It certainly looked like that, anyway, as my vision slowly clouded into a swirling, opaque white mess that stung.
Maybe somebody had turned off the A/C and left us all to stifle in the heat radiating from our bodies. Or, perhaps only I sensed the temperature shift and suffered as a result. Nobody else in my diminishing line of vision appeared affected by the sudden and perplexing change of atmosphere. The band played on, obviously working around my disorientation, while the crowed rocked right along with them.
Smoke—a fire in the house, really—formed my first conscious thought when my dream took a sharp right turn toward discomfort. One minute I was standing on a lighted, hardwood stage shredding through “Back in the Saddle” while Steven Tyler screeched and preened at my left—the next, my breathing slowed and a heavy mass seeped into my lungs. A dizzying sensation overtook me, forcing me to kneel as the weight of my Gibson dragged me toward the cheering throng of fans crowding the stage’s lip.
Nobody seemed to care that I had been felled by the invisible tourniquet wrapped around my neck, which squeezed me tightly. Mr. Tyler danced and strutted, oblivious, and goaded the line of busty blondes in painted-on white shirts jiggling against the stage.
“Ya’ll here to rock?” His voice pitched close to a dog-wincing octave. Then he turned to me. “How ‘bout you, Lerxst boy? You gonna rock out for us tonight or you gonna lie there like a worthless piece of shit slug?”
I gasped for breath, but managed to squeak out an answer. The Gibson had become my albatross. “Tryin’, man. Little help? Joe?”
Where the fuck was Joe?
The dream shifted to omniscient vision, and I spied Mr. Perry standing far stage right, lost in his guitar. Christ. What good was a dream about hanging with great musicians if they wouldn’t lift a finger to ensure your safety?
Steven Tyler proved less apt to assist. A spotlight darkened by a purplish gel turned his weathered face into an eerie voodoo mask. He grinned ghoulishly at me, shouting over the music and chaos. “You gonna rock out for us, Lerxst?”
Who could say no to that? Coming from this diesel truck-faced grandpa swathed in scarves, the question held more authority here than if asked by anybody else.
“Yes, sir.” I barely heard myself.
“You gonna rawwwwwk!?”
He leered at me. “You gonna die? You gonna die for me, you son of a bitch?”
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