A Song for the Crowds

by Marianne Su

They start calling my name as the lights dim.  The others run up the stairs ahead of me.  Their appearance triggers the familiar chant and flood of lights.  It’s a ritual that repeats itself, punctuating my life, night after night.  An outstretched hand slaps me on the back as I step onto the stairs and force my reluctant legs to carry me into the spotlight.

The noise erupts as the band starts up.  The bouncing bodies and waving hands are anonymous until the floodlights reveal their faces.  I scan the front row.  Night after night they all look the same.  Wide eyed with expectation and admiration, they shout out to me, indistinct and meaningless.    

With the first chords of the guitar, darkness swallows them whole again, leaving me with the brutal allusion that I’m alone on stage with the music.  I grab the microphone and yell out the words the way they like.  Erupting screams compete with a chorus of voices singing lyrics.  I close my eyes to focus on the night I wrote that song, the night the words meant something, before they were claimed by the voices of thousands. 

As their song comes to an end, I ease my eyes open to face the crowd.  With a mental swift kick, I remind myself that this is the wish of every dreamer with a guitar.  I had a good thing.  If only I hadn’t lost the music along the way.

9 Responses to A Song for the Crowds

    • I’d love to read that. I’ve wanted to do something with a rock star too. I’m drawn to the facade vs the real person aspect of the rock star. Thanks, Angie.

  1. Have you ever gone to a concert to find that the musical magic has faded along the way, that the depth of emotion vanishes and they play like wind-up toys?
    Or gone to a concert where that barrier evaporates, and the whole room hums with emotion? Such extreems, either way. Thanks for the great short story – it holds a special message, that also applies to writing!

  2. Hi Marianne,

    A great bit of flash fiction… the sense transition from meaning, excitement, jading to regret of the main character comes across really well.

    It’s also really different, not a subject that I normally encounter in my reading… What gave you the idea for it?

    • I’ve actually wanted to write about a rock star for a while now. Novel length. I think it would be a hard character to write though so I’m taking baby steps.

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