Shard #10 - Vladimir Von Stibbetz
Written in 2014

The sun had already set behind the hill, and the roadies ran around on-stage, preparing for the night's main event. A centuries-old banner, now decrepit, shown emblazoned on its face, the words: 'De-Fend Her Base'.

Some kind of bass noise rumbled through the speakers, like a single electric guitar chord run through a gnarly synthesizer, as the stage lights came on, dimly. Vladimir Von Stibbetz, clad in black vinyl, and with long, black straight hair, was standing in the shadows. A soft spotlight illuminated the crown of his head. His head jerked up, and his wide, white eyes looked crazed and passionately out across the audience.

"I don't have low self-esteem,
I have high You-esteem!" he said.

He looked completely consumed, like a candle that was lit at both ends.

They threw a show that really rocked.

[STUB: Time passes. The Concert is elaborated more in the book.]

He was covered in mud from head to toe.

After the concert reached a crescendo, Vladimir Von Stibbetz took the mic between both of his palms, and in a subdued, breathless voice, while looking directly into Empty and Darlene's electrified faces, he said:

"It's been a great night; a great set. I'd like to ask you all to give a hand to the Chief Musicians," and waving behind him, he continued, "and thank them all for tearing my ass up every night like someone who had a huge axe to grind. They really put my nose to the grindstone for this show. And I also want to thank you guys for coming to see me." He lowered his eyes to the floor.

He lit a sparkler in his hand and watched it burn down to a nub.

"I never asked to play this role,
I rolled in filth to be like you,
So deep inside she'll love me, too."

Empty and Darlene looked around them, astonished, and realized that they were the only ones who were clapping. It was a really great show. How could that be? Vladimir smirked, and replied,

"Yeah. I kinda' noticed that, too. This is a huge, huge venue, and you're the only two who could make it, apparently. Bummer."

A snarl, and a good-humored expression crossed his countenance, as he wiped the sweat back from his brow with the back of his synthetic wristband. He didn't seem to care that almost nobody was present. He still gave the best show that he could muster.

Darlene threw up her arms, a look of incredulity still visible upon her face. The stage lights sparkled in her eyes.

Von Stibbetz shrugged and laughed.

"I know. We sent invitations to everyone, too. So fuck it!"

Darlene didn't care about his language. She was wise beyond her years.

"And I also want to let the both of you know that this was _De-Fend Her Base's_ first and last performance. It was a one-shot deal."

The lights cut out abruptly. An explosion went off backstage, and fireworks blistered the sky like chain lightning. Vladimir Von Stibbetz shouted into the night,

"Thank you, thank you, and good night, four-eyes!" as he sent the microphone screaming through the nighttime air. Feedback cranked and reeled through the giant amplifiers.

He flashed a peace sign at Empty and Darlene and exited stage left.

The two of them walked away, hand in hand, dripping with sweat from all of the stage lights and activity. Behind them, the glint of fireworks overtook them, and cast an eerie glow before them onto the ground before their feet, that they blindly followed into the night.

To Useless Shard #11

Cocaine Kiss
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