Dancing With The Devil ch. 28 - U2 Feedback

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Old 04-29-2011, 10:13 PM   #1
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Dancing With The Devil ch. 28

After the last clunky chapter... here's one I need taken off my hands.
It never happened, except U2 did have a Zoo TV Tour and went to Rome. And MacPhisto did go to the Vatican.
When in Rome... what do you do?

My eyelids feel like solid, unmovable iron. I can’t seem to lift them and discover what’s going on outside my head. Everything is red from the pulsing blood in my eyelids, and black from the weight descended on my chest. I’m aching all over.
I don’t want to wake up. If I do the pain will become more defined. So I stay where I am- though I can’t move myself anyway- and feel for the warmth, the sense of life. Someone’s arms are around me.
“It’s all right, Marieke. You’re out of it now. You’re perfectly safe at the hotel… I’m here for you…”
The words dissolve into incomprehensible mumblings that my disoriented self can’t make out. Exhaustion sweeps through my limbs and I fall against the person’s body, wrapped up in my bed. Deep sleep soon takes me.
“I love you… I love you… I love you…”
***
When I next awaken I’m alone in my room, fully clothed in my rumpled outfit from last night. Someone’s inserted splinters into my brain- I want to claw my skull open. At least no one’s turned the light on yet.
I totter out of bed and sink down hard to the floor. What happened to me last night? I don’t remember a thing of it. Although judging from my migraine-like head pain, I drank a lot more than I should have. Did someone peer pressure me? I crawl over to my suitcase and manage to dress in something clean. I’m ravenously hungry.
Outside my door, a shaft of light hits my open eyes. I groan loudly and look down at the wavering floor. Just get to the elevator… get to the elevator…
It takes me a while, but I finally remember where I’m heading and punch the number in as the doors slide closed. Good thing I’m the only person in here. The elevator leaves my stomach behind, and I cough awkwardly.
I step off at the first floor and make my way into the breakfast room, miraculously not collapsing in the process. I have no idea what time it is, but surely I can still get something to eat? Sitting down at a table, I rest my head on my hands. A man from across the room gets up and comes to me.
“Eric?” My voice sounds hoarse.
“Marieke.” He stands in front of me. “Are you feeling better?”
“Better than what?” I ask, clenching my fist into my palm. “I’m starving.”
With a nod of his head, Eric turns to get me something to eat. He comes back soon with a glass of orange juice and a sandwich.
I tear into them hungrily, eyes closed, forgetting to slow down- it’s not a good idea to eat too much too soon, but I can’t help myself. I ask Eric what happened to me.
“We went to a club after the concert and you got drunk and passed out. We brought you here,” he says, crossing his arms.
All right. If that’s all that happened then I needn’t be concerned. But my memory isn’t completely blurry…
“I got lost from everyone else,” I say. “There were some men in the club taking drugs!” I’m not sure how to specify past that- the word “cocaine” isn’t in my English vocabulary.
“Really?” Eric sounds concerned. “I hope they were kicked out.” I agree and ask Eric what time it is.
“It’s past noon. 1:05,” he reads.
At the sound of that my heart jumps. “What?” 13:05… that’s not good.
“You heard me,” he says.
I spring to my feet, ignoring my body’s plea for rest. “We were supposed to film the video today!”
“What video…? Oh, right, that.” Eric watches me snatch up the plate and glass, alarmed. “What’s wrong? They’re not back from the stadium yet!”
At that statement I relax. Thank God… I want to be there when Bono films the video message for U2 fans of Italy.
“Sit down and eat something else,” Eric tells me. He takes the dishware out of my hands and walks back to the place they came from.
I can’t help but look for a clock in the room. Where are Bono and the rest of the group? Shouldn’t they be back at the hotel by now? The filming of the special video message is supposed to take place at the hotel.
Eric returns with more food, and I down it anxiously now, eager to leave. My head still pounds, but I do all I can to ignore it. “Can we go to the stadium?” I ask Eric.
“I’d expect they’re finishing soundchecks for tonight,” he says. “Was the filming appointed an official time?”
I rise. “Not that I know of, but I want to go!”
With Eric holding onto my arm, worried that I’m going to fall or something in my weak state, I exit the Hotel Majestic. We walk down to a bus stop and catch the next one to the stadium. I haven’t brought anything but the clothes on my body; Eric thankfully never seems to leave home without money.
Down at the stadium, the place where U2 performed last night, Eric and I are greeted by Jack, of all people. He comes over to us and says hello.
“Jack, is the band still here?” Eric asks. He shakes his head. “They’re going back for soundchecks later today, but at the moment the stadium is empty.”
“So where did they go?” Eric inquires.
“Em… I think to the hotel, where else?”
“Dammit!” I hiss, and Eric squeezes my arm. “All right. See, they’re scheduled to film a short video thing today and Marieke wants to be there to see it.”
“The whole band?” Jack asks. He shakes his head. “Well, I guess I can’t help you any further. The trip down here must have been wasted. Marieke, rough night?” He gestures to me.
Does my ordeal show that much? “Rough night,” I growl, smoothing my hair down. The former bundle of curls are hanging limply around my face.
Jack nods. “I’ll join you folks if you don’t mind.”
We clamber onto the next bus that arrives, and of course by that time I’m freaking out. What if we don’t make it back in time and the group starts without me?
My fears are quelled when we reach the hotel once more. The lobby, once devoid of people, is now full of them, newly arrived from the stadium. Adam is strangely absent from the throng, but the rest of the band- Larry, Bono, and Edge- are milling about in separate corners of the room. I can see that Larry looks bored, and predict he’s not going to last for too much longer down here.
Once Bono sees me, my disheveled state no longer seems to matter. It takes all my willpower not to meet him halfway as the singer exclaims, “Marieke!” and crosses the room to find my arms.
Bono’s looking chipper and none the worse for wear. I privately consult my faulty memory- he was pretty drunk at the club last night. “What happened?” I ask, indicating Bono’s wide eyes and bright smile. “Do you have a hangover cure that I don’t know of?”
“Yes,” he says, taking my hands. “Early morning wake up calls.” He leans into me, clinging onto my hands, and bumps against my cheek with his lips. I press my own against his, and we pull back, smiling at each other.
Until he groans. “Rude awakening, believe me! Took me hours to feel normal” I laugh, pulling back from him, and we break apart, my cheek tingling. Bono peers me in the eye, his scrutiny turning serious.
“Do you feel better from last night?”
I nod. It depends on what night Bono means. Is he talking about the part of the night where I was getting drunk in a club, or the part where I was sleeping off the effects? Either way, I surely feel more alive than I did when I awoke this morning.
Bono’s eyes tighten at the edges. “So that’s why you don’t drink much. You had how many- two, three?- and…”
I interrupt him. “I can’t handle too much alcohol in my system. Especially when I haven’t been fed.” Which reminds me, those tidbits of food don’t make much of a lunch…
Someone taps Bono’s shoulder. It’s Paul, looking quite businesslike. “When do we want to start the filming?”
“Oh, right now I guess, now that Marieke’s here.” I grin at him. “You know me too well.”
“Better than you know yourself, love,” he tells me using MacPhisto’s voice. I am not so out of it to die at his tone.
Paul backs away. “All right…”
We scan the hotel lobby while Bono goes off to change into MacPhisto. Some people are fussing about lighting, looking for the right place for him to sit. Why don’t they use one of those golden sofas? The Edge comes up at my side while Larry sidles away. I knew he wouldn’t last.
“Tell me this…” Edge looks on. “Why was Bono making such a fuss about you today?”
My heart thuds. “Eh?”
“He kept mentioning you while we were doing soundchecks. It was a bit odd. He couldn’t stop worrying about you… Do you think Marieke’s all right? When do you think she’ll wake up? What happened to you last night?”
Hmm. This is very interesting news. It thrills me to know that Bono cares that much about me, but it’s very confusing. Why in the name of love would Bono be asking about me? Surely he’s got so much more on his mind. Why was I in the foreground of it?
“Edge…” I sigh. “I got drunk in the club last night and passed out.” Embarrassment sweeps me off my feet. I can still taste the alcohol on my tongue- and suddenly I feel very, very sick.
Edge’s eyes brighten, laughing inwardly. “Oh, that’s all that went on? From the way Bono was acting you’d think you were in critical condition. As if you would die if he left you!” Edge snorts.
He’s gotten me even more confused. Once again- why would Bono worry so much about me? I’m not his freaking wife. What goes on in that man’s brain?
I snap into reality, saving myself from delving too deep into my wondering of Bono’s motives. Out of nowhere, I stride to the gaggle of people who are still deciding on a spot for the videoshoot and point randomly at one of the golden couches in the lobby. “How about here?”
The all look at me. By a moment of chance, the spot I’ve chosen is perfect for lighting. The gold of the couch mingles beautifully with the gold of MacPhisto’s suit, and the red walls would bring out his shirt beneath it.The well-furnished lobby is the perfect place for the last pop star.
Edge hisses in my ear. “Brilliant, Marieke!”
I only smile.
Soon the video people are setting up, and I feel like the smartest woman the world has ever seen. “Say Edge, what did you do last night?”
“I went out too,” he says. “With Morleigh, Adam, and Naomi. No one got into quite as much mischief as you.” I scowl at him, but he only laughs. “We had a great time.” He falls silent and I imagine that whatever else happened that night, he’s keeping it to himself.
“How did the soundchecks go?” Not like I would have wanted to be there. I still start at loud noises, and if I’d been in the stadium when U2 was practicing my headache would have been monstrous.
Edge winks, a feat which I’d thought was only reserved for Bono. “Let’s just say there will be quite the setlist shakeup tonight.”
Before I can ask him what he means, we are startled by a loud cry of “Honey, I’m home!”
MacPhisto whirls out of the elevator and comes towards the group of people clustered around the couch. “All right, let’s get see if this shit works,” he says, and I frown- that was in an Irish accent. MacPhisto is not The Fly.
“We’re filming there,” someone tells MacPhisto, pointing to the seat on the sofa I’ve chosen. He nods and drapes himself over the couch. A gold Devil settled on a gold sofa- what could be more beautiful than that?
The camera is rightly positioned a few centimeters away from MacPhisto. MacPhisto kicks up his legs, looking very much like a tired old pop star. “Are you ready?” someone asks, and he nods his head. The camera rolls. MacPhisto leans forward, gazing straight into the film camera’s depths. I wonder what the special message for U2 fans is going to say. I certainly didn’t help to write it.
The Devil blinks once, slowly, and begins to read some lines off his memory. “They say, he who loves life loses it. But I say…” Here comes a dramatic pause. I couldn’t have written it better myself. He pulls his jacket around himself and finishes, “I say, hate your life enough and you can keep it forever.”
It’s over in one take. MacPhisto’s gotten everything spot-on, as usual. Edge is grinning next to me, and I whisper, “What is it?”
“Those were my words this time,” he tells me, and I’m amazed. Edge has a way with writing. “They sounded like something MacPhisto would say!”
“Are we doing photoshooting now?” MacPhisto asks plaintively in his proper voice. The cameramen give an assent. They work with the stylist in positioning MacPhisto exactly right- and when the first picture is taken, it’s all I can do to stop smiling. MacPhisto is resting against the sofa, his platform shoes barely touching the ground. He’s curled around himself and basically looks worn out- as if he’s resting after putting on a show. I can’t wait to see the shot developed.
They take a few more pictures, one with MacPhisto sitting right up on the edge of the couch, his hand under his chin, deep in thought. A knowing, truly MacPhisto smirk is curling his lips up. I want to swoon at that sight- or maybe it’s in part from my exhaustion; I’m obviously not completely recovered from my hangover. The angle they click the camera from is an odd one, and I know will suggest beautywhen the photo is developed.
MacPhisto flops back onto the pillows with a deep sigh typical of the man. I creep forward and set myself on the couch. MacPhisto looks at me with a glint in his eye.
“How are you today, Mr. MacPhisto?” I ask.
“Just fine, thank you,” he replies, and suddenly throws both arms around me. I giggle and squeal just like I’m a child again trying to escape from her bear-hugging father. MacPhisto holds me as gently as possible, and I wind my arms around him too, feeling blessed to be this close to the man. We stare into each other’s eyes. His are a depthless pool of azure, and I can feel myself falling into it, breathless. I start to lean in.
“Ahem.” That one little word startles me and I twist around. “Should we leave you two alone for the moment?” Everyone is snickering.
MacPhisto lets go of me and stands up. “That’s a wrap for today,” the cameraman says, and he begins packing up equipment. I run along after MacPhisto.
“I’m sorry,” I say, my hand disappearing into my hair. “I think I frightened you.”
“No…” MacPhisto blinks and becomes Bono. “Marieke… please, don’t get too caught up in any emotions you might be having. Remember, though I seem to be someone else, I’m really still Bono underneath the makeup and the clothing. Please don’t think that I will regard you in any different way just because I look different.”
I’m… shocked. And hurt. Bono knows I’m in love with MacPhisto. He doesn’t know I fancy him, too. Will he ever notice? I don’t even know if I want him to.
The floor swoops suddenly, and I waver on my feet. “I’m tired…”
Bono’s eyes close for a moment. When he looks back at me I’m startled to see… desperation? The emotion dominates his face.. But why? He looks nearly heartbroken. It comes to me now- which persona am I viewing in this one gaze?
There are so many words that could be said at this moment. But the next time either of us speaks, it’s only Bono to say, “You’re not feeling well. Do you have the speech for tonight written?”
The speech…! I’ve totally forgotten about that.
Bono sighs. “Go get some rest. I’ll write the speech myself.”
“But… you…” I won’t get paid this week, but that’s not what concerns me. I am concerned about how well the speech will go if I don’t have a hand in it.
“It’ll work out, Angel.” He begins to leave, but stops and reaches out to me. His thin fingers caress my face, and I see MacPhisto in his expression. I close my eyes and open my mouth, and just like that, he’s gone.
I go up to my room and hit the much-needed hay, mixed and confused emotions still whirling about in my head. I love him… I love him… I love him…
***
“Marieke, wake up!”
I groan, pulling the sheets over my head. Someone is pounding on my door, and it’s too noisy for me. Why can’t they just let me sleep…
“Marieke! We’ve got to get down to the stadium.”
With a little more prompting, I get up, feeling like I’ve been asleep for days. Afternoon naps always make me feel like crap when I wake up, and this one is multiplied by at least ten. Grumbling, I open the door to face an anxious Eric.
“Is the show starting?” I ask.
“Almost. Hurry! Don’t you want to be there?” He takes my hand and leads me out of the room.
In the flurry of activity that the downstairs lobby yields, I spy a scrap of paper floating out the door. I grab it and ask, “Did anyone drop this?” No one has.
I stop Eric for a moment to read the paper, hoping I will discover clues to the owner’s identity. Instead, a cold feeling climbs into my stomach and shoots up to the top of my head as I realize- this is MacPhisto’s phone call and speech. Bono forgot to take it with him.
“Eric,” I hiss. “Give me your pencil.” He reluctantly obliges. I take it and ask him to go on ahead to the stadium. “I’ll be there soon.” With a worried glance, Eric finally leaves me.
I lean against a table and begin to read. The words of the speech swim before my eyes, but the full effect has me smiling. This will be a good call. Now I’ll just touch it up a bit…
When I get into the stadium, it’s packed to the brim with Italian U2 fans. I just barely manage to get safely backstage and find the band. It appears I’ve caught them in a lull between the last opening band and the main set. Bono stops mid-pace to stare at me, and gradually the whole band takes notice, calling off the rush of crewmen and women.
“Bono!” I hurry towards him. “You forgot the speech.”
He lets out a pent-up breath. “Thank God you’ve got it, Angel! I was afraid I wouldn’t remember it all.” He unfolds the paper and slowly reads it, his brow furrowing when he realizes the extra words.
“Marieke, did you meddle with this?”
“Yes!” I cry. “It’s my job. I’m paid to meddle with it!”
Bono reads the full speech aloud to the rest of the band, and to his and my surprise Edge, Larry, and Adam end up laughing.
“That’s great,” Larry says. “Marieke, you wrote this?”
“I fixed it,” I tell him.
Larry states what has already been established by Bono- “You’re a genius.”
“Thank you.” I smile.
“But like everything else, it all depends on the response and we don’t have the time to rehearse-“ Bono is stressed, flicking his eyes from the speech to me in seconds. “Marieke, what have you-“
“She’s done her job,” Edge says, defending me. And now Eric flies into the room- “Showtime!”
U2 leaves the dressing room, and I pray that Bono won’t get too nervous. Stage fright would be poor showmanship indeed.
And now I’m remembering that Edge has mentioned a setlist shakeup. If Edge’s tone spoke for itself, there is going to be a major change. Will they debut a never-before-played song or two, from Zooropa?
I stand at attention backstage, Eric at my side, and cringe often.The usually comforting visual assault of the TV screens on each side of the screen is now splitting my head apart. The sheer volume of the music from this location is squealing and painful, and I wish I had earmuffs.
Seven songs in, the show hasn’t experienced any severe changes. There was a snippet at the end of One that I’ve never heard before. But snippet changes aren’t drastic enough…
As I recover from New Year’s Day- the song still jolts me like a punch in the stomach even though Zooropa is my favorite song- Edge himself goes up to the mic. “We’re going to try something different,” he tells the noisy crowd. Bono has gone behind Edge to snag some water, and gives the guitarist a supportive smile. Edge continues, “This is a new song,” and the screens flicker, giving a hint of babble. For one second- one small, sweet second- I am tricked into believing they’re playing Zooropa. But Edge’s hands are moving up and down his instrument, blasting out those notes that signal the beginning of Numb.
“Don’t move, don’t talk out of time, don’t think, don’t worry, everything’s just fine,” he says, mumbling the words rather than truly singing. The guitar punctuates his words. “Just fine…
“Don’t grab, don’t clutch, don’t hope for too much, don’t breathe, don’t achieve, or grieve without leave. Don’t check, just balance on the fence, don’t answer, don’t ask, don’t try to make sense.” Okay, I’ve got admit, that last line is pretty funny. “Don’t whisper, don’t talk, don’t run if you can walk, don’t cheat, compete.” He pauses. “Don’t miss the one beat.”
All I can think as I stand here backstage is how much Lina would love this. It occurs to me that maybe Numb has been playing on the television in Holland for a while now. Has she seen Edge in the video and wished desperately to be there- to be in my place?
“Don’t travel by train, don’t eat, don’t spill, don’t piss in the drain, don’t make a will.” All right, all right, so Numb’s got humor going for it, at least. “Don’t fill out any forms, don’t compensate, don’t cower, don’t crawl, don’t come around late. Don’t hover at the gate…” But I would very much enjoy an awesome guitarist hovering at my gate.
“Don’t take it on board, don’t fall on your sword, just play another chord.” He unintentionally smiles. “If you feel you’re getting bored…”
Bono and, to my surprise, Larry both lunge for their individual microphones. “I feel numb,” they sing. “I feel numb. Too much is not enough…”
And so I wait as patiently as possible for the song to be over. Numb goes over surprisingly well, given that Zooropa has just been released a few days ago. The band ends the song and Larry and Adam get to chill for a bit as the melodic section covers Satellite of Love. After that comes the next big surprise.
“I have climbed highest mountains… I have run through the fields… only to be with you.” Bono sings straight from his soul. “Only to be with you…”
They’ve done it again- played a song I thought I’d never hear live. I mean, I’ve seen it before, in Oviedo, but that was months ago. Once again, I find myself singing as loud as I can, swaying to that throbbing bass. Eric, who is with me, sings along- a first. He’s not that bad- at least not as bad as I am. I can’t hit the high notes for anything.
I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For and Numb- it’s almost too much to hope for anything more special. And yet I do, hoping that Edge’s implication spoke of more than just two songs.
The performance is over now, and I clap from backstage. Eric cheers. The fans in the audience drown us out, of course, and Bono can’t help but break into a huge grin at the feedback. He gives a nod to Edge, and on that cue a guitar riff sweeps me off my feet.
No… it can’t be…
It is!
The drums of the song kick in, moving my body this way and that. I want to scream, but instead shout along with Bono the name of the song-
“I will follow!”
Cue the jamming. Adam swings his bass, and Edge practically dances backward with the guitar in his hands as if it’s a living thing. Larry is pounding away at those drums, those drums that I love so, so much… The song takes me back to the days before I met Lina, when I was 17, lived with my parents, and was just discovering that a band called U2 exists.
And what does Bono think? He’s looking more than thrilled to be playing an old favorite. “I was on the outside when you said, said you needed me… I was looking through myself, I was blind, I could not see…”
Edge takes it away, and I gasp at the perfection of his playing. Never mind that my headache is brought back full-force and I think I could pass out- it’s I Will Follow, for gosh sakes!
“A boy tries hard to be a man, his lover takes him by the hand… if he stops to think, he’ll always wonder why.”
Eric and I chant the chorus as Bono and Edge sing it.
“If you walk away, walk away , walk away, walk away… I will follow! If you walk away, walk away, walk away, walk away… I will!” Bono screams. “FOLLOW!”
Edge is just plain going to town on this song. I want to thank him and the band for keeping true to the oldest music of theirs. Eric and I rock out like the crazy fans we are..
Now my whole body relaxes as U2 begins Sunday Bloody Sunday. Oh, how I love this band… I love them, I love them, I love them…
Backstage Bono hurriedly reads over my improved speech while the video screens run through their nightly selection of confessionals. “Marieke… do you have any idea that what you wrote will work out?”
“It will work out,” I tell him, handing him his MacPhisto shoes. “Go out there and be a star. Be MacPhisto.”
Speaking of MacPhisto, wouldn’t it have been a better idea to show the video we filmed today onscreen instead of the confessions? Hopefully at the next show U2 will bring it to light.
Bono changes and shifts into the Devil I know and love. And we’re out, and I’m following MacPhisto to the stage- but I don’t set foot on it. Instead I watch as he sings Desire.
We all know that the excitement of a second show in Rome is getting to us, as the band has added three songs for the occasion. And yet I’m not prepared for MacPhisto’s sudden onstage antics. In the middle of the song, he draws attention to a man in the crowd and his unsual date- a blow-up doll, used for only one thing. MacPhisto gestures to it and shouts, “She looks like my kind of girl!” He gives a cue to the band to bear with him, and they vamp on their instruments as MacPhisto creeps closer to the egde of the stage, murmuring to the doll, “Come on child…”
The man hands over his friend, and MacPhisto takes it in his arms and dances in a circle. The rest of the band is quite obviously trying to disguise their laughter. About one minute passes before the dance ends, due to the poor doll deflating in MacPhisto’s grip. I expect he’ll fling it back to the audience, but hilariously enough MacPhisto’s face grows sad. “It happens to all my girlfriends,” he sighs, and drapes it over the end of the stage. “Do sit down…” The man reclaims his prize.
“DESI-I-I-I-IRE!” He ends the performance with a series of sweeping waves and several cries- “What a night! What a city! Roma… Zooropa! Roma… Zooropa! Zooropa! My Zooropa.” Blessed silence covers the stage, but not the stadium.
Now that that song’s over, MacPhisto laughs, and murmurs “All mine.” He fixes his sights on the Italians and begins. “Off with the horns, on with the show. My name is Signor MacPhisto. I also go by the name of Andreiotti.”
The crowd laughs, and I shrug off the meaningless joke. That Italian politician must be pretty harsh, for the Devil to easily masquerade as him.
“I come disguised as many things, and I’m particularly fond of show business,” MacPhisto tells the audience. I smile- he’s using my words. “I know you like your pop stars to be exciting. That’s why I bought these. Do you think I look funky?” he finishes, putting his shoes on display.
An enormous cheer rises up from the crowd. They love MacPhisto almost as much as I do.
“I have a very good friend whom I’d like to make a telephone call to. His name is Bettino Craxi.” I’d had to ask a hotel worker who this is- apparently some other corrupt Italian politician. Figures MacPhisto would be calling the likes of him.
“Do you know him?” MacPhisto asks. “I believe he stays at the Hotel Raphael, shall I give him a telephone call?”
“YEAH!” Of course we U2 fans are up for anything!
MacPhisto brushes his arm in the vague direction of the money from Desire that is still falling to the stage after being shot out of a cannon. “I love to see money blowing in the wind. What a lovely sight that is. Now…”
He moves over to the phone and dials. The sound of a chant arises from the audience. “Bettino! Bettino! Va fan cula!” I have no idea what they’re saying, but MacPhisto seems to understand. His eyebrows raise, internally holding in laughter.
“Hello…?” A short burst of music comes in. “I love that. Playing my song.” MacPhisto improvises excellently- “Seem to have a bit of bother with the phone, shall we just try that again?” He moves his fingers over the phone, and I hear humorous lines that I’m sure weren’t intended for anyone else’s ears- “Ohh, let me see, I’ve hung up…”
Eventually MacPhisto seems to have the phone figured out. He mutters, “Ah. Just double-check this. Six-eight-two, eight-three-one. Shhh,” he calms the crowd.
Soon… “Raphael, Buena sera?” a man’s voice greets us.
“Hello, is that the hotel Raphael?” MacPhisto asks unabashedly.
“You’re right,” is the reply.
“Thank you very much. I’d like to speak, if at all possible, to Signor Craxi.”
“And who’s speaking?” the man wants to know.
MacPhisto takes a page out of my book- “My name is MacPhisto.” Did he noticed that I’d erased his title on the script?
“From where?” the man asks, wanting to interrogate MacPhisto further.
“I- I…” he stumbles. “My country of origin is not of interest to you, young man, could you just put-“
“No, you have to tell me absolutely because he will, he’ll like to know. But I can do it,” the man interrupts.
Of course MacPhisto does not take kindly to these words. He glares, but his voice comes out even- “Can you tell him that-“
The man cuts in irritably. “From where are you calling?”
MacPhisto loses his fine temper. “I’m calling from downtown Roma!”
The man mutters something confusedly.
“And I’m calling to s-“
Once again the Devil is interrupted. “I, I understand what you are calling- may I, can you spell me your name?”
MacPhisto collects himself. “My name is MacPhisto, M-A-C-“
“Yes?”
“…P-H-I-S-T-O.”
“Phisto?”
“Yes.”
“Okay.”
This brief exchange of words makes me giggle. MacPhisto sighs, annoyed that it took him that long to get the man to understand. “And I’d like to get in touch with him concerning a very important matter-“
“Hold the line,” the man breaks in.
MacPhisto opens his mouth angrily, but ends up just saying, “Thank you.” He eyes the crowd in a what-the heck sort of way. They laugh, and so do I.
Now his fingers curl pleasantly around the receiver. “Keep me hanging on the telephone…”he sings.
We wait, and the phone continues to ring. MacPhisto tries another song- “I just called to say I loved you…”
The phone keeps ringing, and he sighs. “Ohhh dear. La la la la-la… getting to know you, getting to know the things about you…” Click. Finally, someone’s picked up!
“Hello?” MacPhisto asks.
The woman who answers seems to be informed of who MacPhisto wants to reach. “Hello, I’m his secretary- what do you need from him?”
Surprised that she understands, MacPhisto answers, “I’m actually… I’m lea-“ Please don’t tell me he’s forgotten my words at this pivotal moment. “I’m ringing to give Mr. Craxi a warning.” He got it right! Thank God.
“Yes?” the woman asks.
“Yes, there’s a man looking for him.”
“Yes?”
“Yes…” I’m getting sick of all these yes’s. “His name is Judge di Pietro.”
And… YES! I’d had to get a little more background information on people in Rome, but it was so, so worth it. So worth it to hear the crowd laugh at my punchline. But there’s more to it than that- why isn’t MacPhisto reciting the end? I remember writing more…
On the other end of the telephone line, the woman tries to speak. Unfortunately her voice is completely lost in the crowd’s cheering. Ultraviolet begins, and I groan- it’s too late now!
“Be careful…” MacPhisto murmurs, trying to recover from his temporary memory loss. But he can’t finish the line in time, because he has to sing.
“Sometimes I feel like I don’t know. Sometimes I feel like checking out. I want to get it wrong… can’t always be strong…”
He asks the telephone, “Do you hear me?” Maybe the woman hasn’t hung up yet, and we can try again.
“Love it won’t be long…”
***
“I didn’t like it.”
“I didn’t like it either, Angel.”
We fall silent together, and I stretch my tired limbs out by pressing against the table. “Did you forget the end bit?”
“Yeah,” Bono admits, and I sigh. “I’m sorry for changing the speech.”
“It was pretty flat anyway,” he says. “You at least gave it a dose of life. I actually can’t thank you enough.”
I nod, keeping my expression blank. “What do you find hard about writing speeches?”
“You’re asking me that?” Bono finds my words amusing. “Haven’t you thought of it? I’m not in the audience. I can’t get the full effect of MacPhisto. I need someone who’s watching to write these phone calls, so you understand how the character rubs off on people. You’re a fan. You know what you want to see coming from me and what you react well to. That is what’s hard… not always knowing what they want from you.”
The breakfast room is near deserted. All the crewmen are either loading up trucks for the drive to Naples or getting the van ready to take us to the Vatican. It’s pure chance that I’ve managed to catch this one moment alone with Bono. I shake my head at his insecurities.
“You… look at me. Bono, you have always known what fans want. You also know that not everyone can be pleased. This is not a problem. I’ve heard the words you’ve written on my very favorite records. I don’t understand how speeches and such can be any different.”
Bono closes his eyes. What does she mean? She wants to keep her job as scriptwriter, doesn’t she? Marieke can’t be urging Bono to write for her. She’s being paid for doing the opposite.
“Angel, I don’t understand you,” he states, which sums up most of his thought process.
“Okay.” Okay? How can she take his comment and turn it into nothing? Why do they continue to sit here and chew on words that have already been said?
“I think I should go,” Bono says, getting up.
Her eyes follow him all the way back to the lobby.
I sigh once again, slumping over the table. Every time I try to spend some time alone with Bono, our conversation twists unpleasantly, and next thing I know he’s gone. It seems we can barely be left alone before something confuses us. Which one of us is driving the other away? Is there something wrong with me- does Bono see me as a clingy fan who wants too much from him?
How does she see me? Bono wonders. He halts a few feet from the main door. Am I spending too much time with her? Why do we interact past the phone calls? For it is possible that the two could only see each other during their discussions over MacPhisto’s speeches. He’s never spent as much time with a fan or a crew member as her. Which one of them is refusing to let go?
Some of the crewmen turn up inside, including Eric who is searching for me. “Hey Marieke!”
“Hey,” I answer, trying to hide my listlessness. “What are you doing?”
He stops at my table. “Just wondering- are you coming with us or going to the Vatican? Paul wanted a head count since he’s going to be with the crew and we need to know how many people are being left behind.”
“I’m going to the Vatican,” I answer automatically. Of course I want to be as close to MacPhisto as possible.
Eric takes my hand and we leave the hotel.
Outside, the entourage is still sorting things out. Some of us will be staying in Rome while others drive to Naples. When the trip is over, we’ll ride to Naples ourselves.The band is undecided, and Bono takes it upon himslef to ask each one.
“Reg, Adam, you coming?” Bono calls. The guitarist replies in the positive. Adam makes a face. He’s obviously eager to get on the road.
“Larry?” He shakes his head no, sharing Adam’s feelings. The rhythm section climbs onto the bus heading for Naples.
“I’m coming to the Vatican,” Bill pipes up, and a few other crew members- including a photographer for MacPhisto- give their word. Jack, I notice, is one of them.
“Eric?” Paul asks. Squeezing my hand, he answers with a head nod. Paul counts the amount of people going to the Vatican. “You’ve got a large group. Would any of you mind too much to move on?”
“I’ll stay with Adam and Larry,” Edge shrugs, disheartening a few of us. Eric looks at the crew and back at me. “I think I’d prefer to see Naples…”
“Then go.” Eric doesn’t have join me at all times. He nods and gets onto the bus. I stride forward, and Bono turns his attention onto me. “Marieke…”
I smile. “I’m coming with you.”
“I knew you wouldn’t miss it for the world!” he laughs, and with those few, simple words our previous conversation is pushed behind us. That, it seems, is the way all things go. The whole group collects themselves and we board the van that will take us to Vatican City.
On the ride over, Bono chats with some crewmen while I gaze out the window. The bumps of the van are giving me yet another headache, worse than the one I suffered through all yesterday. Jack catches my eye and gives me a sympathetic look. I glare at him. He smirks.
All at once, Bono says, “I’m changing now.” We all look at him. He shrugs and removes his jacket. This prompts us all to exclaim “No!” and try to convince the van to stop. Jack makes a plea for my case- “There’s a woman in here! Do you really want to undress now?” No one notices that the woman herself is suspiciously silent.
“She’s seen me half-dressed before,” Bono says, which leads someone to ask what he’s been doing behind everyone’s backs. I explain about dressing MacPhisto, and we settle back in our seats after Bono decides he can change at the Vatican. Briefly I wonder what the passersby would think if they saw a half-naked man in our van. Oh, they know it’s only rock and roll…
We arrive presently at the Vatican, and I go outside to squint at the bright sun. Jack asks, “So what was the rough night you mentioned yesterday? No one told me what happened.”
I repeat the story everyone else knows by now- “I got drunk at a club and passed out.”
“Who took you back to the hotel?” he asks, a purely logical inquiry.
Good question! I really don’t remember the return trip… or getting to my room… and when I asked Eric about it he just said “we brought you here.” Who had been the first one to discover me? From the rambunctious look of the club, a woman passing out is quite mild.
I admit to Jack that I can’t remember, who accepts it, though there’s an odd look screwing about his eyes. What else have I forgotten from that night?
We take a walk into the mini-country, acting our part of amazed sightseers. Bono is changing in the van, which seems appropriate- the first steps he takes in Vatican City will be the steps of the Devil. I clasp my hands and look about the place, excitement upwelling from deep inside me. But even as I fidget, waiting for MacPhisto, one part of my brain is still wondering who took me home last night.
I can’t remember anyone going to the club but Eric, Larry, Bono, and I. There were probably more crewmen hanging there that I didn’t notice at the time, but that means they wouldn’t have been looking. I rule out Bono because he was also drunk at the time- the person who returned me to the hotel would have taken Bono as well. Now it’s down to Larry and Eric. Which one of them was the first to find me? It seems crucial to know. Strange that I’ve put back remembering it for this long, but yesterday was all a blur.
Just now I snap back into reality as the van door opens. The man who exits the vehicle isn’t Bono- no, instead it’s MacPhisto in all his glory. We crowd around him, asking where the photoshoot should start. The Devil smiles winningly and says- in a British accent, it’s definitely MacPhisto- “Just get those cameras ready.”
We wander the Vatican, some of us following MacPhisto, others going off to explore on their own. I’m hot on MacPhisto’s trail, and thus I hear Bono speaking from behind the guise- “Can we get the walking stick for the photos?”
I ask why he needs one, and Bono shrugs. “MacPhisto is old. He wouldn’t be out on a stroll without a cane of some sort.” I nod and wait for him to get back in character. Someone goes into the van to locate the prop he’s brought. MacPhisto places sunglasses over his blue eyes and takes a deep breath, becoming himself again. “It’s so dreadfully bright today…”
The crewman returns holding an unusual stick. “Where did you get that?” I ask MacPhisto as he takes it in his firm grip.
“The Hotel Majestic,” he answers. “They’ve gotten me nothing better than a curtain rod!” With that he wheels off and begins a walk around the Vatican.
It’s wonderful to see the blank and puzzled looks of the Italian passersby, the ones who aren’t in on the ironic joke. The Devil roams with a restless eye, shooing birds in his path. I laugh out loud . Cameras click, and MacPhisto poses in various areas.
Jack catches my arm. “Not bad for your first visit to the Vatican, eh?” I infer that he hasn’t been here before, because everyone knows that I was the one to come up with the idea.We giggle as MacPhisto sets himself in front of the fountain, smiling beautifully.
I can’t help but think- I came up with all this. I proposed the Vatican trip in the first place, and Bono fleshed it out for me. But I was the visit’s inception, knowing that having MacPhisto in the center of Catholic religion would be too great a joke to pass up.
“I could have had all of this, but I didn’t want it,” MacPhisto taunts himself under his breath. “It could have all been mine. Oh wait, I forgot- it is mine.”
After being startled by MacPhisto, the pigeons are annoyed further when a cry rings across the sunlit area- “Mr. MacPhisto!” It appears the Italian U2 fans have finally caught up to us. MacPhisto himself is surprised and is cajoled into a brief autograph signing. It makes me very proud to see him sign the name MacPhisto instead of Bono.
After moving away from the earnest fans, MacPhisto murmurs in my ear, “Let’s head out.” I agree and round up the others, who are sightseeing. Just before we get back on the van, I spy a surprisingly familiar face loitering outside the Vatican City.
His red hair jogs a memory for me, taking me once again to the Italian club. I see, through a film in my mind’s eye, a man receiving cocaine from his friend. I remember that he had tried to draw me in and could have used me in any wild way. A flare of anger burns over my face.
I stride up to the durg-addicted tourist, who blinks lazy eyes. I slam my foot down on his toes. A yell rings across the air.
“Bastard,” I mutter, and stalk off to rejoin the crew.
We enter the van and settle back down, buzzing. The driver swings out.
As I sink into my seat, MacPhisto catches my eye and grins. I smile and twitch a finger at him. He turns backwards to talk to someone in the seat behind him.
And now that the outing is over, my mind has time to ruminate on other things. I take myself back two nights ago and replay the entire event in the club- or at least what I remember of it. How was I finally found, and which man took me to the hotel?
Recalling anything past the events in the club is like remembering a dream… or counting how many times you’ve woken in the night. I try to do just that. Surely there was a moment in the night that I broke out of my drunken stupor- a moment that I stirred, wondering where I was?
And it comes to me, passing over my soul and mind, a faint flutter of a memory. A man’s arms tight around me, his voice hushing me back into sleep. Someone was in my bed that night- someone who may or may not have taken advantage of me in my state.
Someone who loves me…
I clutch tightly at the seat in front of me as the van goes over a bump. The unknown man’s voice plays over and over in my head. He told me he loves me! Who was it? I try to recall the accent- was it Italian, Irish, or American? Try as I might, the exact timbre of the speaker won’t come back.
Of course he didn’t try anything on me. I’d awakened with the same clothes on as I had worn to the club. Was the man in my bed the man who brought me back to the hotel- Larry, Bono, or Eric? How could it be any one of them?
I leave Rome with these questions still in my brain, my mind searching for the answers and drawing up nothing. He loves me… he loves me… he loves me…
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Old 04-29-2011, 10:18 PM   #2
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Old 04-30-2011, 01:35 AM   #3
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Marieke, rough night?” He gestures to me.
Does my ordeal show that much? “Rough night,” I growl, smoothing my hair down. The former bundle of curls are hanging limply around my face
I think he just assumed the wrong thing...

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But I would very much enjoy an awesome guitarist hovering at my gate.
Heh heh...

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Bono and, to my surprise, Larry both lunge for their individual microphones.
Yay my two favorite men!

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“I will follow!”
YES.

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“Bettino! Bettino! Va fan cula!” I have no idea what they’re saying
I do O.O The last time I heard it was when yet another driver in Italy refused to stop driving at the crosswalk...rrr.

MacPhisto in the Vatican is just wonderful. I wish that'd been when I was there, although I was definitely years too late and I was little when he was there, if even born.

Now, that at the end...hmm...what happened there? You've got me even more curious now, woman!
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Old 04-30-2011, 07:13 AM   #4
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I just realized there was a part I wrote in somewhere else which I didn't have in this version of the chapter. Not like it was all that important though.
What, Italian people do that a lot? The driving thing? I knew what it meant...
Yes... what did happen? Or was it a dream?

At the moment where I am writing, the story has undergone a transformation almost, and I'm liking the characters all a lot more- especially Marieke, who annoyed me because she was too much like me. But seeing as I'm on such a roll I think I can get more chapters up sooner!
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Old 04-30-2011, 12:32 PM   #5
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Yeah, they do. Crossing the street was really scary. I learned most of the curse words from my mom which seems like the opposite order of things...

Ehhh, stop making me so impatient to know!

Huh. I wonder what you did to make you like it so much more and Marieke's like you? Huh. That tends to happen with main characters. I currently don't really have anyone in Out Of Control who's like me, though.

Yay new chapters
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Old 04-30-2011, 12:40 PM   #6
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Hahaha, cool mom.
I actually haven't written the part where you find out yet, meaning that it's not until a long time, but guessing is optional.
Marieke's not EXACTLY like me. She's better looking than me, for one, which makes her sort of like a Mary Sue character (her name is even a derivitive of Mary) but she has more personality than that. Her way of thinking is a lot like mine, especially when U2 is concerned. However, we don't like the same songs... oh dear, am I talking about characters like they're real people?
I feel like the "who likes who" thing with her and Bono is getting kind of old, so I cleaned it up with a few things, that's all.
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Old 04-30-2011, 12:50 PM   #7
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Being better looking doesn't make characters Mary Sues; they just have to be personality-less, which Marieke isn't. And I tend to make my characters look better than me too...it's just depressing if everyone looks at them slantwise like 'eww...why aren't you wearing better clothes?' and all that.

I do that too. If you haven't noticed.

Huh. That sounds a little exciting
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Old 04-30-2011, 12:55 PM   #8
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Ooooh, good. I thought if she was basically me placed in the story but has none of my flaws, that might make her a Mary Sue, but it doesn't. Many of my female characters are very attractive, though, because I can't get the "women look more like your mom than models" idea to stick in my head. I think it's better anyway because I've never written about someone as old as my mom anyway.
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Old 04-30-2011, 01:10 PM   #9
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I always feel weird when I write about people a lot older than me...which I guess I've done quite a bit...

I just sort of know they look a little better than me but because they look *different*. Now that I think about it, I can think of their less attractive aspects ^^ like Ruth's nose is really entertainingly squishy...and Cath's eyes get red too easily...and Eve's face is kind of weirdly sharp, and Phoenix is way too loud...stuff like that.
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Old 04-30-2011, 03:02 PM   #10
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Eh, the oldest character I've had was 30. That's almost Marieke's age.
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really entertainingly squishy
LOL.
I can't think of any physical flaws for ANY of my characters. Mental flaws are easier, like a short temper, being annoyingly emotional, or forgetting things easily.
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Old 04-30-2011, 03:51 PM   #11
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Hmm...well, discounting any Vulcans—they don't count—Marcus might be the oldest. Where's my age chart? Oh, that's right, he's 55.

Mental flaws are a given. Characters always have to have some flaw or they're not all that real. Mine are usually stuck in the past too much or short-tempered or can't deal with people or something.
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Old 04-30-2011, 11:19 PM   #12
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Very interesting. I can't wait to find out who the cuddler was - and hope it wasn't Eric. And Larry. That would be interesting development.

Yeah, my characters are loosely based on areas of my personality. Hence, Gloria - marathon runner. Faith - short punk rock hair. Though Faith is younger than me. She is about the age I was when Pop came out give or take a year. I'd like to pretend I'm way hip for my age.

Looking forward to the next chapters.
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Old 05-01-2011, 01:24 AM   #13
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Hence, Gloria - marathon runner.
I was definitely getting that connection congrats on the marathon, too, I forgot to say in the chapter you mentioned it in...
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Old 05-01-2011, 04:01 PM   #14
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Thanks Grace!

Oh, and I just realized there are not one, but two scenes missing from this version of the chapter. I didn't do a very thorough edit. Would anyone like them PMed? Not that they need to be PMed but that it'd be confusing if I posted them in this thread.
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Old 05-01-2011, 04:19 PM   #15
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Thanks Grace!

Oh, and I just realized there are not one, but two scenes missing from this version of the chapter. I didn't do a very thorough edit. Would anyone like them PMed? Not that they need to be PMed but that it'd be confusing if I posted them in this thread.
I would. Really, Blue! Forgetting scenes is bad ^^

Could you put them in where they're supposed to be in the chapter, and maybe put them in bold or something?
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Old 05-01-2011, 05:35 PM   #16
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I'd like them too please!
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Old 05-02-2011, 06:08 PM   #17
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Jeez, it could have happened with any chapter...
Anyway, I'll send them now.
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