|05-23-2011, 05:10 PM||#1|
Rock n' Roll Doggie
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Dancing out in space
Local Time: 05:29 AM
Dancing With The Devil ch. 31
Yay for posting early! But this will probably be my last post on the forum for a while- I'm taking a short break from Internet. I hadn't realized at first that the next chapter was THIS one- I don't know what you're going to think...__________________
*in Geico commercial man voice* Is this story a work of fiction?
Is this forum about U2?
Let's get started!
After a day of planning and fretting over Lina, I make the mistake of bumping into Bono, who clutches my wrists. “Angel, why so serious?” he asks me, with plenty of seriousness in his own voice, and I shake myself and tell him that I have to go back to Rotterdam today. His blue eyes narrow- “We’re scheduled to play in Holland on the third of August. Can you wait until then?” I don’t tell him about Lina, instead asking where the tour is going to in Holland. The response is Nijmegen, which is where my parents live. A few doubts still cloud my mind, but one glance into Bono’s eyes seals the deal, and my plans are once again thwarted. I’ll get to see my parents in the very least- never mind that the day Bono tells me this is July 18th, a long way from August.
But I’ve put that behind me now. The best part about that day in Bologna was that Bono swallowed Jack’s lie about who had the honors of taking him to the hotel. He appears to have forgotten I was ever with him that night. That suits me just fine. I’m still a bit worried about Lina, but the fact that Herman hasn’t called me since that one night calms me down. However, she still doesn’t pick up the phone when I call, which keeps a flutter of fright in the back of my mind. I convince myself to forget her- Herman will bring me more news if there is any.
The date is July 28th, and I’ve just stepped off a plane to find myself in Oslo, Norway after leaving Denmark just a few minutes earlier- or so it seems. Neither Eric nor I are ready to get any work done as we enter the hotel. Tomorrow U2 will be performing at the Valle Hovin Stadion, and we have to prepare for the show today. U2 is already at the stadium, doing soundchecks.
Eric and Jack both leave me behind to write a MacPhisto speech, wishing me luck. I have no idea what I’m going to write it on. Usually Bono tells me what sort of issue he has on the mind for each country, and I improvise from there. But today I want to be prepared. My Norwegian isn’t very polished- I can only say Hello- so I have no idea how I’m going to get the information for a speech.
I take a walk to help collect my thoughts. Passing by a newsstand, I stop to read what’s going on in Norway. It’s impossible to read the headlines, but I buy a newspaper anyway and go back to the hotel with a translation book.
After a while I have puzzled out one article. The story seems to be about whale hunting- about how the Norwegians have overturned a ban on hunting whales commercially. This decision seems to have made other countries very angry, and no wonder. Why would anyone kill an animal that’s not in popular demand? I can’t imagine why anyone would do this for a living.
I begin to wonder what side MacPhisto would take on this debate. Would he care about the whales? No way in hell. He wouldn’t give one whit about them. The Devil must always choose the unpopular side, preferring evil and mischief to the good of others. With that in mind I set about to writing the speech.
At the end of the day Bono meets with me, exhausted from soundchecking songs since he arrived in Norway. I give him the speech and he frowns. “What’s the problem?” I ask him.
“How did you write this without my help?” he asks back. I show him the newspaper article. His frown grows deeper. “I wanted to address this issue, but to tell the truth it’s a tough subject to approach. Not everyone disagrees with the ban.”
“I do,” I say. “MacPhisto doesn’t. This is all that matters. Just try to read it aloud..”
“All right…,” he says, and does my bidding. I’m so pleased that I hug him. Bono embraces me back and says, “MacPhisto will do well with this.” Neither of us know what we are getting into.
“Here’s your payment! And use it wisely, that is hard-earned cash right there!”
As we eat dinner that night, Eric grins at me from across the restaurant table. “Marieke, I’ve gotten something for you.” He flips out two tickets- tickets to the U2 show?! I thought it was sold out!
“What are those?” Jack asks disdainfully.
“They’re tickets, Marieke,” Eric says, forgetting the fact that I don’t have a low male voice and an Irish accent. “You know how Bono said he wouldn’t dance with you again? Well, I have tickets for the front row, right at the B stage. He’s bound to choose you again if you’re sitting there.”
My head feels funny. “Eric, I can’t,” I say. “Bono didn’t want to dance with me. He’ll choose another girl if he sees me in the audience.”
“But still, it’s worth trying,” Eric says. “I know you love him. I know you’d love this…”
I frantically try to shush Eric, but it’s too late. Jack has heard. “You love Bono?” he asks.
My face grows warm. “Look what you’ve done now!” I hiss to Eric.
Jack holds up his hands. “I’m not judging you. I’m glad you love someone. Just… he’s not exactly the best choice for you.”
Mortified, I stare at my plate.
“You can get tickets too,” Eric suggests to Jack. I know as well as he does that the only tickets left would be awful seats incredibly far from the stage.
Jack brushes out his longish brown hair with his fingers. “Oh no, you two go ahead. I don’t want to join you.”
Eric shrugs. “Okay then. Marieke, you still don’t want this ticket?”
“I’ll come,” I sigh, surrendering. At least I get to be a fan for a while longer.
“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!”
Ah, my favorite snippet. I smile at the crowd response. Eric clutches his arm tighter around me. We’ve been sitting here in the audience for the whole show, and never once has Bono glanced my way. I’m beginning to think there’s hope for me to be pulled up again.
“I thought I’d sing this one for our neighbors, they’ve been so good,” MacPhisto explains to the audience. They cheer again. “What a wonderful show, what a wonderful night, what a wonderful country you have here. Oslo!” he breathes, and the crowd breathes out their own praise in the form of more cheers. I do too.
“Ahhh, the fjords! The wildlife is so wonderful here!” MacPhisto exclaims, grinning broadly. He PAUSEs for a moment. “And what’s all the fuss about the whales?” he asks the crowd. We boo at his bringing it up.
“I mean, I don’t understand it- what have the whales ever done for us, eh?” MacPhisto asks rhetorically. He isn’t expecting the cheer from the audience. What? But they’re not supposed to take MacPhisto’s side. He’s not on the right side…
Ignoring this, MacPhisto continues with my words. “They’re unemployed-“ “YEAH!” yells the crowd. “They don’t pay taxes-“
“And they take up a lot of room, don’t you think?”
“YEAH!” This time the yeah’s go on for so long that MacPhisto himself appears a bit worried. The expression lasts only a second, but it scares me. He’s not supposed to show anything. Then again, the audience isn’t supposed to side with the enemy.
“I have a friend here…” MacPhisto says. “And he taught me all about the whales. His name is Mr. Olsen. I believe he is your Minister of the Fisheries, shall I give him a telephone call?” At least with those magic words the audience cheers properly, making it easier for me to breathe.
MacPhisto heads to the phone and dials. “When you’re famous everyone gives you their telephone number,” he says. “Jan Henry Olsen, let me see… 083-48332,” he says as he punches the numbers in. We cheer and giggle as MacPhisto notes, “You can call him tomorrow if you’d like.”
The phone only rings for a while before a man picks up. “Hello?”
“Hello, I’d like to speak to Mr. Olsen, please,” MacPhisto says.
“Is this Mr. Olsen?” MacPhisto asks.
I’m shocked. This is the first time we’ve ever gotten through to an actual politician. Clearly MacPhisto doesn’t know what to say. “Oh, I-“ he starts, but the crowd drowns him out big time.
“I’m jolly pleased to get through to you, my name is Mr. MacPhisto!” he exclaims gleefully.
“How are you?” Mr. Olsen asks.
“I’m very well, thank you. I’m here with a few friends,” he says, and the “few friends” laugh at this statement.
“I can hear them in the background!” Mr. Olsen says, amused.
MacPhisto says, “Well, I must say, we all here agree that the whales, all the fuss about the whales is just complete madness and we’d just like to say to you that we think that, um, whales have done nothing for us and we should put a tax on them at least!”
Even though I’ve written those words, the humor gets me. I chuckle at the thought of taxing whales. Still, it disturbs me a bit of how supportive the audience is of MacPhisto’s goals. They aren’t supposed to be taking his side in the first place.
Mr. Olsen laughs at the notion, just like me. MacPhisto asks, “What do you think, Mr. Olsen?”
“My opinion,” says Mr. Olsen, “is that, er, if they were threatened we shouldn’t catch them, but as long as there are- they are safe stocks, we shall do that because of the food.”
“Ahhh…” says MacPhisto, pleased with the response. I am not, however- why do Norwegians have to eat whale anyway?Even in that Ahhh I detected a hint of Bono’s unhappiness showing through, and I wonder if he’ll be able to hold it down to finish the script.
The crowd is cheering and chanting, showing their support for Mr. Olsen. I’m crestfallen, and sling my arm around Eric. Mr. Olsen apparently has asked a question, because MacPhisto speaks next with an answer.
“Well, I haven’t, actually, and I, I must say this to you, that, um, I’m- you know, I have absolutely no time for people who like whales or dolphins myself… and I’m sure that if you catch them, you’ll eat them all yourself, won’t you, Mr. Olsen?!”
Wow… I sit up straighter, reveling in the crowd’s laughter. How’s that for taking a bite out of the man, MacPhisto?
And he seems to have flustered him. “No, I won’t, because I can’t manage that, but, er... I’m very glad that very many Norwegians want that, but, er-“
“D’you like to munch on a whale steak yourself, do you?” MacPhisto asks. I laugh again. Where’s he going with this?
“I take a bit, yes,” says Mr. Olsen. I have to wonder how that tastes.
MacPhisto giggles. “Aha, you like the odd whale steak!” But even I can see that Bono is very nervous- which frightens me to the bone. He obviously feels as if he’s going out on a limb.
And then Mr. Olsen shocks us all. “I’m going to have a whale steak tomorrow. D’you want to come and have dinner with me?”
All the fans around me laugh like crazy. Eric and I stare at each other. The fans are definitely on Mr. Olsen’s side- they want to continue whaling. I’ve gotten the entire speech wrong!
MacPhisto has to shout to be heard. “You’re so very kind. Mr. Olsen…”
“I think you and I are going to get on just fine!” His shoulders shake as he says this, presumably from laughter, but I recognize it as the man inside trying to fight off a character. Bono feels ruined.
Amidst the noiseof the Norwegians, Ultraviolet rings through. MacPhisto clutches the telephone and stares out at us. Mr. Olsen speaks his last words- “I hope so, because I like you very much too!”
MacPhisto only sings in response- “Sometimes I feel like I don’t know…”
The performance is breathtaking. I’ve nearly forgotten how good it is to take a seat in the audience. I realize now that nothing- nothing- is better than watching a U2 show from the place a fan rightfully belongs. God, I love this.
However, something in this performance is a bit off. MacPhisto doesn’t look like he’s enjoying the song as much as I am. Suddenly, as the second verse begins, he explodes into a new set of lyrics-
“Will you bury our treasure where it can’t be found? Deep under the ocean, makes a wonderful sound!” His voice is strong, at a howling pitch. “There is a silence that comes to a house when no one can sleep… We won’t ask you to make promises we know you won’t keep.” Pure anger radiates from those words, blowing me away. It’s almost as if Bono’s directing his fury at the whaling industry, telling them to stop. He must be channeling his frustration from the failed speech into song.
“Ultraviolet light…” Edge sings near the climax. “Ultraviolet light…” I wave my hands in the air, determined to enjoy this performance and make the best of it. MacPhisto is throwing himself around on his feet, singing “Oooh…
“Time’s giving out… I’ll soon be outta here…” he sings. These are not the proper words either. “I won’t be back for many years…” The change frightens me half to death. It’s not Bono singing anymore- the lines between he and MacPhisto are becoming blurred. Another entity has taken hold of one of their bodies- it’s just hard to say which one.
“Baby, baby, baby… LIIIIIIIIIIIGHTTTTTTT myyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy WAAYYYYYYYYYYYY!” The operatic note reaches high and is cut off when MacPhisto falls suddenly, slumping over and panting. He’s put all his energy into that one song. I’m afraid he has no strength for the next one.
Adam’s bass come throbbing in. I decide to myself that I must learn how to play like him. It’s too amazing, really, the way his basslines collide and dig out the stuff in me that I thought was hidden too far down.
“See the stone set in your eyes… see the thorn twist in your side,” MacPhisto half whispers into the mic. “I wait for you…” His voice trembles, and I see his knuckles clench down on the microphone as if digging into flesh.
“With or without you… with or without you…”
These performances can go two ways for me- either I keep half of my mind on it while trying not to cry, or I just watch MacPhisto and get caught up in the emotion. But this performance is something else. It’s as if I am MacPhisto, as if we’ve turned into a dual personality, his pain becoming mine and us becoming one. I am the one who can’t live with or without him, and he can’t live with or without me.
“And you give yourself away… and you give yourself away… and you give… and you give… and you give your soul away…” Tears collect in the corners of my eyes. I feel handcuffed, tied down, gagged- just bound by some predicament I can do nothing about.
MacPhisto’s breathing is coming faster and faster as he tries to gather strength to keep singing. At the climax of the song he leans into the microphone and just screams, a sound which quickly turns into the “OOOOOH oh oh OOOOOH” that I’m familiar with. Tears pour down my face and soak quickly into my skin. MacPhisto is visibly shaking, his body rocking as he tries to keep what control he has. “With or without you,” he whimpers. “With or without you, my love… I can’t live with or without you. With or without you.”
The bassline picks up and MacPhisto turns away from us, hiding his heart- I guess it’s all he can do. In a voice barely more than a whisper, he sings, “And you give… and you give… and you give… and you give… and you give… and you give… and you give… and you give…”
I half expect him to go into the “shine like stars” verse that he sang at the Rome show. But I should know better than that, seeing the way With or Without you has been performed these past days. MacPhisto turns to the crowd- not towards my face, however- and gasps it out- “With or without you… with or without you… I can’t live with or without you! With or without… you…”
The touch of Eric’s hand on mine surprises me out of despair. He gazes into my eyes, whispering fervently, “Are you all right?”
I shake my head no as Love Is Blindness starts.
So it has come to this. MacPhisto is being torn apart inside, probably even worse than he usually is during the encores. Fortunately he keeps his face away from my side of the stage and sings slowly, “Love is blindness, I don’t wanna see. Won’t you wrap the night around me? Take my heart… it’s blindness.”
His voice is soft, to make up for the throat-scalding bellows of the last two songs, but it is smothered with unbridled anger. My fear reappears, rising higher in my throat- what is MacPhisto angry for? He sounds menacing now, more dog than man.
“In a parked car, in a crowded street… you see your love made complete. The thread is ripping, the knot is slipping… love is blindness.”
And then suddenly his voice just collapses in on itself and he loses whatever composure he’s gained. “Love is clockworks and cold steel… fingers too numb to feel. Squeeze the handle…” He mechanically hoists his hand into the air and aims it into the audience, squeezing the trigger on the next line. “Blow out the candle… love is blindness.” The way MacPhisto half chokes on that word causes me to place my hand over my heart. Please, let this song continue.
MacPhisto opens his mouth yet again, and I steel myself for the delivery- but the words are not the same. Confused, I look up, blinking moisture from my eyes. The words aren’t even U2’s own.
“There must be someway… out of here… said the joker, to the thief. There’s too much… confusion here… I can’t get no relief.”
What the heck? This is All Along The Watchtower- and yet it sounds just like Love Is Blindness! The lyrics are inserted perfectly to the tune. Somehow that makes the song even more potent, especially with both the anger of the previous verses and the gut-wrenching sadness of the present, all jam-packed into these inadequate Bob Dylan lines. And all that can run through my head at this exact second is What’s MacPhisto doing covering such a mediocre song?
MacPhisto whirls back to the B stage, back to us. I catch a glimpse of his face, and instantly wish I hadn’t. The corners of his mouth are twitching downward and his eyes are dazed with pain. He falters over to us and sings more words from All Along The Watchtower. “Businessmen they… drink my wine… plowmen they… dig my Earth. None of them know… more than I… what any of this is worth…” His voice is an indescribable mixture of raw, open-wound pain and heart-stopping fury. As Edge strikes into the bleeding solo, MacPhisto wildly reaches down and grabs my wrist. I have little warning before I am back on the Zoo TV stage, dancing with the Devil for a third time in my life.
MacPhisto’s finger’s hold me tightly, as if he can’t live without my touch. I am the only person in the stadium close enough to notice the tear that slips down his cheek from bright, murderous eyes. This time there are no words for me to say. He presses his face into hair and inhales, and I imagine he’s taking in my scent. The thought makes my head spin. I have just enough time to part the black hair at the nape of his neck before Edge finishes his solo.
We are standing together on the B stage, wrapped tight in each other’s arms. MacPhisto ends the song in a voice quieter than the smallest whisper, but amplified by the microphone. My hairs stand on end in reaction to the sound.
“Love is blindness, I don’t wanna see. Won’t you wrap the night around me? Take my heart…”
He’s rocking me back and forth in his arms, and suddenly throws the arm holding the mic over my shoulder. He clutches it in both hands and rests hid head on my other shoulder, murmuring the last word very quietly.
The crowd goes insane.
MacPhisto untangles himself all too quickly, one finger trailing my spine, and squeezes my hand before letting me return to my seat. I stand there, utterly shocked, until Eric grabs my hand, pulling me back down. How much more intimate can you get?
Then, as MacPhisto starts Can’t Help Falling In Love, a sigh escapes. There is a large part of me that is unsatisfied with the simple act of a dance.
One small tear trembles on my eyelash. It rolls down my cheek as MacPhisto hits his falsetto notes, voice racked with emotion but beautiful still. After that everything seems to move in slow motion, and I am oblivious to the roar of the Norwegian crowd as band exits the stage and, eventually, the Zoo TV screens go out.
Then I am running through the audience to reach the stage, yelling out Bono’s name.
Backstage, Edge tells me as he fans himself that Bono- or MacPhisto- has not been seen since he left the stage. “It’s okay, Marieke. The show just ended a few minutes ago. Give us some time,” he says, obviously meaning Give him some time. I stand outside the dressing room door, impatient but too nervous to knock.
Finally impatience trumps all, and I rap sharply on the door. The man inside opens it with no hesitation. I barrel in, skidding to a stop in front of Bono. He hasn’t removed any of the MacPhisto costume yet.
“Bono? Would you like help with that?”
He shakes his head and sits, saying nothing. I hover at his left shoulder as he scrubs his face with his palms, removing the face makeup in a haphazard manner. The lipstick, I imagine, could be kissed away onto me. I wouldn’t protest, I honestly wouldn’t…
As Bono removes his red shirt, I find it hard for a conversation topic. But I manage to find one to get my mind away from his body…
“You danced with me tonight.”
He stops moving. “I did.” Instantly I wish I hadn’t spoken. Bono’s voice is rough, in a way I’m unaccustomed to. I haven’t heard a voice so messed up, and I suspect it’s from his open-throated cries onstage.
“Marieke? Don’t do that again.”
I nod. I don’t tell him that it was Eric who put the idea into my head. I’ll take whatever punishment he wants to give me.
“Was the speech-“
“The speech was fine.” His voice is firm. I don’t think he really means that it’s fine. “Are you sure? I’m so sorry for writing it. I wasn’t aware that the Norwegians would take Olsen’s side.”
Bono still hasn’t moved to put on a new shirt. He says, “Honestly, Marieke, it was fine.” I shake my head as a silent protest, and he purses his lips without voicing an argument. The strength seems to drain from his shoulders, and he slumps over and pushes his face into his hands. His bare back is so close to me.
He breathes. “A little, yeh.”
I remember the tear I saw on his face onstage. Was that a crack in Bono’s façade or has MacPhisto been taken to a new level? It doesn’t matter because I’ll never know.
Just as I’m backing away, Bono says, “Don’t go yet,” and, standing, hugs me in a lung-crushing way. It’s just like his embrace onstage- I’m pressed against his sweaty chest, this time with no fabric separating us, my hands at his back and his face in my hair. I squeeze him hard, feeling my fingers roll right off his skin, and his breathing grows uneven before he pulls it back together and steps away from me. We stare into each other’s faces. My mouth is agape and my cheeks are warm. He’s peering straight into my soul with deadly eyes before his mouth finally lifts into a startling smile.
“What is it, love?”
I shake my head and stare at his shoes, murmuring “I love you” in Dutch. He won’t know what that means.
Bono’s hands move, and I think he’s going to touch me. But instead he smoothes his own hair back.
“All right, let’s go check on the band, eh, Angel of Holland?”
I follow with a sadness he won’t be able to see.
Later- much, much later into the night, Bono is able to carefully examine a thought that’s been naggling at him since Marieke came to his dressing room after the show. Her words- what were those words? They were in Dutch, definitely, and sounded remarkably familiar. Has he heard her speaking them before?
Digging into his memory, Bono recollects nothing relevant- something about a phone booth, a very good feeling, and a hotel with bright lights… He can’t remember past there, and it hurts his brain even trying. Whatever those words mean, it’s not something he should be concerned about. He'll leave that up to Marieke.
And so the U2 touring machine moves on to Sweden, and everything about Oslo is forgotten. Except Marieke remembers the way her soul had tingled onstage with MacPhisto, and Bono remembers extreme pain throughout his body. He never wants to feel like that again.
Things get better next chapter, for each of the characters.
|05-23-2011, 07:45 PM||#2|
Rock n' Roll Doggie
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: pearl jammin'
Local Time: 02:29 AM
Want to bet someone's going to tell him that she said 'I love you' in Dutch? XD__________________
That was an interesting change for MacPhisto, to get all emotional. I wonder if that means he's going to change...and I feel like there was a lot more going on with Bono than showed/he admitted to.
|05-23-2011, 09:15 PM||#3|
Rock n' Roll Doggie
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: in a humid place
Local Time: 05:29 AM
Wow. There was a lot of beauty in that scene. And I cannot wait for the next chapter!
|05-27-2011, 10:30 PM||#4|
Rock n' Roll Doggie
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Dancing out in space
Local Time: 05:29 AM
Some Internet break... couldn't even last a week.
Can't decide if I wrote this out of pleasure or because it has more relevance. Well, yes it does- this is the third time Marieke's danced with the Devil so far, fourth time she's danced onstage. And yes, MacPhisto is changing.
However, I don't completely know what all was going on with Bono during the concert (or, as I like to think, "BonPhisto" :P ). All those changed lyrics have to mean something...
And what is up in Rotterdam? Marieke cancelled her trip. That's not going to work out well...
Well I have the Wikipedia article for Zoo TV up and a Word document behind this tab. YES! I might be posting the next chapter- in a long while, though. A long while.
|05-27-2011, 11:38 PM||#5|
Rock n' Roll Doggie
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: pearl jammin'
Local Time: 02:29 AM
I agree about the changed lyrics...changed lyrics were a weird basis for a lot of my plot points too...they're fun
|bono, emotional performance, free tickets, macphisto, marieke, misinterpretation, oslo, painful, zoo crew, zoo tv, zooropa|
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