To his surprise, disappointment and confusion, Lance was not outside the hotel when he stepped through the emergency door. Rather, he was in a stairwell, with three options: up, down, or back. Before the boy could make his decision, Madonna was in the doorway saying, “Wait!” Lance turned and glared at her. Before he could say a word, Madonna conceded, “You’re rigt.” This elicited no response, so she continued, “You’re rigt about the House of Saud, and Live nation. But you are not rigt about me being a fraud and a whore.”

Lance regretted what he’d said, but lacked the courage to admit it, and decided to go on the offensive again, “Why do I have to explain to you, what should be obvious to you?”

Madonna mustered all the serenity she could, and replied, “Lance, please, calm down. I cannot deal with your energy. Your anger. That’s what paralyzed me, not any indecision about whether or not I should do business with Live Nation, so long as the House of Saud has a piece of it.”

Dubious, but cautious, Lance opted to shut up and listen. “Energy is infectious. I did all I could to not strike back at you, when it was so obvious you were angry. That’s what froze me.” First pausing a few seconds to make sure Lance wasn’t going to lose it on her, Madonna carried on, “You’re the one who decided I was gonna organize my tour through Live Nation. But there is no tour. That’s miles ahead. All I have is an embryonic concept for a show. You’re a creator, so you should understand this. The moment you came up with the concept for Die Laughing was a long time before you finished the book, correct?”

The self published author conceded it was so, but he did so with a simple nod of his head. Madonna plunged further, “My idea is a long, long way from coming to fruition. And it is not exactly paramount in my mind, at the moment. We have bigger things to deal with, and I assume this mission of ours is going to be long and arduous. My project will give me a chance to balance myself. To completely ignore other things that burn inside of me, and devote myself singularly to achieving what we are trying o achieve would be a fool’s folly, because I could easily fall apart, without balance. You understand?”

“Okay,” was Lance’s one word answer. He considered an apology, but wanted to hear the rest of what she had to say, before issuing one.

“If and when my concept develops enough for me to give serious consideration to organizing a tour, I will put my mind to that part of the project. Live Nation will have no part of it, so long as the House of Saud has so much as one share of the company.”

That’s what Lance needed to hear. “In that case,” he said, “I apologize. My accusations were both harsh, and rash. I withdraw them, and ask your forgiveness.”

Madonna waited just long enough to make Lance wonder what she was thinking, before she smiled, and replied, “I don’t know much about your mother, but I do know your impetuousness comes, at least partially, from your father. Interestingly, in case you don’t know, King Lear was also impetuous.”

“Was he?” asked Lance. “That is interesting. “No, I didn’t know that. I have never read King Lear, nor seen it performed.”

“Maybe we can find a copy, and you can disappear into the tunnel, and give it a read.”

That’s interesting, too. I could read everything I have ever wanted to read, and do it without taking a second of my life off the clock.”

“Indeed, dear boy, the tunnel offers many opportunities to those of us who know of it. Anyway, I do accept your apology. And I will refrain from issuing one to you, even though I feel the strange urge to do so. This is a strange country. Apologies are in the air, everywhere. Every breath you take has at least a trace of something that makes you want to apologize gratuitously, and endlessly.”

Laughing, Lance said, “I hadn’t noticed that, but will be vigilant in defending myself against it.” When Madge smiled, Lance shifted gears, turned sharply, and pressed the gas pedal gently, but surely. “You know that you have the power to stop this House of Saud thing, don’t you?”

“What do you mean?”

“One tweet. With one Tweet from you, the Saudis would divest themselves from Live Nation; I will not play, or attend a Live Nation show, or buy a ticket from Ticketmaster, until the House of Saud divests itself of the company.”


“Others would follow. Performers, and fans. Live Nation stock would free fall. Shareholders, those who did not immediately dump their stock, would revolt. You see, what Rapino has done is insane. Think of companies as Roman orgies, and you’ll understand. If so much as one dirty, diseased dick gets in on the orgy, everyone pays the price. And even if Rapino didn’t know the Saudis were going to buy as much as they did, which I will investigate, he knows damn well they are diseased, and has done nothing about it.”

“You’re rigt.”

“Yes, I am. And you can blow it all up, with one Tweet. You could also make a fortune, by picking up all that dumped stock, before forcing the Saudi’s out. As soon as they’re out, it’s party on, and the stock goes back up, as soon as you say the boycott is off. ”

“You’re rigt,” Madonna said, again, “but the money making angle is market manipulation, or worse, and this can’t be about the money.”

“Buy up the shares, and donate them to a charity. I don’t think you could get crucified for that.”



“Just wait.”

“For what?

“Just wait. And back off on that anger I can already feel rising in you.”

Madonna was rigt, Lance was starting to get angry. He managed to check it, when she called him on it, saying, “You’re rigt. Thank you.”

“Just hang on a minute, you beautiful, impetuous thing,” Madonna said, scratching the boy’s head. “You know the story about the two bulls on the hill?”


Madge grinned wildly, “Two bulls, one old, one young, standing on top of a hill. Down in the valley, there are scores of young, nubile, ripe cows. The young bull says, ‘Let’s run down there and fuck us one of them heifers.’”

Lance, too, was grinning with anticipation, as Madonna asked, “You know what the old bull says?”

“No. What?”

“The old bull laughs, and says, ‘No, kid, let’s walk down there, and fuck ‘em all!’”

Lance Lear loved it, and laughed out loud, and laughed out loud some more. Madonna grinned at the boy and assured him, “We can get more out of this play than a Saudi divestment. Just wait ‘til it comes to us.”

116 – KNOW?



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