As Ciccone and Lear made their way to the check in counter, Lance leered at Madonna until she noticed, and asked, “What the fuck, Lance? You fall into the creepy trance?”

Lance Lear laughed, “No, not the creepy trance, not at all. I just had a vision of you, in my mind. Play along with me, or I’ll call you ‘mom’, when we get to the front desk.” In his head, he had already escalated it to calling her grandma, but he was exercising some restraint, while waiting for the reaction, which he liked.

“Don’t you fucking dare,” Madonna shrieked. But she was laughing. “Don’t you fucking dare call me your fucking mother, especially not in public, or I will make sure I get my hands on a copy of a recording of it, even if I have to go to the C I fucking A, or Putin, to get it, and I will make sure your fucking mother sees it.”

In an unmistakable gesture of surrender, the boy threw his hands up in the air, and laughed “Holy fuck, you play this game well!” Something in his head was screaming at him to add ‘grandma’ to the end of the sentence, but some saner voice said to save that dirty suitcase nuke for another day.

“I didn’t get where I am by being a Girl Guide, son.” Madonna flashed Lance a million dollar, toothy grin at the end of the sentence, and the boy was blinded by the light of it.

‘Son?” he thought. He pictured Madonna calling him son all the time, everywhere, and his mother finding out about it. The sexagenarian had crushed the boy’s balls with one word. He knew it, and he knew she knew he knew it, And he was in awe.

Lance’s mind attempted to calculate how much damage he could do to her by upping the ante, and calling her grandma, but he couldn’t do the math, so he let it go. It didn’t matter, anyway; if ever there were a dirty war, between he and her, or he and Kitty against her and his deadbeat dad, he had the super duper missile – Old Leather Pussy.

But there was no point in any of that, at the moment. So far, they were playing on the same side, so far as he suspected, so there was no need to be chirping the old broad. “When I asked you to play along, what I wanted was to see a big, toothy smile from you, and you shot one at me already, so….”

“Here’s another one for you,” said Madge, resisting the temptation to add ‘grandson’ to the end of the sentence.

“Perfect. My vision, minor, and you’ve probably already thought of it, anyway, was a promo image of you, a caricature of you…”

“With piano mouth,” Madonna completed the thought, and the sentence.

“Yeah. Like I said, it’s pretty obvious. Nothing to write home to mom about.” It was a good natured use of the mom bomb, and Madge admired his check.

“It is obvious, but the obvious can make for great art, obviously. I will employ the idea, after the first performance.”

“You’ll tour the show?”

“Yeah. Of course. That’s what I do.”

“Live Nation?” Lance wanted to know. “Gonna make some money for the House of Saud? I assume you heard that news, yes?”

“I did.”


“The buy was made on the open market.”

“Oh, fuck off!” Lance’s tone made it clear that he was ready for battle on this one. “You really think they didn’t check with Rapino, to see if there was going to be any squawking from the Board, or shareholders?”

“Maybe, maybe not.”

“Bullshit! They played kissy face, long before pretending they’d never met, when the deal was made public.”

“Maybe, maybe not.”

“Oh, fuck off. But, even if I’m wrong, so fucking what? The deal is done, and now anyone who plays a Live Nation show, or attends one, is putting money into the House of Saud. Paying for beheadings, stonings, crucifixions, keeping women locked in the 14th century. Need I go on? Want me to get the widow of Jamal Khashoggi on the phone for you? I bet my dear, old, deadbeat dad’s friends in weird places can even get their hands on the video of Khashoggi being butchered, like a fucking pig, in Istanbul. ‘Cause you know the sick fucks had it recorded.”

Lance stopped walking, and stopped talking. Madonna stopped, too, and looked at him, silently. “You gonna go sing and dance for the House of Saud? Maybe you can do your first piano show there. That’s what the play is all about, after all. They want the world to think they’re as kind as koala bears, and they want to make money in the process. So, you and the rest of the gang go to the Kingdom to play their updated version of Sun fucking City, and get paid a small fortune for it. And they’re just paying you out of the rake they take from the five percent they get from every one of your shows. They want you to be their PR firm, and they want you to launder their blood soaked money.”

The boy stood squarely in front of the Queen of Pop, who would not look him in the face, going so far as to avert her eyes down to the floor.

That was all Lance needed to hear. “Yeah, fuck you and your poser bullshit. The first time you get to a fork in the road to rigteousness, you choose the path that is littered with filthy fucking money. You’re nothing but a fraud, and a fucking whore. I’m gonna find Gaga, and I’m taking Commonwealth with me, so don’t you fucking dare try to build that. And if you do, I have a poison pill failsafe built into it. You fuck with me, on Commonwealth, and you will hear one big motherfucking KABLOOEY!”

The boy took twelve steps to the closest emergency exit, and kicked it open, setting off alarms throughout the hotel.




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