slow, weary and uneasy on his feet; age had softened him and globed his sides, His shoulders had slouched, and his waist grown round, he was sparsely haired, like some tragic tamed bear, too tired and haggard and life beaten to perform, drawn from the shadows by the lure of the light, yanked by the nose to the treat of the stage, and however Sandy felt didn’t matter – this was Dougie Style’s time.
A scant echo of applause greeted his presence as Dougie limped onto the stage, his eyes downcast to the floor. His platform was a raised plank of timber pushed against a wall – likely a welding of old table tops, that’s legs had long since failed them. He felt it bow and creek as he dragged a foot on its surface. Before him, the microphone stood like a lonely mast mooring in the bright canal of light. He took it in one hand and its stand in the other, he held tight like an anchor, to steady himself, and let the few clapping hands end their measly ovation.
In spite of his obvious frailty, Dougie was still an imposing beast, a foot taller than most, his looming figure cast a shadow up the wall behind, silhouetting against the cheap dark drape they’d stretched like a sail across an otherwise featureless wall. Dougie Style stood before the room in his usual guise, He wore the same black suit he always wore on stage, a demure garb more fitting of a funeral director than jester, and better tailored to tears than laughter. The only alteration he made in that weary uniform was the colour of his silken tie, which he changed with mood and convenience and that night was white. He wore the dark sunglasses he always wore, both indoors and out and mandatory on stage – few had ever witnessed his eyes. And on his feet he always wore a pair of thongs he called his dress shoes, which had clapped against his heels as he walked the platform and he noted their noise, almost as loud as the clapping of hands that welcomed him – a worrisome sound, but a thought he quickly brushed away. Yet quietly before each show, just before he went on stage, he hoped to meet an estuary of howling fans, like there used to be, ready to batter him with waves of laughter, and topple from their nests in fits of hysterics, just like before. He felt such sad thoughts enter his head and he quickly shook them away, Sandy couldn’t worry about those concerns, not while Dougie was at the helm.
He lifted his gaze, ready to survey the waters ahead, and took his first glance out to the dark sea, and he caught the light’s odd angle which pierced his eyes – even through his black shades – and caused him to wince and recoil and push an open palm into its glare.
Bloody hell – can we turn that thing down?