Days, nights, Amsterdam, Copenhagen — it all was the same. A smear of movement, color, and noise that could not grab Eddie’s attention. His drugged apathy was broken only when his hands were on the Lady, a drug of her own sort. Even the release of the Showdown soundtrack, which entered the charts in the top ten and moved to number one for a few weeks, hardly registered.
I was barely a blip on his horizon.
Eddie was chewed down to a thin life. We altered our lives to get him to the music. The Lady’s music. We understood our function now was to liberate Eddie so he could make the music flow.
Everybody but me was okay with that.
Oh, they weren’t bad people. Going along with it was a gift to Eddie as much as fame and fortune for them.
Maybe they didn’t know, or care, or at least didn’t want to acknowledge, that it was all coming from the Lady now. Eddie was just a meat machine she used for her own purposes. He played with a blank face and a blank mind, with no awareness of where his fingers were on the frets, with no consciousness of which string to tease with the pick, or what key, melody or rhythm was needed. He just closed his eyes and let it all come through him.
He didn’t need me. But he wouldn’t let me go.
The others — Barbara, the band, George, the roadies, the critics, the fans — they all were content to believe Eddie and the music had changed because of his diet of drugs and alcohol and vitamins. That was okay with them, too. He wouldn’t be the first musician to go that route and he wouldn’t be the last.
Sometimes I wished I could just tell them the Lady abused him worse than heroin ever could.
Even if Eddie would let me do that, the Lady would not. How would I describe what Eddie felt when she sang through him, anyway? How could I explain the bliss she filled him with, an ecstasy that no person, no drug, no drink, no other joy could compare to?
How could I explain to anyone that Eddie had forgotten the place I had taken him to without revealing who I really was?
Who would believe any of it, anyway?
Eddie would deny it all. He had closed his heart to the fact that the Lady was feeding him the magic of his own life force rather than tapping into the free energy of the Universe. Energy I was meant to give to him freely she took, and she satisfied him with shallow splendor. It would kill him if he kept it up.
She would kill him. Not heroin.
If he suspected, he just didn’t care.
Fingers flew, guitar strings thrummed, Eddie paid, note by note. The rude sound grated on my soul.
How could the others not see that they were enablers, supporting what tore Eddie apart and ate him alive? How could Suzy not say something?
Probably for the same reason I couldn’t.
Each time the ritual of music began it sucked me in because Eddie wanted it, willed it.
Open the way, come through the door, come to me, come to me, all will be revealed, all will be given.
He blindly obeyed the call and not a one of us resisted. Passion demanded that logic step aside. Passion required full surrender. Eddie willingly laid himself at the feet of his new mistress. And we at his.
None of this was gentle love. Finding herself bound to a mortal thing of flesh and bone, the Lady was not content to simply possess. She must conquer and then she must use.
The Lady fed on the power that was Eddie’s birthright while he soared in the realms of the gods. In return, she gave him her music. It screamed, it cursed, and when the Lady sobbed and was her most ugly-beautiful, the audiences screamed for more.
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