Starter for Ten – 20/6/2019

Why had he jumped so high? That was the first thought that had gone through Mark’s head. There were plenty of stage-divers who had just stepped to the edge of the stage and even crouched down before they gently pushed themselves out onto the outstretched hands of the crowd. Sure, some of them had jumped but none had jumped as high as Mark did. Why did I do that? Thought Mark again.

The other thought that managed to register in his mind was how much flannel there was. From his viewpoint he could get a really wide-angled view of the entire moshpit and there was indeed a lot of flannel shirts. Red and black cheques was a popular design, but there were other variants – yellow and black, browns and purples. Given the natural heat of the moshpit a number of shirts were tied around waists, but yet more had been simply tied to one of the metal posts that supported the ceiling and lighting rig. Mark had never liked flannel. Gigs were jeans (black), band t-shirt (never for the band that you were seeing, that was just awful) and leather jacket (black, which was deposited in the cloakroom as soon as you were inside).

As he reached the zenith of his leap he could already register the uncertainty on some of the faces of those others in the moshpit who Mark had assumed would play the part of his saviours. It was the height he’d reached, he could see that now. Possibly also the boots too. If he’d been able to remove himself to a vantage point of the ceiling then Mark would almost certainly have agreed with the others in the moshpit that catching him wasn’t likely to add to their enjoyment of the evening.

And after all – it wasn’t like there was a contract between them. Sure, they’d happily caught at least 30 other stage divers through the course of the evening, but if he was asked if there was an explicit understanding that they would catch Mark if he chose to jump onto their heads then he’d have to reluctantly agree that there was no such agreement.

The hands were the first to go. Normally when a stagediver launched themselves into the crowd a wave of hands and splayed fingers was raised above heads like the tentacles of an anemone. The fingers had quickly been withdrawn, followed by the hands and arms in his instance. Then imperceptibly and magically a gap had appeared. Where miliseconds before the crowd had been packed so tightly that bodies were in full contact with each other, now a space had appeared to the extent that Mark could see the discarded flyers and chewing gum on the floor as it rose to smash the nose on his face.

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