Dancing With The Devil ch. 42 - U2 Feedback

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Old 11-07-2011, 07:29 PM   #1
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Dancing With The Devil ch. 42

This is a transitional chapter- it's all leading up to no. 43. I swear, that one chapter will make this whole story worth it. But for now you have to get through this one! Feedback is always welcome.
Psst... I actually think I learned how to write angst... it's amazing what depression can do for you.

Sickness floods her every cell, collecting saliva in her mouth, and she is woken up earlier than planned for yet another morning. It is in those early pale hours that she stands, trying to stomach water, and feels the shift- an obvious change, more in her mind than in her body, but a change all the same. Every nerve ending goes dead. She can’t feel for a moment- doesn’t want to think of this- maybe her mind has made it up… Head and heart pounding, she slumps against the counter. There’s only one way to tell. By the time she gets out, the gray of morning has given way to a magnificent sun, shadowing her as she moves into a windowless room, stares at her own face… Please, please, let this be a mistake.
It isn’t. She panics. Her mind still tries to make connections for what could be. The procedure is performed again. Sweat beads on her forehead. It’s got to be a fluke… Sliding to the floor, she decides to perform the test again as soon as possible. And her body’s shifting beneath her very nose tells her not to. She knows. But she doesn’t believe.
Flying from Scotland to Ireland to Australia leaves me dead-tired. My first moments in Melbourne pass by in a dream of hotel doors and elevators, ending on top of the bed. My body can’t wait to sleep off the effects of reversing day and night, brought on by traveling down under.
Jack had invited me to stay in his hometown of Edinburgh for the rest of October when not preparing for the final leg of Zoo TV He introduced me to his girlfriend, Charm, who I’ve instantly taken a liking to. Though Charm and I hit it off real well, she often had Jack’s full attention, blocking me from the interior of their relationship. They went out often at night, reminding me that Jack is a closet party animal.
I had stayed at Jack’s place those nights, despite his urging that the clubs will get me used to Zoo TV again, and wondered about the goings-on in Rotterdam. In one of the rare moments that Jack and I got to talk alone, he asked me if I’m feuding with Lina. I said no. “I just can’t speak to her right now.” Jack doesn’t press for more information, and so it stays inside my head- I’m not worried about Lina anymore. I know she’s probably hurt that I didn’t call after I promised I wouldn’t forget about her again, and that I was lying when I said I wouldn’t be in Dublin for long, but it doesn’t bother me. I can feel that whatever we had before I began working for U2 is gone- it’s no longer Lina and I against the world. Now we are against each other. I save my worries for my parents in Nijmegen, whom I call whenever I remember to. They in turn ask me how Lina is doing, not knowing that I’ve left her far behind.
But now, none of that matters. I wake to November in Melbourne with a light heart, the first in days. Rolling out of bed, my glee cannot be disguised. It’s summer again! While the rest of the world digs out their sweaters, Australia tosses its winter clothing off and welcomes the return of the sun. If it were possible I would get a second home here and never have to experience winter again.
Amidst the hustle and bustle of erecting the stage for U2’s first night in Melbourne, I have to do my job of seeking out Bono and writing MacPhisto’s prank call. Nervousness tingles in me. Will I be able to perceive a difference in Bono, if I look hard enough? Will it be apparent that he loves me?
Bono has spent most of his time off tour in Dublin with his family, being a devoted caretaker; some of his time in the South of France, furnishing the beach house with Edge and meeting the celebrities; and all of the time thinking about Marieke, both consciously and unconsciously. He’s honestly tried, for the last time, to put her out of his mind. Nothing has worked. She has occupied Bono’s mind continually since she came back to Dublin to join the tour. He keeps remembering the kiss outside the Dublin pub on the night of Marieke’s birthday. Though she had been an embarrassment for most of the night, there was a moment- just that one moment, when they locked lips, that Bono realized she was so beautiful, despite every flaw. And now he knows she loves him- back?
And every day Bono’s been damning himself for thinking such a thing, for letting his shield slip. He stares into Ali’s face, holding her close, basically being the perfect loving husband, to the point where Ali even stated that she couldn’t wait for Bono to return to Zoo, if he was going to remain this unbearably sweet. Bono had laughed, but inside he had grown more and more upset. Ali is less dependent on him, this is true. In earlier days on the Zooropa tour, this would have worried Bono to the point of distraction, and he’d have tried to restore the normal balance as soon as possible. But this time… is not like before. This time, it’s not that Bono is afraid of losing Ali’s affection. Instead, he is afraid of himself, what he might do when her back is turned. As Ali grows distinctly distant and Bono grows more attracted to Marieke… Bono tells himself this cannot happen. He knows it would never work out. But in bed, when Ali sleeps on her side, Bono turns and sees Marieke’s smiling, laughing face behind his eyelids. He forces them open and she’s there in the dark before him. That’s when Bono usually tells himself it’s all a dream, it’s all a dream…
As she walks forward at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, mahogany curls turned to waves from lack of a curling iron, jean skirt that somehow manages to reveal more than it covers, and fluttering papers in her restless hands, Bono realizes he is not the one to be damned. She is. If it weren’t for MacPhisto’s existence, Bono would have to claim Marieke to be the Devil.
“Hello, Bono.”
“Hello, Angel of Holland.” How ironic- even her nickname contradicts her true nature.
“Glad to see me again?”
“Why wouldn’t I be?” A forced smile appears on Bono’s face, genuine though it may seem.
“Thought you’d have gotten sick of me by now.”
Isn’t that just rich! “How could I ever get sick of you?”
An arm slides around my shoulders. I tense up. Bono’s making a move with me. Warmth drifts across my entire body. Fuck him. I love him to death, but fuck him.
“Well, are you ready to write with me?” I’m surprised at the sound of my voice- how can it be so steady?
“Sure,” Bono replies, wishing that Marieke’s invitation was for something else.
We write with no less discussion than on any other speech. “You wouldn’t mind if I mention Madonna here, would you?”
“Why not? They’re both pop stars.”
I try a croaky British accent. “I think Madonna is gorgeous. Would you like to see me without my clothes on?” Raucous laughter from Bono. Oh, if only he knew how much I actually do…
“That’s a keeper, Angel.” Bono clears his throat and modifies- “Marieke.” She catches his eye and for a moment they stare at each other. Her silver bracelet sparkles, the M reflecting light.
His eyes… why does he take off the shades for me? I can’t bear to see Bono’s blue eyes like this, unguarded and… so beautiful…
We pull away, startled.
“There’s work to be done here, Miss Lang…”
I nod, angry that the moment had to end.
Throughout the writing of the speech, Bono keeps catching glances he can’t help but pretend are meant for him. The way her eyes had lingered, just for a second… the hint of a blush on her cheek… When she stands to read the finished product to him, Bono admires the swing of her hips as she rocks on one foot.
Good GOD, what are you thinking?
Once Bono would have been wary. He would have confronted Marieke and asked about his suspicions. But now he’s too blinded to his own desires to see the desires of another.
“Bono?” She’s speaking his name, holding the script out to him. Bono stands and reads aloud in MacPhisto’s voice. Despite the old-man tone, I can’t help but adore the lushness of that dear British accent. This is going to sound great onstage… Bono’s eyes raise from the paper for a fraction of a second. The breath leaves me, and my shoulders slump the tiniest bit. Oh, who am I kidding? This is impossible. I can’t go on until I know that Bono burns for me as badly as I burn for him.
The session over, I leave the script with its new owner. Bono pulls me close for a kiss on the cheek. I am a woman, echoes in my brain. Remembering my old philosophy, I treat Bono coolly, as if he means nothing to me. But I can feel his blue eyes trailing me as I walk away, and my own lower, longing to squeeze shut. If only I could just curl up into sleep right here, drift away to a place where things are less difficult, where Bono and I have no conflicts whatsoever, where we can thrive together…
Bono crawls off to a corner as soon as Marieke has left. He remains concealed for a while, and passes the time by fretting over his feelings. You are so stupid… What contact have Marieke and Bono ever had with each other? She writes his speeches, she’s danced with him thrice onstage, she… loves him… But that is no excuse to love her back.
Edge comes in a moment later, wondering where Bono has absconded to, and finds him staring blankly at a wall, eyes glazed over with worry. “Hey, are you okay?” Edge calls, pure concern ringing through his words. Bono snaps his head up. “…Yeah,” he answers, a split second too late to be convincing, and glances away from Edge’s prying eyes.
Those eyes narrow as Bono turns, and the owner of them slips across the room to Bono’s side. “You don’t look like it to me.”
Bono forces himself to stare eye to eye with Edge and give him the honest lie- “I’m fine.” He knows he doesn’t look or sound fine. Bono fully expects Edge to insist on the truth, but instead the guitarist only keeps silent as Bono crosses the room. Halfway out the door, Bono decides there’s no point in keeping secrets, and turns back. “Wait. Reg…”
“What is it?” Edge asks, returning to his best friend’s side.
Bono swallows. “Em, let’s sit down.”
They have barely even moved before the story comes gushing out of Bono, water flowing through a broken dam. He forces himself to stay calm as he describes what Edge has sometimes suspected through these months of touring, and has come to a head with Larry’s shared thoughts- Bono lusts after Marieke. He wants her badly, but he can’t take her, because he still loves Ali madly. Edge listens attentively, understanding to a point what Bono is going through. After all, he went through it with Morleigh, who was tied down with a boyfriend when he fell for her. When Bono stops talking, afraid to say another word, Edge gazes at him until Bono has to return the look. Hazel meets blue, and Bono bursts out with, “Edge, what am I going to fucking do?!”
Edge’s tone is serious. “End it.” He touches Bono’s shoulder gently.
“I can’t, not when she’s on my mind.” Bono considers telling Edge about the shared kiss after the birthday party, but decides to leave that out. Edge would really advise him to end it if he heard about that.
“I understand what you’re going through,” Edge says. “For the longest time I wasn’t sure if I really loved Morleigh or if it was a fantasy like Aislinn.”
Bono remembers confronting Edge and telling him to go after Morleigh if he really loved her that much. Now the two are dating, and Bono feels more left out than ever. Adam is still engaged to his supermodel girlfriend, and even Larry has proposed to Ann… The talk in Bologna breaks to the surface of Bono’s brain, when three members of the band rejoiced in being the only single members of U2. Now that each of them are involved in a relationship, will Bono no longer be the odd one out- or will he become different yet again by joining the singles fiesta, as Adam had suggested he do?
“I can’t leave Ali behind,” Bono states. “It’s impossible. I want both women.”
He stares unhappily at Edge, who asks, “Has anything physical come of your longing for Marieke?”
“Oh hell no!” Bono exclaims automatically, but backtracks when he realizes this is not entirely true- “Well… I did kiss her. Just once, after her birthday party in Dublin. It scared me, Edge. I didn’t want to stop.” And of course there’s the maddening feeling that he’s kissed her before, but that can’t be proven true or false.
“Take my advice,” Edge says. “End it. If you still love Ali, ending it with Marieke will solve all your relationship problems.”
But I don’t want her to leave me, Bono thinks silently. Now he knows why he didn’t want her to take any breaks from the tour, even when she asked politely for them.
Bono leaves the room, mind reeling, and strolls down the hall, trying to put on a normal face. He pulls the dark glasses over his eyes. Behind them, no one will notice the blue pools of pain and conflict. Where did it all go wrong?, sounds in Bono’s head, not for the first time.
As Edge goes off to search for Bono and Adam leaves the stadium, Larry finds himself left to his own devices. He sits down at the side of the stage and wonders privately if he did well in urging Marieke to chase after Bono.
It really came as no surprise that Larry’s suspicions were true. Of course Marieke loves Bono. Who else would she want to love? But are Larry’s guesses that Bono loves her back spot-on? Everything seems clearer onstage- black and white. During concerts, Larry can tell that Bono wants Marieke. But out of that mindset, it all becomes hazy.
Remembering what had happened to him with Marieke, Larry gets an even more unsure feeling about his talk with her. What if she tried to pull a stunt like that with Bono? What if he doesn’t really love her and she gets hurt? Larry tells himself he’s not concerned for Marieke’s well-being- more worried for Bono, as an incident like that could ruin his resolve.
But isn’t that what he wants- to make Bono question his devotion to Ali? A small part of Larry is jealous of their relationship. Why have they been together for so long when Edge’s marriage broke apart… when Larry’s whole life was changed by sleeping with another woman? Bono needs to experience that feeling, Larry decides in a childish spite. It is only now that he sees the negative side of what could happen.
Larry sighs. He still wants to go through with it with Ann, that’s true. Somehow he really can’t be angry with Marieke, for she has pushed him in the right direction.
So many strands of tangled relationships… Larry spies Bono heading back out to the stage, shades clamped firmly over his face. Something has happened. Larry doesn’t want to know what it is. He gets to his feet, wishing that things were less complicated for everyone.
Jack and I eat together at lunch, with minimal conversation. He concentrates more on chewing his food than on me. I’m starting to realize as I eat my garlic bread that our friendship is not as strong as it once was. I don’t know what’s changed- maybe spending so much time with Jack has taken away his aura of mystique that attracted me at first, or maybe I’m feeling left out now that he has a girlfriend. Whatever happened, I miss the bond we used to share.
Of course, it could just be that as Jack is an introvert to the extreme, he rarely starts the conversation, and never asks for more details. And I’ve sure got a lot to tell him. Out of everything that’s happened to me off tour, Jack knows nothing about my kiss with Bono, the second one in my life, or the talk with Larry, when he revealed that Bono is attracted to me. I’m not going to say anything about either of those instances unless Jack asks, and as of now he hasn’t.
“How did scriptwriting go?” Jack says to me. Well, here’s a change.
“It was fine. Bono liked what I wrote, as usual.”
He also had not shown any outward signs of infatuation. Is he hiding his love, or was it all a cruel lie?
Jack leans in. “Marieke, how much longer can this go on?”
“At some point you’re going to break. I’m sorry, but I honestly can’t see you being in such close proximity to Bono without your feelings giving way.”
Wait. This isn’t sounding like my friend Jack. This is sounding like my enemy, Eric. What right does he have to nag me about keeping it safe? I know how to stay under the radar on my love- if only Bono would prove that he does return it.
Leaning forward, I inform Jack of the truth. “You know how long I’ve been covering this up? Since the very beginning when I joined the tour. I was in love with Bono from the moment I saw him. You think I’m going to break now? Definitely not.”
“But that was before there were any problems,” Jack points out. “Back then, Eric was your friend, Larry was no more than the drummer in your favorite band, and you weren’t as close to Bono as you are now, as you hadn’t yet gotten a job. I’m not saying you’re going to, out of the blue, profess your deep and undying love to Bono and try to convince him to feel the same. All I am saying is if this tour ends and nothing has come of your adoration, what is there to do?”
I push my chair away. “Don’t you think I have a life without Bono? I lived for years without knowing him personally! I won’t wither and die if he ends up never knowing I love him. It won’t be the end of the world.” Besides, if he really does feel for me, he’s probably going to bring it up sometime.
“Yes, but-“ Jack takes one of his maddening pauses where he drinks from his glass- “what if U2 decides to offer you a job on the next tour? I mean, it probably wouldn’t be anything like your current job, but you have charisma, Marieke- they might want to keep you around. And then this would just happen all over again- lusting for a man you can’t have.”
“Okay…” I’m struggling to keep my voice steady. “So what do you suggest I do about it?”
Jack shrugs.
Anger fills my mouth. “Why lecture me about ‘problems’ you can’t fix, Jack? And for that matter, I can’t fix them either. Can I request you leave me alone?”
“All right!” Jack puts his hands in the air. “Chill, Marieke, I didn’t mean to offend you. I’m sorry.”
I say nothing in return, just sip my own drink, mimicking Jack’s movements. What right does he have to tell me… When I open my mouth again, it’s to say, “I bet you haven’t heard the news.”
“What news?”

Oh, he’s gonna love this. “Larry told me that Bono loves me. He says he’s noticed an obvious attraction, growing bigger every day. He knows about my affection, and wants me to go ahead and break up Ali and Bono.” Take that!
Somehow, Jack doesn’t love that as much as I do. He cocks one eyebrow. “Are you sure? I mean, what exactly did he say? That doesn’t sound like Larry.”
“Of course I’m sure!” I fume. “Larry wouldn’t lie about his best friend!”
“Did he tell you this before or after you mentioned you love Bono?”
I start to reply before I realize what he’s getting at. “You think Larry lied to me to make me feel like I had a chance?”
“It’s possible,” says Jack.
“No, Jack, no,” I blurt. “You weren’t there. You have no idea what went on in our conversation. Larry had so much conviction in his voice. It’s no lie. Can’t you see it?”
“I see something,” Jack admits. “But I just can’t imagine Bono being that involved, sorry.”
He’s really had it with me now. “Well, you know what? You’re wrong.” I lean inwards and, speaking in a whisper, pour out the story of the few times Bono has shown attraction to me- the kiss with an intoxicated, angry rock star in a phone booth, and more recently, at the end of my birthday party, away from gossiping eyes. Jack blinks, startled.
“Marieke, why haven’t you told me about any of this yet?”
“Because… because you’ve been hung up on your work and your girlfriend, and you never care about me anymore!”
“Hush.” Now Jack’s starting to get annoyed. “If I didn’t care about you anymore, why would we be sitting here at the restaurant, having lunch?”
“Not anymore,” I say, still angry with him, and push myself up from the table. Jack eyes my plate. “You going to finish that?”
“No,” I growl acridly, and whirl out of the restaurant. He can pay this time.
“In the naaaaame of looove… oooooohhh…” Bono snaps the microphone stand back, to the accompaniment of Australian voices cheering for him. The song concludes.
“Melbourne!” Bono cries. “We love you!” The rest of the band exits the stage with waves. Reluctantly, Bono goes on to follow their lead. He can feel Marieke at the other end of the stage, drilling holes into him with her eyes. God! Bono can’t wait to get out of here.
For Zoo TV’s last leg, there is a change in the nightly encore proceedings. Bono is led into a new dressing room, furnished with gold and red and containing a beautiful vanity with a large golden-framed mirror. Instead of running the confessions while Mr. MacPhisto becomes himself and having him prowl out onstage when they end, the confessions are run while I dress MacPhisto, and the band slips silently onstage while a Zoo baby- the drawing of a baby’s head on the cover of Zooropa- sings opera. The fanfare for Daddy’s Gonna Pay For Your Crashed Car sounds. MacPhisto hasn’t put on his jacket yet, and is still in the process of applying makeup. Suddenly a camera in the corner of the room lights up, letting us know we are being filmed. MacPhisto preens, flirting with himself in the mirror as he draws lipstick on his already-sweet lips. His eyes make love to his reflection. I feel like getting in his way, kissing those ruby lips. MacPhisto leans into the microphone in front of him, sighs, and sings the first line of the song- “You’re a precious stone…”
The band is playing onstage, and the fans are going crazy with the sight of MacPhisto on the Zoo screens. Mr. MacPhisto himself croaks, “You’re out on your own,” and smiles at himself. “You know everyone in the world, but you feel alone.” Obviously referring to himself.
MacPhisto stands, and I rush forward to provide him with his coat. “Daddy won’t let you weep,” he sings, threading one arm through the sleeve of his jacket. “Daddy won’t let you ache. Daddy gives you as much as you can take…” He grins. I nearly faint. I’ve missed this Devil so badly.
“Ah ha, sha la!” Onstage, I know, the screens are flashing those words. “Ah ha, sha la! Daddy’s gonna pay for your crashed car.”
He begins to move confidently onstage, striding with one hand on the microphone, platform boots set one in front of the other, the left foot leading as if he’s marching. MacPhisto even rolls his feet- it’s beautiful. As he moves, he sings, “A little uptight-“ what a pretty falsetto slide there!- “you’re a baby’s fist… butterfly kisses up and down your wrist!” He stops still and waves one arm, acknowledging the screens of the crowd with an angelic smile- and also knocking me dead in the process. “When you see Daddy coming, you’re licking your lips…” He slides one tongue across his lipstick, proving the point. “Nails bitten down to the quick.” MacPhisto outstretches one arm, fluttering his fingers. I swallow, trying to keep myself off him. He swings back around and continues on his way. “Ah ha, sha la…”
And the Devil takes the stage with a bang. “Daddy’s gonna paaaayyyyyyeeeah!” he shouts, breaking into dance- hopping on one leg as Edge’s guitar jangles a solo. He hops from side to side, singing at a quicker tempo than the album version of the song, “You’re a head full of traffic, you’re a siren song- you cry for Mama, Daddy’s right along! He gives you the keys to a flaming car… Daddy’s with you wherever you are.”
Now MacPhisto is moving all over the stage, twirling like a ballerina. “Daddy’s gonna paaaayyyy…” His voice screeches up to the highest notes. “He’s your best friend… Daddy holds your head right up to the end!” I shiver despite the warm weather- the song has chilled me.
“Ah ha, sha la!” There, now I get to see the screen light up with the words. It actually creates a funnier effect than I expected. “Daddy’s gonna pay for your crashed car! Daddy’s gonne pay for your crashed car…”
And suddenly MacPhisto stops dead and screams again, “Daddy’s gonna paaaayyyyyyeeeeaaah!” And money blasts from the cannons, spewing into the warm night air. Naturally, the audience gasps, impressed. MacPhisto shouts it once more, smiling and moving robotically, and Zoo ECUs go fluttering into the sky once again. MacPhisto dances happily over towards the front of the stage, and wields one arm- it’s honestly a deadly weapon, I don’t think anything’s been more lethal to me than the power of those arms- and U2 finishes the song on a high note. “Daddy’s gonna pay… for your crashed… caaarr,” MacPhisto breathes, and quickly, before the audience can react, claps heavily, applauding his own talent with eyes closed, mouth turned up in a genuine smile. Typical MacPhisto!
“Thank you,” he sighs. “You’ve made me very famous and I thank you. I know you like your pop stars to be exciting, so I bought… these.” He raises one leg, pushing his heel into the piles of Zoo ECUs- the stage is literally littered with them.
Now MacPhisto starts in on the speech, and I watch nervously. “You need a good gimmick, don’t you, these days, with all the competition- Michael Jackson, Madonna.” Our audience boos respectfully.
MacPhisto cocks his head. “I think she’s gorgeous! Would you like to see me without my clothes on?” Female member of the audience get a huge kick out of that- here, here! I hope MacPhisto doesn’t notice that I’ve cheered just as enthusiastically.
“Do you know that before I became a celebrity, no one found me very attractive at all?” MacPisto asks. Damn, I don’t think that was ever possible. “Now everybody loves me! All the glitz and the glamor… makes you very sexy. You like celebrities, don’t you, here. What are you doing with poor Derryn Hinch, ten?” MacPisto makes a face and mimicks Hinch’s catcphrase- “Shame, shame, shame.”
Amidst laughter of the crowd, he goes on to say, “Shall I give him a telephone call? When you’re famous, everyone gives you their telephone number.” Of course we all want to see it happen.
MacPhisto moves backstage and dials. It’s not long before a man answers- “Hello?”
“Hello, could I speak to Derryn Hinch, please?” MacPhisto asks.
“I beg your pardon?”
“I’d like to speak to Derryn Hinch, please,” MacPhisto reiterates.
“Who’s calling?” the man asks naturally.
“My name is Mr. MacPhisto!”
Surprisingly, I hear laughter on the other end of the phone. “Oh no!” the man cries, and I realize it is indeed Hinch. The crowd laughs, claps, and cheers.
“Derryn, I, I don’t understand it, I hear you’ve lost your job, old chap,” MacPhisto says, sounding surprised. “We think you’re rather terrific, young man. What happened?”
Hinch answers, “Well, you’re very kind… but actually-“ Suddenly he changes the subject. “People have been mentioning your name in my office all week, you know that? Or at least your group’s name.”
“Well, I’m delighted to hear it,” MacPhisto says, looking as if he could squeal with happiness. “I like a bit of respect from the media!”
“Yeah,” Derryn says dryly, “because my staffers keep coming to me and they keep saying ‘I’ve been sacked.’ I’ll say, ‘You too?’”
We all groan loudly, except for MacPhisto. “Well I must say, I have something to say, Derryn- we, we have a television station on the road, and we’d rather love you to work for us, if you’re doing nothing!”
“Well, I will be a bit out of work over Christmas, so I’m looking forward to that!” Hinch laughs, not knowing that the tour will be over by then. “How did you get my number?”
Uh oh. MacPhisto draws himself up and declares, “Well, I can’t tell you these things, but I know- I know many things, actually.”
“You do?” Hinch asks skeptically.
“Yes,” responds MacPhisto with an air of aloofness.
Hinch puts on a mock-angry voice. “Listen, you owe- you owe me a favor for intruding on my Friday night at home!”
MacPhisto stutters, “Well, I’d rather like to g- I thought I’d offered you a wonderful chance to be on Zoo TV, and… I know it’s not Channel Ten…”
Derryn laughs again.
“but, it’s a, it’s a much hipper TV station!”
The crowd lets out a HUGE cheer at that. Derryn announces, “Do me a fa- the favor I’d like you to do me is, could you-“ He seems nervous. “If tomorrow night, I’m sure you will, when you play Mysterious Ways, could you dedicate it to the Ten Network?”
MacPhisto seems confused for a second. “Cause they- oh, I get the joke, ha-ha,” he sighs. “Well I’d just like to say one thing… we called you up for a very simple reason…” Without waiting for a reply, MacPhisto breaks into song. “I just called to say I love you… I just called to say how much I care…” Lemon starts up in the background of this a capella tune. “Goodbye Derryn!”
“Bye bye!” Derryn says, laughing.
“Melbourne loves you, mate!” MacPhisto says, putting on a fake Australian accent.
“Bye bye, thank you!”
“Au revoir!” That Devil can’t seem to shut his mouth. Hinch calls back, “Au revoir!”
And finally, finally MacPhisto turns to his audience. “Off with the horns, on with the show!”
For the first live performance, Lemon goes splendidly, like a dream. I almost can’t believe my eyes. MacPhisto saunters up to the front of the stage. “Leeemon… see-through in the sunlight… she wore lemon… but never in the daylight.”
The rest of the band is wearing those blue uniforms they had on in the Lemon video. I must admit, it’s not a shabby look, despite my previous apprehension. MacPhisto, I have to grudgingly admit, looks weirder than all of them, prancing around flamboyantly while singing, “She’s gonna make you cry, she’s gonna make you whisper and moan! And when you’re dry… she draws the water from the stone!”
He looks upward to sing in falsetto. Edge begins to hum softly beneath him, “Midnight is where the day begins…” And that’s where this performance differs from the album version. MacPhisto halts the falsetto mid-stream and sings against Edge’s voice, “Midnight…”
“Midnight, is where the day begins…”
“Midniiiight…” cries MacPhisto.
“Midnight…” Edge whispers.
“Midnight is where the day begins!”
It’s a breathtaking countermelody. I’ve really got to hand it to U2. MacPhisto pirouettes, sliding down the catwalk. “Lemon, to color in the cold gray light… she had Heaven, and she held on so tight.”
For the first time, I notice the karaoke going on up on the screen. MacPhisto turns his back to read it. “A man builds a city…” Edge sings. MacPhisto repeats that in his endearing British accent.
“With banks and cathedrals.”
“With banks and cathedrals…”
They sing together. “A man melts the sand so he can see the world outside… a man makes a car… and builds a road to run it on. A man dreams of leaving, but he always stays behind.”
“And these are the days!” MacPhisto cries. “When our work has gone asunder! And these are the days when we look for something other!”
This time he’s barely through the falsetto verse before he changes it, unable to resist singing that heartbreaking tune. “Midnight… midnight… midnight… midniiiiyeeet!” My soul is wrenched from my body. “Midniiiiight is where the day begins!” MacPhisto stumbles back, choking on the words. “Midnight is where the day begins…”
He travels down the catwalk out to the B stage, pulling a camera close to his body for comfort. Apparently it’s not what he was expecting, because he steps away from the camera at once, looking shocked. MacPhisto’s devastating blue eyes fill the screen. God, I never realized how well the white face paint showed off his ocean irises… That’s where my own eyes lock, staying on MacPhisto’s huge, Zoo-enlarged face. He finally smiles, giving into the camera’s temptation, and sweeps it along the crowd.
“A man takes a picture,” sings Edge. “A moving picture… a man melts the sand so he can see the world outside.”
“You’re gonna meet her there,” MacPhisto joins in on top of that. “She’s your destination. There’s no sleeping there… she’s imagination.”
He falls silent as the faces of the fans light up the screen, leaving Edge to sing “She is the dreamer… she’s imagination…”
Things begin to get quieter as the song starts fading out. MacPhisto grips the microphone, breathing, “Midnight is where the day begins… midnight is where the day begins… midnight…”
All instrumentals drop, except for one- Adam’s swaggering bass, turned from a soothing line to something that rips my heart out, makes me want to fall to my knees. All of a sudden, MacPhisto is changed too. His eyes have turned sad, broken, and his mouth is set differently, turning into a frown.
“See the stone set in your eyes…”
Every night this song takes on one meaning- MacPhisto is unable to live with our without the fame, the rock star excess of touring and heavy partying, and most of all, the fans. He faces the fact that he’s about to hit rock bottom every night, clinging onto the shred of hope that someone still loves him. However, everything feels different tonight. It isn’t that MacPhisto seems distracted, not part of the song- it’s that instead of focusing on himself, turning away from the fans as he usually does, MacPhisto aims the words at them, staring out in their directions. I breathe deeply to contain myself.
At the very climax of the song, the “OOOOOOHHHH OHHHH OH OHHHHHH’s”, MacPhisto is still facing the audience, and tears are leaking down my cheeks, but not because the song is sad- it’s because I want him, I want MacPhisto, I want to go out there and comfort him and take him home with me. And yet I can’t have him- a conundrum, presented obviously in the lyrics of the song- I can’t live with or without you.
As MacPhisto turns away from the stage, his eyes catch on me. I shiver and freeze, unable to move. The expression is something I’ve never seen before from him. It’s not begging for the audience to love him, and it’s not despair that they don’t. It’s not even like the Oslo show, where MacPhisto was out of his body in the emotional depths. No, tonight I realize what exactly has happened- MacPhisto has always, despite what I imagine, been Bono acting underneath. And finally, Bono no longer has to act. He looks so depressed and torn that I think he’s going to cry. Instead, MacPhisto pulls the microphone to his mouth and out stagger the words, “And you give. And you give. And you give. And you give… and you give, and you give, and you give, and you give… With or without you.” Finally he turns his eyes- but not his body- back to the fans. “WITH OR WITHOUT YOU, MY LOVE! I can’t liiiiiiiive with or without you!”
His head falls to his chest.
“With or withoooouut… you…”
I’m in pain on the outside, but on the inside, my mind has started puzzling. The only performance that MacPhisto and I have shared such great emotion during was Oslo, Norway, and that was only because of the failed speech and our dance together. Now I’m backstage, tucked away where no one can see me, and MacPhisto is out there, not even pretending to be torn apart- he truly is in pain. First I think What a great first Zoomerang performance, but my mind still wants to work it out. Is there something on Bono’s mind that he can’t shake off for the performance’s sake?
Onstage, U2 has reached their emotional climax in the show and MacPhisto is circling a girl around the stage, to the amazement of the fans. I stare past my tears into the darkness of the night, out at the B stage. Something is different. The girl MacPhisto is holding has her hands all over him, and he doesn’t seem to mind. His eyes are shut, head lolling on top of her head. If there was no musical accompaniment, this would look awkward. But Edge’s solo distracts the fans from the dance with the Devil. Just before it ends, MacPhisto snaps his eyes open, staring in my direction. He tightens his grip on the girl and removes her grabbing hands before she can, eyes never leaving my direction. It scares me, but my soul quiets when he sings the last lines to me- “Love is blindness, I don’t wanna see. Won’t you wrap the night around me? Take my heart… Blindness.” Purposefully, MacPhisto bends down to kiss his dance partner’s cheek, finally averting his gaze from me. And for the finale of the show, he sings Can’t Help Falling In Love in my direction.
I go to the dressing room when the show’s well over, but no one answers my knock. I hit the door again, smacking my palms against it to produce a louder sound, but the response is in Bono’s weary Irish accent- “Marieke, if that’s you I don’t want you in here. Please leave me alone.” His voice is filled with so much desperation on that last sentence that at first I almost enter despite his wishes, but choose against it at the last moment. If Bono doesn’t want me in there, he doesn’t want me in there. Walking away, my whole mind is preoccupied with deciphering MacPhisto’s- no, Bono’s- movements onstage. Could it be proof of Larry’s tale? MacPhisto loves me. Bono must love me too.
I pass Jack in the hallway. He doesn’t acknowledge me. I start to say something to him, but turn it into a cough at the last moment. I’m still not sure how I feel about Jack after my outburst at lunch today. Maybe this is the end of our friendship.
Inside the dressing room, Bono stares at himself in MacPhisto’s mirror for the longest time. Was inviting Marieke to continue on the Zoomerang leg a wise decision? Bono runs his hands over his face, exhausted. She’s definitely a female distraction, and the sad thing is, he’s taking the bait. Where has his love for Ali gone- out the door? Of course not- she’s still in Dublin, taking care of the produce of their love. Bono can’t see her when she’s so far away. But that’s no reason to take Marieke to his bed in her place.
At the nightclubs in Melbourne, there is no sign of Marieke. She’s gone to bed at the hotel. Bono’s heart hurts. He calls it quits early in the evening, something unlike him. While Bono rides a taxi back to the hotel, plagued by strange half-memories that feel unreal, Marieke sleeps, living the life she wants in her dreams. Her nightly world consists of Bono and herself, and no other intruders.

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Old 11-07-2011, 07:34 PM   #2
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As with the last chapter, this one has some lyrics that go with it-

I see you there, don't know where you come from
Unaware of a stare from someone
You don't appear to care that I saw you, and I want you

What's your name, cause I have to know it
You let me in and begin to show it
We're terrified cause we're heading straight for it
Might get it

You been the song playing in the background
All along, but you're turning up now
And everyone is rising to meet you, to greet you

Turn around, and you're walking towards me
I'm breaking down and you're breathing slowly
Say the word, and I will be your man, your man
Say when...

And my own two hands will comfort you tonight, tonight
Say when
And my own two arms will carry you tonight, tonight

We're coming close, and then even closer
We bring it in but we go no further
We're seperate, two ghosts in one mirror
No nearer

Later on, if it turns to chaos
Hurricane coming all around us
See the crack, pull it back from the window
You stay low
Say when...

And my own two hands will comfort you tonight, tonight
Say when, and my own two arms will carry you
Tonight, tonight

There's more but these are the only relevant lyrics.

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Old 11-08-2011, 01:15 AM   #3
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I was expecting a hell of a lot more angst. Whew. Sad about Jack, though, and Larry finally makes a bit more sense...
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Old 11-08-2011, 06:24 AM   #4
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It wasn't much, true, but obviously neither Bono nor Marieke are very happy at all right now.

Like I said before, the next chapter pays off- at least I feel that way!
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Old 11-08-2011, 07:37 AM   #5
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How many more chapters? Do you go to the end of the tour or until things are resolved as they are going to be?
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Old 11-08-2011, 08:27 AM   #6
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It officially ends after the Sydney show, but there's another chapter after that about the end of the tour.

Let's see... there are about four more after this one. Plus a bonus chapter, but I'm not going to post it, as it's just a rehash of the last couple of chapters from someone else's POV.
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Old 11-08-2011, 08:37 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by BlueSilkenSky View Post
It officially ends after the Sydney show, but there's another chapter after that about the end of the tour.

Let's see... there are about four more after this one. Plus a bonus chapter, but I'm not going to post it, as it's just a rehash of the last couple of chapters from someone else's POV.
That could be interesting. Whose POV?
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Old 11-08-2011, 09:27 AM   #8
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Bono's. I kinda drop out of his mind for a bit at the end. I don't want to post it because it doesn't add much else to the story.

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angsty bono, confused larry, derryn hinch, jack, lemon!, live performances, macphisto, marieke, melbourne, nonexistent adam, phone call, sympathetic edge, u2, with or without you, zoo crew, zoo tv tour, zoomerang

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