That's the thought going through your mind as you watch the people shuffle into the auditorium, their eyes filled with the emptiness and despair found only in those who have truly given up all hope. It wasn't easy gathering this group, but your assistants came through as always by leaving a trail of tour dates for Drivin' N' Cryin, Maxwell and Pat McGee Band throughout the city in order to lure them to this spot.
We're not pulling any punches. That was the order when the word was given. Spare no expense. Give 'em CDs by Louise and Hanuman. Promise them tickets for Jane's Addiction. Heck, promise them tickets for A.F.I., 311 and AfroMan if you have to. Promise them the world. Yeah, right. "Whatever it takes," you mumble as you watch your goons herd the people to their seats. Even if it's bullwhips, stun guns and Mace. Lots and lots of Mace.
When the going gets tough… But is anyone really tough enough for what lies ahead? Videos by Slayer and Shaggy flash on the giant screen, but the entertainment doesn't ease the audience's tension. No one has told them what's in store, but it's like they already know. It's like they can sense it. The fear is so thick you could cut it with a knife, and the absolute dread is like the aftertaste brought on by eating too many Pringles at a U2 show. Salt, sweat and anxiety and horror. The moment draws near.
It's show time! One of your assistants, the one with the eye patch and the Natalie Merchant tattoo on his left shoulder, looks up and gives the signal. The people are chained to their chairs, their heads are pulled back by metal bands surrounding their necks, and their eyelids are taped open. Let the show begin!
What doesn't kill you... Two hours later and it's all over. The survivors are given tickets for Travis and CDs by Ozzy Osbourne and Jane Siberry. And the rest? May God have mercy on their souls.
No more Mr. Nice Guy. But it's hard not to feel for the wretched ones who passed through here today. And as you watch your assistants hose down the auditorium floor, you can't help but think that there must be a better way. A more humane way. But your assistants are already bringing in another group. They're handing out Harry Connick Jr. CDs as they strap the audience into their chairs. "There's gotta be a better way," you mumble. "There's gotta be something we haven't tried.
"There's gotta be a better way to get people to watch Glitter."