Friday, September 9, 2016

Free Fic: Head Custodian Duties

Conrad considered the space and was satisfied.

As head custodian of The Azure LimeLighter's concert arena, it was his responsibility to ensure that all remained organized. He did everything from replacing burnt out bulbs to accompanying the Fire Marshal when she made her rounds for inspection. Conrad always made sure his location was in top shape.

He stood in the small, raised alcove to the side of the stage where he could see everything. Only he and the owner had the keys to this spot. It was useful to be able to see the stage, backstage, and the audience area at the same time. There were a few corners at the wrong angle to peer into, and of course there were dressing rooms in the back that were private, but otherwise, Conrad could watch and observe the entirety of his kingdom.

At the moment set-up was still ongoing. Although there was no way to know it inside the building since the few windows were all blacked out, it was still early afternoon outside. The crew for tonight's performance were unpacking boxes, laying out wires, adjusting chairs and microphones and whatever else needed adjusting. Members of the band milled about on the stage, taking care of their own issues and equipment.

Conrad had already done his work to make the place presentable. He remained in case the set-up crew ran into an issue, which sometimes they did and sometimes they didn't.

The sound of the key in the lock alerted Conrad to the owner's presence. She had come up to the alcove to survey her domain.

"Hi, Conrad," said Alyssa as she entered the space. She was a small woman, but her personality made her seem larger. Her voice, even when pleasant, brimmed with self-assuredness. Conrad really liked her as a boss. "How's it going out there?" she asked.

"Okay," he said. "This crew knows what they're doing. I don't think there will be any problems."

"No kidding," Alyssa said. Her expression mixed disbelief and glee. "Mackie's team are top professionals. Why Mackie schedules us in, when he's usually working much larger venues, I do not know. But I'm grateful for it."

Mackie's band was big time. They weren't Platinum Album big time, but they were a massive draw. Mackie's songs played on the top 40 stations. His albums caressed the charts, never making it to the top twenty, but hinting at stardom. It was a matter of time before one of his songs shot through the roof, but in the meantime, he was becoming a household name.

"They like coming here," Conrad said. "They like this location."

"Thank god they do," Alyssa said. "They're boosting my business a thousand-fold." She took a deep breath. "I'd better go check in with them face to face. Let me know if you need anything."

"Okay," Conrad said. He doubted he would.

As his boss exited the alcove, Conrad saw that Mackie himself had come onto the stage. He spoke with his bandmates for a few minutes, motioning with his arms a few times. Conrad leaned forward a little, moving out of the hidden recesses of darkness and into the light. Most everyone knew the alcove was there, just that access was restricted. Mackie knew it too. His conversation with his band ended and he looked up. A ferocious gleam entered his eyes when he saw Conrad and a wolfish grin touched his mouth. The moment after it manifested, he'd banked the expression away.

But Conrad had seen. Conrad shifted away from the front of the alcove, becoming hidden once more.

There was a reason Mackie scheduled The Azure LimeLighter on his tours. It was because of Conrad. And Conrad looked forward to the end of the show.

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