Day 6 – Live

I thought of a plot at the fourth paragraph in, ok?

Word Count: 925


The world sealed behind him as he shut the door. Every last decibel and photon of light from the corridor, the crowds, the people, the city, the country, the wars, relationships, hardships and happiness were now all locked out. This was the way that Nick always entered his dressing room. However, surveying the bare light bulbs, chipped woodwork and the exploded mess of other people’s stuff, this was not the sort of dressing room he had become accustomed to.


There was a corner that appeared to be devoted entirely to dirty laundry. Perhaps deep down underneath it there was a basket, but it was long buried and forgotten. Cheap fluorescent lighting stained everything in a bright clinical light. The comfy chairs from his past had been transformed into flimsy plastic chairs. A small desk with a huge cracked mirror at the end masked itself as the dressing table.

Nick, trying not to smirk at it all, pulled the chair out to face the dressing table. It scraped along the linoleum floor. As he sat down it creaked slightly under his middle aged midriff. For a few moments he simply sat there, fleece and all. It was chilly in the dressing room. He looked around but there was no heating at all. A further few seconds later and he was already reaching into his inner pocket and pulling out a large silver hip flask. Unscrewing the cap, he savoured the smell of the fine whisky inside and as he let the flavour spill out onto his tongue, he caught his eye from his own reflection and abruptly froze.


Looking back in the mirror filled him with an immense sadness. It showed everything. It showed his balding head and the greying survivors of the ageing process so far. Crows feet splayed out from his eyes and his beard resembled more that of the hobo he’d refused to give money to earlier that night than the rockstar on the front of all the album covers. A double chin. He had a double chin?


Nick placed the flask on the table and allowed himself to be absorbed in what he could see. Narcissistic though it was, it had been years since he’d properly seen himself in the mirror. The odd glance in the morning or while he was brushing his teeth was the most acquainted he got with his appearance in recent years. There had been a time not so long ago that he would have been forced to spend hours in front of the thing; styling his hair, allowing himself to be primed and powdered.


He laughed, swallowing another swig of sweet courage. Who was this strange man looking back at him, desperately clinging on to ‘the dream’ at age fifty-eight when he should have woken up such a long time ago. Though he tried to fight it, he could hear the crowd outside. He doubted its size, after all who would really come along to see an old sell out has been with a wife who’s just filed for divorce and two kids he hasn’t seen in years. His fingers were almost at the stage that they were too fat to play the guitar. His once nimble handwork was an embarrassment half the time. They had session musicians in the recording studio with him. They had them in tonight. No one wanted him to screw it all up but they didn’t want to admit they were trying to sell second hand goods back to the shop to they were bought from.


Nick continued to stare at the man in the mirror and continued to be astonished. Why had it taken him this long to realise he was falling steadily down the other side of the mountain? His lavish lifestyle was now over; hotels and exotic and trendy bars belonged to the past. He’d met the best woman he was ever likely to meet and she’d left him. What had been hoping to achieve by this comeback tour? Did he expect to be suddenly transported back to his twenties where he was surrounded by roadies and waiters, women and drugs?
And then something happened. The fool in the mirror smiled. But Nick wasn’t smiling. The fool then put down the flask. But Nick did not. Instead, Nick was rooted to the spot. He couldn’t move. The fool, however, was now getting to his feet. His chair made the same screeching noise. But Nick’s did not move an inch. He watched his phantom fool get up and wave to him before turning around and casually walking towards the door. It opened… and so did Nick’s.


Nick – though petrified with terror – turned around to see the door ajar. No one was there to have opened it. He whipped round to look at the mirror again and caught sight of the tired old man with the bags under his eyes and the sagging man boobs walk completely out of the room and turn – not towards the stage door and the waiting audience, but the other direction and out towards the fresh night air.


Nick sat frozen in his seat for a few moments. With trembling fingers he slammed his flask down on the dresser – the whisky slopping out of it and all over his hands as it impacted. He had made his mind up in little more than a second. Seat screeching as he did so, Nick, too, got to his feet and walked towards the door and casually followed the wise old man from the mirror……….

~ by S.G. Mark on October 13, 2011.

One Response to “Day 6 – Live”

  1. Not bad.

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