24 Dec 2012

Christmas Eve

"All right, guys. This is the final song of the night! This one is for Madison!"

The crowd cheered. The build-up began, with the intense bass and kicks getting more rapid, and the synthesized melodies growing in volume. 

And as the drop came, the dancers on the floor exploded into their freestyle movements. Nobody was made fun for their quirky muscle jerks. This was the time to let it all out and immerse in the music.

The technicoloured lights pulsed in time to the pumping beat. Everyone was getting hot and sweaty, but nobody cared. They were lost in the melody and rhythm, just what they came here for. The night was still young. 

"...and that's all from me! You've been a FANTASTIC crowd! This is DJ Rick signing off!"

The exhilarated crowd whooped in appreciation of the great performance Rick gave, as he handed the decks over to the next performer lined up for the adrenaline-hungry audience. 

Finally he could relax! Rick quickly went to the restroom for a quick change and freshening up. Boy was he famished after hours of spinning at the decks! But where could he find a place to eat this late at night?

He checked the digital clock on his smartphone: it was 15 minutes after midnight, less than 24 hours before Christmas arrived here. Maybe there was still a 24-hour diner around here...

Eventually Rick did find such a diner, and it looked like it had an extra customer around. 

Those sandwiches looked tasty, and the iced green tea seemed like a nice way to quench his thir– uh oh. Turns out he didn't bring enough extra money for a midnight snack. Ah well, he would just have to look for another place...

"Hey! Are you DJ Rick?"

It was the other customer munching on a sandwich at the table not too far from Rick.

"Err, yeah! You're a fan?"

"Oh I was at the summer beach bonanza where you performed in June! You were great!"

"Heh, thanks. I just came from a stint at the club nearby, and wow the crowd was insane!"

"You coming here to eat too?"

"Eh, I was planning to, but I forgot to bring along extra change..."

"...How about I treat you to a meal then?"

"Really??? You don't have to trouble yourself man!"

"It's okay! I'm just in a good mood at the moment."

"Well sure, thanks a lot! Hey, which do you recommend I should try?"

"I heard the tuna sandwich is quite popular..."

"Sounds good! You've got a couple of notes to spare?"

"...No way! Some fan actually asked you to sign THERE?"

"Haha, yeah! I was so stunned because I didn't want to be forced into such an awkward situation like that before I had to go on stage in a few minutes, so I just quickly got done with it and pretended it never happened."

"Wow, certainly sounds like you've seen a lot of things in your career."

The two were merrily eating into their sandwiches, as Rick shared his experience with his new acquaintance. Sure they were the only ones at the diner apart from the staff, but who cared?

"So..." Rick asked, "what are you doing here? You involved in some late-night job too?"

"Oh it's more than just a late-night job. It goes on much longer than that! This is actually my break."

"Whoa, I really feel sorry for you, Dominic! I've done 3-hour sets and I doubt I'd be able to understand what you must be going through now!"

"Oh don't be! It's only just for this time each year. Otherwise I'm fairly free the rest of the year."

"Wait, you're doing something Christmas-related? Does it have something to do with your white hair?"

Dominic looked up at his snowy fringe. "Oh no, actually this is my natural hair colour!"

"Really? Cool."

"...but you're kind of right. During the festive season my job requires me to go into high gear, but that's all I can divulge. Company secrets!"

"Huh. Your job sounds like quite a doozy. Somehow makes me glad I stuck to my own job!"

"And I'm glad you did too! You're brilliant at both your music production and live performances!"

"Oh come on, you've spent the last 15 minutes complimenting me! I want to know what you're like too."

"I'm kinda tightlipped about my personal life... it would really affect my job."

"All right, fine. Don't want to make you uncomfortable."

"Oh right! I've always wanted to ask you about this..."

"Who's Madison?"

Rick abruptly stopped chewing the morsel of food in his mouth.

"...you know, I've always heard you dedicate the last song in your set to this 'Madison' person. If you don't mind, who is she to you?"

Rick slowly swallowed.

"I mean, it's just out of curiosity! If you don't want me to know who she is, it's fi–"

"She was someone I used to know. We went to the same school. When I first saw her, I was entranced. She was unlike the other girls I knew before, but I couldn't figure out the source of her uniqueness."

"So she was a childhood friend?"

"No. We hadn't even met face-to-face in school. We didn't even know each other outside of school. To be honest, I'm not even sure if she knew I existed. I was too withdrawn to approach her then. And even now I hated myself for not being with her. I left her in the lurch when she was bullied. I wasn't entirely sure why she was picked on, because I didn't dare ask her or anybody else about it."

"Then... are you with her now?"

"I wish I were. Back then, there was a horrific incident, where Madison's house burnt down and her parents' and brother's bodies were found in the wreckage. The forensic scientists couldn't confirm if she was killed as well, but many people in school didn't care. I like to think she's still alive though. I like to believe that she may be out there in the audience, a full-grown beautiful woman who's having a good time listening to me. So I always make the dedication to her..."

"Have you tried hiring a private investigator to look for her?"

"I actually did. But all traces of her ended at the house fire. She just literally vanished after that incident. We gave up after a few years. If she were alive she would have started anew and made a new life for herself."

"Gosh... I really feel sorry for you."

"Nah, it's all in the past. I can't do much except to move on in life."

"Well said– oh my!" Dominic glanced at his wristwatch. "I've got to hurry back soon or things will be more chaotic than they already were!"

"Whoa there, you sure sound like you have a lot on your hands! Don't worry, I'll let you off for your 'business' of yours!"

"We really should meet up another time... oh wait! Are you free tomorrow evening?"

"Err... sure. I'll still be hanging around the area for some sightseeing. Besides I'll be performing not too far from here during the New Year's countdown party."

"Ooooh, I'll sure to be there! Anyway, I have a Christmas night party myself, so are you interested in coming? Nothing too spectacular, just a nice gathering with friends..."

"Sure, I'll be there! Might as well have a little fun while I'm still here."

"Great! Here, I'll quickly write down my address for you..."

Dominic furiously scribbled onto a ripped piece of paper from his pocket, almost tearing a hole in the paper.

"Here! I hope to see you tomorrow night! But I've got to rush off now, bye!"

"See ya."

And the white-haired lad quickly dashed off to the sidewalk, hailing an incoming taxi before getting driven off. Rick didn't realise how eerily quiet this place was before the conversation started.

With the quiet hum of the neon banner outside and the sounds from the kitchen as the only background noise, Rick just stared at the address of this peculiar stranger he quickly became friends with in a matter of minutes. 

If only Madison were able to attend this night party with him...