Where Things Went | Chapter 8 | Concert
White laced gloves, decorative embroidery, jet-black hair, a long-short skirt and golden highlights held the duet partners together. A shared voice. The male Performer had a silver tie and a crystal hat atop his cream-colored suit. His female counterpart held an anticipatory pose, the mic stand cradled in one hand, eyes closed, a downward glance. Her spare arm flared up and one leg held her whole weight while the other bounced to the rising melody.
The man snapped one hand in tandem and straightened his tie-collar. The drab beige backup band of Instrumentalists kicked into full gear and so too did the life of the Performers. The spotlights ceased their aimless wandering and shot center-stage. A crowd roared in excitement as the singers began their famed funky disco. All the while their esteemed curator and benefactor reclined in his VIP area surrounded by his closest compatriots. The crowd danced in the opulent reflections of the grandiose chandelier, but King sat at the reserved table to feast with his friends.
“Cheers! To King!” Shouted Fredric over the music, holding up an empty wineglass.
“Cheers!” Exclaimed the others, including Sleet who sat comfortably at King’s side. They all clinked their glasses of air and downed them just as enthusiastically. That is, all except Esrael, who sat unwillingly on King’s right expressly uninterested in the extravagant party. King himself did not partake in the toast either, but instead feasted on the performance with rapt attention. He propped his feet up on the table, unfurled his arms across the booth, and cozily laid them to rest on the shoulders of his neighboring friends.
“Havin’ fun?” Asked King to Sleet.
“I am!” She smiled with her wineglass held carefully in both hands, eyes also transfixed on the performance. She instinctively bobbed and swayed to the beat, her knees responded in kind.
“Good. After this, I’ve got somethin’ to show ya.” Promised King. He turned his view to his disgruntled brother.
Esrael faced away from King, entertaining himself with his abused lighter. His attempts to force out a flame became downright abusive in frustration, determined to light the cigarette that lay cold between his lips. King jokingly flicked Esrael in the head to get his attention. He got not only that, but also Esrael’s annoyance. Before he could again voice his protests, King snapped his fingers and produced a tiny flame from his extended thumb, lighting the lonely cigarette.
“Come on Es, everyone else is havin’ fun. Somethin’ wrong?” King held the fiery thumbs-up, illuminating his immediate surroundings not by the flame, but instead by the glow of a single gemstone in the Crown, red. The light stole Sleet’s sight from the show and drew it to the bickering brothers. King’s improving mastery over the Crown was itself impressive. Yet, still, Esrael did not indulge in the atmosphere.
“Thanks.” He puffed in response, shifting back to his quiet contemplations.
“Ugh.” Sighed King, rolling his eyes and head back ‘round to Sleet eavesdropping on their little spat.
“Hey, look now. Here’s the best part!” King straightened himself and pointed eagerly at the concluding performance.
No expense was spared. The singing duet rose on a mechanical platform amidst the crowd. They swapped place and note miraculously as the vibrant concertgoers sang along. The climax; fireworks, pyrotechnics, confetti, everything blasted forth showering the arena in razzle-dazzle delight. Sleet couldn’t help but leap to her feet, standing atop the booth seat she hooped and hollered praises with the crowd. The rest of the brothers were not far behind in celebration.
The roaring applause soon faded. Overhead lights signified no encore, not today. The great crowd of Instrumentalists, performers, and foreigners alike all made for a safe and somewhat orderly exit. What remained were the Instrumentalists responsible for caring for the rejuvenated concert hall. The performing duo met King at his table and thanked him for the great opportunity to play whilst Sleet fawned over their skill and grace. Esrael already made his exit, disappearing into the twilight of the glamorous new streets.
King and his loyal followers left through the main entrance eager to attend another after-after party. Banner ads, street signs, corner stores… Every impaired, afflicted building was either totally renovated or well in the process. Instrumentalists worked tirelessly reconstructing the City of Wonder anew at behest of their beloved liberator. Performers practiced and played endlessly in the expanding architectures. Foreigners sold fascinating wares of outlandish origin from beyond the black veil.
Camera. Flash! Paparazzi swarmed King as they made way down the red carpet. King smiled and waved selflessly giving the masses their deepest desire, him. Instrumentalists held back the crowd from overtaking them or stepping foot past the prescribed red rope perimeter. Sleet kept to herself, quietly hiding in the shadow of King as he quickly struck autographs.
Suddenly her shield vanished. King crawled atop a nearby bouncer and stood on his shoulders as the worker struggled to hold the weight. King made a grand announcement, “You’re welcome everyone! But, I gotta’ go for a bit!”
“Aww!” Cried the crowed.
“But, don’t worry! I’ll show ya’ my newest trick!”
“Yeah!” They cheered.
While the poor footstool staggered and strained, King lit up each gemstone of his multicolored Crown individually, sequentially. Faster, faster, faster until it became a spectacular strobe-light competing with the horizon brightness. King set his hand aflame, lovely orange, red, and whites licked the dusky sky above. Finally, he thrust his fist upward and launched his flames into the sky as a fireball.
As the fireball reached its apex, it exploded into fireworks of the same orange, red, and white. The distraction proved useful, presenting a means of temporary retirement from celebrity life. One giant step off his impromptu podium, King took the hand of Sleet and dashed away. However, their flight was short lived. Fredric caught up and asked King expectantly, “Going? Where ya’ going?”
“Shhh! It’s a surprise! C’mon Fred you know I need ya’ to take care of. The. Build-inggg! We won’t be long.” King winked a brotherly seal of trust. Fredric, content with his position of privileged, helped the couple on their merry way.
“Where are we going?” Asked Sleet, often left in the dark on King’s esteemed machinations.
“I told ya’ I had something to show. My brothers wouldn’t care so much but I know you would. Plus, I said it’s a surprise!”
“Uhuh.” Shrugged Sleet.
King never went anywhere slowly. He was far too busy to dally in distant travels. But for the sake of his panting partner he lower the pace a tad. As they raced onward through the modern day renaissance of the City, Sleet’s thoughts too raced. What is the surprise? Where are we going? Oh!
“Is it my theatre?! Am I going home?” Blurted Sleet, carelessly.
“Um… No.” King shook his head and pointed up high.
The Tower again, but with a scaffolding makeover that reached to Heaven. A blisteringly fast exterior construction elevator pierced the saggy clouds. The base of the Tower was repaired and given a fitting entrance, but what was the rest of the mess for? Sleet made way to the logical entrance, but was instead yanked onto the dubious work elevator.
“Oh no. C-Can w-we take the tram?” Pleaded Sleet.
“Ahahaha! This will be more fun!” Promised King.
They shot into the sky.
Originally composed 11/16/21