Dancing With The Devil ch. 23 - U2 Feedback

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Old 03-17-2011, 06:48 PM   #1
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Dancing With The Devil ch. 23

I wasn't going to post this now... I think I was going to wait until more people started posting other stuff, but I found out that I am now free to post stories on the website Fictionpress again and I was using the same document for my chapters that chapter 23 of DWTD is now on... and because I do not want to make another document (I'm lazy like that) I give you this.
^Too much explanation. :P
(PS- Sorry if this chapter is too repetitive!)


On the third of June, the Zoo Tv tour hits Germany. I find myself in Munich, a place I’ve never been. Life continues at a quick pace, and I push all past events behind me. Tomorrow is the show, and I must conjure up a script for MacPhisto. Of course, I will need a little help with that…
“Marieke, it’s time we made a phone call to a real person. Time to test our your skills at writing.”
“Really? Who are we calling?”
“Helmut Kohl, the chancellor of Germany. MacPhisto’s tired of playing around with taxi companies. He wants to come and greet his old friends.”
“Have you started the script?”
“Yes, here it is… Tell me what you think.”
A pause.
“Why do you have to keep using the same phrases over and over again? You should break it up throughout the speech. Don’t say them all at once.”
“What do you mean?”
“I mean, every night you repeat these phrases. Off with the horns, on with the show… Do you know who I am? I know you even better than you know yourself… I know you like you’re pop stars to be exciting, so I bought these… At this time of night I like to make a phone call. Sometimes to the President of the United States, but not tonight… Have you EVER called the President of the United States?”
“No, not as MacPhisto. The Mirrorball Man tried him.”
“So that doesn’t need to be said anymore. MacPhisto is not the same person as Mirrorball Man.”
“It’s really not that different playing them. They perform the same songs… they both make phone calls…”
“Don’t tell me the only difference is that one is American and the other is British. They are very different. MacPhisto’s got more of a personality.”
“Yes… yes, you’re right. Truthfully, you know more about his personality than I do.”
“Yes. That’s why I’m here to help. So-“
“So, I’ll try not to use as many catchphrases at once. Is that what you want?”
“No, I just think you should spread them out. How about explaining about your shoes when you’ve finished saying who you’re calling? Maybe when you’re dialing the phone, you can say “Helmut Kohl likes exciting pop stars like me- that’s why I bought these.””
“Oh, I see what you mean! That’s right, it sounds like something MacPhisto would say. Why don’t we write that?”
A pause.
“Off with the horns, on with the show.”
“PAUSE!”
“Okay… the audience is clapping. Em… Do you know who I am?”
“YEAH!”
“Because I know who you are… I know you all probably even better than you know yourself.”
“Yes…”
“This is MY band. Shall I introduce them?”
“PAUSE!”
“No, Marieke, really a pause wouldn’t fit well right there.”
“I’m not saying pause. I’m telling you to stop talking. You don’t need to introduce U2. Everyone in the stadium knows them. You introduced them in Frankfurt- Germany is familiar.”
“But Munich is farther away from Frankfurt. It’s highly unlikely that the same people will be at both shows.”
“Well, don’t you want to shorten the speech a bit? Introductions take time. Start over.”
“All right… Off with the horns, on with the show. Applause, Marieke… Do you know who I am? Cause I know who you are. I know you all probably even better than you know yourself. This is MY band. I came up with all this. Am I doing well, Marieke?”
“That’s an unusual addition…”
“Mind- the man behind me might have a few objections…”
“Why?”
“He started this band first. Though I suppose MacPhisto could also be talking about rock and roll culture. Anyway… I like what we have so far.”
“But it’s not finished. Start over.”
“A bit pushy, are we? Off with the horns, on with the show…”
***
“…do you know who I am?”
I mouth “PAUSE!” at MacPhisto, who unfortunately doesn’t see me with his back turned. But he does pause without my help, and the audience shouts “YEAH!”
This show has brought about the first major changes in the main set that I’ve seen. The band sacrificed Bad’s life at the expense of Sunday Bloody Sunday. God knows I prefer this change. I thought U2 had all but forgotten they even made an album called War.
Right now, the Devil is beaming. “Because I know who you are. I know you probably even better than you know yourself.” He waves his arm and the crowd responds happily. “I thought all this up. This is MY band.”
As the crowd cheers, I steal a glance at Larry, the “man behind me.” He doesn’t look opposed to MacPhisto’s words in the least. Bono shouldn’t have worried.
Mr. MacPhisto is now asking the audience, “Do you know who Helmut Kohl is?” The fans shout their assent. “He’s becoming a very good friend of mine.”
In the longer pause between words, I hear one fan yell “I love Helmut Kohl!” I wonder what kind of man the Chancellor is.
“He stays asleep a lot…” MacPhisto murmurs, speaking lines that aren’t in the script. “I like that in a man. Shall we give him a telephone call?”
The audience’s response is enough assurance, and MacPhisto moves over to the phone. “He likes his pop stars to be exciting, too. That’s why I bought these,” he adds, displaying his platform boots. Pride swells over me. “Shall I tell him all about it, then? I think I have his telephone number.”
As MacPhisto dials, he shares the number with his audience- “That’s zero, two-two-eight, five-six-zero.” I make a mental note to ask Bono where he gets these phone numbers. We wait together, collectively holding our breath and cheering MacPhisto on when he looks at the crowd.
“Bundeskanzler.” A woman’s voice picks up the other end.
“Hello, I’d like to speak to He- the Chancellor Helmut Kohl, please,” MacPhisto answers, forgetting for a moment that he’s supposed to use titles. But why shouldn’t he call the Chancellor by name? Mr. MacPhisto is higher in rank, technically…
“Es geht leider nicht,” responds the woman. The only word I can understand is something about the night…
“Hello, could you help me?” MacPhisto pleads. “I speak English.” I wonder if his insistence on using his native tongue is because Bono is crap at learning languages. I’ll have to ask him about that, too…
The woman complies. “A little bit, one moment.” MacPhisto expresses his gratitude- “Thank you very much, you’re so very kind.” Now I have to wait with the supportive audience to find out if the Chancellor is in. I’m betting on him not answering- it’s not like the reliable taxi service.
A new voice picks up on the other end, a male’s voice. “Ja… Hallo?” Is that Mr. Kohl?
“Hello. My name is Mr. MacPhisto, and I’d like to speak to Helmut Kohl, please.” His finger strokes the shiny surface of the phone as his eyes burn, intent.
Unfortunately Kohl’s gotten an undereducated secretary. “Oh, Helmut Kohl is- er, is not- er, office.”
“He’s not available?” MacPhisto is mildly surprised.
“No… Helmut Kohl is not in the office.” I can imagine his relief at getting the phrase right.
“He’s not in the office.” It’s a statement now. MacPhisto is disappointed- I can almost taste it. The secretary tells him no, he is not.
But of course, we’ve discussed what will happen if the Chancellor doesn’t pick up. This time Bono came up with the idea; I barely had to help him at all. Wheels turn in MacPhisto’s head. “I see. I… I had that feeling. Um… tell me, could I leave him a message?”
The secretary is taken aback. “Message? Wh-what is, er, your office?”
MacPhisto continues with the message Bono has scripted. “My name is MacPhisto, and I’d like to thank him for letting me back into the country!”
This gets a big cheer from the crowd and I mouth “YES!” to MacPhisto.
However, the secretary hasn’t followed along as well. “No. We, er- you, you telephone, er… Monday… er…”
I know that won’t stop MacPhisto, who replies “No.”
“8 o’clock…” the secretary murmurs.
“I’m- I’d like to leave it with you. Is that all right?”
The secretary is very much confused. I feel sorry for him. “Uh? Er… uhhh- oh! I have, er, telephone… er… Okay, thank you.” He cuts the line off and I can imagine his relief that that’s over.
MacPhisto, of course, is amused. “You’re a very kind gentleman. I haven’t been here for a while, but I’m back! I’M BAAAACK!”
And I stay in the wings for Ultraviolet.
***
We drive to Stuttgart, Germany the next day. The sixth of June, which is tomorrow, is the next concert. Once again, I meet with Bono in his hotel room, ready to do some writing.
“Hello…”
“Marieke! Hello.”
“How are you? What have you written?”
“I’m good, but I haven’t written much. I was waiting for you! How’d you like the Munich show?”
“It was great! You played Sunday Bloody Sunday!”
A sort of laugh- “We did. Is that a favorite of yours?”
“I love everything from War! New Year’s Day is in fact my favorite song.”
“You haven’t told me that before, it’s good to hear from you.”
“Then hear from me now. Let’s get to work!”
“Alright already!”
“Have you got an idea of who to call?”
“How do you feel about trying for the Chancellor again?”
“Why?”
“It’s logical that if MacPhisto hasn’t reached him yet, he will try again. I mean, all the bets are on that secretary to pass the message along, and we know he will have forgotten. MacPhisto wants to thank Helmut Kohl and he wants to be certain about it.”
“I see. Can you get me some paper?”
“Certainly…”
A pause.
“What do you want him to say?”
“Well, let’s start with the basics. Thank you, thank you! Do you know who I am? Because I know who you are, probably even better than you know yourself-“
“STOP!”
“Yes?”
“You didn’t use off with the horns, on with the show?”
“I thought you didn’t want all the catchphrases at once?”
“But I like that one.”
“It is an easy one to begin with, but I’m open to experimenting.”
“Okay… Experimenting is good?”
“Yes. Always. I’d like to try a new phrase, too. I’ve never used it in concert, so tell me what you think.”
“Go on”
“Do you like your pop stars to be exciting- oh no you don’t, Marieke! Em… that’s why I bought these. Last time you saw me I was 5 feet 8 and carrying a white flag. Now look at me- I’m gigantic!”
Hysterical laughter.
“I take it that’s a hit?”
“Yes, of course! How tall is that?”
“I’m roughly… 1 meter and 20 centimeters tall, I think that’s right.”
“You’re short.”
“Short? Well you know how to offend a man. Imagine me wearing those shoes, though.”
“They do increase your height… but when you tell the Germans how tall you really are, you should use meters. They might not understand feet.”
“Better for them, then. I don’t want to be teased by fans the rest of the night. So, the line’s a keeper?”
“Yes. I like it very much. Anyway, can I ask something?”
“What is it?”
“How do you get the phone numbers? Do you really know these people?”
“I should have known you’d ask that sometime or another…”
“Well, HOW?!”
“When you’re famous, everyone gives you their telephone number!”
“M- I’m not falling for that.”
A sigh. “They’re really not hard numbers to find. Let’s get back on track. I’ll introduce my goal to the audience-”
“Like at the last show, when you introduced the Chancellor? Everyone knows who he is. You don’t need to ask them if they do.”
“Picky today, aren’t you? I’m sorry, Marieke, but I’m not cutting that out.”
“Well… God, why don’t you just use the same script from last show? You don’t need me at all.”
“Marieke… Marieke, I do need you. No, don’t-“
“Goodbye.”
“Hey…!”
A pause.
“Marieke, come back! I need you here to write this script. You think of so many things I would never notice… and you know the character better than I do myself. Please.”
A pause.
“I mean it. Use the same script. It’s the same person. Just remember to put in the special line.”
“No… and I mean it too, Marieke, when I tell you to stay. Come back and we’ll continue this.”
A pause.
“Last show, when MacPhisto said the Chancellor stays asleep a lot? Why did you add that?”
“Oh, because it was late at night, and it at least gave the Chancellor an excuse for not answering the phone.”
“I think I can add something to that. Let me see...”
***
The show arrives before I know it, and I sit backstage to watch. U2 is playing a tune called Redemption Song, a tune they played a few days past in Munich. I have a feeling I know what’s coming next. It’s not going to Bad this time… But I’m not prepared for Bono’s murmur of “For Marieke!” before the band launches into Sunday Bloody Sunday.
Did he really say my name? He did, didn’t he? It had to be me. Those words could mean nothing else. Bono dedicated Sunday Bloody Sunday just for me? Why? Because I told him I like it?
“And the battle’s just begun… there’s many lost but tell me, who has won?”
The encore flies in and Bono enters the dressing room. He returns as MacPhisto, platform shoes, lipstick, and horns in all. I feel like taking his arm and escorting him out to the stage, but clearly he doesn’t need my help. MacPhisto rushes out, happily calling, “Honey, I’m home!”
I watch Desire from a safe distance. MacPhisto is wild. He sings with all his heart. Now the craze is settling down, and he claps his hands over his head as the German crowd screams for more.
“Thank you very much,” he begins, a smile lighting up his face. “Do you know who I am? Probably even better than you know yourself.” He uses some of my new phrasing. “Do you like your pop stars to be exciting?”
The crowd replies with a loud “YEAH!”
“That’s why I bought these,” MacPhisto says, and holds his leg out. “The last time I was here, I was five feet eight and carrying a white flag. Now look at me- I’m gigantic.”
I knew I’d be able to count on MacPhisto.
He starts in on the Bono-penned script. “Do you know who Helmut Kohl is? He’s becoming a friend of mine, actually… He’s let me back into the country! Shall I give him a telephone call?”
The audience lets him know that they’d like that more than anything. At least that’s what I derive from the sound level.
MacPhisto walks towards the phone in the back, murmuring my written words- “I’m not sure if it’s just Sunday that he keeps his day of rest.” That is our excuse to fall back on when the Chancellor doesn’t pick up.
He dials and then speaks some mysterious words- “It’s so hot in Germany, just like home.” That wasn’t something we planned… I am very hot tonight, but what does he mean by home? Dublin?
“Bundeskanzler,” the woman from the night before answers.
“Hello, I’d like to speak to Mr. Helmut Kohl, please,” MacPhisto replies, dismissing the title of Chancellor.
“One moment please,” is her remote answer. She’s still in good graces with us, I see.
MacPhisto is clearly pleased. “Thank you very much.” The woman repeats her statement, and MacPhisto tells her, “You’re so very kind.” I wish he would lavish that much attention on me.
Instead of talking with the crowd, MacPhisto plasters his intent expression onto his face. I would have preferred scripting some dialogue, but Bono insisted that the wait wouldn’t be long. He was right- a man quickly picks up on the other end.
“Hello. My name is Mr. MacPhisto and I’d like to speak with the Chancellor.”
The secretary stutters as he did the night prior to this one. “Erm… no, er, erm. Bundeskanzler Kohl is not in, er- in his office.” I now realize that “bundeskanzler” is a title.
The crowd laughs in response to this, and the man continues, trying to be sharp- “Call tomorrow… Monday mor-morning, is, er, Bundeskanzler Kohl here, in, er, office.”
Poor thing. I know exactly how he feels, trying to speak English with little experience. MacPhisto’s tone does not grow any warmer though. “Well, I… could-could I leave a message, then?”
“A message?” is the blank answer.
“Yes, please.”
The secretary’s reply has both me and the audience cracking up. “Er, I speak not English.”
MacPhisto is hell-bent on getting his sentiments through. “Um, I’d just like to leave a messa- I’d like to say to Mr. Kohl- thank you for letting me back into the country!”
The flustered secretary continues, “I don’t know… I speak, I speak not English…”
Oblivious to his ramblings, MacPhisto shouts at the top of his voice, “I’M BACK… I’M BACK!”
The churning effects at the beginning of Ultraviolet begin and steal my voice. MacPhisto sings the first lines down the phone. “Sometimes I feel like checking out, sometimes I feel-“ Suddenly he realizes that these are not the right words. “Get it wrong… want to get along… can’t always be strong… strong…” Edge’s guitar seems to be having troubles. He looks frustrated when MacPhisto sings over, stalling for time. Finally the riff is shaking out, and the crowd is pumped.
“Off with the horns, on with the show!”
I can’t wait for the next concert.
***
And it comes soon enough. On June 7th, we stop in Bremen, Germany, and I make plans with Bono to meet right after lunch to write the call, so we won’t have to worry about it the rest of the day.
“Hello-“
A pause.
“You do? … Mm-hmm. That’s great. Okay… I’ll see you when I can. Love you guys… miss you. Goodbye!”
“Who was that?”
“Those were my daughters. Ali called… she put Jordan on the line.”
“Oh… Does she call often?”
“Oh, sometimes. Now. Let’s focus on a different phone call!”
“Bono, can we change something?”
“What do you mean?”
“I don’t want to call Helmut Kohl again.”
“And I don’t want to stop calling Helmut. Remember, MacPhisto still hasn’t gotten through…”
“But you know as well as I do that he’ll never get through. I’m bored with these calls. Let’s move on.”
“You want to go back to calling taxis every night?”
“It was easier!”
“Marieke, I have great dreams for this character Mr. MacPhisto. I want to explore how far he can go. When I was Mirrorball Man I called politicians. This is just like those calls, only I have extra help. We’re in Europe now, and there are so many more opportunities. You’re going to get used to it.”
“Okay… But I don’t want to waste time writing when you could use the same script. The fans in Bremen will never know.”
“I’m not using the same script- you’re getting paid to write these, remember!”
“Can we just call a taxi?”
“No. I thought… and I’m not sure if you’ll like this, Marieke, but I thought of calling Helmut at every German show unless we get through.”
“GOD. How much longer will you be in Germany?”
“We’re only playing two more shows.”
A groan.
“Marieke, don’t be like that.”
“Then how about we connect the calls? MacPhisto really wants to make sure he can talk to the Chancellor. What a better way to do it than meet in person?”
“I’m not sure I’m following you.”
“Why don’t you call a taxi to take you to Helmut Kohl?”
“Why… how many times do I have to tell you you’re a genius? Considering the link you provided us for Zooropa, I’d assume you considered this one.”
“Oh, Bono. I’m not a genius.”
“You are in my eyes.”
A pause.
“Is something wrong?”
“No, I’m fine… let’s write this. MacPhisto can say, “He needs me over there! I’m his closest friend!””
“Aha! You’re getting into the humor, aren’t you?”
“He needs me to put him to sleep at night.”
“You don’t sound like yourself.”
“I sound like MacPhisto, don’t I? I was trying to.”
“I’ve no idea. I… haven’t really listened back to the encores.”
“Too scary?”
“Too nervous. I don’t want to know I failed.”
“You never fail, Bono. It always sounds perfect to me.”
A pause.
“Did you sing Sunday Bloody Sunday for me?”
“Yes, I’m glad you caught that.”
“Why did you do that?”
“Because you like the song. You told me that last time we were writing…”
A pause.
“How’s Zooropa going, by the way?”
“PolyGram was surprised when they received it. They weren’t expecting an album this early. Now they’ve got to plan a marketing strategy, and release it quickly. The tour won’t last forever.”
“Too bad.”
“We’re almost ready to release a single.”
***
Bono gets me to sit in a seat near the B stage- my only blind spot in GA. Now I can see the faces of the band perfectly as they Angel of Harlem- a song off another favorite album of mine. Pity that this song and Desire seem to be the only constant Rattle And Hum material in the set.
“Soul love, but this love won’t let me go,” Bono sings. He’s relaxed out here, his voice reflecting the calm as he strums on his black guitar. I notice that someone’s humorously stuck a sticker to the bottom of it that reads I FEEL GOOD. Oh, dear.
“So long… Angel of Holland,” he finishes, and I snap my head up. Angel of Holland? But.. but that can be no one but me!
Bono doesn’t face me for the rest of the performance. As the band jams, Bono leans back and turns from the microphone, singing with the German audience- “Angel, angel of Harlem. Angel, angel of Harlem…” Is it my eyes or did Bono slip a few “Angel of Holland’s” into that too?
“Angel of Harlem,” he ends the song, mouth close to the mic. As Bono smiles back at the audience, he catches my gaze and winks. It lasts for a split second, but it leaves me weak at the knees and breathless. Now they return to the main stage, and after Redemption Song Larry strikes the drums straight into Sunday Bloody Sunday. Bono doesn’t dedicate it to me again, but he does remove his jacket before beginning it, and seeing how much sweat has soaked through his shirt makes my breathing quicken.
Thank God I won’t be dressing MacPhisto tonight.
Speaking of which, the encores are beginning now. My man walks out of the dressing room with arms waving. I’m so glad I’m a bit too far from the stage, or else I might be having a heart attack.
Once Desire is over and MacPhisto is slipping his harmonica back into his pocket, the stage floor littered with dollars, he greets the crowd- “Do you who I am? Because I know who you are. Look what you’ve done to me! You’ve made me very famous, and I thank you.”
I should be shouting “PAUSE!” but I know that would make Bono crack up and I don’t want the MacPhisto illusion to be shattered. To my dismay he only carries out part of the new line- “I know you like your pop stars to be exciting, so I bought these. Now look at me, I’m gigantic!”
The crowd cheers and whistles. I listen to MacPhisto bring out his goal- “Do you know who Helmut Kohl is?” Actually, yes I do. “Because I’ve got to go and see him now. He needs me, I put him to sleep at night.” I’m glad that we managed to fit the sleep excuse into that line. “Excuse me while I call a taxi. You don’t mind if I call a taxi, do you?” No, not at all… just hoping for more words in your fine voice… “You speak awfully good English.” Why Bono keeps insisting on that line I’ll never know. Maybe one day I’ll remember to ask.
By now MacPhisto has lowered his arm and made way for the telephone. He dials, and soon a woman’s voice answers.
“Hold on, I’m trying to connect you.”
“Hello, my name is Mr. MacPhisto and I’d like to order a taxi…” he breezes on in.
“…Ja…” Oops, she’s still talking.
“…to…” MacPhisto tries to continue.
“Moment, moment…” the receptionist says.
MacPhisto waits patiently. “Thank you.”
The audience is restless tonight. They shout as MacPhisto stares intently at the phone, waiting on a response. When the response does come it is almost drowned out by the noise they’re making.
“Hello,” MacPhisto says, his voice beautiful in every way.
“Hello,” a man replies.
“I, I’d like to order a taxi, I’d like to go see the Chancellor, Helmut Kohl, please,” MacPhisto suggests.
The man is confused. “Kohl? But that’s, er, very far away. It is in Bonn, you know- it, it’s about 600 kilometers.”
This seems like a easier man to work with than Kohl’s secretary. MacPhisto takes this advantage and says “I, I don’t mind traveling that far, I really think he needs to see me.”
Maybe I misjudged- the man’s grown hostile at these words. “Yeah? Who are you, then? Who are you, what’s your name?”
“My name is MacPhisto, and I want to thank the Chancellor for letting me back into the country,” the Devil responds. I noticed this is the first time he hasn’t used his own title of “Mr.” Perhaps I’m rubbing off on him.
The man is amiable again- “Oh. No problem. Did you…” I can’t make out his next words- the lines are growing fuzzy.
“Would you take me to see him, please?” MacPhisto asks in his to-die-for British accent.
“Yes, I can send you a taxi. But it’s very expensive, you know?”
“I can afford it…” MacPhisto says thoughtfully. He’s about to continue when the man asks, “Ja? Takes a long time.”
“…I’m a very rich pop star!” MacPhisto finishes. Just for that, for his willing to speak my dialogue, thrills overcome me from the tips of my toes to the scalp of my head. A warm wave washes over me.
The crowd cheers, and the man laughs. I’m glad that he liked it. Unfortunately, MacPhisto is not happy at being thwarted. He sings.
“Sometimes I feel like I don’t know, sometimes I feel like checking out… I wanna get it wrong, can’t always be strong, and love it won’t be long…”
He screams.
“TAKE ME TO SEE HIM!!”
***
The 11th of June rolls around and we find ourselves in Cologne, Germany. Once again, I must meet with Bono. It occurs to me that we only ever meet to write nowadays. It saddens me..
“Hi, Bono.”
“Hi, Marieke.”
“I’ve missed you.”
“I’ve missed you too, love.”
“Hee… U2…”
“We’re calling Helmut Kohl again. You know that, right?”
“I was hoping you wouldn’t bring it up.”
“Do you want to see my script?”
“Yes please.”
“Here you go…”
A pause.
“You’ve cut out some catchphrases. I like it.”
“What do you mean? I’ve kept the same as always.”
“No “off with the horns” or “I know you.””
“And that’s a good thing- right?”
“Yes. I like it better. But what about that special line?”
“The one mentioning my height? Oh… well, it just didn’t fit to have MacPhisto say that. I want to distance myself from that character as much as possible.”
“You’re learning. You don’t like MacPhisto?”
“No… I made him up, of course I like him. But it can get hard… hard to see myself as, well, myself anymore. I’m not Bono. I’m The Fly and it worries me. I’m Mr. MacPhisto. And I don’t want to see myself as them. I don’t want to wake up in the morning and not know who I am.”
“You’ve forgotten the other character. The one during Bullet The Blue Sky. He’s a person too, Paul.”
“Hey, where’d you learn that name?”
“I wanted to know your real name and Edge told me. I like it.”
“Did he tell you his own, then?”
“No. I’ve been wondering for years.”
“Well, some things are best kept in the dark, aren’t they?”
“HEY! Bono, that’s not fair!”
“Ah-ah-ah. I’m not Bono, remember? I’m Paul.”
“Alright, Paul, let’s get to work on the script.”
“Please… don’t call me Paul. I hate it.”
A giggle. “Alright, Bono.”
A pause.
“Did you sing Angel of Holland for me?”
“Yes, you didn’t mind that, did you?”
“No, not at all! I really liked it. Are you going to sing it for me again?”
“No, fans might get suspicious. They know I’m singling out someone with those words. But if you don’t mind, Angel of Holland, I think I might call you that from now on.”
***
MacPhisto’s telephone call is not too different from the last shows. I did rearrange the catchphrases and add another one of my favorites, though, while Bono decided which song snippets he was going to sing. At the last second I thought of one last phrase to use, though Bono is unsure he’ll get to say it because it all depends on the secretary’s response.
So now I’m facing a Devil wrapped in gold, watching him strut about onstage at the end of Desire. As the band plays, eager to finish the song, MacPhisto screams, “I LOVE YOU!”
He then launches straight into his first planned snippet. “Try a taste of Martini, the most beautiful drink in the world! It’s the right one, it’s the bright one, that’s Martini!” Definitely a better change from Moon River, which must be MacPhisto’s favorite song or something. Personally I don’t care for it.
“That’s a good one,” MacPhisto tells the crowd. I wonder briefly why Bono’s gotten me a spot in the audience tonight. It’s too dangerous to be this close to the man I love.
He raises his arm, the one that’s not clutching the microphone. “Look what you’ve done to me. You’ve made me very famous, and to that end, I thank you.” What does “to that end” mean? That wasn’t in the script. “I know you like your pop stars to be exciting, so I bought these. Around about this time of night, I often make a telephone call. Sometimes to the President of the United States. But not tonight. Tonight I’m going to call the Chancellor, Mr. Kohl.”
We had agreed not to use that phrase anymore if he wasn’t going to call the President! I just know I’m going to smack Bono after the show. Hopefully I’ll be able to pass it off as a love tap.
“Getting to knoowww you…” MacPhisto sings, wandering over to the telephone.
The sound of dialing fills the stadium. MacPhisto redeems himself slightly by using my scripted phrase- “When you get very famous, people give you their telephone number.” He looks back to the audience, and I mouth “PAUSE!” to see what he’ll do. MacPhisto catches my “pause” and lifts his eyebrows in mock surprise. His eyes sparkle with humor.
“Guten Abend, Bundeskanzler,” says the phone. I didn’t know the phone was a female.
“Hello, I’d like to speak to the Chancellor, Mr. Kohl, please.”
“One moment please.”
“Thank you very much.”
While the line is being transferred, MacPhisto sings joyfully, “La-la-la laaa daaa, da-da-da daaa da-da…” He will not shut up tonight. I suppose when singers are in good voice, they have to show it off to the world.
A man answers the phone.
“Hello, excuse me, do you speak a bit of English?” Bono told me that his meaning in this line is to get across that MacPhisto can’t be bothered to learn another language even though he’s on tour in other countries. He considers himself British and wants to stay that way. Of course, it would also help if Bono wasn’t so shit at speaking German. Sure, he knows most of the language, but his pronunciation basically stinks.
The man- “Yes, a little bit.”
MacPhisto is feeling thankful tonight. “Thank you, you’re so kind, I, I’d like to speak with the Chancellor, Mr. Kohl, please.”
In return, the secretary is a bit better prepared for the request. “And who are you?”
He uses my words now. “My name is MacPhisto, Mr. MacPhisto, and… he’s an old friend of mine, becoming an even closer friend, and I’d like to speak to him, if that’s alright.”
I can’t help but take pity on MacPhisto. His voice sounds a bit wistful, as if he really is trying to find an old friend. Unfortunately- or is it fortunately, for this is the response we wanted- the secretary replies, “But… do you know what time it, er, is it? Do you know the time?”
Irritably, MacPhisto snaps the line I came up with- “Yes, I know the time. I know a lot of things!”
“Mmm,” says the man. “So you know… know at the time it isn’t possible.”
“Could I leave a message for the Chancellor, then?” MacPhisto begs.
At least the man is courteous. “Yes, of course.”
MacPhisto sets his sights on the heavens. A smile breaks over his face as he says, “Could you just thank the Chancellor for letting me back into the country? I’m back, I’m back!”
He’s back, he’s back!
We party all night at the club, and then finally turn in to the hotel. Someone seems to have forgotten to feed us. I ordered a drink at the club, but we haven’t eaten dinner yet- and it is late. Hungry and bored, I go to Bono’s suite to see if he’ll get me something. Eric follows me- we haven’t hung out in a while- and some other crew members take this as an incentive to congregate in the suite. Bono is surprised, but he doesn’t have any food. We agree to order something from the downstairs kitchen.
The clock slowly ticks to 3, and the order hasn’t yet arrived. Funny, I hadn’t noticed how incredibly late we’ve stayed up. Most of the crew has given up hope by now that they’ll get fed, and some have departed to go hit a restaurant. Some crew members are calling the kitchen downstairs every few interval. Every time the call ends, the answer from the kitchen staff is “Ten minutes.”
“YARGH!” I shout, and flop down on Bono’s bed.
“Ow,” says Eric’s voice from beneath me.
“Get up,” I mutter to him, and he rolls off the bed and hovers over me.
“Are you alright?”
“I’m STARVING!” I shriek. I know I’m being bitchy by complaining about it, but why can’t the food hurry up?
Bono glances over at me with an unusual look in his eye. The next I know he’s grabbed the phone.
“Hello! This is Mr. MacPhisto. I ordered French fries and sandwiches an hour and a half ago and if I don’t get them I will…” He mumbles a string of words into the receiver, all in his false British accent, all in a menacing tone, and none in a language I’ve heard before.
“That’ll do, then,” he murmurs as he puts the phone back in its cradle. “Don’t worry, help is on the way!”
Within minutes the hotel staff has come to the suite with multiple trays of French fries. It’s not a complete dinner, but it’s enough to tide us over till tomorrow. I heave myself off the bed and chow down like there’s no tomorrow.
“Fecking room service,” Jack grumbles, looking peeved that he hadn’t gone to a restaurant while he still could.
Bono beams at me. “There’s one phone call you didn’t need to script.”
“They probably spit on them,” Bill whispers to Bono. His head and mine both nod in assent.
“Say, why’d you all come in here anyway?”
“Hotel room partay?” Eric suggests, an impish grin on his face.
I haul a pillow off the bed and chuck it at him. He laughs- “See, we’re halfway there. Pillow fight!”
No one joins us.
***
We arrive in Berlin on the 14th. This is my last writing session in Germany, and I decide to make the best of it.
“Hey, Bono.”
“The Angel of Holland is at my doorstep… it’s great to see you, Marieke! Are you pumped to finally finish with these Kohl calls?”
“Yeah! I can’t wait until we have written the last one.”
“Then let’s write it now!”
“Good. I’ve started a script.”
A pause.
“This is really good, love! How did you manage it?”
“Geniuses can do anything.”
“Oh…”
“Do you like the bit about the taxi? I fit it in because I was thinking about how MacPhisto called the taxi service that one night because I was bored.”
“I think it’s just brilliant. Thank you. This is a way to leave Germany with a bang!”
“Somehow I don’t think they’ll even answer the phone. They’ll know it’s MacPhisto this time.”
“So he’ll just threaten them. Hello, Helmut? You know I’m here! I don’t need telephone lines! I’m coming to you, because I’m BAACK! Can you feel it? I’M BAAAACK!”
“Ah, Bono! I love it!”
“Improv is the only way to go sometimes, Angel.”
“Improv?”
“Improvisation. Don’t worry about it.”
“Then we don’t need to write a thing.”
“That’s right, we don’t! I’ve done my fair share of writing in Berlin before anyway… in 1990…”
“What were you writing?”
“Trying to write Achtung Baby, but you see, we didn’t get very far along on it.”
“But you made it in the end soon. You’ve given me the world’s finest album, and for that I thank you!”
A laugh. “Angel of Holland, I think I love you.”
A pause.
“Alright then.”
“Let’s show this script to the band.”
***
Bono has seated me near the B stage tonight, and I am still puzzling over his words- I think I love you… Surely he can’t mean the way I love him. I didn’t dare ask. Oh, Bono, why must you be so confusing? If only I could read his mind…
Of course, if Bono rejects me I can always take my first love. He’s standing onstage, crying “Look what you’ve done to me. Look what you’ve done to me! You’ve made me very famous, and I thank you. I know you like your pop stars to be exciting, so I bought these.” He shows off his sparkly shoes, familiar to me by now. “The last time you saw me I was 5 feet 8. Now look at me, I’m gigantic.”
The crowd rumbles appreciatively. I want to leap up and hug MacPhisto. He looks so happy tonight.
“Do you know who Helmut Kohl is? He’s becoming a friend of mine. Shall I give him a telephone call?”
“YEAH!” we cheer. From in front of me I hear someone yell, “Do it, baby!” It makes me smile- those crazy Germans!
MacPhisto grins too, his ruby red lips pulling up, and says “I love this place. All the pomp and ceremony and marching, it gets so loud… don’t you love that?”
He turns and dials the phone one last time.
“When you’re famous, people get you their telephone number.”
We wait, and all that happens is a tone telling us that the line is engaged.
MacPhisto is amused. “Ahahahahaaa!” he laughs. “Maybe I should call a taxi!” The script is working out even better than I’d hoped.
The crowd is angry at the prospect of MacPhisto leaving us, and boos.
“I wonder, I think I have offended the Chancellor!” MacPhisto leans in, his eyes smoldering into the phone. “Hello?” he growls menacingly. “Can you hear me, Helmut Kohl? I don’t need the telephone lines! You know who I am! And I want to thank you… for letting me back… into the country! I’m BAAAAAACK!!”
Ultraviolet grinds its way into town.
“I’m baaaaaack!”
Edge begins the riff and I begin my nightly emotional journey. It’s comforting to be in the crowd and know that I am not alone in my emotions. But still, this is getting a little ridiculous. I’ve seen Ultraviolet, With or Without You, Love Is Blindness how many times now… and yet I still get choked up watching them.
I calm myself by thinking of Bono. He, as MacPhisto, has to perform these songs night after night. It can’t be an easy task at all. If this is what it does to those listening, imagine how those singing must feel. No wonder MacPhisto always looks so heartbroken…
“Yeah, we’ll shine like stars in the summer night! We’ll shine like stars in the winter light! One heart, one hope, one love… with or without you.” The guitar’s piercing notes, absent on the album version, rip me apart.
“Love is blindness, I don’t wanna see… won’t you wrap the night around me? Take my heart… love is blindness.”
I should be in pain, and yet all I can think of is how close he is. Every night MacPhisto gravitates towards the B stage for this song. I can see each expansion of his chest as he takes another breath, each individual bead of sweat on his forehead. And I can hear… I can hear the heart-wrenching sadness in his voice… and I can hear Edge kicking into the solo… and I can feel MacPhisto’s hands touch on mine, and feel my body get up and collide into his on the B stage, and there’s nowhere else I’d rather be but his arms.
He spins me around, and I slide my slender arms under his jacket, feeling his body beneath thin fabric. I skid my hand across his chest, and he doesn’t restrain me. Before I can sink into the pleasure, a twinge of worry crosses my mind. Why isn’t Bono taking over and locking his grip on my arms? For God’s sake, I could get my hands down his pants and he wouldn’t do anything.
“Bono?” I whisper.
His eyes are glazed. He’s looking over my shoulder.
“Bono?”
Edge’s solo is over. MacPhisto takes the mic. He rocks me in his arms and ends the song quietly.
“Love is blindness, I don’t wanna see. Won’t you wrap the night around me? Take my heart…” He’s too weary to finish the verse, and just murmurs, “Blindness,” into the microphone.
I start to pull away and his hands stroke my hip. He darts in and presses a scorching kiss to my cheek, no doubt leaving a red mark there. Then he lets me go and claps my back as I jump into the audience.
“I can’t help falling in love with you…”
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Old 03-17-2011, 07:42 PM   #2
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I did not understand your explanation of having this chapter at all; you used a confusing sentence like I do all the time I am glad you posted the chapter, though!

Hehehe...Marieke's being so bossy in the beginning.

Quote:
“You do? … Mm-hmm. That’s great. Okay… I’ll see you when I can. Love you guys… miss you. Goodbye!”
“Who was that?”
“Those were my daughters. Ali called… she put Jordan on the line.”
Aww

Quote:
“No… I made him up, of course I like him. But it can get hard… hard to see myself as, well, myself anymore. I’m not Bono. I’m The Fly and it worries me. I’m Mr. MacPhisto. And I don’t want to see myself as them. I don’t want to wake up in the morning and not know who I am.”
Oh man...

Wow...the ending...that was unexpected...Bono seems like he's got some troubles on his mind, though.

Eric didn't bother me much in his brief appearance, which is good.
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Old 03-17-2011, 10:14 PM   #3
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Very interesting. I really like the end. I'll comment more tomorrow, I have to get some sleep! But I like the tension building.
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Old 03-18-2011, 08:47 PM   #4
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Heh, she was being pretty hard on Bono with those speeches...

They both seem a little conflicted... interesting indeed!
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Old 03-18-2011, 09:43 PM   #5
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Thanks for the comments...
...but I feel like I posted this WAY too soon and kinda wish I could revise more, I practically just copy pasted this from the original document without looking at the chapter.
1. I liked bossy Marieke! I thought, that's the way she'd act... she's gotten into the swing of her new job pretty easily now.
2. They are both conflicted. Marieke is infatuated with a man she can't have. Bono has issues that I haven't explained before but that's coming in later chapters... (like, twenty-five, I was writing it today and it got surprisingly angsty) and it's very weird for both of them... I always thought it would be hard to break away from yourself with an alternate persona, it would be hard to know who you truly are, and I put those feelings into Bono.
3. The end... how'd you like the dance?
So...
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Old 03-18-2011, 09:46 PM   #6
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Pssh, I liked the chapter. Don't feel bad.

1. Bossy Marieke just...made me laugh so hard. Bono totally deserves it.

2. Writing angsty chapters does that to me too...and kind of dreading him having issues. He seems so happy, I want him to stay that way! That's what I was thinking about the personas, too—they're definitely a part of him.

3. It made me unable to type, speak, think...that means you did a good job!
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Old 03-18-2011, 09:51 PM   #7
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I was kinda comparing in my mind, "This could be how U2 felt when they released Pop!"
Anyway, yeah, I was going to keep writing Bono this way and maybe have him be a static character but I knew that would NOT happen, and then I went and wrote it and was like "Wow, where'd that come from?"
Heehee! I hold that power over another person!
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Old 03-18-2011, 10:00 PM   #8
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One thing Bono never is, is static! Not with that many personae in his head.
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Old 03-19-2011, 04:33 PM   #9
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Silly me. Anyway... I made some sketches of characters recently and decided to show them off... note- I am a terrible artist



Marieke and Eric. It's hard to draw a gorgeuous woman from your imagination. She should have curled hair, a narrower waist, and a smaller, sharper nose... plus her smile should be more full of life. Eric is in my favorite guy's pose ever- that hand-behind-head-tilted-up thing, where they're kind of smiling and embarrassed at the same time. It's so ADORABLE when guys do that!


Jack. You know, that guy in the background I always mention? It's hard to draw someone waving...


Lina with an unfinished Herman. I don't know if that kind of fashion was in style in the early 90's, but I couldn't imagine her in anything else.
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Old 03-19-2011, 04:35 PM   #10
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I should probably draw them for you to make you feel better XD

I do feel better about my terrible An Cat Dubh drawings now...and hey, Blue, you do draw better than my brother! and a lot of people I know...who aren't artists though...

Lina has SUCH a devious expression!
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Old 03-19-2011, 04:39 PM   #11
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Oh, I don't feel too bad. My lack of drawing skill is an acknowledged fact.
They weren't terrible, I thought Cath looked great...
Rarr. She was the easiest to draw, I knew exactly what she'd look like.
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Old 03-19-2011, 04:42 PM   #12
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Heheheh.

I totally don't remember posting them at all...I do have a huge notebook full of character drawings, I'm just hesitant to scan them because I end up hating them D:

If I get a bunch of free time, I may draw you Marieke. I make no promises about MacPhisto, though; he's harrrrrd.
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Old 03-19-2011, 04:52 PM   #13
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I saw some random ones in your album on your profile- the October painting and Cath are the ones I remember... I think it's be cool to see them Not telling you to, of course. Just sayin'.
Drawing Marieke, that'd be great... Again, I don't want to demand anything. You read my mind- I've always wanted someone to draw me MacPhisto and I put it on a poster But I'll take your word for it... I wouldn't attempt!
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Old 03-19-2011, 04:55 PM   #14
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*sigh* That picture was terrible; I just deleted it XD

Here's all the drawings I've done of her (kind of concept sketches):

 


Marieke'll have to wait till I've done homework/college research D: I do have a pretty clear idea of what she looks like, though. ...and MacPhisto would just be hard because I can't draw Bono well without reference.
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Old 03-19-2011, 04:59 PM   #15
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Oh, I do love your drawing style... no. 12 is gorgeous and no. 15 is just really cool... and I could provide reference? Gosh, I love MacPhisto...
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Old 03-19-2011, 05:02 PM   #16
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Heheh, thanks 12 is actually totally not what she's supposed to look like, and 15 is around chapter 3, when she's being sarcastic to Ali...I wish I could illustrate properly but it is darn hard to draw backgrounds.

You can go ahead and provide reference, but that may not help enough
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Old 03-19-2011, 05:06 PM   #17
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Gotcha... well, maybe I'll get my sister to draw my poster (even though she's very unwilling, though she says she could draw it).
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Old 03-19-2011, 05:10 PM   #18
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well, you know there's no way I can scan anything poster sized ^^ if I ever have the urge to draw him, though, I'll let you know
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Old 03-19-2011, 05:37 PM   #19
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Katie, you have an amazing talent. I cannot draw stick figures. My creativity stops at words.
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Old 03-19-2011, 05:49 PM   #20
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Thanks Grace
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