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Holder of Fame

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The Holder of Fame

In any city, any country, you try any mental institution or halfway house in you can get yourself to. When you reach the front desk, ask if you can see someone calling himself “The Holder of Fame.” The worker should sternly deny having any patient named as such, but afterwards he will make sure that no one is looking and discreetly give you a guitar pick and whisper, “Say hello to him for me, will ya? I’m a huge fan.” Gratefully accept the pick and thank the worker, then leave the institution. Make sure to notice that night has fallen when you exit the building, no matter what time you first entered.

Directly across the street will be a bar, even if it wasn’t there before. Go to that bar, and you will hear music playing. Pay no attention to the music, as those now in the audience were those foolish enough to stop and enjoy it. These unfortunate individuals are now forever tormented by tunes that melt their bodies and souls while their ears bleed, their hearing undiminished in the face of this demonic harmony. Head backstage, where a bouncer will be waiting. When he blocks your path, show him the guitar pick you received from the worker. If the bouncer still does not let you through, pray that he takes off your head first, so that you won’t have to feel the pain of being torn apart by his bare hands. If he lets you through, you will be guided into a room, which, unlike the fancy bar decor that surrounded you earlier, will be a simple room, with walls painted in beige and a single lamp hanging overhead. In the middle of a room will be a man who by all appearances looks like a rock star, with long, wavy hair, a thin physique, and tight jeans. He will be playing an electric guitar, and next to him will be another chair with a second guitar resting on a stand beside it. Untold horrors and nightmares await you should this scene not be the one you encounter when the bouncer lets you through.

The guitarist will be playing the most beautiful of tunes. He plays so skillfully, it’s as if his fingers were gently treading water at the beach. You will be mesmerized by his skill, but all the more with the music he is playing. Yet you feel that it is a sad song, and its tragic message will reverberate within your very soul with every pluck of the string. Many are driven to depression at that very moment and decide to end their own lives, but if you are steadfast, you must sit down beside the guitarist. Once you do this, he will stop playing and say, “Will you share this song with me?” At this point you are only allowed to ask one question: “You’re that famous guy, right?”

If the guitarist does not answer, he has deemed you unworthy of his presence and the strings of his guitar will latch on and fillet your body, then drag your soul into the deepest pits of Hell. But if he likes you, he will say, “It’s not all it was hyped up to be.” Here you must pick up the guitar beside you and play along with him. Even if you don’t know how to play the guitar, you will find you suddenly know how to. The two of you will then play a song different from what the guitarist was playing earlier. As you play your part, you will start seeing sad and powerful images in your mind, but you must keep your concentration. The guitarist doesn’t like screw-ups, and you don’t want to know what he did with his previous back-up guitarists. With the images boring into your mind like red-hot steel hissing into your skin, you will see every person in history who was blinded by the glamour of the camera lights, and failed to see the real light of the sun, ultimately falling into eternal darkness. They thought they were special, and lifted themselves above anyone who they saw dirty or unfit, only to realize they were filthier than those they hated so much, and that they were just like everyone else. They forgot the true essentials of life, and thus forfeited it.

After your performance, he will pat you on the back and commend you for your beautiful playing. Return your guitar to its stand, thank the guitarist for his time, and leave the room from the door through which you originally entered. When you open the door, you will be blinded by a flash of light. Close your eyes immediately and open them when you feel the surroundings dimming, and you will find yourself in your bedroom. After two weeks a package will be sent to you, and inside will be the guitar you played earlier. He also has signed his autograph on it, but it will be in a language that does not exist in this world. You will receive his message regardless, as you now know the true cost of eminence.

That guitar is Object 132 of 538. There is nothing glamorous about the burden you carry. Many have borne it before, and many will carry it yet.

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