Time stood still. The sky was pressing down above us. I felt alone on the stage, so far away from the other bandmates. I choked down a sense of dread and stared at the empty seats. I glanced over at Mary, in her tampon headdress.
“Hi everybody. We’re Barbie Army,” I said. “Don’t worry, we played to smaller crowds than this before!”
“It’s halfway to St. Patrick’s Day, and by the way, the Pope just declared that Saint Patrick didn’t exist!” Mary said.
“Or if he did, he was ITALIAN!” I added, delivering the punchline for our practiced joke for the event.
Impossible to see whether anyone was reacting. The tech guys were consulting each other.
We lurched into the set, almost by rote, trusting that we could see and hear each other.
I noticed Mariachi guy had moved forward to the side of the stage.
“Why don’t you just open my heart? Open it up if you think you can opener,” Mary sang to the empty seats.
“Stained but clean,” we sang. “Stained but clean.”
Suddenly I heard the sound of pounding drums behind me. Tina was bashing away on her kit, I tried singing into the mic but the amps and mics had been cut.
The leprechaun was glaring.
“You’re done. Get off,” he said.
“You can’t sing about abortion at this event.” An angry looking middle aged woman had joined the leprechaun on stage.
“Abortion? We’re not singing about abortion!” I said. I looked at Mary and Tina.
“Are we singing about abortion?” I asked them.
“Get your stuff and move it off,” he said. “Now!”