Freddie opened his eyes, and saw a white ceiling. He was on a mattress in a room with white walls and a shitload of instruments in the corner. The door was open, but the flat was quiet.
Then he started to remember the new life Lucifer had given him: instead of being back home in England, he was now an American military brat who ended up in Vegas – he grew up at Lakenheath Air Force Base, so he still had some of his Britishisms – and was bartending while trying to get his band together. A made-up childhood kept the same space in his mind with his own, easily recalled.
Lucifer allowed him to keep his name.
He was a skinny white kid, with a beard. The thought made him chuckle. He ran his tongue over normal teeth. In the corner opposite him were a desktop computer, a keyboard, and pieces of a drumset.
His flatmate, Benny, walked past the open doorway in plaid boxers. For a moment, Freddie thought about the fact that he would’ve been perfect for him before he got sick, but in this new life, he was just a dude he was best friends and bandmates with. Freddie naturally was the singer and guitarist while Benny played drums.
That kind of thinking about the past would have to be toned down, Freddie thought. Wait… who am I attracted to? Who cares. He didn’t have a girlfriend or boyfriend right now.
“Dude, what the fuck?” Benny said. H e didn’t look all that different from Freddie, but just a little bit taller. “You ever gonna get up?”
“Piss off,” Freddie said. It felt good to finally say it out loud after everything.
“Whatever. We have practice at the Alamo in like half an hour.”
“When does any band practice before noon, anyway?”
“It’s almost 2, dude,” Benny said, walking away to the kitchen “Get the fuck up.”
Benny was one of the first people he’d met when he moved to Vegas his freshman year of high school. They were leaving history class when Benny noticed him wearing a Queen shirt. “I love that band,” he said. “I wore black that whole week when Freddie died.”
Freddie didn’t want to think about that memory anymore, so he got up and took a shower. When he emerged, Benny was dressed, Pirates baseball cap on, and watching a rerun of Roseanne on TV. “Aren’t you even going to take a shower, dude?” ‘Dude’ came out just as easily as ‘mate.’
“The day is still young,” Benny said, turning off the TV. “Besides, there won’t be any hot water left.”
“Right. Let’s go.”
By the time they go there, the other two members of the band – Susie on keyboards and Boyd on bass – were sitting and talking. Benny had been telling Freddie for months that something was going on between them, but Freddie didn’t want to hear about it. It was their business. In the old days the boys didn’t care what he did, just as long as he showed up.
“So,” Boyd said, “it turns out we have a big gig next week.”
Freddie: Part 20
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