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Lights are still on in the opening act’s bus: Helvek is practicing scales quietly while Lens of Stars and Gurter shuffle for whist. The Electric Hipster is doing a little coke but not bothering anybody. The gig’s just ended, and there is a tension of hope that the main act might still decide to share.

Two hours later the hope leaves only its spiteful residue. The Electric Hipster peeks through the window at Lenny Spitzman’s Bus O’ Laffs, visibly wobbling across the parking lot, groupies spilling out the door.

“Fuckin’ comedians,” he mutters.

Gurter nods glumy, and strums with horny fingers.

Lens of Stars

Lens of Stars picked his stage name at eleven, before he’d cut his fingers on strings, huddled in the library corner with a Popular Science. The article was perhaps a bit heavier on the pop than the sci, but it communicated its conceit: that space bends around massive objects, and that the degree to which one sun occludes another can be used to magnify the latter’s light.

Everybody assumes he came up with this while high, and indeed he can’t find that back issue now. No point protesting. His name is a talisman, a telescope, obscuring and focusing the ancient past.