I will say “Tell me. Is the Lord of the Universe in?” And once I say this, you will clap. Even those of you who were a bit bored will clap because it’s a comforting way to signal an ending. You will clap as though shrugging your shoulders. Those ten minutes are gone, now you can move on with the rest of your lives. I will close the cover of the ipad that you have watched me scroll through and walk off stage stepping over those mic cords over there. Then this space will remain empty for a split second that you would not have noticed otherwise. That split second will stand outside of time, and will seem long. You will be relieved and almost sad when Ryan will come onto the stage and holding cigarette. He will introduce The Half Sisters, the next act, saying, “Beautiful people and beautiful music to make you remember things.” Two sublimely beautiful women will come onto the stage. One will play the guitar. One will close her eyes while she sings, like she is joyfully praying. They will sing, “I told you I won’t let you down.” I will be sitting over there, trying to blend in. Many of you will remember how at the beginning I had described myself trying to blend in, after I finished speaking, and you will either avoid eye contact or smile at me reassuringly. Soft female voices and the sound of maraccas will fill the room. Quietly my performance will disappear. During their last song a tall woman standing next to me who I’ve been touching only because of proximity, with poet’s eyes and glasses, will nudge me and hand me a note. On the note will be written, “I bet you didn’t expect this.” She will open her dark grey coat. As she does this I will be momentarily afraid that she is going to flash me or take out a weapon. Then I will see, in the inner pocket of her coat, what at first looks like some kind of rat or rodent. I will notice little wings, like withered paper skin, and see that it is a sleeping bat. This woman will wink at me. The song will end and during the applause she will begin talking to another friend. Ryan will come back up on stage, while the half sisters are packing up and the audience applauds enthusiastically. Ryan will say that we are going to have a break. One of you will yell out, “How long is the break?” and he will say, “About the length of one of these.” And hold up a cigarette. Someone will come up behind me and I will scream. I will look around and see my husband who will smile and touch my back and say, “That was great.” And I will say, “Wasn’t the band great?” And he will say yes, “You were great too.” Then he will remind me that he never likes it when I mention him in one of these monologues.
I will consider asking him for a cigarette, then I will think that I really should not ask him for one, because when I smoke I lose my right to ask him to quit smoking. I will decide to ask him for a cigarette. Before I can do this, Ryan Van Winkle will come up to us and ask Morgan for a cigarette. My friend John will come up to us and I will hug him hello. He will compliment me on the show and tell me he enjoyed it, but he will ask why I chose to read off the ipad. “Something about ipads” He’ll say. “It’s very hard for the audience to be on your side.” I will tell him that I had no time to find a printer, but as I say this I will think that if I had really wanted to find a printer before the show I could have found one. There was probably one on the way. I will silently curse my own complancence. My husband will ask if I want a beer. I will not want to talk about the performance and I will only want to talk about the performance, so I will say yes, and have a beer, and the beer will dull my narcicism. Ryan will look at his watch and say, “Oh crap,” and then he will run up on stage and introduce Brian. I will feel excited. Brian will get up on stage. He will make an announcement and ask people to join him, and they will, and it will be beautiful. My phone will start ringing. I will see that it is my friend Ellie and I will pick up. She will be looking for the venue. I will walk out onto the street, holding my iphone to my ear, and my ipad in one hand. I will be speaking loudly in a North American accent on a side street in East London with expensive technology. I will say, “Okay I’m just out front. Can you see me? Where are you?” The darkness before Ellie arrives will seem long and I will hold onto her voice on the phone like a rope in dark waters. The woman with the bat will exit the venue. She will wink at me again. I will imagine the bat flying away.
Ellie and I will walk in the door. Garrence will be playing accordion. Three other friends of mine will arrive with their friends. Nobody will know each other and they will all have missed my monologue. I will be glad.
We will move, and then we will dance. I will think about the performance, and I will think about my friends, and I will think about the bat. But we will dance until thoughts are not thoughts at all but atoms of thoughts – atoms that hang in the air like specks of glitter at a rave and then disappear. The music will stop. We will be standing on the thin line between wanting and not wanting to go home. The musicians will be packing, hugging and kissing goodbye.
Brick Lane will be a haze of queues for the bagel shops and men dressed as vampires peeing against walls like the walls were thirsty. When we find my building I will swing the main door wide open, and push past Ryan and my husband and run up the first two sets of stairs to our flat before it closes. Ryan will say “What are you doing?” My husband will say, “Deborah does this every time.” I will say nothing. I will be glad that yet again I have won the bet I made against myself about the future.
When we get in we will go to the kitchen. I will pour myself a glass of water. My husband will take out his tobacco and ask Ryan to put on a record. I will leave, brush my teeth, worry that I will see something scary in my peripheral vision in the mirror. Then I will look at myself and think that I look older, but not be sure how or why. I will walk to our bedroom. I will change into a nightgown. I will turn off the light by the couch. I will bring my ipad into bed. I will check twitter. I will miss having someone next to me, so I will decide to stream a movie. I will pick “His Girl Friday.” 40 minutes in the light will be on, I will be drunk, and I will fall asleep to the 1930s lilt of a sassy woman. She will be saying, “Tell me. Is the Lord of the Universe in?”
The Gorilla Perfumes Golden Hour Tour, October 27th, 2012, somewhere in London