Polly Robertson Versus Sean Davies. He's so arrogant, she wants to kill him. She's so skilled, he can't do without her.
The lights were low. They had to be low, because, trapped in such a tiny space; I knew I couldn’t be noticed. My tiny Mag-Lite – the only source of light in my cramped box – was wrapped in black Gaffer Tape and had a blue filter taped across the bulb. I was staring out at the full hall and hoping nothing went wrong tonight as I wrapped my right arm around myself and ran my left slowly through my hair. Sean Davies had been singing here for three nights now, playing a full seven nights until he moved on to the next city with his band, groupies and his roadies.
Thankfully, I would not be going with him.
“Ladies and Gentlemen! Mr. Sean Davies!” Louis, the club’s owner, had decided he would be announcing Sean’s entrance over the mic at the beginning of his set, telling me that my voice was far too shrill to be heard over the roar of the crowd as he came onstage, guitar strapped to his back and trademark hat pulled low over his eyes. I rolled my eyes at the back of the man-mountain’s head and stretched forward, my hand reaching the follow-spot slider at exactly the same time as Sean took the stage. Thank the Original Stage Manager I wasn’t stumpy.
As he took the stage, and he ‘stylishly’ swung his guitar over his shoulder and into his hands, I couldn’t help but tune out his introduction and the first few bars of his ridiculous intro music, looking around and taking in the bar around me.
Louis McCarthy’s club was, for want of better phrasing, extremely well equipped. The spotlights were all high-tech, each and every one of them free standing and equipped with motion sensors, triggered by the tags each band member wearing around their necks, on their belts, or, in the case of Ryan Knight, Sean’s bassist, on his boot. I had a don’t ask, don’t tell policy about that, he just refused to allow me anywhere near his pants...
“Don’t ask, don’t tell,” I murmured, cringing slightly as I felt Louis standing at my shoulder, his hand thrusting the wireless microphone he had been using at me, nearly knocking over the bottle of water I had stashed under the sound board in the process.
Ignoring the pounding of the music, and the way it was beating an irritating tattoo on my brain, ensuring my head was going to be in serious pain for the next month or so, I tried to focus on the memory of actually being hired by Sean’s manager, Alice Davies – his little sister, as well, if anyone would believe it.
It wouldn’t, or couldn’t come, because, as Louis stepped away from me, he tripped slightly. Suddenly, the sound of pounding drums, as beaten by one Elliot James Howard, became the only sound in the hall.
“Robertson!” Louis was standing over me once again, and my face would have been bright red had there been any light to illuminate it. A loud groan echoed from the crowd as everything went quiet, everyone turning to look in the direction of my desk.
I was so fired.
“What the hell?” I tried to make it appear as though I had no clue what the hell had happened – not a difficult thing, since I may have been a technical whizz, but this was way out of my league, and ducked under the board, trying to find some kind of explanation for the serious, epic power failure.
I cringed and glanced over my shoulder at him as I realised that when he had tripped, he had pulled the adaptor out of its connector, and it was that lack of power that had killed the entire technical board.
Schoolgirl error, Polly. Use the whole roll of Gaffer Tape next time.
“Sorry, man,” I glanced over at Louis, and held my hand up over the board, sighing as I plugged the adaptor back in and felt around for the switch, glad that being a techie meant I was totally invisible to everyone.
Until Alice appeared at my side, that was. Her arms, folded in angry frustration as her tiny frame replaced Louis’s, making me quiver with more fear than his hulking form could ever inspire in me. I cringed again, simply because she looked panicked and furious, and I knew it was because I was supposed to know exactly what I was doing, but instead, I was staring miserably down at the floor, the board, and the lights, still warming up.
“I knew I should have hired Greg Brandt...” I heard her mutter as I tried not to fuck up the next cue, something utterly ridiculous which required, and I quote a ‘running... thing from red into green, without it going brown, yeah?’ Who was I? God? “Instead of taking in some shit-bitch techie-”
“Oh will you shut the hell up?” I turned back to look at her, and realised that, not only had she been peering over my shoulder as I had been transitioning the sliders for them, and so was far closer than I had expected, but she was also getting in my techie booth. “You think it’s so easy to sit here, doing this? Well, I tell you what; try doing this after four hours of sleep, two lectures and your own damn job, Davies.”
And I stood up, using every inch of height to try and intimidate her, because I was exactly the sort of person to get pissed off at this, and she was not what I needed when my brain was mid-panic attack; I needed some kind of pill. It was actually going to make me scream – not that that would matter, Sean Davies’s legions of adoring fans would still be there, easily drowning out my descent into Hades.
The bitch didn’t budge.
“I’m sorry?” She quirked an eyebrow at me, “You think this is easy? You wear black for a living.” She waved a hand up and down at herself, “You have no idea what this is.”
I levelled my gaze at her for a longer minute and waited for her to back down.
“What time are you leaving for the after-party, Alice? Because by the time I get there, I’ll have, oh, maybe fifteen minutes before closing.” And with that, I was done. As far as I was concerned, she was no longer there, I was running on curt-going-through-the-motions, and handing in my notice tomorrow.
The local theatre needed a stage manager. Lx Cue 14 – blackout on still-chattering actors. That would be easy, right?
It took me three hours to strike on my own, that night. Louis wasn’t hanging around, merely asking me to lock up when I left – possibly the dumbest thing I had ever been asked to do – why would he trust me?
But it was the strike that was the most painful thing. I was alone, nobody else to join me in quickly sorting out the smaller pieces of the set – the mic-stands, resetting the speakers, resetting everything and clearing up after the guys, only one of whom – the tall and enigmatic Mr. Knight, had thanked me for providing the technical stuff for the evening.
By the time I was done, it was past midnight, and I was rubbing my eyes as I sat down on the stage and looked out across the dance floor, the main area around the stage, imagining the crowds, the adrenaline high that I wished I could feel. There was no way, if I were so musically inclined, I would be able to resist screaming fans and the ridiculous amount of money that I would, hopefully, be making, if I had even half as much talent as Sean Davies.
The front doors pounded suddenly, and I jolted alert as a blonde-haired whirlwind smashed into the hall, standing stock-still as he noticed me, realising that I was still in the club.
“What’re you doing here?” Sean Davies spat as he hurried around, searching for something. “Shouldn’t you have been chucked out as soon as you blew up the lights? You ruined the show, you know.” I really couldn’t be arsed to tell him that it hadn’t technically been my fault. Better for him to hate me – he would never see me again.
“I’ve done worse, on less sleep.” I stood up and shrugged, “No need to thank me for fixing it, as well as the last three shows I’ve done for you.”
“I won’t.” He stared. “Alice will fire you, you know.”
I looked him dead in the eye and shrugged, “To be honest, she called me a shit-bitch techie. I want respect, so I’d rather quit.” I looked at him, feeling nothing but disgust for the singer who clearly thought he was better than me. “I really don’t care, Davies.” Another pause as I got up to retrieve my jacket and water bottle, turning to look at him as I got to the doors. “By the way, I thought you were awesome, tonight.”
“Oh, Thanks, er...” He stopped and looked at me, clearly expecting me to supply my name.
“Don’t worry, there’s no point,” A pause, “You wouldn’t remember it anyway.” I threw my jacket over my shoulders and walked away, letting the doors close behind me and the cold night air wrap around me.