Short fiction: "Close Enough to the Real Thing"

in #fiction5 months ago (edited)


Photo by Max Gotts on Unsplash


She spends the sound check hanging out backstage. How many tours has it been? (For that matter, how long has it been since she stopped keeping track?) She checks herself in the mirror, squints her eyes and applies just enough imagination to make herself somewhat resemble her glory years; a fair approximation, but a little rough and ragged around the edges, just like any survivor.

She casts a knowing glance across the room at the newbie candy fluff, giggling and preening for anyone caring enough to pay attention. They'll use her for the second and third songs, and then it will be back to the merchandise tables for her. "Oh, honey," she thinks to herself. "You're just the new material. Maybe a little easier on the eyes, but never intended to be anything more than a one-shot deal. Pretty, vacant, and forgettable. You won't be around for the next tour."

She unscrews the cap from another bottle of mineral water and continues her inner dialogue.

"I'm the classic material. Without me they don't exist. Where they go, I go."


The sound check done, she watches as the aging rock god is wheeled into the room. The only original parts here are the shiny black eyes -- everything else has been replaced. All new scales, prosthetic pointed tongue, and a long tail of impossible firmness and vitality. For the adoring crowd, he's close enough to the real thing.

In his own way he is both deity and stone-carved idol. His classic material looks on, finding herself envying the girl at the merchandise table.


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Hello @jamesdeagle. Excellent story about aging. I like when you say, "only the orignal parts here are the shiny black eyes - everything else has been replaced." Classic lifts and tucks and cut away of every kind until you can't do it any longer.

Thanks for sharing this.