The Last Concert
By David Edward Nell
“Aliens Exposed”, flashed a neon billboard hanging above a circus tent standing desolate next to a Nevada highway, the lights glowing ever sharper with the sun's decline. At the entrance, a pale man in Indian garb sent the last guest down a long, descending stairway. Inside, the chatter was loud, the company cramped, a standing-room-only assembly of awkward observers in wait. Finally, the curtain opened. There stood, in front of a microphone, a man in a suit, Greg, who hadn't finished combing his hair. Quickly, he withdrew his self-nurturing and tweaked the receiver. It let out a shriek, deafening enough to be followed up with boos and spits.
“Ladies and gentleman, thank you for coming and being patient. My apologies for the delay,” he said, having to shield his eyes from the bathing spotlight.
“Refund,” someone in the audience was already jesting. The spotlight appropriately dulled, soon rendering them quiet. Testing his breath one last time, Greg began the show introduction.
With a deep-voiced fervour, he breathed into the mic, “Ladies and gentlemen, a new discovery has been made. For the first time ever, we have direct access to a tube shuttle connected to a great source of corruption. We built this stage on top without anyone's consent, so we hope that you appreciate the great risk we have taken, and it is only fitting that the door behind me be opened in front of an audience. Never before has any man dared to venture in the lair of the great unknown. One week ago, we found what is purported to be a tunnel into the infamous Dulce Base. The existence of this underground facility is one of myth. It's believed that therein, visitors from another planet are working in cooperation with a secret government in the name of science, a science so evil, it is unfathomable to think an alliance of such impossible proportions could exist behind closed doors. The only evidence brought to the surface thus far has been the word of brave whistleblowers who have strangely vanished, passed. But the age of darkness ends tonight. All will be revealed. Witness history.”
Greg drew open a curtain behind him, revealing a metallic door indented on a wall. A sound effect played on the speakers to exacerbate the sense of wonderment. Curious stares were passed in the crowd. Greg flaunted a shimmering key.
“What could possibly thrive beyond? Could it be a being from another galaxy? Will I, Gregory Siebert the Third, perish brutally by some devil's wand?”
The key went in, and then he cradled the knob and twisted to loose an ancient creak. Then they were looking into another room, its smoky, closed-off confines containing a poker table in the middle, a ladder reaching to a rooftop hatch. Seated on one end was a glamorous-looking man with sunglasses and a sizeable mop of dark hair, his jumpsuit shiny-white, riddled with glitter. Greg stammered out some indecipherable nonsense, drawing an equally stunned reaction from the visitor. The man in the room climbed up from his gambling comforts and hunkered over onto the stage with an oddly rhythmic swagger. At first, he merely gawked around, and was as silent as the audience matching his confused expression.
“Aw, shucks, Ma'am. Looks like you caught me,” he said after a minute.
“I happen to be a fully-grown male,” Greg replied. “Who are you, then, humanoid?”
“What you on about? I'm a musician, part karate master. Or used to be. Some call me Elvis.”
Greg pondered for a bit. “I'm afraid I don't know of this name. Is it of any significance?”
“Not anymore,” said Elvis, sadly. “How did you even find the King, baby? Ain't got money, if that's what you're seeking.”
“No. We're after extraterrestrial beings, and you were...you were not what we expected.”
“I get that a lot these days,” Elvis replied. “So y'all want a song or what? One more time, huh?”
“A tune, a melody? This is a ufologist exhibition, sir, and you have questions to answer.”
“Song, song, song,” cried the audience, giggling like little girls.
“That's what I like to hear. Thank you very much,” Elvis said, eagerly assuming the microphone, pushing Greg off the stage.
“This is something sweet I came up with a long time ago, back in the golden age. I call it I Want To Be Free. There's no joy in my heart...” But before he could get the first verse out, Greg returned and grabbed the microphone away, raising his fist toward the raging audience, who chucked bottles left and right.
“What the hell, man?” Elvis said. “Relax. Crowd wants a show.”
“Arrogant twat. This is my show, not yours. Now you will answer my questions, or leave.”
“Don't be cruel, baby.”
One bottle hit Greg in the head, so he cracked it open and pointed it at the throat of Elvis in retaliation. “You want to see cruel? That's cruel. How do like me now?”
“Whoa, whoa, you're too close--” And saying that, the glass had already nicked his jugular. Elvis immediately fell to the ground. Horrified gasps erupted from the crowd.
“Oh, dear,” Greg said, guiltily eyeing the restless painting. “Well, folks, thanks for coming.”
Anarchy was loosed. Greg tried to duck his way out under the flying barrage, until a hand grabbed his ankle. Elvis' hand.
“Not so fast,” Elvis said, standing up, having his name chanted.
“I just wanted to put on a show about aliens!” Greg remarked, getting a punch to the nose. And another, and several times more, and then Elvis was stabbing him. Right in the heart. Until Greg had no more blood to give. Elvis threw his crimson fists in the air in victory, receiving an uproarious ovation. At last, he was able to sing.
- - -
Having spent years trying to evade the Equestrian mafia, David Edward Nell now writes from a nameless hideout in Cape Town, South Africa. By night, disguised as numerous pop culture figures, he can usually be found scouring the African plains for loving. Stalk him at http://davidedwardnell.blogspot.com, but keep this a secret.
The Last Concert
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