DAY I.1: wait a minute... who are you

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I cursed through my gritted teeth and gave the screwdriver the last quarter of a turn. For the last three days I had been preparing the venue for the upcoming artist. This meant assembling production equipment, connecting new speakers or installing and programming spotlights above the stage.

As always, my team and I were finished last minute.
I shook the light I was working on to test if it was mounted securely. Satisfied with the result I jumped down from the scaffolding onto the stage.

There was nothing quite like an empty venue. You could feel the energy it was built to hold, imagine the earthquake going through your body with a mere look at the towering subwoofers. Its dark halls were expecting and void. It was waiting.

We had been booked out months ago. In fact, all tickets had been gone in a matter of hours.
The fans were lining up outside the venue. Above them, on the brick wall of the old factory, loomed a massive poster.

Hunted Hall, London

I finishing my routine check-up with one last look around. Everything was ready for the two shows this weekend.

"Sound check in 15," yelled my colleague Christopher from the other side of the venue. It was the cue for me to get the artists. I packed up the equipment I had laid out and went back stage.

I took a detour to the bathroom to wash the grime and dust from my hands. Climbing around above the stage all day was exhausting and sometimes sweaty work. It showed in the reflection staring back at me.

Fuck! I'd prefer to hide myself under a rock right now.

I was an intern at a world-renowned venue and yet I disliked interacting with the musicians. It made me nervous and today I was more nervous than usual. No matter how many artists I had met over the last months none of them had been Billie Eilish.
I really liked her music. Music I was going to hear live. Music I had to monitor and help make sound like she and Finneas wanted it to.
Worst of all, I had to meet them in about minute.

I flexed my right hand under the cold water, opening and closing it. The surgical scar on my index finger and palm stretched uncomfortably when I tried to close a fist. The sensation was grounding to me.

It's just another artist, I thought. No need to worry.

The bathroom door slammed shut behind me and I continued down the hallway. I pushed my short hair back. My sister had told me I had a Jack Dawson thing going on at the moment and considering I was growing out a buzz cut it was the best I could hope for.
My dusty black cargo pants and hoddie were not any better.

I shook my head at the sudden concern for my appearance. Since when did I care about whether or not my trainers had any holes in them?
I still got angry at the fact that I had no time to change. Then I got angry at the fact that I was getting angry.

There's no need to make myself look presentable for some celebrity who probably meets hundreds of people every day. Get a grip, I thought. Be nice and do the job. Best case scenario? I'm invisible.

Outside the green room I took a couple of breaths before reaching for the handle.
I swung the door open and I stepped in. The room was not large and there was only one person in it.

The girl in the corner was taking her top off.

"Shit! Sorry," I blurted out, turning to the side and looking at the floor.

Her back was turned to me, her head stuck in the hoddie and her arms locked over her head. A sports bra was all that covered up the pale upper body. It was the person I was looking for: Billie Eilish.

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