of these questions, either. He could sense she’d be smart, settled and no threat whatsoever.
No one expected Starlight to remain anonymous for long if the Rock Star went looking for her. They knew how much he liked puzzles. And, in fact, he’d been thinking about this.
“There’s only one other thing I think I know about her,” he said, slowly. “The key to her real name is in the name she posted.”
More coffee was poured as everyone perked up. After all, five brains were better than one.
The Rock Star opened the website and found “The Starlight Stories,” posted under “DantesMine.”
“’DantesMine’? What the hell does that mean?” That was the gist of the questions coming at him from all sides, again overlapping and ranging from disgust to disappointment.
“I don’t know. But I’m damn well gonna find out. And I swear, she’s gonna be at that concert in Chicago. I swear to you she will be there.”
They all knew that look. They believed him.
CHAPTER 8 – LOUISVILLE
The day seemed to drag by for the Rock Star and the Band. Lunch and the sound check went great. They ate whatever they’d need as fuel for the concert that night. The Rock Star seemed pensive but not in a way that worried them. They knew he was busy combing his brain for ways to solve the mystery of the key to Starlight’s real name. So were they. “DantesMine.” Was it the name of a husband? A child maybe? Was she into the “Inferno”? Maybe it was the name of her car. After all, they told each other, women tend to name everything. They touch it, they name it.
They were obviously getting desperate.
The time came for everyone to put everything else out of their minds and focus on the concert. Although all seats were assigned, people had begun to line up that morning. It was a festive atmosphere, with fans sharing stories of past concerts and showing off their collections of autographed items the Rock Star had signed for them. Tattoos related to the Rock Star were especially popular.
The facilitators of some of the best-known fan sites were there. They, too, were treated like stars of a sort and even asked for their autographs and pictures with site members. Several of the fans had met in the chat rooms and were elated to meet in person. Squees of delight were frequently heard along the line and plans made to meet after the show for drinks, to relive the evening and share photographs and videos.
When the Rock Star heard the first chords of the opening act he knew it was time to start his serious preparation. Sitting for his makeup helped him get creative and focused at the same time. He liked being transformed from “semi-regular guy” to Rock God. When he wore his hair up, as was the case on tour, his stylist handled that part, along with strategically placing glitter on his hair, face, arms and, occasionally, toes. It also let him vocalize and hum to warm his voice. He finished up with deep breathing exercises. He’d just taken a last look when there was a knock on the door.
The Band stood there, also ready to perform. Silently they entered the dressing room and closed the door. Their crew thought that something mysterious happened in that room before every concert. No one knew exactly what that was. They would have been very surprised at what was actually happening in there, which was nothing other than the friends talking and laughing as they got ready to have a good time on stage.
The Louisville audience, like those in every city they visited, was beyond ready for a good time. After the opening act, which was just as hot as the Rock Star (but in a different way, so to speak) and the intermission ended and the house lights went down, it was impossible to hear a thing. People, screaming, jumped back to their feet. The noise grew even louder when the Band took the stage and settled in. By the time the first chords were played and the Rock Star appeared in silhouette, singing the first lyrics of the night, there were already fans who had fainted from the excitement and needed to be moved to the emergency tents to recuperate.
What a night. They burned like a house afire. Every member of The Band was right on point. They went right along for the jump wherever the Rock Start went. They were used to his occasional surprises. Sometimes they had a few for him, too!
The fans swarmed out of the auditorium as soon as the encore was over, some even before. The smart ones had bought their Rock Star goodies either prior to the program or during intermission. They raced to the autograph line forming behind the barricades alongside the building. The line was three to four people deep but those in the back knew the Rock Star made an effort to reach and chat with as many fans as possible.
The wait for him seemed to take forever. Fi-nal-ly he came through the backstage door. He was smiling that gorgeous smile of his and waving to the fans. They waved and called his name and generally flailed into oblivion at the sight of him close-up.
After the line was done, sometimes there’d be a late “Meet and Greet.” In some cities, sponsors and local members of the official Fan Club attending the concert were invited to meet the Rock Star and the Band afterward for a little “light refreshment.” Mostly, though, the schedule was interviews in the morning with “meet and greets” in the afternoon. Those were generally the ones sponsored a local radio station. Morning, afternoon or night, it was always surprising to him how gracious people were although this time, being in Louisville, it wasn’t totally unexpected. And it surprised the Louisville folks that Californians had manners.
Yes, there were times when he was exhausted or his throat was bothering him and he just couldn’t do it, but those times were few and far between. Sometimes, though rarely, he could even get a little testy. But usually the stage energized him.
Everyone commented on how well things had gone that night. The compliments flew thick and fast. It had been a great performance. The Band members exchanged smiles. They knew why.
The Rock Star was warming up for Chicago.
CHAPTER 9 – SWEET CHICAGO, HOME
Everyone got to “sleep in” the next morning. The Rock Star had spent much of the night on his computer, trying to decode the mystery of the key. He’d had no luck. The bus was leaving Louisville in the early afternoon. It was 269 miles to Chicago and, during each one, he was going to work on decoding that key.
The Band and crew were still talking about the success of the previous night’s performance. The reviews had been exceptional, especially for a city whose culture was decidedly southern and somewhat conservative. If they could win over Louisville, no city was safe!
Many of the Band and crewmembers were calling friends and families to share their excitement. The Rock Star was, too, calling family, e-mailing and tweeting friends and fans. He knew some of the fans who’d attended the concert; they mysteriously seemed able to travel to many of the cities on the tour. A few of these fans were prominent on YouTube and the websites and would supply the larger fan base with their first look at the concerts. The quality wasn’t always the best but nobody seemed to mind. They knew better quality videos and photos were on the way, that these were the tasty appetizers. Besides, it was kind of fun seeing these fans again and again. In a way they’d become part of his “road family.”
The Rock Star looked up briefly from his laptop as the Guitarist’s voice began to stand out over the others. Something about his dog. He was clearly talking with his wife, who seemed to be unhappy about something. At least it sounded like it from the tone of the Guitarist’s replies. The conversation came to an abrupt end. Uh oh.
The Guitarist turned to the other Band members for comfort and support.
“Wow, she’s really pissed off. I’m sorta glad we’re out here on tour. Give her a chance to calm down.”
“Right,” said The Drummer. “Like she’ll forget whatever it is and welcome you home with open arms. Keep dreaming.”
“So what’s happening on the home front?” asked The Keyboardist.
“Aww, my dog pissed on the living room rug again.” Everybody groaned and nodded. The relationship between the Guitarist and his dog was almost legendary. He’d had that mutt since before the marriage. Now he was almost blind, badly arthritic and on several medications for pain and anxiety (the dog, not the Guitarist). In addition to those problems he had a weak bladder (again, the dog), so even when he headed for the door to be let out, he often didn’t quite make it (dog). The wife had had just about enough and was campaigning for his peaceful demise (?).
“I don’t care what she wants,” said the Guitarist, defiantly. “Danno’s mine. ‘Book ‘em, Danno’. Yeah. That’s my dog.”
It was like a lightning bolt hit all of them at the same time. They looked at each other. Had they just solved the mystery of the key? “Danno’s mine” sounded a lot like “DantesMine” and made sense. They conferred for a few minutes and decided they had to tell him. What to do next was his decision to make.
The next time the Rock Star looked up from his laptop a very unusual sight greeted him. All four Band members’ heads were in a row, prairie-dogging him over the back of the seats.
“Uh, what’s up, guys?” he asked.
The Band deferred to the Guitarist. “We think we’ve figured out the key,” he said. “Dante’s her dog.”
The Rock Star leaned back in his seat, slightly out of breath from the significance of the announcement. Shakily he asked, “So what makes you think that?”
As per usual all four musicians began talking at once, each member taking on one level of the explanation. The Bassist was giving the basics of the conversation, the Drummer adding appropriate “yeahs” to accent each point. The Guitarist seemed to have the most ongoing stream of information, while the Keyboardist gave counterpoint “uh huh” tonal percussion to complement The Drummer. If the Rock Star hadn’t been with them for so long, he still wouldn’t have had a clue.
But now he had them all.