Vicious Pixie

As the Vicious Pixies began their last song of the night, Abby Simone prowled from one edge of the stage to the other, lost in the opening notes of an unhinged variant of “A Tisket A Tasket.” The keyboardist played a sparkly sequence of notes on a xylophone while a backup singer ran her fingers across a row of chimes in steady intervals. The drummer worked the brushes, and the bass player’s fingers strolled up and down the fretboard of his Rickenbacker in a pattern reminiscent of a nursery rhyme. The guitar player stood immobile, waiting for his moment to enter into the melody and accelerate the velocity of the song.

Abby wore a short tapered black jacket, miniskirt, and multicolored leggings. She grabbed a black top hat from a stagehand and placed it at a rakish angle over her spiked blonde hair, adding to her already beguiling mystique. She had established a magisterial presence with her fans and could manipulate their emotions with relative ease. Timing her actions carefully, she guzzled the rest of her beer, threw the empty bottle into the crowd, said, “You’re very welcome,” and sang in a coquettish voice,

A tisket, a tasket
A black and  yellow casket,
I wrote a letter, to my lover
but on the way I tossed it.
I tossed it, I tossed it,
On the way I tossed it,
I wrote a letter, to my lover
And on the way I lost him.

As her mind wandered through the lyrics she had written, she thought of her former boyfriend Krieger, who had left her when she sent him a bouquet of black roses after a heated argument over a long list of emotional insults relating to her musical career, drug use, and erratic behavior. Abby had always been a handful for anyone willing to deal with her, but now her public persona was redefining her in ways that even her family and old friends couldn’t understand. Life was a form of performance art that had finally afforded her an audience, and she intended to ride the crest of this wave to a distant shore.

Krieger wanted and needed a calmer relationship, a more mature and intimate form of companionship. His life hadn’t been easy, either. He grew up poor and had to fight for everything he wanted or needed. His family tried to teach him that people were to be respected based on the distance they maintained, not the closeness they developed. Perhaps because of this, Krieger spent much of his life searching for deep, meaningful friendships. He finally realized he would never have this with Abby, no matter how much he loved her and no matter how hard he tried, and he did love her, with all his heart. So he joined the Army, went to Afghanistan, and died in a firefight on the side of a rocky incline, thousands of miles from home, surrounded by a group of men who understood each other.

The song grew more dissonant and aggressive with each verse, unraveling with Abby’s fraying emotions. She thought of her abusive father walking out on the family when she was seven years old, and how her mother never remarried and spent most of the rest of her life smoking, drinking, and avoiding her three children, only to die of cancer when Abby was sixteen, and how Krieger looked very much like her dad—and as obvious and absurd and painful as all of this was, Abby pretended she didn’t care because at least she could still stare into the mirror in the morning and gaze at her young, beautiful face and find something gentle in her eyes when she was alone. By the final chorus, the band was blasting a wall of pulsating, aggressive sound at the audience, with Abby screaming,

I was never yours! You were never mine!
The same as always, another hidden shame.
I was never yours! You were never mine!
The same as always, another hidden shame.

As the band smashed out the last notes, Abby sprinted to the edge of the stage and leaped as far as she could over the crowd. She flew through the air, knowing her loyal fans would catch her. They would swallow her up in their arms, place her safely on the ground, and tell her how much they loved her. They always did. This is what they wanted, and it was something Abby knew she could give them, something she could manage.