Expectation

The barrel of the gun was cold against Paul’s cheek. He wanted to flinch, to pull away, but he stopped himself. There was little point; nowhere to run.

“I won’t ask again. Where is he?”

Paul had already tried to reason with his attacker, but it had done no good. It did not stop him trying again though.

“I’ve told you already, I am Amelio. That’s why I’m the only one in this dressing room.”

The man stepped away, never letting the gun waiver from Paul’s face. His eyes were wide as they darted around the room checking for someone else.

“You’re lying.” There was anger in his voice, but also confusion as he tried to work out how he was being tricked. “I know what Amelio looks like. I’ve watched hundreds of his shows. He’s the on my phone.” The man fumbled in his pocket and then shoved his mobile in Paul’s face. “Look!”

There on the screen was a compressed picture of the famous singer. The image was distorted but black and silver cowboy outfit that was one of his trademarks could still be seen.

Paul took a deep breath and decided to try one more time.

“Amelio is just an act I do, right. You can’t expect me to be that guy all the time. No one is the same person they are on stage. You don’t think Alexi is as slutty as she appears? Heck, I’ve met the woman; she comes from a good Christian family.”

“Don’t try that bull on me. Girl’s dressing different is one thing, but you’re …” He trailed off trying to find the words to describe what Paul had avoided mentioning. “Dude, you’re a fucking dwarf. There ain’t no way you and Amelio can be the same man. I might look stupid but I’m not.”

Paul felt his face redden with embarrassment. He was all too aware of what he looked like. Even if he could get past it, the names he had been called at school would never leave him. They were etched in his brain like physical scars. Amelio was someone different; someone beautiful. For his whole career he had kept his real identity secret, only a few knew. If the truth got out it would ruin everything. Anger began to drive out the fear the gun had instilled in him.

“Okay. Okay.” Paul held up both his hands. “I’m not Amelio, all right. I’m his manager. He’s gone already; left straight after the show.” For a moment he thought he might have convinced the man. “I don’t want any trouble. I know what it’s like when you want to meet him real bad. You wouldn’t be the first guy who wants to see him close up. Why don’t you just put away the gun and …”
“I’m no homo,” the attacker interrupted. He stepped closer to Paul again, forcing the gun against his cheek. “I was just want his autograph, right, and his picture.” He swapped the phone for a postcard sized image of the singer.

“Hey, I wasn’t saying anything,” Paul tried to plicate the man. “I’m not judging. If you’ve got something for Amelio to sign I can get that done. Really, it’s no big. Just leave it with me and let me know where to send it to.”

Suspicion returned to the man’s eyes. “Don’t talk shit. If I give you my address the only thing you’ll be sending around is the cops. Not only that but you’ve talking crap about him leaving here. I was watching the door all the time. I’d pretended to be a cleaner so I could stay out there until the coast was clear.” He waved at a badge that was pinned to his shirt. “Those security guys aren’t too smart. This got me by them just fine and I’ve been in the corridor ever since. I saw Amelio come in here and I didn’t see him leave, so where is he?”

Paul was about to start with another story when he saw the door handle turn. There was a grunt as someone who expected to walk straight in found he couldn’t.

“Hey, Paul. It’s Mike. You okay in there?”

Both men in the room swore, but for different reasons.

The attacker stepped forward and grabbed the front of Paul’s t-shirt.

“That’s it. I don’t have time for anymore of your bull. Tell me where he is or I’m going to use this.” His voice had become a low growl. He waved the gun again while he looked around, searching for somewhere his idol could be hiding.

For the first time panic rose up in Paul. His words became fast and pleading. “The game’s up. Just go now. I’ll tell them everything’s okay. I don’t want any trouble.”

“Stop fucking talking and show me where he is,” the attacker spat.

When Paul stumbled over his words, the other man took a tighter grip on the t-shirt.

“I just want to see Amelio!”

Paul’s small frame was lifted off the ground and thrown across the room. His shoulder hit the wardrobe door causing pain to shoot down his arm. He tried to regain his footing but stumbled forward. Behind him the doors swung open. A six foot five robotic suit dressed in black and silver tumbled out, the gap at the front where Paul climbed in was open giving the appearance of the small man being eaten by the immobile figure of the singer.

—————

29 January 2010
After months of anticipation Apple announced its new iPad. Many Fans were disappointed because it didn’t live up to their expectations.

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