No Business Like It by Matthew Roen From the entire day leading up to the first time I saw Carregio in concert

, I only remember that final moment: sitting in the back of my Mom’s car, clutching the ticket in my hands, hearing only the whisper of the air conditioner, tasting the strange metal of my braces (still weird after a week) and knowing the tranquility of a diver’s breath before the plunge. My Mother turned to face me: an anxious smile, a reassuring squeeze of my leg. “Have fun, sweetheart.” I opened the door, and became one of the mob. Nearly everyone was wearing Carregio shirts; the vast majority of these from his ‘Annihilate the Moon’ tour, but I recognized at least a handful of the ‘Underwood Underground’ and ‘Dieconderoga’ album covers, emblazoned on baseball tees and beanie hats. I could feel the energy as glow-sticks cracked, and UV pocket lights switched on - the sun finally slipping over the horizon, and the massive oaken doors opening to admit the throng. Moving with them, my eyes kept flicking to the abundant teenage cleavage, where black sharpies bore residence beside pointedly blank patches of skin. Pens of all colors were tucked into bras, and maybe ten of the girls I saw were clutching empty notebooks, or vacant pocket folders. I mean, a lot of the guys were shirtless too, by this point, sporting ‘Hellvetica’ tattoos and typographic piercings across their chests, but I knew that Carregio was only likely to autograph a lucky handful, in the front-most rows of the theater. As soon as I could conceivably see it, I was craning my neck to catch a glimpse of the stage: a sprawling tangle of cords and cables snaked across it, thick tree-like conduits hung from the ceiling, wires and hoses sprawled out over a dilapidated gazebo at the center of the hibernaculum. From my seat in the nosebleeds, it looked somewhat like a tangled warren or rat’s nest of plastic and wire, or maybe a synthetic jungle garden run amok. In the cavernous space, it appeared strangely small and unassuming, but I knew Carregio better. I made sure to void my bowels, and upon taking my seat, the opening band began to play. They were some indie group, from the huge tournament we held as soon as we knew that Carregio was going to be playing here. A trio called ‘Piecewise’ or something; they shredded out a couple A+ songs, and we screamed them off the stage by the third. After all, we were only here for Carregio. The lights vanished, and a hush fell over the auditorium. (There are few words to describe what 60,000 people, trying to quiet, sounds like, but I think ‘anticipatory’ is one of them.) There was a click, the sound of a typewriter advancing to the next line, and a *ding*. And the the whole theater started to hum. Beneath our seats, you could feel the shuddering bass kicking to life, beating out a distant heart rhythm that slowly grew with the intensity of the lights that were rising onstage, pulsing through the conduits and making them bloat and distend in organic sequence. In another moment, a discordant *snap*, and a multitude of projector screens flared to life, zoomed-in close on two pale, nimble hands, prying open the paper fingers of a typewriter’s platen before flickering out. The cave of wires shuddered, literally quaking from some unseen disturbance, and out of a strangely sexual cluster of cords near the middle peak, a long, wrapping, roll of paper began to emerge, coiling down to the gazebo.

1 - Roen

I was startled by a thick fog-bank, that had begun to roll over my shoulders; indeed, the entire assembly of the upper level seating was wreathed in smoke - and as the pulsing heartbeat reached a crescendo, the screens re-engaged, and the first words ‘Death by Iceberg’ by Carregio were struck, in brilliantly bright-red ink, onto the paper before our very eyes. --Carregio shows are a rarity: the amount of time and effort that go into their planning, the incredibly massive and elaborate venues, the ticket sales and merchandising, even Carregio’s own health and well-being, all factor into the finiteness of the enterprise. Because of his performances, there are only so many hours of ‘show’ that can be milked from each tour - even if each masterpiece is hawked at every performance, every “album” sold in every music store and coffee-shop around the globe: this lifetime experience, is a limited resource, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. They say monkeys could write Shakespeare, given the time. And I bet, if you bound Hopkins or Keats to a stone, and whipped them until they bled - until they whimpered, and begged for release - if you forced out of them, only the greatest possible prose and poetry, all of it new, all of it fresh, never derivative or recapitulated - I doubt what they would give, could be anything better than Carregio’s worst. --For sixteen years now, Carregio has been laying his soul bare, for millions of spectators the world over. Rumors abound: that he uses someone else’s blood; that it’s not his blood at all; that he writes the stories and novels ahead of time and just acts them out, onstage; that Carregio is just the sensationalized front of some team of frightened (but magnificent) ghostwriters... say what you like. But after the final period lashed the page, and the author (who collapsed) was carried off. After the auditorium had emptied, and I finally got to the print-stand, built into the merchandising shop, whose shirt racks and cuff-link trays glittered with material allure: I came away with a ream of deliciously fresh pages. They smelled smokey, as though the entirety of ‘Death by Iceberg’ still smoldered like a live-coal - and beneath the title, beneath the word that had become synonymous with ‘Rock-Star’, ‘Genius’, and ‘Saint’, was a single bloody thumb-print, and a smear to underscore his name.

2 - Roen

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