I’m probably not what you would call a good person. I know, right – it’s ironic that I’m the one telling everyone else how to be a good person. But you know what they say, right – those that can’t do, teach. The skeletons were all out of the closet now, yes sir, with this whole Aperture thing, and I had one or two of my own. More like rotting corpses than skeletons I guess you could say. So it was a little bit rich coming from me, but fortunately the words came out of Rex, and despite spending his life singing about Satan and violence, and on tour buses full of drugs and women, he came out of the second hashtag pretty unscathed.

We were growing apart, I could feel it. He hadn’t know about my past. He hadn’t known about prison, and he hadn’t known what I’d been in for. It wasn’t pretty. So why would I have told him? I was 42 when we met, and all that was behind me, so I figured what he doesn’t know won’t hurt him.  He forgave me of course – how could he not, with the messages of forgiveness he was preaching? But it wasn’t the same, I could feel it.
The crowds felt different now, too. They wanted answers, they demanded answers. The atmosphere wasn’t all jubilation, now, it wasn’t all people throwing beer and hugging in the circle pit and crowdsurfing up to receive their blessing. Not since the Second Hashtag – yeah we call it that with Capital Letters now – and definitely not since all that Aperture stuff started. People stood still and listened, and sometimes they cried. They proper broke down and cried, all over the place.

That night in Vegas, the night when it all unravelled, the sky was as purple as it had ever been. I knew it was a portent of something, alright. Rex had been quiet all day, but not worried quiet, like he had been. Sort of calm quiet, like he had a sort of smile on his face. He had made peace with something, and I just hoped to god it was with his new chance at success. When he walked out onto that stage, to the sound of double-kick drums and guitars me playing my bass and ten thousand people screaming, he looked across at me, smiled that smile of his, and took out his earpiece. Damn, what was he fixing to do?

I’m not gonna lie, I saw everything we had built flash before me.

And then, goddamn it, he didn’t sing. He was supposed to launch into The Eye Of The Needle, I mean we were playin’ the motherfuckin’ introduction right there. But he just stood there, and eventually we just sort of petered out.

Well you could have heard a pin drop in that crowd. Finally he took the microphone and began to speak.

‘You all know how I love the Book of Matthew, right?
Matthew 12.36: But I tell you that everyone will have to give account on the day of judgement for every empty word they have spoken.
That’s just it – they are empty words that I have been speaking. Someone’s been playing us. Playing us like a computer game. And I don’t think it’s God. Because my God is a merciful God. He doesn’t play games.

You know, you can let go. You don’t need to do all this stuff. It’s just pretending. God knows you.
John 12: For I did not come to judge the world, but to save the world.
That is what we have to believe. I believe God forgives.

Hebrews 10.17: Their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.
I’m not saying don’t try any more. Hell, we need to try more than ever, if these Veilmakers really have abandoned us. I’m saying do it for the right reasons. Do it for each other.

Let’s go home. You can pray to God, if you want. Or you can just take care of yourselves and your loved ones. What more can we do than that?’

And then he just placed the mic carefully back on the stand, took one last look at the crowd, one apologetic glance at me, and walked off the stage and straight to the bus. Just like that.

He threw everything away on some spiritual whim, and God I hated him for that. I saw red. I saw fire, I saw everything.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Virtue