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Connecting The Stars

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There was nothing that could be seen in the dark area in which everyone found themselves awoken to. They had all gone to bed and each one found themselves standing in a dark and enclosed location surrounded by people they could not see. There was a lot of commotion due to the large number of humans in such a small space. Tightly packed together it was difficult to maneuver around. Men and women were all conversing in English but with different accents. Some were obvious British accents, other variants of European and Australian English and the distinct sound of American dialect, chattered everywhere. Most people were questioning where they were or apologizing for bumping into someone.
“Welcome.” Said a male voice, which came from a direction no one could figure out. A sudden silence struck the crowd as people awaited answers to questions. “You are all here because you have become a significant influence over the western world between the year’s you refer to as 1900 to 2000.” A sudden gasp engulfed the crowd. Although it was dark and people struggled to see the person standing next to them, some were able to make out clothing either old fashioned and outdated by decades to extremely outrageous garments past their comprehension.
“This is a dream state situation.” The voice continued. “You are all still in your beds or where you ended up sleeping in your correct time. However in this dream state you are really meeting the people here, although they will not retain memory while awake. One day each of you will be given your memories here and must choose whether you wish to continue the work you are doing with the outcome you will come to know. Also strong enough emotions you experience here can and will affect you in your life while awake.” Suddenly lights on a ceiling lit up, revealing a theater like room. Seats were behind each person, in proper fashion for such a structure. People naturally sat down, expecting a show of some kind. The three girls from a the year 1993, looked around them, curious to see what the future fashions would hold.
“I see a lot of old and dead people, but I’m not seeing anyone new.” Said the tall darker skin girl of the group. Looking ahead there was a group of five guys who appeared to be from the 1950s. Wearing a uniform of sweaters, with matching short haircuts, to look like they were quintuplets or something. The person next to the light skin group mate was wearing a long dress that went down to her ankles. The woman had covered her mouth in shock when seeing them. It looked like a combination of disapproval of both their clothes and their race.
The two men next to the shorter dark skin group member were the Mexican guys old people watched from the 1970s, who’s entire comedy routine was based off getting stoned. The person on their other side apparently was racist too, because they turned to their left and the girls their right, to converse with their more desirable neighbors.
“Hey wuz up?” said the balding short guy immediately sitting next to them. “ We’re from 1969, how about you?”
“1993,” said the groups only white member who was sitting in the far seat.
“Shit!” said the taller man. “did they ever end the Vietnam war?”
“Yeah!” Said the short black girl. “But don’t worry, it didn’t take long for them to find another war to start, then another…” Before she could finish her thought the theater became black again with the light of the stage looming in front of them. A white screen just appeared in the center. No explanation on how it got there. Within a flash a short man with dark curly hair dressed in a very old tattered suit which looked hand made appeared in front of the screen. The young man was in his late teens, but definitely not yet twenty, stood confused, looking hopelessly across the audience.
“Who’s that?” asked the darker skin girl in the middle?
“It looks like that silent film star Maria from Sesame Street dresses up as.” Said the white girl. “I don’t remember his name.”
“Charlie Chaplin.” Said the tall 1969 comedian who they had conversed with.
“Most of you know this man. He has not yet made it to America, but you can distinctly see the “tramp” like features.” Said the voice from no where, but everywhere at once. “Charles Spencer Chaplin hasn’t reached his glory yet, in which he lives as a vagabond.” Then on the screen the clearest colored picture anyone there had ever seen was literally Chaplin’s entire depressing day.
People in the audience were all in awe. Some for the very view of moving pictures, of sound, of color and to those accustomed to those features were dazzled by the sheer clarity of the picture. The story began where Chaplin woke up that morning, on a stair case in some building in the ghetto. Passing shops serving food and with no money to buy any, he went to several places of business looking for some work.
Earning a tiny amount of money doing odd jobs only to spend what he had on bread, cheese and beer at a pub. It ended up being his only meal of the day, with the exception of black coffee waitresses from the theater would give him for free.
At the theater, he would play piano but only during the regular performer’s break. Most of his night was consumed of busing tables, setting stage props between performances and help the dancers with the backs of their costumes. After a night of long hard work he took the wages he earned and left for a long walk to the asylum his mother was contained. The conditions were deplorable, this was no movie, not one offensive word, act or object was censored. Human filth littered the floors and people were suffering unimaginable torment. The audience had been at the cusp of gasps and tears. The young Chaplin approached an official and handed over his nightly earnings to the man.
Chaplin was then allowed access to his mother who unlike others who didn’t have any family looking out for them, had a blanket, fresh food daily and straw on her wooden plank of a bed. His mother didn’t recognize him. She spoke incoherently as the young man tried to talk to her rationally. Disappointed he couldn’t reach her, he proclaimed his love for her, in which she harshly responded back and he turned and left in tears. It was a heart breaking display that brought nearly all who watched to an emotional breaking point, which only brought you over your edge when you find he was locked out of the building he had been sleeping in and forced to sleep in the woods under a tree. As if the story couldn’t get any sadder, the English weather decided to rain, although lightly, it was a dark enough ending to rewrite that “No good, very bad day” children’s book 90s preschoolers love, to an entirely different level of sadness.
“Shit! “ said the white girl. “Whenever my day sucks ass, I should just think about old Charlie here and shut the fuck up.”
“Right?!?” said her friend next to her.
“Amon to that.” Said the balding guy.
“Did you say Amon?” asked his friend giggling, until someone from behind the duo shushed then quiet. The lights came on and the young Chaplin stood angry.
“Don’t you pity me!” he yelled. The audience was silent, until another voice with a British accent spoke up. It was some tall skinny British guy that neither girl recognized.
“What is the meaning to all this personal exposure?” he demanded to know with strong authority behind his voice.
“Oh the meaning is simple.” Answered the voice. “Everyone here has had significant events in their lives that shaped who they are. This is prevalent in their art, which effects each new generation, it connects with their lives and effects their art. All of your art effects the world. Here you will learn the real cause behind the art you love and for most of you the consequence of the art you created.”
Suddenly the lights appeared again over the audience.
“You may all go out and mingle.” Said the voice. Lights at the end of the aisles gave view of large wooden doors that opened to what appeared to be a hotel lobby. The people inside the theater were only too happy to oblige. People were curious and star struck by generations of loved entertainers. The three girls with their new stoner acquaintances quietly exchanged information.
As suspected the duo were the infamous Cheech and Chong. The girls were an underground rap group in New Yorks underground scene known as Sugah N Spice. They clearly saw commonality, so they chose to stick together. The lobby looked beautiful, stunning even. It had large cream colored columns that disappeared in a mist of clouds covering the ceiling.
Turning around felt like flipping channels through high end cable. A young Betty Davis was standing by a column looking for the ceiling in the mist of the clouds. Richard Pryor clearly from his early days, was cursing at something as he quickly walked by. The Who were hanging out behind one of the columns doing something with David Bowie the girls didn’t want to know. There were others the girls couldn’t name but have seen, mostly from old movies their parents and grandparents knew better than them. Like the skinny and fat guy duo that wasn’t Abbott and Costello and were in the movie “ March of the wooden soldier’s.” A group of four black men in matching gray suits kept close together as they wandered nervously around.
“What is this obsession with bands back in the day needing to match each other.” Asked the tall female rapper who went by the stage name Spice.
“Why do they look so nervous?” Said the white girl known as Sugah.
“Probably scared of Jim Crow and all these white people.” Said Cheech. “They look like they’re from the 1940s.” This reality struck all three girls to their core. They never lived in such an infamous time of open segregation. Segregation still existed in their time but now racists had to spend money for red tape and loopholes around integration laws.
“It’s best we stick together.” Chong suggested. The girls silently agreed with their new companions logic and walked with them through a sea of celebrities. The all female group searched the faces around them, nearly all were familiar, but older, still no one new. There were people who were around and still popular in the 1990s but they were decades younger from their time. They saw two of the Golden Girls in their twenties. Betty White and Rue Mccallaghan, (Rose and Blanche to the girls,) were flirting with a young Cary Grant.
“Someone should tell them he’s gay.” Said the shorter black girl of the group known as Spindell.
“Best we mind our business.” Suggested Chong and they continued on. They wandered for what seemed like forever. They saw so many famous faces, that when they saw Michael Jackson (whom they all literally grew up listening to) as a small child along with his band of siblings, didn’t interest them at that point. They saw celebrities fighting as well. Madonna who was just under twenty was arguing with a fifteen year old Mae West. They had a verbal cat fight for an entertaining while, until a really young Andy Griffith went in front of Madonna flashing his charm, which was effective, as a youthful Valentino distracted the young West.
“Hey Sugah aren’t you…” Spice began to ask.
“Shut up Ebby!” Sugah responded. The other group mates giggled at their friends embarrassment. Their comedic companions were puzzled by this verbal exchange but decided not to ask questions, but noted this event in their minds. They kept on exploring the lobby, which other than the different celebrities, everything was the same. Enough people had tried to reopen the wooden doors for the five to know they were all locked.
“I think we’re going in circles.” Spindell observed.
Looking around they saw David Bowie leaning against a column, clearly high on something with a few members of the Who still with him. Betty Davis was one of the few celebrities allowed near Charlie Chaplin. He was guarded by a number of silver screen stars who must have known him during his career. Davis was talking casually to the young pre-tramp, who looked nervously at the crowd. The three rappers walking past were stealing a look while Chaplin looked over the multiracial rap group nearly eighty years into the future.
Seeing women of color was not a sight he often witnessed. Their clothing were to him a pauper’s style, but the quality of the material was obviously sturdy. He assumed they were industrial workers which must have torn up their trousers. However he couldn’t understand how they were so clean and not showing any sort of injury.
Spindell found herself waving at the boy, and he smiled and waved back.
“Be careful,” Chong warned the young rapper. “He was known for liking young women, really young women.”
“Jeeze, she was just waving hi to him, not asking for his number.” Spice remarked.
“Spice, he doesn’t even have a phone.” Sugah told her music partner. “He’s right. We don’t know what this dude thinks is a pickup move. We need to watch out, shit could get rapey with some of these people.”
“Just because they play a good guy in the movies doesn’t mean he’s a good guy in real life.” Advised Cheech. Spice thought about what her companions were telling her and she nodded in agreement.
“Not to be rude,” Spice interjected “but we’re not gonna fuck you guys either.”
“You don’t have to worry about that with us “ said Chong not batting an eye. “We don’t want to take the chance that you might be one of our illegitimate children we don't know about.” The group laughed, realizing they found the perfect companions for each other.
“Since we’ve gone everywhere we can go, let’s find a spot to figure out a plan.” Suggested Spice. The five artists found an empty column which they all sat on the floor behind it, with their legs crossed in a sort of circle. The two groups sat near their perspective members and across from the other.
“Why are we here?” asked Spindell.
“Aliens.” Said Cheech.
“Why do you say that?” Spice inquired.
“You got a better answer?” Cheech responded.
“Drugs?” Chong contradicted his partner.
“We don’t do drugs!” argued Spice. “Well weed, but that’s it.”
“And alcohol.” Interjected Sugah.
“Yes and alcohol sometimes, but we rarely do that!” Spice came back.
“Oh and cigarettes, when we do drink.” Added Spindell. At this point Spice was done as she realized her two bandmates were fucking with her.
“The point is we don’t do hallucinogens or any other type of drug that would cause such effects.” She explained.
“Unless the government is stimulating some kind of program for some kind of experiment.” Sugah suggested
“Hey, I saw that episode of the Twilight Zone too!” Cheech pointed out.
“Dude you’re clearly on something other than weed.” Spindell noted.
“Yeah, I am.” Cheech laughingly admitted.
“We both are.” Chong included. “ We just did a show in California, we went to bed really fucked up on a shit load of stuff.”
“Great!” Spindell sarcastically remarked. Like a set of triplets the girls rolled their eyes at the same time, which amused their stoned companions.
“So where the hell are the artists after us?” Spice insisted on knowing.
“Why are you so hung up on finding people newer than you?” Asked Chong
“She wants to see their new fashions.” Said Sugah. “I for one wish I could see decades in the future too! I wanna see the type of art our kids and grandkids generations will be doing.”
“You guys are only seven years away from the year 2000.” Chong explained. “ If there are any people younger than you, they are in a mix of ninety-three years worth of celebrities.”
“There is also the possibility of you guys being the youngest, making it as the big name for the following years.” Cheech suggested.
“I highly doubt that.” Spice spoke up. “ We’re calling it quits in two years.”
“Why?” Cheech inquired, sitting up, genuinely curious.
“We wanna end things during the best part of our career” Spice explained.
“and get out before we destroy our lives.” Added Sugah.
“and before it even destroys our friendship.” Spice further added. The two men from the 1960s were much older than the three girls. They definitely knew their companions were young. The girls still had a little bit of baby fat on their faces and the men realized they were up to some sort of game during their time. Despite their reputation they both felt an instinctive need to protect these young women from the dangers of sixty-nine years, of their direct knowledge, of the sadistic perverts of the industry. At least during this dream state. They weren't the only older celebrities doing such charities for children. During their exploration of the strange lobby, both comedians noticed the toddler Shirley Temple was being cared for by Margaret Hamilton, years away from her infamous role. They found it ironic that the future Wicked Witch of the West was caring for a Dorothy reject.
“Well I can’t argue with that.” Cheech answered the girls.
“Most people are set on being rich and famous.” Chong pointed out.
“Yeah, and how many of these people ended up with happy endings?” Spindell asked.
“How many people do you know who are not famous ended up with happy endings?” Chong mentioned. “All these people are no different than the average person, except their lives are put on display.”
“Well fuck that,” Spice came back. “If I’m going to fall, I’ll fall without the rest of the world watching.”
“So what you three gonna do when you’re no longer wrappers?” Chong said to move the conversation to a more productive manner.
“Rappers!” Spice corrected them. “there’s no “W””.
“Rappers?” Chong tried to correct himself. He wasn’t trying to make a joke.
“I wanna go into choreography.” Spindell chose to answer his initial question.
“I can see you’re a dancer.” Cheech responded. “You definitely have the legs for it.” Spindell smiled, as Cheech turned his head to the white girl.
“How about you?” The shorter of the two men asked.
“I’m gonna go for a solo career. I want to expand further than rap, but I need to learn how to play an instrument.” Was Sugah’s answer.
“Why don’t you learn to play an instrument now?” inquired Chong.
“Because her mom’s a bitch who won’t let her have an instrument in her house.” Spice answered for her friend.
“Why won’t she allow that?” Chong further inquired.
“Because it will take time for me to learn to play the instrument and she doesn't want to have to deal with me practicing to become good.” Sugah responded.
“Why do you guys live at home with your parents?” Cheech said seeing an opportunity to find out their companions ages.
“We just started out.” Spindell explained.
“So how old are you guys again?” Chong figured he could slip in.
“What do you mean again?” asked Spice. “We never told you our ages.”
“Okay,” Chong remarked. “So how old are you guys?”
“Don’t ask stupid questions.” Spice stated bluntly.
“Okay,” Cheech said realizing there was no point in pressing further, “What do you want to do?” he asked looking at the tallest girl of the group.
“I want to do special effects makeup.” Spice was proud to answer.
“So all you do is comedy?” asked Sugah, figuring she might as well question these men as intently as they questioned her and her companions.
“No, we’re also musicians.” Explained the taller man.
“And we do acting as well.” The shorter man included. “But mostly stand up comedy.”
“Do you guys know anything about the 60s?” Chong asked.
“Yeah, we learned about it in history class!” The girl’s said in unison, laughing at a joke they repeated on TV. The men smiled, realizing this is what their future kids will be like.
“How long have you guys being waiting to use that line?” asked Cheech.
“Since we realized we were trapped in an AMC special.” Spindell snarked. Suddenly the girls leaned into one another and their eyes closed, one by one. Then in front of the duo, the trio of young girls disappeared.
Looking around, the two men saw this happening to others. Eartha Kitt collapsed suddenly and disappeared as well. David Bowie was gone, but the members of the Who were looking for him. Then the pair walked around, and noticed most of the people from Europe were gone and the ones on the eastern coast of the United States were beginning to faint and then disappear, leaving no trace behind.
“What the hell is happening?” Cheech inquired out loud, directed to no one in particular.
“Maybe their waking up?” answered a man’s voice. It was Rock Hudson, who was smoking a cigarette up against a column. This turned out to be true, soon the comedians felt a swirl euphoria encompass their minds and the two sat down to avoid falling. They too disappeared, as they left the dream state, unaware they were ever there in their waking moments and unaware of when they would return.