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"The Bland Angel"
By H.L. Anthanoose
There was nothing special about her, except the way that she walked. She could not dance, and he was certain that she could not sing, but she was exactly what he needed this night. He moved through the dance floor past the other costumed partygoers – Superman, the giant M&M – Ignoring them all. She was the one he needed, her in her disturbingly accurate 1986 Phil Collins costume. Her hair was long and wispy thin. Head down, her bald spot reflected the multi-colored lights, causing him to squint at the momentary brightness. Her brown, suede vest and hairless chest heaved with each coarsely drawn breath, her long furry arms swung at her sides listlessly. Sweating profusely, she was the worst looking woman at the party. She was hideous.
He smiled, but his smile fell, for the pain in his heart swelled again when he realized that even when he tried to be imperfect, he did it perfectly.
His steps shortened. He turned to the noise coming from the karaoke stage. The inane dolt wearing the “This is My Costume” t-shirt singing Power of Love at the karaoke machine stumbled on the words and he wanted to vomit, but he stayed the course. This woman in the Phil Collins costume. Here. Now.
But why was he here tonight? He was here to have a moment that would remind him of what it meant to be Huey Lewis. Huey. Lewis. He needed some excessively mundane being to remind him that it’s okay to be Huey Lewis, because the alternative is being Phil Collins. He had come down from the lonely perfection of his mansion to be among the fans – the creatures he had only known as the countless masses that filled the coliseums he had graced with his existence – the throngs of bodies and faces whose ears he had gifted with his music, eyes he had gifted with his visage, and mouths he had gifted with his sweat. He was among them now disguised as that character he played from that movie he was in where sixteen cameras had shattered in electronic duress attempting to capture and contain his image.
He did it to stay sane, to remain grounded, to overcome the ennui of being a living god.
He looked upon her and she smiled. As usual, he had entranced her. Eyes half closed, she fell forward into his chest, his arms reflexively encircling her, catching her sweat-moistened frame. Her lower lip quivered as their faces neared. The moment was upon him. This was it. She would give him everything he’d been searching for; banality, imperfection, humanity. She would bring him down from his gilded perch in the heavens and inform him of what it was like to be flawed. He came out tonight to slum with these normals, and this was the culmination of the evening’s efforts.
Inches away from her thin lips, he pulled away. His own lips would never know – not could never, but would never, for there is nothing he could not do. He would kiss nothing but the rich full lips of gods and goddesses and unequaled beauties from around the world, men and women alike. He would not bring himself to sully his perfect mouth upon this garbage. His palms were not sweaty. His heart had skipped no beats (it remained keeping perfect four-four time) His penis remained untwitchingly flaccid.
His head turned, his cheek grazed her own. He graced her inner ear with the near inaudible yet no less powerful whisper, for even whispers from his lips are like the endless chorus of God’s heavenly choir singing Crusin’– whispering to her, “Thank you.” Her eyes flicked open and longingly gazed up into his, her chin quivered as if to ask “Why?” But he continued without prompting, “You’ve shown me how it feels to be average.” He turned to march out into the night.
She shouted a wheezing protest, but he did not hear her desperate words. He was ready to be alone again.
As though a weight had been lifted from his pain-ridden heart, he floated past a skinny Hurly from that predictable show Lost and a vomiting Mickey Mouse and reached the exit. Then, his ears perked as the opening notes of It’s All Right echoed through the hall. But it was not all right. He turned sharply.
On the stage, his bland angel, the woman in the disturbingly accurate 1986 Phil Collins costume was decimating his hit song, each word spat out with vengeance and figurative bile and literal bile that dribbled down her stubbled chin and was quickly soaking the already stained orange foam of the discount microphone in her meaty fist.
He rushed to the stage and demanded to know why? Why was she doing this to these innocents: he and his song.
And then it all became clear. She became clear to him as he looked upon her fully for the first time. She was not an ugly woman in a disturbingly accurate 1986 Phil Collins costume. She was Phil Collins. Phil! Collins!
And Phil Collins was laughing in mad glee as It’s All Right became less and less all right. As it became all wrong.
Huey leapt to the stage and forced Phil aside. He needed to show Phil the pain of hearing his own song destroyed. He looked upon the karaoke machine – a machine that displayed the words to the songs being sung. He had no need for such a contraption, as he knew the words to every song that mattered. But he was grateful now to have such a contraption as he thumbed through the catalogue to the Phil Collins page. He glanced down upon the list of songs. “Another Day in Paradise” caught his eye. Yes, that would do.
But he could not sing it poorly. He could not. He did not have the ability to sing it any other way than perfect.
The room fell to its knees. Batman, Cleopatra, a giant hotdog fell to the ground in gasps. Wonder Woman, a fat Wolverine, a clown – who dresses as a clown? – a fully white President Obama fell to their knees and began chanting the only words that could ever cause Huey Lewis to stop short in distress and suddenly feel as though he had somehow slipped into a world he no longer understood. This was truly a land of confusion. The gathered fallen chanted “Phil. Collins. Phil. Collins.” They turned and approached the disgusting man, and Huey was pushed to the wayside. He watched in utter horror as they raised Phil Collins upon their shoulders.
It was then and there that Huey Lewis had brought the world to a unified belief in a one true lord under the anthem of Another Night in Paradise not knowing that it was he, Huey Lewis who had sung it, but knowing only that Phil Collins had written it. They paraded Phil Collins, their new Lord – their new drug - out into the street – to the world – to the fall of man at the feet of this anti-Christ – nay, this Anti-Lewis.
In December 2008, I self published my first piece of fiction. Since then, I have published several other works including a collection of my cartoons. You can find these for purchase or to read selections from each at lulu.com and the Amazon marketplace.