"A Haiku for the Dead"
by Marc Carlson
Copyright 2003 by Marc Carlson

            Luce’s sweat made her cyber-implants itch while making them glitter erotically in the harsh stage lights as she finished her set to the roar of the screaming audience hidden in the shadows.  It was not the first time that she was grateful for the dark blanket over the now chanting sea of writhing bodies.  The Nano-wars of the past decade hadn’t been as kind to everyone as they had been to her, and radiation spawned added appendages just put her off her feed.   Sweat streaming down between magnificent mammilla  that were threatening to punch through her spandex-t, as she placed her Stratocaster 9000 in its stand and, catching the towel thrown to her by the keyboard guy, what’s was his name, she strode off the stage without a backward glance.

            She’d had him before, of course.  The memories of the meter long, prehensile, throbbing, one eyed anaconda still made her wake up screaming on those long nights of too much crystal and not enough Cuervo.  The only benefit of that night had been Steve the Drummer’s lesson in applied sandwich making – that and the making a few extra bucks on the deal.  It hit her -- Scooby was the keyboard guy’s name.

Back stage was a different world -- things were as noisy, not only from the echoes of the screaming fans coming through the walls, but from the shouts of the techies and roadies shifting equipment, making connections, and what not.  Luce didn’t care, really, all she knew was that they weren’t paying any attention to her, and that just caffed her off.

Manny, her overworked, but still elegantly gleaming, manager grabbed her and twisted her to him.  He looked so funny that she had to laugh, looking to her like he was screaming in her face – but whatever he was saying was lost in the prodigious chanting of the crowd -- “Luce”, “Luce”, Luce” over and over and over again.  He kept pointing back on stage, like some guy with some nervous disease spazing out in front of her.  She blew him off and headed back to where she thought the dressing room was.   She finally found it by following the slug like trail of drying vomit.

The dressing room twisted around her as she entered it, slamming the sticky and tobacco tarmac’d carpet into her face a couple of times before she could get the dressing room chair to open up to her.  Her eyes focused through the kaleidoscopic swirl of the overly lit mirrored table onto a hypospray.  She picked up the Remington 178, the  ‘Russian Roulette’ model, then spun the chamber, randomly whizzing between any of its 20 or 30 different tailored chem products.  It clicked on something, she didn’t care what, and jammed the device into her arm.  It hissed and her world dissolved into an exploding swirly of shapes and colors and sizes and textures before fading to black.