Wooly Monsturo at the Gate
What’s that man holding in his hand?
He looks a lot like a guy I knew way back when.
It was a brisk Friday morning at Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Colorado. In fourteen hours, it would hold a sold-out show for more than nine-thousand. Posters plastered all over the 700-acre park detailed the main event:
Bring in the New Year with 1993’s
All-New, All-Female, Rainbow-Colored International Super Group!
Prism Records presents:
The Femme Fractals
The Five Gorgeous Goddesses of Pop!
Vermilion - Ireland’s #1 Feisty Ginger.
Xanthos - Korean Pop Idol worth her weight in gold.
Galwanna - the Latin Beauty who turns women green with envy.
Magenta - hold your breath when this Hollywood Hottie comes through.
And Turquoise - the Blue Ridge Mountains’ Afro-Aphrodite.
Off-season, the park was open to the public, dawn till dusk. But with events scheduled today, it was locked down. Carlos, the security officer, stood vigil till noon.
The 22-year-old Cuban American worked here on the weekends while going to Colorado University. He took a swig of the morning air past his newly-grown mustache.
His peaceful watch ceased when he heard a rustle in the trees. A figure strode past the crest of the park’s hiking trail.
Carlos adjusted his binoculars. It looked like a mountain of a man creeping towards the front gate. Carlos squinted for details. A brown-yellow speckled beanie and a red-patterned scarf bundled the man’s face. He wore, what looked like, two or three threadbare flannels, all tucked into a baggy pair of Levi’s. Both knees of the Levi’s were torn, blue threads of fabric jutting through.
The figure stopped at the entrance. He leaned back and forth, scouting the area.
Carlos’s eyes bulged. In the early wisps of the morning, he spied a black canvas bag. It was long and slender, slung over the man’s arm.
“That wooly monstruo has a pistola!” Carlos trembled as he brandished his baton.
Thinking the coast clear, the man-made to leap over the turnstiles.
“St-Stop señor!” The man froze, mid hurtle.
“Oh!... Hi. Sorry, I thought the park would be empty.”
“Wait--that’s a chica’s voice?” Carlos mouthed a silent prayer.
The mass of winter clothes bashfully returned to the ground outside the entrance and pulled down its scarf. It revealed a 27-year-old, radiant, brown-eyed ebony woman. She gave a little wave, her hands in speckled brown-yellow gloves that matched her beanie. Carlos rushed to the gates.
“Hola, señorita .” His breath a puff between them. “I am afraid the park is closed this morning.”
He gestured to the quiet and serene plaza behind him. “Were you...trying to jump the fence?” A smile flashed beneath his ’stache.
“No! er--yes. Sorry. Let me start again. I’m April.”
“Hola, April. My name is Carlos. I am sorry, but I must keep the park closed for the show tonight. And, before you ask, it is already sold out. Go home, put on your payamas and rest. Come back tomorrow, si?”
“Forget about my pajamas!” April moaned at the security officer. “Ugh! I wish I could get in. You know, I used to write music, but...I haven’t been able to in months. I thought here, in the world’s only natural acoustic amphitheatre--well, that I could find my muse.”
April fought back a yawn, tired from her journey. Carlos thought that would be the end of it, but the ebony woman stayed. Undeterred.
“Is there, is there any way you’d let me in...early? Wait! Of course, I’m part of the band. Tonight. I’ve got one of these.”
She lifted up her scarf and reached into her flannels, pulling out a lanyard and badge marked VIP. “Please, please, please. We fly out tomorrow morning! This is my one chance to see and hear the amphitheatre before it’s full of people and...pop music.” She shuddered.
Carlos pulled the badge closer. April lurched forward against the turnstile. Surprised, the ebony woman steadied herself on his hands.
Her wooly touch quickened the Cuban American’s pulse. He couldn’t see the badge past her wide brown eyes.
But, the view was soured. Carlos spied lines of stress and a weary brow under her beanie. “She looks just a few years older than me,” he thought. “How could such a young and beautiful chica be so sad?”
“Wait...I know your face. Turquoise! My god, si, it is you. That is quite a perfect ugly disguise you made for yourself.”
That stung. April gave a sorrowful look down at her clothes. “Yeah, I guess it is.”
“Tell me, how is señorita Galwanna in real life? She is so captivating in your music videos. Mmm, the way she salsas...”
April frowned at the thought. “All that woman does is salsa.”
Carlos nodded but wasn’t listening. Galwanna danced in his head. “My study partner? She is Zoe. A huge fan of Galwanna. Wait till I tell her I got to meet a Fractal.”
Carlos released the badge and stood back, sizing her up. He tried to imagine the “Afro-Aphrodite” under all that plaid. “Do you think you could get her an autograph from señorita Galwanna?”
April swallowed her pride. Her Pop Goddess status was slighted by this starry-eyed kid.
“Sure. Whatever. Listen, I know this sounds crazy. I woke up in the middle of the night and knew I had to be here. Please, I got lost and hiked for miles on the trail. I think a mountain lion followed me on that last leg. Imagine if I had to ward him off with this!”
She spun around the black case on her arm. Carlos threw up his hands in surrender.
“Oh! No, no, no, it’s my Martin backpacker.” She unzipped the side and drew out the thin-bodied guitar. “I’ll just play for a little bit--be out before you know it.”
Carlos relaxed his arms and looked back at the smiling chica and her silly little guitar. “Well, mountain lions are no joke. I would hate for you to be eaten before the show.” Carlos milked the moment with an exaggerated sigh. “Si, the park is all yours.”
He opened the gate and motioned her through, sneaking an ogling as she walked past. “Whatever she had under there,” he thought, “it makes those high-waisted jeans sway muy bien.”
April started for the public entrance along the side of the amphitheatre. “Wait, Turquoise, why not make the most of that VIP pass?”
Carlos thumbed through his keys and unlocked an unassuming door off the plaza.
It led backstage. April starred with trepidation. The inner walls were full of plaques and framed concert photos. “Just through here, down the tunnel and up the concrete stairs. No rush señorita , only, be sure to leave before 7 a.m., si? The Acroyoga class is the first event. Very elite. Very exclusive.”
“Don’t worry, I’ll be out well before then. This means the world to me, Carlos.” April gave him a timid hug and pecked a kiss on his forehead.
Carlos was surprised by her strong grip but leaned in for the moment before April ran through the door.