7. Chapter Seven
Sparkling lights glimmered with an angelic presence in the dimly lit room. It was funny how much they reminded him of himself. A glowing existence surrounded by darkness. The thought of it made him chuckle slightly. Creek The door. Quickly, he wiped the smirk of his lips and put his game face on. “Sorry to interrupt Mr Armstrong” the weedy chap had a thick London accent which blew his weak exterior out of proportion. Defying the laws of monotonous stereotypes. He held a fondness for this man. “We’ll need you backstage in 10 minutes”. He nodded and the man returned the gesture, disappearing behind the door. It began to squeak again in anticipation. “Wait” Billie said. The man’s head reappeared. “Yes sir?” “What’s your name?” “I hardly think that’s important, sir” “I asked for your name” he said exasperatedly as he studied his bottle of water that lay atop the dressing table. “My name is Angus Gladen, sir” “Tell me about yourself, Angus Gladen” “I’m a tech guy, I run around after bands, make sure the shows go smoothly-” “No I mean tell me about the real you” “I’m not sure I know what you mean Mr Armstrong” “Do you have a wife?” “I have a girlfriend” “What’s her name?” “Celine Macaby, sir” “Tell me about her” he closed his eyes and tilted his head back in his chair, welcoming the darkness into his imagination. “Urm…she’s ur 22, like me, she has red hair, which she hates, but I think it’s beautiful. Her eyes are green like the colour the grass goes when it flowers in spring. She has perfectly straight white teeth and a smile that reminds me of angels from heaven.” Billie grinned at this as it triggered thoughts of Adrienne. “She hates it when milk makes the cereal soggy, but still insists that they soak in it for a bit before draining the bowl. She loves the sound of busy London traffic, but also adores natures silence in the countryside-” the man tilted his head “am I boring you Mr Armstrong.” Billie Joe lifted his head and reopened his eyes, letting the image of Celine dissipate into the black. “Not at all Angus, your girl…she sounds…wondrous” “She is, except we’ve been having a bit of trouble lately…” “Oh?” “We keep getting into fights over tiny things and I don’t want to lose her, but I feel like breaking up with her is the only way to stop the hurt I could cause by staying.” “Angus, you seem like a good man. And from experience, I know that the good men get the best girls-in the end. You’ll always wonder why someone so perfect could end up with you. But I’ll let slip a secret; Celine loves you for you, for your quirks. She adores them as you adore hers. Think about what it is that makes these fights happen. Fix what is broken. Do not throw it away.” “Thank you sir, but may I ask why you are telling me this?” Billie hauled himself from his chair and made his way over to Angus. He stretched his arms towards the sky and yawned. “Look, I want you to take her out. Book a weekend away. Remind her of why she fell in love with you. And never let her forget. Otherwise she’ll learn to hate everything she once loved. Take her to a restaurant or her favourite place. Surprise her. And then put a ring on it. Show her you are serious. Show her what she knows is right.” Then he pat Angus on the back and departed the room. Angus stood for a few moments, bewildered by what this punk star had just said, knowing what he now had to do. “Oh, and call me Billie Joe”. Strolling down the corridor, Billie thought about what he had just said to Angus. He’d never forget that stranger. “Billie!” called a voice from down the corridor. Spinning around, he noticed Trè running towards him, eyes ablaze. There was a maddening glint in them. “What’s up?” “Aren’t you excited?” “Sure” Billie always was, but it was a familiar feeling and one that was almost difficult to recognise in this circumstance nowadays. Almost. “Of course I am” he corrected. “We’re gonna tear this place down, man” “Hi guys” Mike snuck up behind them, nearly making Trè jump out of his skin. “You shmucks ready?” “Always” Billie grinned. “See you on the other side” Mike left down a corridor as he was coming on to stage through a door at the back. Winking one last time, he disappeared off with some guy guiding him with a palm on his shoulder. “Armstrong, this way” a man guided him in the same direction as Mike and passed him to the other side of the stage, stage right, where he always came on from. Trè was left alone to enter from the left. Someone handed him a clear blue plastic cup full of water and told him there were bottles on stage. As he stared at the wrinkled rim, he thought about his kids as someone hooked him up with an in-ear monitor and someone else hung his guitar over him. He barely noticed the brush of their hands across his neck. Joey, Jakob. Wondering what his sons were up to now, he fondled the curved edge of the cup. “Standby” a voice said. He snapped out of his daze and began to down the water. On stage in three… Two… He gulped down the last mouthful of liquid and tossed the cup to the side. It made an unmistakable crunch as it clattered to the floor. One… Billie Joe ran out on stage to meet the roar from the adoring crowd.