She strides down the strobing corridor in step with the bass-roar of the arena and the beat-beat of her heart, the thud of blood and cocaine pulsing through her veins. The drugs used to dull the shock of stepping out onto the stage, turn fear into exhilaration, but shock and fear and exhilaration have all faded over the years of trite repetition, of rote moves and rote words repeated again and again and again for fresh tides of screaming faces.
Now she only feels numb as she poses before another crowd, stretching thousands of bodies back into invisibility in the dark vastness of the arena. They can all see her, though, blast-lit in scorching spotlight and rendered giant on screens she cannot see but knows too well that they can. They cannot imagine the heat of those lights, a heat that turns her over-exposed skin to melting wax.
Synth blares in bassy eruption, and she moves in over-rehearsed routine, like a puppet suspended on strings spun from the perverted minds of a producers’ committee. Stomp stomp, hip check, grind, grind, grind. The only relief is that repetition has trained her muscles to perform without input from her brain, this relief tempered by the fact that this allows her mind the chance to wander.
Her throat is an equally well-trained muscle, bellowing senseless vocal without forcing her to consider lyric. Lyrics assembled by focus-tested checklist, devoid of meaning but lighting fires in the sea of eyes that watch her rapt with lust and lustre. She can’t hit the high notes any more, but she doesn’t have to; the chip taped to her neck steals her voice before it can reach her lips and re-casts it as a synthetic scream. The crowd scream back, a wave of stale alcoholic exhalation.
She jiggles to indulge their half-drunken fantasies, their crumbled dreams of grandeur and voyeuristic projection. She stands baked in spotlight wearing strips of rubber and makeup and her own pale skin, sweaty simulacrum of castrated sexuality. She moves as if she’s fucking each of them in their upturned faces. No one could call this dancing, but they do. Stomp stomp, hip check, grind, grind, grind. (more…)