After securing her wig, Francesca started to apply the finishing touches to her eyelids. Another generous swipe of purple shimmer should do the trick. She could hear the MC announcing her pending arrival to the waiting crowd outside. ‘Ladies and Gentlemen, for one night only, please welcome Francesca.’
She took to the stage in a silver sequined gown, bedazzled microphone in hand, and stared out at the disinterested crowd. The bar was almost empty, and she felt a pang of sadness as the first bars of ‘Hot Stuff’ by Donna Summer emitted from the dusty old speakers.
As she looked up, she wondered if the disco ball hanging precariously above her head, would illuminate the lonely tear she could feel rolling down her cheek as she began to sing. If it did, she was pretty sure nobody out there would notice.
She gazed around the room as she went into auto pilot, moving step by step through her routine. Nobody even looked up from their table. Most of the patrons were glaring at their phones, the screens lighting up their bored faces.
There were only eight people. A young couple who clearly needed to get a room, an older couple bickering about something in the corner, a middle-aged balding man making love to his schooner of beer, two twenty something ladies trying to avoid the gaze of the man with the beer, and the sound guy.
She continued to make her way through the set of songs, but her mind wasn’t on her performance. What am I doing with my life? What the hell am I doing here in bloody Adelaide? I love my sister, and I know she needs me right now, but I must be bloody bat shit crazy if I think I can stay here.’
Oh, how she missed Sydney. The nightlife, the comradery, the bright lights, and the roar of the appreciative crowd as she emerged like a fabulous peacock through the beaded curtains to take the stage.
As she belted out the closing lyrics to ‘I Will Survive’, the lonely beer chugger let go of his glass long enough to give her a half-arsed clap for her performance. She took a bow and left the stage. All she wanted to do was go home and get a good night’s sleep before they all headed off on their road trip in the morning.
Unpublished Work (c) Hayley Walsh 2020