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Blood Dry

“Wanna hear you say yeah oh!!”, cried out The Guy. The filled dance floor of drunken fucks clumsily shouted back, “Yeah oh!”. “Not bad”, The Guy projected a broad smile out into the crowd of party revellers, “Come on stop giving these guys sedatives”, he mocked and held the microphone out towards the crowd, “Yeah oh!”, they responded back louder this time. “Right oh”, The Guy replied in a camp BBC broadcasters English accent.

The guitarist ripped into the distinct riff of Sweet Home Alabama. “Let's take a little trip down South Y’all”, The Guy commanded in a fake Southern U.S accent.

“Big wheels keep on turning”, The Guy blasted his voice out into the crowd who were lapping it up. Three cocktail-dress attired, slightly overweight “Thirty-something” women hopped down the steps onto the dancefloor, all giggling and tipsy. The Guy smiled warmly in their direction and over the microphone welcomed them, “Good evening Ladies, looking so hot tonight”.

“I hear Mr Young sing about her”. The Guy stuck his foot out towards the drummer commandingly and the drummer obediently dropped down to a “Four to the floor” bass drum beat, the band knew to quieten down too.

The Guy jumped down onto the dance floor and undid another button on his black shirt, he approached the ladies, he sneaked up behind one of them and tapped her on the shoulder, “Good evening”, he said with a sickening charm that laced his voice. He sang to her; “Sweet home Alabama, your turn”, he held the mic towards her, gripping it a bit harder in case she grabbed it. Out of tune and pretty much just shouting she obliged.

The Guy grabbed her hand and spun her around. He moved onto the next girl, a younger, slender shaped young woman, with a revealing cleavage, she nervously shook her head, avoiding The Guy’s eye contact, more shy than unfriendly, this attracted him to her even more, fleeting images of her bent over with her ass in the air, spreading her cheeks with her nail varnished feminine fingers, her soft hip flesh just ever so slightly wobbling, exposing herself, vulnerable yet willing, wet, sweaty and ready, for his tongue, finger, cock or all of them. A brief yet burning urge, yet detached.

He jumped back onto the stage and pointed, like Elvis, at the saxophone player, “Sax solo baby”.

The flow of guests joined the dancefloor had increased tenfold, mostly women, the Guy liked that, he loved swimming powerfully within this ego soup of his commanding power.

The women danced in various circles, the DJ smirked from within his booth, then looked down and continued playing candy crush, he had heard this set many times before and although all matey with the band, felt resentment towards the crowd for lapping up the “Live” band.

The Guy looked at the dated carpet on the stage and noted the abundance of dull maroon within the essentially nouveau riche, garish pattern, illuminated by the flickering stage lights, it disgusted him.

Zoned out, The Guy was focused, but not completely in a conscious state, he knew to just keep moving, to not think just move.

Smile, be that dancing toy robot for the entertainment of vacuous strangers.

The two pints of Peroni beer he drank alone in the darkened Champagne bar, away from the collective contemptible band noise of the dressing room had relaxed him just enough, he utilised the beer to sedate and block out the utter contempt he had for the dancing, tipsy annual Marks and Spencers Christmas party revellers, but also to block out the resentment he had towards the very polished band that he played with, friends yet foes.

But most of all the two pints of Peroni helped him block out the contempt he held for himself, his performance, very much a vehicle for his ego, the high seeker that he was, it was most definitely a compulsion. Like a monster spawned from Elvis and Kurt Cobain, screaming to an amphetamine-fuelled, seventies disco-love song bastardised version of “Born to be Wild”.

“Jump, Jump, Jump, sweet home”, The Guy held out his microphone to the now full dance floor with which they mindlessly respond, “Alabama”, this repeated and The Guy knew how to act and move in a way as to project “Everybody's having a fucking good time”. The “Master frontman” of the people. He sensed the insecure envy of the DJ witnessing this from behind his DJ booth to the side of the stage.

There were no gaps between songs, The Guy commanded the band, his instinctual ability to read the audience, like a sixth sense, he knew which song would be good next, an insight much like Hitler at the Nuremberg Rallies, his hungry ego fed off their elation and want, the high, the drug, The Guy blissfully drowning in full euphoric blackout, an otherworldly landscape with vivid mountain peaks and sweeping valleys, the Guy soared above, he was the all-powerful bird of prey, focused yet confident within his majestic predatory power. He was Jim-Elvis-Morrison of the Home Counties annual Christmas parties.

He moved frenetically back and forth from the stage. “Play that funky music white boy, jump, jump”. The Guy smiled broadly at the dancefloor, “Wanna make love to every single one of ya, Sax solo baby”.

The hour, fifteen-minute exhausting set was like an abandoned and frantic coked up sex session with an ex-girlfriend, dripping with lust and quenching that forbidden desire that your mother would never want for the child she loved so deeply.

To The Guy, the mass of sweaty bodies dancing awkwardly and inebriated were one entity, obedient to his command, at this moment he was King.

At this time The Guy did not know this other Guy, a stranger, a demonic entity that possessed him and he despised the greedy ego driven dancing, swaggering, Mr Entertainer, a truly greed-driven monster.

The Guy had nothing but resentment for his apparent lust for lifting up the masses, lifting them to higher places than their mortgage schemed, stable life and conventional existences, how this fucking show off saturated his being with a false glory, then just abandoned him the very second the DJ closed the show with, “Ladies and gentlemen please give it up for the Divided”, leaving The Guy numb with just a memory of feeling the Eagle soar the peaks of plastic and fake rock and roll mania.

The DJ, with a DJ swagger, walked to the side of the stage and indicated one more song with his finger. The Guy finished off the overly fast Mr Brightside by the Killers and ran back onto the stage from the dance floor and shouted to the band, “Sex on fire for the cunts”. He noted to himself that the guitarist should know this "Kings of Leon" hit by now, he sneered within himself, for the guitarist’s obedient yet essentially beta way, although The Guy wouldn’t want another Alpha male on stage.

The band was rebooked for the absence of gaps between songs, this suited The Guy as the silence between songs was dangerous, a no man's land, where The Guy might fall to Earth and fully return to his naked and vulnerable authentic self, in his mind he did concern himself with the fact that one

day he might just stop, freeze on the spot and show his true feelings towards the dancing minions, he saw the home counties hard men, and he danced with them, he skilfully made himself appear as no threat, acting in a way as to warm them to him, and he was very good at that, little did they know he could rip their throats out with ease.

The riff of “Sex on fire” started in its dumb way and the drummer, as usual, came in a beat too early, like every fucking time, but The Guy didn't care and vocally anchored the groove back in line.

The song was near the end and The Guy, jumped up and down like a fucking Zumba instructor, commanding the dancing crowd to, “Jump, Jump”.

Within this frenetic moment, The Guy noticed a group of geezers punching the air, shouting, “Your sex is on fire”, they chanted irrespective of the place in the song and The Guy thought to himself “Pure art”.

“Ladies and gentlemen put your hands together for the Divided”, the DJ announced as Sex on Fire came to a weary end.

For six years running, he had called the band the Divided, not the Divide. And within a millisecond Mariah Carey’s hit “All I want for Christmas is you” blasted in over the DJ’s PA system and the garishly dressed ladies moved off the dance floor in the direction of the bar, in a quest to buy double Bacardi and cokes to dull the pain of their stiletto heels that dug into their tired chubby ankles, but also to blank out the reality of their safe, yet bland existences.

The Guy shook hands with the other six band members, and in his sweat-drenched shirt, he wearily retreated to the scruffy dressing room, moving into the adjacent shabby toilet cubicle behind the DJ booth.

He grabbed the broken Adidas bag of spare leads and entered the toilet cubicle, took a piss and checked the door was locked.

He retrieved the warm can of Strongbow cider and thirstily downed it in one, a little bit dribbled down his shirt as he stared into the dusty mirror with the faded “Radio Jackie” sticker from ten years ago stuck to it.

He stared himself straight in the eye as the ocean of endorphins washed all over his body, but this was a dull ocean, like the cold greyness of the North Atlantic sea.

He smirked at himself and softly said, “Welcome back”.

He moved to the outside area and joined the smokers, the echo of the egomaniac “Other Guy” faded into the background, he had now returned to his cave but called out from a distance, “Search their faces, look for adoration, recognition, anything, I am the rock star, I am superior, I’m the number one cunt”.

The Guy ignored his need for external validation no matter how much his alter ego pleaded.

He lit a cigarette and the dopamine mixed with the dull yet calm ocean of endorphins, creating a grey mist above the water.

A girl caught his eye from within a group drunkenly talking about some antics of a cousin at somebodies christening. “Your band was great”, she confidently stated as she sucked on her vape. The Guy faked a warm smile and thanked her. She asked if he has a card and relayed some pointless information about her niece's thirtieth birthday party in some awful social club in Aldershot. The Guy apologised that unfortunately, he had given the last one away, which was a lie. He told her she could email the venue, knowing full well nothing would materialise.

At this point her drunk friend, whose feet were bare, laughed and asked to try on The Guy’s shoes, briefly explaining she had cold feet, they all laughed as he obliged, slipping them off.

She pulled them on giggling to her stupid self. The Guy sensed the pathetic victory she's now revelled in.

He now stood with cold feet on the patio slab, he looked down at his worn-out socks with his big toe sticking out of a hole, he should feel rage, and humiliation of sorts, but he felt nothing, just numb, blank and in fact not present, as if his blood ran cold, almost a feeling as if there was no blood, just iced water filling his veins, he smiled blankly at the group.

The girl gave him back his shoes and thanked him insincerely. The other girl invited him to dance back inside, he politely declined and instead tiredly returned to the stage to clear cables and

speakers for the drunken crowd to jump onto and play out their rock star fantasies, dancing to the post band DJ set.

As The Guy walked across the dance floor amongst the drunken revellers, the disco lights flashed as Ed Sheeran’s song Sing pumped out of the speakers very loudly, as he moved he bumped into clumsy dancing strangers. The Guy was a ghost amongst this intoxicated happiness, times like these he thought to himself were perhaps evidence of a virtual reality.

He packed up and as he left he shook the DJ’s hand, who shouted over the top of the booth, his voice hardly audible over the extreme volume of the music, "See you next week”.

The Guy left the venue.

Inside the car, the windows had frosted up, and inside residue had formed from The Guy’s breath. The silence resonated within the empty vessel that was him, he pulled off his sweat-drenched shirt and put on a clean t-shirt, its dryness was comforting.

He lit a Marlboro light and started the engine and with lightning reflexes slammed the radio button to off, which had come on so attackingly loud. He checked his phone and saw a text from Wrist-Strap, it simply read: “12 Usual”

The Guy drove up the A3 dual carriageway, his car was surrounded by the viscous darkness of night.

He arrived at the service station at just gone midnight, as he walked through the automatic doors he saw Wrist-Strap sat reading a Friday-ad on a stool in the Coffee section. The Guy approached from behind him, he saw he was perusing the escort services page.

The Guy moved to Wrist’s left-hand side and stood still, waiting for him to notice he was there, he didn't look up at The Guy and asked, “You ever been with a tranny?”, Wrist laughed gaspingly in his smokers laugh. “Not your stubbly builder in a dress, you know those big tit implanted, smooth skin, big lipped, ass implanted slags”, Wrist looked up and made intense eye contact with The Guy and in a subtle aggressive tone protested, “I’m not a puff you know, well maybe a little bit, I just like fucking people”. The Guy smiled and nodded. “It's under here”, Wrist passed The Guy a Costa cup filled with a lukewarm cappuccino, “You want this undercooked sausage roll or what too?”, he asked. The Guy declined.

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