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The Ruined Auditorium

February 3, 2010

“Get drunk quick,” he commanded the concert guests. The organ swelled and the piano twinkled in the air, and the red and yellow stage lights bathed everything in a warm, oppressive amniotic glow. The faded wood paneling looked even further decayed as the dust on the auditorium carpet began to rise with the movements of the audience. This was their last show.

The man onstage wore makeup that was fading and smearing as time went on. He clutched the microphone and began to sing about some lost love and breaking apart like glass. His voice grew more urgent with each verse to the point where he was looking into the crowd like a cornered animal, at once uneasy and flighty. His white shirt was open, exposing his skin to the hazy light and his jeans were soaked with sweat. By the song’s coda he was crying.

Behind him were his bandmates, the organ player and the pianist, both decked in flamboyant suites, the pianist’s white and the organist’s sky blue. Both had looks of certainty, a grim determination to keep playing no matter what. Their playing seemed to be getting slower and slower to the point of a dirge, a serious decrescendo.

Out in the auditorium, the audience nodded their heads and drank their drinks of cheap beer and warm scotch. A few had their flasks of rum and their fifths of vodka in their jacket pockets. Some of the couples cuddled and embraced against one another, some in boredom, others in passion. Coats were piled to the side and in the burnt-orange colored seats.

Most of the auditorium doors were closed to keep the sound in, but one was open into the atrium/lobby. The lobby, with its white marble floors and dark oak walls, was empty, save for two women sitting on a couch near the ticket table talking about the graffiti on the opposite wall with a detached amusement. The graffiti, written in white spray paint, read “Protect me.”
“Protect whom?” the first woman asked. “Protect the wall? The auditorium? Protect some person? It’s just so vague that the act is just in vain. Whoever needed protection isn’t going to get it because they didn’t specify.”

The second woman didn’t respond at first, but continued to think. She sat silently for about two minutes before she gave a response. “It’s not a plea.” The first woman tunred towards her. “It’s a prayer.”

Around this time the monster revealed itself.

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