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BlueSilkenSky 02-16-2011 06:04 PM

Dancing With The Devil ch. 18
 
I love this chapter. I was on a writing roll during most of it. :)
A note, though- If ever I said Lina's eyes are blue, forgive me, I was wrong. Marieke is the one with blue eyes.
I discovered a list of toll-free numbers in my agenda, one of which was for KLM Royal Dutch Airlines. So now I own KLM's number... but I do not own the half of U2 that appears in this chapter, only Marieke.
See how many similes you can find in this!

His eyes fastened on the blue sky, Bono takes a sip of his ginger ale. There weren’t many drinks to choose from on the flight from Dublin to Madrid, but this is better than nothing. At least it’s the band’s own plane, and Bono doesn’t have to pay. His head aches with the buzz of new music in his brain.
The studio sessions are always frustratingly busy; no one can get a moment’s rest back there. Last night it was all about mixing and recording- the album’s pretty close to being finished, but there are quite a few kinks needed to be worked out before these songs are claimed as a collection, a work of art. Bono has always been very proud of his music. He takes the writing and recording process very seriously- it should never be rushed. However, others don’t always see the serious aspect. They just want it finished…
“Are you going to give up on that song yet?” Larry inquires sharply. Though he’s sitting back with his hands behind his head, the drummer is the farthest thing from relaxed.
“What, Babble?” Bono wants to know. “You never know what good might come out of it.”
“But we’ve had that song ever since the beginning of these sessions, and we’ve gotten nowhere with it,” Edge comments. “I think it’s time to give up on that track.”
“What about Zooropa, though?” Bono asks. “That song’s not exactly working, if you know what I mean. And there’s no talk of scrapping that.”
“That’s because it’s not a bleeding soundcheck,” Larry points out. He takes his hands from behind his head and moves them to rest on his lap. “We’ve got words for Zooropa, even if they’re not complete, but your babble song has no substance. Sure, it might work for some instrumental track, but we’re not doing that. We’ve got no time to flesh it out!”
Adam stays remotely quiet, his eyes on the wall. He doesn’t like to partake in tense discussions, and Bono knows he is hoping no one will drag him into this one.
“We have plenty of time, Larry,” Bono reminds him. “The album doesn’t have to be finished right this moment.”
“But who knows how long this is going to last?” Larry argues. “This feeling, this… spirit of Zoo TV. Before you know it, the tour’s going to be over, and we’ll be stuck with outdated material all because you couldn’t let go of a soundcheck!”He gets to his feet and restlessly paces a bit, working off steam.
“I don’t know,” Bono mumbles. “I just… can’t let this one go.” He wraps his hand around the cool glass and drinks, the alcohol sliding down his throat like a dose of nasty medicine.
With a jolt, Bono comes back to reality with the knowledge that the cup he now holds is empty. He starts to say something, and then sighs, sliding it away on the tray. What the heck, it was just soda anyway…
The irritated man of last night is now asleep two rows back from Bono. Somehow Larry isn’t as cranky when he’s napping. Bono hides a smile. He wants to talk with someone, but Adam is spaced out looking out the window and Edge is absorbed in writing, leaning over the tray with a pencil in hand. Planes are easier to write on because the ride is smoother, and Edge’s hand moves quickly, unhindered by any bumps.
“Got anything good there, The Edge?” Bono asks him.
He doesn’t look up. “Shhh… I’ll lose it if you…” The sentence trails off.
Understanding the importance of the writing process, Bono keeps uncharacteristically quiet.
***
Was a cold and wet December day when we touched the ground at JFK
Snow was melted on the ground, on BLS I heard the sound
Of an angel
“Angel of Harlem,” I whisper, my hot breath showing on the window. In a few moments more we touch the ground at Madrid, the next city U2 is going to play in.
Airplanes are faster vehicles than buses- we’ve gotten to Madrid in no time at all. It occurs to me that maybe we should have taken the plane from Lisbon and used the buses to ride from Oviedo, as it’s not as far a distance. Who makes these plans about transportation, anyway? At least it’s not going to be my duty…
Eric was intrigued when I told him my idea for a job. He hadn’t heard anything like it- “But then again, I’ve never heard anything like the Zoo TV tour; I’m pretty sure your job could work.” We’d gone to bed, and I awoke to the annoyance of having no clothes to speak of.
Sure, there were clothes in my suitcase, but I only packed enough for three days, since that’s originally how long my trip was. I couldn’t stand the thought of wearing dirty clothes, and I promptly refused Eric’s- there does happen to be a difference between men and women’s bodies! The shirt and pants ensemble I put together this morning is clinging to me like a bad stench. I’m sure everyone can tell just from looking at me that I’m wearing unclean clothes. At least I had the sense to pack a toothbrush.
The Zoo TV video screens are arriving by truck, as there are no planes to transport them. Some of the smaller equipment is loaded into the planes we do have, though, and when we’re safely on the ground some crew members rush to the other planes to unload them. Eric, stretching and shaking his head, doesn’t bother to ask if I want to help before he is following his fellow crewmen over to the equipment. I’m glad that he knew me better than that.
So I stand and stare at the sun. It’s bright and hurts my eyes. We’ll have to move from the airport to the hotel by a bus. I turn my face to the building nearby and wonder what’s going on inside. Are there any phone girls like me taking calls and wishing they were someplace else? Anyone whose ears pricked up with the mention of the name “U2” or “Zoo TV” and hoped they would get to witness the planes unloading, even if the band was not present? I can relate to those feelings. I hope the band will be back by the time we reach the hotel…
I walk to the buses.
***

The band doesn’t arrive back to the hotel until nighttime. They’ve already eaten dinner, and so are whisked away to separate locations while Eric and a group of his friends take me out to dine at a restaurant. They tease me for only having one glass of wine, but I know my limits and two more is really not always a good idea. Out of all the men, Jack is the quietest, brooding over his drink with dark eyes that see much but tell less.
My room is apart from the others this time- Eric helped me purchase it, as the only money I had was Dutch money. I call my parents- how exciting my new life is to them now!- and spend the rest of the night in bed brushing up on both my English and Spanish. Finally the light must go out.
And right this moment I am sitting downstairs in the hotel, eating free breakfast and scanning for a glimpse of the band returned. Eric sits next to me, chatting to someone, but he doesn’t know I’m not really at his side. I’m all the way across the room, standing at the door, or I’m in the middle of the room, determined not to get to close.
Unlike the first morning, they don’t all arrive at once. The first member of U2 downstairs is Edge, drawn to the smell of bacon emanating from the buffet. I think he’s going to go to Morleigh once his plate is full, but instead chooses to sit alone at a table with his bodyguard. Morleigh is focused on someone else, anyway.
I want to go over to The Edge to give him company, but Eric and his friends are still oblivious to my out of body experience. If I leave, it will startle them. So I throw myself back into the conversation by questioning what we are conversing about.
Out of the corner of my eye I see Bono slip quietly into the private dining room, fill a plate, and join Edge at his table. A Spanish hotel staff member comes and fills their glasses with coffee. I nudge Eric and when he looks at me, ask “Can I go over there?”
Eric looks over to the area of the room I mean and gives me a nod. “Go pitch your job idea to them. I’m sure it’s not too early in the morning for that.”
I walk over carefully, my feet sliding gently across the floor.
Edge and Bono spot me at the same time, but it’s Bono who calls first- “Hi, Marieke.” I smile and nod- “Good morning, Bono.” Edge pulls a chair up for me to sit in, at the same also wishing me a good morning.
I sit down and watch them eat for a while. “Where were you last night?”
“Out,” Bono answers. “Enjoying our decadent lifestyle, I guess you could say. We ate dinner at a club and spent the rest of the time hanging there.”
“Was it a party?” I ask.
“Felt like one,” Edge mumbles.
The bodyguards stare at me without saying anything. They don’t want to talk, but I feel where their gaze is going. I cross my arms over my chest for a moment.
“What’d you think of the show on Wednesday?” Bono asks me. ”Enjoy your seat backstage?”
“Yeah, I liked it very much,” I reply to him. “Especially the encore. But the sound was loud!”
Edge and Bono look at each other, smiling, while Edge tells me, “That’s the way it should be.”
Bono is eager to talk to me. I can tell I’ve pleasantly surprised him by learning more English, though my accent is still quite prominent. “We’re doing the next show tomorrow- I suppose you wouldn’t mind watching from backstage there either?”
“No, definitely not,” I answer. “And Bono, I know what job to have now.”
Now all the attention is on me. Clearly interested, Bono asks, “What do you have in mind?”
I take a deep breath, praying that he won’t shoot the idea down. You can always get them to choose your job if this doesn’t work, I tell myself.
“The encore? I like it a lot. I love MacPhisto. But the response isn’t so good. I mean, on the phone. I took phone calls at KLM Airlines; I didn’t hang up when you called. I know what will get a response and what will not. If you please let me, I think I could help you write phone calls. If you do it at all shows. I want to help…”
They’re all watching me closely, like I’m a bug under a microscope. It’s getting uncomfortable very quickly- what, doesn’t anyone like my idea? Maybe it was too “out there” for even Bono…
“Do you have any ideas?” Bono asks. “I mean, I’ve got my own plans for the speeches. What do you have in mind?”
Fearing my idea is heading downhill, I blurt, “I can help your ideas!”
He drinks some of his coffee- not unpleasantly, unlike Lina- and we wait for what he has to say. If Edge has any thoughts of his own, he’s keeping them hidden- he’s unusually quiet today.
“Hm. I think I like this… I can definitely see your logic…” Hope flares.
“Tell you what. I’ll meet you for lunch and we can talk about thoughts on your job. Give me some ideas I haven’t come up with. How’s that sound?”
He didn’t throw my idea away, but he doesn’t seem all too eager to use it either. Still, it’s better than nothing. I ask him, “What time will be the lunch?”
“Let’s meet in the hotel at twelve-thirty,” Bono suggests. “I’ll take you out, my treat.”
“Thank you, Bono,” I say, the words bringing light to my face. I start to get up.
“You’re welcome!” He catches my attempts at leaving and reassures me, “You don’t have to go already.”
So I spend the rest of breakfast with half of U2. Once they’re finished eating, I return to Eric. He’s fingering the pockets of his uniform restlessly.
“Did they like the idea?”
I shrug. “I don’t know. But I’m seeing Bono for lunch.”
“Score,” Eric murmurs as we wander out of the dining room.
***
The first half of the day is involved in shopping. Eric has generously left me some Spanish money, enough to buy a new outfit. I window-shop, only entering the stores with low prices. Eventually luck finds me and I leave a shop with a plain white T-shirt and a nice jean skirt, a casual outfit that shows off just enough. When I’m walking back to the hotel, a jewelry store catches my eye, and I scrape together enough of Eric’s remaining money to purchase a shiny bracelet band. Now I’m broke, but the look suits me.
Back at the hotel, I change clothes in my room. The skirt settles a little too tightly on my hips, but I can’t be bothered to return it. I yank the tags off my clothes and throw away the receipts, hoping that maybe Bono was too preoccupied at breakfast to notice I’m wearing something different at lunch.
I flip through a few more Spanish words before going down to the lobby. There’s a couch right here in the corner, and I sit down and look through brochures while waiting for my date.
At twelve-forty-five according to the clock on the wall, he finally appears. I watch as he approaches me- his shirt a neutral color hiding beneath that jacket, his pants navy blue denim. Shame it wasn’t leather…
“Hello, have you been waiting long?”
I check the clock. “It is almost twenty minutes.”
“I’m sorry,” Bono says, sighing, but I can tell it’s not that big a deal to him. “You weren’t very early, were you? Just be glad I didn’t arrive later.”
“I wanted to be on time,” I tell him, standing up and throwing the brochure to the couch. “Where do we go?”
“You just come with me…”
He takes me to a cheap restaurant, a place where hopefully he won’t be recognized as Bono and I won’t complain about my price range. Not that I’m paying for my own entrée, though. It’s a treat from him, and I think of how lucky I am as the waitress flies off to seat us with a smile. A few glances are tossed our way- both men and women checking us out separately.
Once we’re all alone, in a small booth in the back, and the waitress has fled with our orders, Bono leans forward and rests his head on his hands. “Marieke, I don’t know too much about you.”
“I know a lot about you,” I answer, and a second later blush.
He’s smiling. “How could I forget that? But you’re the mystery- what about yourself?”
I can’t think of what he wants to hear, but I notice his attentive gaze and try to talk. At first my words are hesitant, as I’m scared of embarrassing myself. But soon they flow as easily as the drink does, and I’m telling him about becoming a U2 fan and how their music changed my life. It’s easy to forget that I’m speaking to one of the members.
Bono listens with rapt, captured attention, and only interrupts once- “Your friend, Lina- she’s a fan too, am I right?”
“Yes,” I say. “We met when I went to college… I bought The Unforgettable Fire that year…” A smile starts on my face at the memory of our meeting.
S, T… U. I flip through the records filed under U, searching for the name of my new favorite band. There it is- U2, The Unforgettable Fire, the very last record in the shop. I reach to pull it out…
A warm hand lands on mine. I gasp and jerk my head up, finding myself locked in the green-eyed gaze of another woman. She clings to my hand, not letting me remove the record from its place. She’s obviously pissed.
“What are you doing?” Her demand rings in my ears, leaving me bemused.
“Buying The Unforgettable Fire, what’s it look like?”
“No.” She shakes her head hard. “Listen. I’ve had my eyes set on that record since the day it came out. It’s only now that I’ve had time to get myself down here, and what do I find? Some girl trying to steal what’s rightfully mine.”
I shake my head and tighten my grip on the album. This makes her tighten her grip on my hand. It hurts, but I don’t show it.
“I’ve been stuck in school this whole week. Today is the only day I’ve been able to come here. I want this album too. It’s the last copy available. Please, let me buy it.”
“Not on your life!” She squeezes my hand so hard that I wince. “Let go of me! That hurts.”
“Sorry, but no way. If I let go, you are going to scamper away with my precious album. I’m not letting that happen.” She purposefully digs her nails into my skin, and it hurts so badly that I drop the record and back off. She rubs her knuckles, letting the blood flow back into them, and strokes the side of the record.
I watch with a sinking heart as the girl picks The Unforgettable Fire up and digs around in her pockets. Mentally I size her up… though she’s shorter than me, she obviously had weight as an advantage. Maybe I can come back next week… maybe they’ll have restocked… But my mind had been set on today. I don’t want to wait.
“Shit. Where’s my money?” The woman empties her left pocket and comes up with some bills. She empties her right pocket and draws out… nothing. Her eyes close in on me.
“Did you see any money on the floor?” I shake my head and, slipping The Unforgettable Fire under her arm, she goes to retrace her steps. I stay where I am and wait.
She returns empty handed, all but for the album. “I don’t have nearly enough to buy the thing now,” she huffs.
I shove my hand into my own pocket and finger the money I have in there. I take care to separate the bills and hold my other hand out for the record while engaged. “I guess I’ll have to buy it.”
She hands it over, but glowers. Definitely not happy. I turn around and sort half the money into one hand, pretending to count it out. Then I spin to face her, my eyes wide. “Where’s my money got to?”
The woman is confused. “I didn’t take it! How much do you have?”
I show her the half of my store. “I… I guess this is all I brought.” Both of us know it’s not enough to buy the whole thing.
“What a coincidence.” She’s fallen for it.
“Hey, I know what we should do. We should pay for the album together, and whoever likes it the most can keep it,” I say.
She stares at me, and then shrugs. “Fair enough.”
As we walk to the cash register, I tell her, “I’m Marieke, by the way.”
“I’m Lina.”
“She liked it better than me,” I finish. “But by then I had a new friend.”
Bono is laughing. “That’s just mad! If we’d known there’d be fans fighting over our album we may not have put it out!”
I raise my eyebrow.
“Okay, we probably would have released it,” he admits. “Go on…?”
I tell him more about myself, and he seems fascinated. By now our waitress has come back with our food, and she’s standing over us, ready to break into our conversation.
“Gracias,” Bono tells her as she slides our plates onto the table. She giggles and flees- a flirty type.
We eat for a moment.
“Did you want to hear anything about me, Marieke?”
“No, not about you. The mystery is MacPhisto. He’s why we’re here…”
“All right.” Bono’s words come out from between forkfuls. “Your job. Let me get this straight- you wanted to write the speeches for me?”
“No, not all the speech,” I correct him. “I want to write only the phone call. Are you always going to do that?”
“Well, I’ve planned to perform as MacPhisto for the rest of the tour; I suppose that does entitle me to make a call every night.”
I swallow a bite of food. “The show tomorrow- you have the call written?”
“Working on it…”
“Who are you going to call?” I lean in over the table. “Who is MacPhisto?”
“Hmmm.” Bono’s breath escapes as he sits contemplating his lunch. “It’s a bit difficult to explain. The character was meant to replace my Mirrorball Man. The European audiences weren’t connecting very well with him the last time we came here…”
“So who is the character?” I ask.
He puts his fork down. “MacPhisto is supposed to be the Devil as a pop star who’s lost his glamour- you know, pretty much like The Fly past his prime but thinking he’s still got it.”
Ah. Suddenly everything falls into place. I’m transported back to a stadium, one of the three shows I’ve been too, and hear the declaration in that bizarre British accent- “I know you like your pop stars to be exciting, so I bought these!”
“The Fly will turn into that?” I ask.
He shrugs. “That’s how I see it. Really it could be any rock star. Think of Elvis, for example- playing Vegas all those years when he’s old and fat. I’m trying to convey that feeling with MacPhisto.”
I’ve heard of Elvis. He didn’t mean as much to me, living in The Netherlands, but when I couple my knowledge with my memories of MacPhisto, it comes clear.
Bono takes my silence to mean I’m trying to think of how to express myself in English. He explains further- “See, MacPhisto should have retired years ago, but he can’t give the lifestyle up.”
“He’s in pain,” I murmur, remembering MacPhisto’s heartbreaking expression on the B stage. “He can’t… live without them. He can’t live with them either.”
Bono inclines his head. “What?”
I try to bring back the moments, the succession of songs and each of the stories in them that MacPhisto tells. “I mean the fans. In Desire he’s happy and singing nice. Then in Ultraviolet he comes to himself. It’s a realization. In With or Without You he is sad and… sings about the pain.” A better word would be lament, but I only know that one in Dutch. “In Love Is Blindness he gives up, but after dancing with the fan he knows he can have it all. He sings Can’t Help Falling In Love because…”
I break off, startled by Bono’s intense stare.
“It’s… right… for him…”
“How did you know all that?!”
I shrug and gaze at the table. Now that I’ve explained the character to Bono, I really feel for him. The words came out better than I expected. It’s simple- MacPhisto is trying to retain his former glory, but he can’t bear to hold on because it causes so much pain. And it breaks my heart too.
Surprising Bono, I lean across the table and hug him. His arms are strong around me, his scent filling my nose. I blink, staring out behind his shoulder, and my vision blurs.
Bono’s confused. “What is it, Marieke?”
I shake my head, knowing he can feel that. How can I explain my sudden sympathy for the Devil? How can I start to tell him about my rush of emotion for MacPhisto, doomed to play on Zoo TV until the fans give up on him? How can I make him understand that I am love in with that man?
And that I’m in love with him, too?
“It’s MacPhisto…” I state, unable to explain it all.
The bemusement shows in his voice. “He’s just a character, love.”
I shake when he calls me love, and pull free of his arms. He lets go easily, and I’m disappointed that he won’t hold me longer.
How can I begin to say that MacPhisto’s not a character, he’s a whole new person? Would Bono believe that?
As I look into his eyes, I see the answer. No, he wouldn’t get it. And I can’t tell Bono I love him. I’d sound just like every other female U2 fan.
“You’ve got quite the personality,” Bono murmurs before settling back into his lunch.

AnCatKatie 02-16-2011 07:26 PM

Hahah...you have KLM's number? What an odd coincidence....

Quote:

A note, though- If ever I said Lina's eyes are blue, forgive me, I was wrong. Marieke is the one with blue eyes.
Sorry, I haven't noticed...stop making Bono so drool-worthy and then I'll be able to see other people's eye color :lol: I did assume Marieke's eyes were blue, though.

Quote:

The irritated man of last night is now asleep two rows back from Bono. Somehow Larry isn’t as cranky when he’s napping.
Aaa! Stop being so mean to him! He's not always cranky...

Hehehe...she stared at the sun...

Oh! That's a brilliant idea for her job! Nice one.

Quote:

She giggles and flees- a flirty type
Or a shy awkward Katie-esque type :lol: I do that too.

Lina and Marieke meeting! Wow. That was not what I was expecting. Pretty amusing, but kind of scary how they fought over it.

'Sympathy for the devil'...another song reference...

BlueSilkenSky 02-16-2011 09:03 PM

Yes, maybe I should call them... :D
Just clarifying. I did mention her character's eye color like once, then I thought it should really be green...I get the feeling of green eyes from her...
I dunno, it was Bono who thought it, not me! :D That was a comparison...
I think that'd be a very cool job! (And yes, that's what I was thinking when I typed the line.)
Not sure what type she was. And I loved writing the meeting! It was kinda scary...
That one was completely by accident. :lol: I found myself writing it before I really realized, and then the phrase was too good to drop.

AnCatKatie 02-16-2011 09:19 PM

You should! It would be really funny...

Quote:

Originally Posted by BlueSilkenSky (Post 7126312)
I dunno, it was Bono who thought it, not me! :D That was a comparison...

Great excuse :lol: If I could push everything off onto my characters life would be a whole lot simpler :hmm:

And scary things are definitely fun to write. I'm not really at the point to write more...(headache, lack of sleep)...maybe later or in a few days...but the scary parts were good motivation to keep writing, oddly enough.

Hehehe :) we're reading Paradise Lost in AP English, and the teacher said 'sympathy to the devil' and I cracked up. So that's twice today the reference has happened around me.

BlueSilkenSky 02-16-2011 09:24 PM

"Hello, is this KLM Airlines? Yes, I want to book a flight... have you nowhere exotic, like Singapore? You're so kind, please hold the line, I'd like to sing you a song..." :lol: Oh, if I attempted that call it would be hilarious!
I shamelessly blame everything on my characters. ;) Most things anyway. Some things you can't get away with though...

AnCatKatie 02-16-2011 09:49 PM

Hehehehehe :) That would be quite something...if you managed it without laughing all the way through...

BlueSilkenSky 02-17-2011 05:53 PM

I'd even try it in the accent. Hee!

AnCatKatie 02-17-2011 06:34 PM

Oh, please do ^^

BlueSilkenSky 02-17-2011 08:03 PM

When I find my lost phone... ;)
(and hey, the real Lina has green eyes... I think... so this worked out! Yippee!)

AnCatKatie 02-17-2011 08:04 PM

There's a real Lina? Hmm....(:giggle: there's technically a real Cath (she probably has a different name), but, well, we know very little about her...)

BlueSilkenSky 02-17-2011 08:06 PM

Heehee...
There is a real Lina; I know her from another site. She replied to some of these threads but I haven't seen her around for a while...

AnCatKatie 02-17-2011 08:07 PM

:giggle: Oh my! It would be so odd if I wrote people I knew into these stories...

BlueSilkenSky 02-17-2011 08:11 PM

Well I took quite a few liberties with her personality though! They only share the name... and the eye color.

linasd 02-19-2011 06:41 PM

We actually share more. You mentioned in the beginning that Lina snores really loud which made me laugh out loud because I often snore loud enough to wake the whole neighborhood (not really but you get the picture).

BlueSilkenSky 02-19-2011 07:07 PM

Really? Funny, I don't remember that haha...

Alisaura 02-19-2011 08:12 PM

Good chapter! :up:

I like that you're not shying away from the sort of awkwardness that would happen if a big fan ended up having a lot of contact with the band... and it's interesting to see a story written from the point of view of a non-native-English-speaker too. :)

I like Marieke's idea for a job, too... I was wondering if she'd volunteer to dance with MacPhisto every night. :wink:

BlueSilkenSky 02-19-2011 09:07 PM

It's pretty hard to write. I don't know what she'd already know in English and what not... but I never saw any point in "shying away" from her situation, I know exactly what I want to write and so I do...
Oh, she would have, but common sense kicked in. :D
Okay, and might as well mention that I probably won't post the next chapter soon. It sucks so far and needs major fixing IMO.


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