The hamburger was about to jump up on stage.
‘Smear some of this on your buns before you go on Missy. Mustard on your top bun and mayo on your bottom.’
She could do this. It would be easy. She smeared it on thick.
‘And lay this sprig of lettuce on top.’
‘But that will barely cover my meat –‘
‘Take this gherkin too – ‘
‘Where do you expect me to stick that?’
‘You know bloody well where Missy – hurry up. Zeus won’t wait forever. There’s hundreds of hamburgers in line outside who will. This show is global for God’s sake – are you thinking in G?’
‘G for Gaga. With extra cheese. Are you thinking in G?’
‘No, I was thinking about doing it in B actually, to suit my voice – B for Beefheart – you know the Captain? – there are only forty people in the world and four of them are hamburgers.’
On this, Zeus’ security guards surrounded Missy and she was gang-slapped roughly in the face.
‘As we said before, there’s hundreds of hamburgers in line outside who will.’
‘But I thought this was an audition. Let me show you – please!’
She was thus dragged across the floor towards the door where finally she said –
‘Ok. I’ll insert the gherkin. No problem. I’ll sing and think in G too. I promise everything. I swear.’
‘Yes, I do.’
‘Grand. Just sign the He-Can-Eat-You clause and you can go on straight away.’
‘Does that mean he’ll eat me?’
‘What do you think?’
‘No. He couldn’t. He definitely wouldn’t. Sure it wouldn’t make sense for the show.’
‘Well, we’re waiting Missy. The door or the stage?’
She signed, obviously, pulled herself up on stage and crawled over to her white mark keeping as low as possible. On Zeus’ nod, she stood up, bowed, curtsied and saluted until he nodded his consent to begin.
She sang and danced in G and when finished, Zeus leaned over, opened his mouth and chewed her.
And when his teeth sliced through her top mustard bun on their way to her meat, she said, sotto voce to camera –
‘Just think, only last year I was Crumple Pigeon – where did it all go wrong?’
Crumple Pigeon had always wanted to not sing, but when she finally got a band together for the first time, in the shed in her back garden, with Pedro Polar not on drums and Howie B not on bass, she discovered she had a voice that was good enough to win X-Factor.
Before they even reached the middle-eight of a song that Howie B had not written called Hamburger, Hamburger she broke down on the shed floor and tried to expel said voice with as much tears and projectile spitting as she could humanly muster.
‘You told us you couldn’t sing. I never would have agreed to come here today if I’d known that, Crumple Pigeon. Bloody hell.’
Pedro Polar stood akimbo behind his drum kit –
‘The next thing you’ll be telling me is that Howie B can read music. Crumple Pigeon, we really should kick your teeth in to save you.’
She stood up and flicked her gaze around the shed erratically, wiping the tears and trying not to step on her previously expelled spit in the corner which was attracting insects at this stage, humming and starting to crescendo up into a Skank Bloc Bologna sort of a post-punk vibe to everyone’s head-nodding approval.
Howie said –
‘We won’t kick your teeth in Crumple Pigeon. We’re nice people. But if you wouldn’t mind sitting over there a while, while we work on Howie’s piece, that would be superb.’
‘Ah come on lads, I’m just as surprised as yourselves. I never expected this. It must have been the echo in the bathroom that made me think my voice was worse than it actually was. I’ll take up smoking, eat gravel, go on the gear straight away. It won’t take long to get it right lads. Come on. Give me a break. Anyway, it’s my shed.’
‘Don’t be like that Crumple Pigeon. You’ll never catch up. You can only pull us back. We’re skirting the edges of breaking some boundary here. I can almost taste it. You can’t. You just can’t.’
She spotted the two bricks. Started banging them together, letting them drop, picking them up, banging them together, letting them drop, picking them up again. When she had enough brick-dust and small pebbles she swallowed a few handfuls and said –
‘Right lads, this skank is called Eroding two concrete bricks by banging them together as a metaphor for the undecidable. Are you with me or not?’
Drums, bass and skanking spit-ball in the corner, communicating almost telepathically now, all grooving along to her bricks. Her mother came out after fifteen minutes and closed the shed door. In the dark it got even better.
Crumple Pigeon’s band managed to write something special together that Saturday afternoon, and each subsequent Saturday afternoon, until she was bunned-up and became a hamburger.