Excerpt from "THE RED CLOAK"

“Ham! Ham! Ham! Ham! Ham! Ham! Ham! Ham! Ham! Ham!!!” the audience shouted.  She preferred when they shouted “Leeza” instead of “Ham,” but she knew they were cheering with love and not making sport of her.

“How are we doing tonight?” she asked the audience.  She was answered by another roar of the crowd as she gave them her wide stage smile.  She could feel a rush of air on her molars. Yes, this was her wide smile. She was giving her best to her fans.
“Now it’s time for one of our new songs.  I don’t know if you have heard this one yet, but it’s coming to the radio stations all over the country.  Listen the words – but get the meaning from my feelings. ”  She waited for the music to start, and she caught the beat.  She began to dance, further exciting the crowd.

“The words don’t have a meaning,” she sang, “so listen to my feelings. The words don’t have a meaning when you’re talking about my heart.”

As she sang, she floated up into the air, outside her body, and observed herself performing while she watched from the highest pillar in the stadium, just below the clouds.  She was entranced as she noted the beauty of her own movements, the perfection of her pitch, the quality of her voice pronouncing the words of the song.  Her enunciation was excellent!  Her dance moves were inventive, graceful, awe-inspiring.  She had not seen such a performer as herself.  She was amazed as she seemed to be viewing a video of herself and the band in their greatest performance ever. 

She automatically ran through the songs, one after another, without any variation, without any personal input.  As the final song came to a close, she returned to her body like a genie returning to a bottle – slowly but precisely to the exact spot she left nearly 90 minutes ago.  She again felt the rush of the crowd – she again could feel herself in her own body.  She took a graceful bow before the audience as they cheered, louder and louder.  This was what she loved!  This was why she was alive, so she could receive this type of love from thousands of fans at one time!  She gave her all to them, wrote songs they memorized and repeated, and they responded in love, in great numbers and great force!

The concert ended and Leeza was ushered backstage.  She went into her dressing room amid cheers and praises and flopped down in the chair in front of the mirror.  She noticed that her face was covered with perspiration, her hair drenched.  She didn’t look as good in the mirror as she had from outside her body… she looked stressed, tired, worn.  She recalled, not so long ago, when she would return to her dressing room super-charged, looking great, and ready to go to the party. 

What was the point of her life?  A high from an adoring crowd, which quickly faded?  The thrill she had received this evening had already dissolved.  She glanced at the stack of this month’s magazines on the table beside her, which featured her face on the cover.  Wasn’t this all she ever wanted?  Was this all there was to life?  She had attained her life goal at a young age… now what?

“Leeza, you were excellent, as usual,” her manager, Jack-boy, said as he entered her dressing room without knocking.

Available to order through Everlasting Publishing