given his own show. He was young, wild and successful, famous, here and abroad, and behaved miserably so. His material was performed in manly circles, while his antics were condemned in homes. His jokes were repeated in board rooms and bar rooms across the land, but always in hushed tones. Back then, everyone had heard of him, Sandy Field had made it, Dougie Style was a star.
And then, he wasn’t. He disappeared from view, as crazes tend to do. It had been years since his days of glory, since he graced the fronts of magazines, and many more since TV. He was never mentioned by the press, and no one wore his tees, too old and unfashionable to be tracked by even the most determined fame hunters and fans. His celebrity receded like the tide back into the ocean of public obscurity, the invites onto radio stopped, his TV show cancelled and no one clambered to book his tours. His records continued to sell, though only at swap meets and the weekend markets, where mint conditions barely fetched a dollar. He was scarcely discussed in social circles, no one cared what he had to say, and in those odd occasions when his old jokes were recalled they evoked a vile nostalgic reflux and laughed at in shame. And when his name was mentioned, people would to wonder loudly, if they were still alive at all, his memory was stricken from the culture mainframe, but in the age of information, nothing goes away forever and nothing truly dies.
Sandy Field was not dead and neither was Dougie Style, nor was his career. Though his fortunes may have gone, and his days of fame behind him, his talent lived on. Sandy Field still toured and still as Dougie Style, he still played rooms and still told his jokes, much older and surlier and cursing his age, and his critics said his best years were done, yet his wit hadn’t gone, and while he didn’t headline the big theatres anymore and his audiences had declined, he still booked regular spots across the country, and he still held a mic. He continued getting up there as often as he could, no different than before.
That night – the same as many others – Sandy sat alone in shadows, in the back room of some quiet pub at the end of a lonely highway on periphery of the city, and awaited his time on stage. They’d blackened the windows around him with duct tape and paint, and the lights were off. He was on a rickety wooden chair, facing the wall, in an oddly shaped corner inside a flimsy wooden box they’d charitably called a dressing room, hidden behind a bi-fold door they’d deputised coat rack for the show. The pub was identical to most he’d seen lately, and countless he stood in front of over the years – though he’d never been there before.
He was scheduled at eight, and told to arrive at seven-thirty – they’d cleared the space for him and asked his help placing the chairs. They’d provided an old plot they’d abandoned to time, oblong in size and wedged between the restaurant and bar, it was dusty and unused and dormant like a tomb, once built with hopes of