“Why does the fat lady get to sing the last song?” asked Claire. “I mean, it’s not like she’s Aretha Franklin or anything.” She dragged on the cigarette before extinguishing it. “This songbird’s gonna have the final note tonight. Fat chick be damned.”
The karaoke microphone was vacant, illuminated by a single spot light. Claire’s best friend, Rachelle, dubbed it The Truth Amplifier. The microphone revealed a person’s ability, she said. If they could sing, it magnified the singer’s competent vocal chords. If the singer was a hairbrush vocalist, it simply amplified their cat-being-pulled-by-a-toddler screeching.
Flicking through the karaoke menu, Claire chose her song. It was 2 am and the bar was emptying. MIDI strains of Bon Jovi clambered out of the speaker. From their table, Rachelle whooped her encouragement. Claire pulled the wireless microphone from the stand, feeling its weight, balancing it before winking at Rachelle. In her head she counted off the final bar before the lyrics started. On the last beat she spun the mic in her hand, caught it, leaned forward and breathed the lyrics, “If you’re ready, I’m willing and able/Help me lay my cards out on the table.”
At the first chorus she pushed the vocals, but deliberately held back from giving it everything, “Lay your hands on me, lay your hands on me, lay your hands on me.” Her hands followed the curves of her body, starting at her breasts, moving over her hips and towards her crotch before she extended her hand towards the crowd. A polite smattering of applause came from the thinning crowd, but Claire knew she had them. The second verse spun from her lips like caramel. Perched on the edge of the tiny stage, she could feel herself flying with the music. Grasping the mic stand in her left hand she threw her head back for the final chorus and released the diva within, finding the pure note and producing a sonic boom.
Putting the mic back into the clip, the audience erupted in whoops, cheers and whistles.
“Take that, you fat cow,” said Claire, dropping into the chair beside Rachelle.