She saw the flyer for the show on a complete off-chance, leaving the temple late one night after a gruelling day of rehearsals at the (de)Growth Catalyst Underground Theatre headquarters. Their faces had been caricatured, cheeks and contours illuminated with a bulbous sheen from the poster’s vinyl material, but there was no doubt, it was them: Sher, Diva, and ZZ. A closer look at the poster revealed that the Live Creatives Show was premiering in the neighbouring building just days from now. Kylie could feel the hairs standing on the back of her neck, gooseflesh prickling all over the expanse of her skin, separated from the sticky still night air by just the thin silk robe she donned solely for commutes.
It couldn’t be—could it? It had been months since her triumphant return from the Battle of the Blazers. Only, the heady rush of victory didn’t last long. She had wandered around lost for days searching for Margaret and the theatre, only to find they had relocated to a derelict temple on Moonstone Lane, in the complete opposite direction of their previous headquarters at Sunshine Plaza. She didn’t expect that Margaret would welcome her home with open arms, of course—not after she had left so abruptly, and arrived again just as suddenly sans previously-beloved Blazer—but she hadn’t anticipated a reaction so lukewarm and tepid either.
After the initial shock, things slipped back into a ‘new normal’ with a frightening lack of friction—they went to the temple together every morning, where she tried to acclimatise herself to the new terrain of their expanded theatre while Margaret sat at a mouldy desk, frowning and staring at cash flow spreadsheets. Then, they’d leave the temple and go to bed together, but separately. Margaret would slip into the sheets quietly with her face turned towards the wall. Kylie could tell when she wasn’t yet asleep, simply silent and seemingly a million miles away. And so the months had passed like this in a hazy dissociative blur, shuffling between the sensation of cold drafts of the A/C on her skin, and warm, slippery, sweat beading in the folds of her flesh in the tropical mid-afternoon heat, on rare days when she could convince Margaret to stay in bed a little longer, ignore for a little while the mounting paranoias in her mind about Non-Fungifying the theatre and turning their productions into Tokens, the Art Futures, everything…
Despite her glorious victory over the Mother Stitch, coming back home, nothing felt real. Even without the heavy facade of the blazer, Kylie felt like she was walking around like a ghost. People would look at her but not see her. It was almost as if none of it had happened. Sure, she was Liberator of the Emblazoned—but she was slowly starting to notice that the shadows of the Blazer Men still lingered, their ghosts haunting the corners of every street. In the comfort of her own skin (and favoured rotation of silk robes), she still felt as if she was being watched all the time. Some days she wondered if the battle had meant anything at all, if being Free of the Blazer was just an illusion of a Greater Freedom.
But here, in this moment, staring at the fluorescent yellow poster for the Live Creatives Show—finally premiering in the same building in a few days!—it felt like a sign. A return to the start of it all, that life-changing encounter. What were the odds? She whipped out her Xiaomi Rednote (a personal totem of the brief moments spent in that shophouse on Desker Road, bedecked with Xiaomi surveillance cameras), and fervently took down the opening date in her calendar.