sting: vb 1 : to prick painfully: as a: to pierce or
wound with a poisonous or irritating process
Forget Ursa Major. Forget the Big Dipper. The old constellations, the old patterns of alignment, are dead, replaced by newer, sleeker gods; perfect salient beings who dazzle like diamonds across our pulsing mediated skies. Arnold. Madonna. Britney. Prince. The list goes on and on. . . while the clueless masses, the Us-fed cathode-coddled couch taters plot their every move.
But hey, they’re just people. After all the lights go down, after all the bullshit and bombast, the famous are just like you and me. They are not gods. They are not heroes. They are people. Living organisms, bags of protoplasm that breathe and eat and function like the rest of us. Or, as we shall see, malfunction . . .
His real name is Gordon. Gor. Dun. But it’s been years since anyone’s addressed him by those hateful, ungainly syllables. He’s no Gordon. Gordon’s the guy down at the Firestone shop who slaps a retread on your El Camino. Or the loam-loving T.A. from Geology lab junior year. Gordon, hideous caterpillar, long ago blossomed into a new sunshine being. A glorious being, an angel really, who’s delighted the free world with his soporific musings for years. A being known only as “Sting.”
But names are irrelevant here. Being “Sting” may help him slide past the mutants to the V.I.P. lounge at Suede, where he’ll bump chests with “Bono,” “Puffy,” and the other monomonikered darlings, but it’s not going to help him now. Because right now, “Sting” has to endure a bodily function like all the rest of us. To put it crudely, Sting must drop a load. And celebrity means nothing, absolutely nothing, to biology. Let’s watch:
He stands with viced buttocks, shifting from one black-booted foot to the other, staring at the bathroom door. Hoping, praying, it will open. He glances at his Rolex. The seconds click by.
He watches thirty. Sixty. And then it happens-something stirs and comes alive, clawing towards daylight, wiggling inch by gruesome inch out of its tight canal, its rugged holster.
Sting arches up on tippy-toes and lifts. The hairless nates tuck inward, knotting around the wrinkled grommet. He holds for thirty seconds; the rising sinks away. He exhales. Paces. Wipes the sweat from his receding hairline. Phew, that was close.
A mushroom-headed woman, all mouth, running at him.
“Y-you’re Sting! Oh my god!”
“Aren’t we perceptive?” The thing inside lurches again. He grits his teeth.
“I just loved “The Dream Of The Blue Turtles!” God! I can’t believe you’re at the Power Station! What are you doing, recording a new album or something?”
“Or something,” he mutters, shuffling away. She moves with him, making up the space.
“Will you sign my arm? Puh-lease? Oh please Sting?”
He is going to burst. Any second now an explosion that would humble Krakatoa will rip through his lower G.I. He feels the pressure building, the magma rising, ready to shoot.
“No!” Get away from me! I’ve got to . . .” He snaps, dashes to the door. Tugs the knob.
Mushroom-head darts away, around a corner, stunned at the temperamental display. She won’t buy any more albums. She’ll move on, farther down, to Kenny G.
Sting bounces up and down to a bass track in his head and stares at the door. Who in bloody hell is in there? Some stupid wank wiping up an enchilada spill? A couple of engineers sniffing in a stall? He bites his lip. The thing twists again, aching, begging to be released.
He vaults to the door, bangs his fist. “Open up! Please! This is Sting! The pop star!” I’ve got to . . . uh . . . get back to a session! Please! I beg of you!”
Pain stabs into him. The thing is moving again, kicking, thrashing, a terrible fetus waiting to be born. The sudden movement, the mad dash has upset the balance. The center cannot hold.
Sting hobbles back to his waiting place. His buttocks are iron sentries, locked together, tight as fists. Here it comes . . . oh Jesus . . . ohhhh . . .no . . . hold it . . . please . . .oh god . . .and the thing, somehow, against all odds, is beaten back to its nesting place.
“This the line?”
He turns his head a few centimeters. A body. Hair. Keys jangling.
“Hey, how’s the session, man?”
“Good, very uh . . . good.”
“You likin’ the place? How’s the vibe?”
“Nice. Very nice.”
“Cool. Let me know if you need anything, if you want to order food or something.” The body tramps down the hall, whistling.
“Idiot, he thinks. And then it comes. The next wave, rippling through him, watering the bright blues that so many lonely housewives have longed to gaze into. He can’t hold . . . fight it . . . think of something else . . . refuse . . .no no . . . use . . . yoga . . . yoga . . . suppress it . . . concentrate . . . yoga . . . yoga . . .
The thing sees its shadow and retreats to its burrow. Order is restored. For now.
His thoughts turn to the mansion in Highgate. The classic roadsters, the Aston minis. Dugal, the butler. The trout stream. Thrashing around the loch with Hector, looking for wild partridge. Waking to fingers of mist filtering in through silken windows. Smoking Joel’s Afghan hash in the marble tub, sipping a glass of red, listening to Charlie Parker. Making love to Trudie, hour after hour, in fields of rain, the cool goldenrod towers fanning over them, foolhardy supplicants of Nature. He’s gone now, back to the estate on the Thames, far from this Yankee vulgarity, this hideous studio where he brave auteur, has been denied defecation.
A sound-the sound he’s been waiting for! The metal cha-chink of a door opening. A door! There it is! Gleaming tile! Swirling gurgling whirlpooling toilet! The bathroom! The door creaks on its hinges, beckoning.
The second he moves, the colon remembers its task, and pinches inward. Pain soars, oscillating through walls of flesh, and the bent torpedo slides on to meet its destiny.
He’s inside. Hopping to a stall. Fumbling with belt. Ripping trousers open, yanking them down. He better hurry . . . here it comes . . . oh no . . .get those boxers down . . .come on . . . oh God . . .oh God no . . . OH GOD NO . . . just one more second, one more bloody second . . . please . . .
And then it comes, finally, terribly, in a zenyatta mondatta cloudburst. Acrid. Stinging. Sputtering, bouncing, falling to the tangle of pant legs and shorts, onto the smooth dark tile. Screams. A faucet. Desperate scrubbing. A pair of silk boxers, buried in the ash can, a lot souvenir you won’t find at Hard Rock.
Ten minutes later the door of Studio B swings open.
“Where you been,” from Kim, his personal manager.
Sting sits behind the console of blinking lights and knobs. “Sorry, Kimmy boy. Just shit me pants.”
Everyone in the control room laughs-Miles, Jerry, Aidan-everyone. Ha! Sting! So clever. What a good geezer. Always kidding around, that Sting.
Sting lights a Silk Cut and stares at the wall, brooding, sulking, retreating to that lonely world where only he exists.
-As published in Uno Mas
(illustration by Jack Hornady)