In which our hero doesn’t see what his friends see and begins to throw it all away…
It's a miracle how long we can stay
In a world our minds created
In a world that's full of shit
"Axl hurry up!"
Ignoring the whining guitarist, the singer looked into the full-length mirror in the corner of the bedroom, twisting and turning and checking himself out, making sure he looked just perfect.
"You look beautiful, now come on! Opening bands aren't allowed to be late!" Cried Izzy.
Axl turned to his side and looked at his reflection, running his hand down his chest and stomach.
Startled, the singer jumped and shook himself out of his thoughts before grabbing his leather jacket and running out the door, Izzy rolling his eyes as he followed.
"There's like four people out there." Sighed Duff as he peeked out at the crowd through a gap in the curtains.
"There'll be more by the time Posers go on." Said Slash.
"Why do we have to open for Poison anyway? We're hundreds of times better than them!" Cried Steven.
"We have to start somewhere..." Izzy said distantly as he eyed up Axl who was checking himself out in the mirror in the tiny dressing room.
"Axl you're so vain! You've been looking in that mirror for like ten minutes!" Said Duff, giggling.
The singer turned to the blonde and frowned slightly before sitting down next to Izzy on the couch. Slash and Steven promptly started singing Carly Simon's song, which only annoyed Axl more.
"You're up guys!" Said some gig promoter who had just appeared in the tiny room.
Slash, Duff and Steven jumped up, instruments in hand and walked out onto the stage to greet the sparse crowd and Axl was about to follow until Izzy stopped him.
"Are you feeling okay?" He asked, concerned at his friend's strange behaviour.
"I'm fine," Said Axl, "But I think I'm gonna go on a diet."
The guitarist was completely taken aback, not expecting that answer at all but before he could tell Axl he didn't need to go on a diet, the singer was already on the stage, ready to rock.
"Well that sucked." Said Slash after the gig.
They were all cramped into Duff's tiny car, guitars and all. It would have been worse if Rikki Rocket hadn't let Steven use his drums before Poison's set, although Steven would just about drum on anything at anytime. Even at the most inappropriate times like when sitting in the passenger seat in the front of Duff's car, banging his hands on the dashboard.
"Knock it off Adler!" Yelled Duff, as he batted at Steven's hands while trying to steer at the same time.
Izzy, who could barely move his arms as he sat in between Slash and Axl in the back, leaned in close to the singer and asked one of the many questions that were eating at him during their set.
"Were you being serious about going on a diet?"
Axl looked very solemn all of a sudden and nodded back at the guitarist.
"Why? You don't need to Axl. You're already a skinny guy. You don't need to lose weight. In fact you shouldn't lose weight."
"What are you guys talking about?" Asked Slash.
The guitarist was nosily leaning in to eavesdrop on his band mates but could only pick up a word or two.
"Why are you talking about losing weight?"
This made the bickering in front stop and everyone turned to Izzy and Axl.
"Mind your own business!"
They all quickly turned back and avoided Izzy, not wanting him to scold them again.
Izzy tried to move into a more comfortable position but it was difficult when the three of them were so squished in the back seat.
"You'd probably be more comfortable if I wasn't so fat."
It was barely a whisper but Izzy heard it loud and clear. His jaw dropped and he froze.
"Did you actually just say that? Are you kidding me Axl?"
Steven turned fully around in his seat and ducked slightly so that only his eyes and above could be seen over the top of the seat. He hoped Izzy wouldn't notice him eavesdropping. Slash also leaned in for a bit of nosey.
"You're not fat! You're not even close to being fat Axl! Where did all this come from? Did someone put this into your head?"
The singer shook his head and stared blankly out the window. The car finally came to a halt outside Hell House and the Gunners all got out of the car and into the house where more confrontation lay ahead.
"Axl I'm not letting you go to bed until I get this crap out of your head." Said Izzy sitting down on the couch and looking up at Axl who was stood in the doorway.
"You're not fat Axl." Said Duff, joining Izzy on the couch.
"I second that!" Chirped Steven.
"I think Duff seconded it first." Slash pointed out.
"Well then I third that!" Chirped Steven again.
"I agree Axl," Said Slash, "You're not fat."
The singer looked at the pathetic intervention and decided he was too tired to argue.
"Okay. I'm not fat. Goodnight guys!"
With a smile to his friends the singer left and went up to his bedroom before shutting the door behind him and staring into the mirror.
"What are you doing?"
Izzy leaned against the doorframe of the bathroom, sleepily looking at the singer. It was far too early in the morning to be up and doing things.
Axl, wearing nothing but his underwear, pulled out a bathroom weighing scale and stared down at it for a moment, while Izzy stared at Axl himself.
"What the fuck is that?" The guitarist closed the space between them to get a good look at the scale.
"Haven't you ever seen bathroom scales Izzy?"
"On no, not this shit again. Axl why do you care about your weight? You're perfectly healthy." Said Izzy.
The singer ignored his friend and took a deep breath before stepping slowly up onto the scale.
"One hundred and thirty pounds. There you are Ax. Not only are you not fat, you need to gain a little more weight." Said Izzy with a slap to Axl's back almost knocking the singer over.
"I wanna be a hundred."
He was about to leave but Izzy promptly turned back to stare at his friend.
"Are you kidding me? You'll look like a skeleton if you lose that much weight! Axl stop talking shit, it's not funny anymore."
"I'm not joking Izzy, I wanna be skinny." Said Axl.
"You are skinny!" Cried Izzy.
Axl scowled at the guitarist for a moment before sticking his nose up in the air and leaving Izzy alone in the bathroom. Izzy had a feeling this argument wasn't over yet.
"Axl you have to eat something, aren't you hungry at all?" Asked Steven.
The singer shook his head and sipped his water, avoiding making eye contact with any of his other band mates sitting at the table.
"You should eat now Ax, even if you're not hungry. Later on when you do get hungry and we've spent all our money on drinks, we'll all either be too broke to buy you food, or we'll be too drunk to care." Said Slash.
Axl liked the sound of that a lot.
"I think I'll risk it." He said.
"This hasn't got anything to do with that diet idea of yours has it?" Asked Duff cocking an eyebrow at Axl.
"Good," Said the bassist, "Because going on a diet and not eating are two very different things Axl..."
"What do you mean he didn't eat any lunch?" Yelled Izzy.
Axl was out so Slash, Duff and Steven were all sat on the couch in the living room while Izzy paced back and forth across the room.
"He said he wasn't hungry but I'm just kind of wary because of the whole diet thing last night." Said Duff, clearly concerned about his friend.
"You know he weighed himself this morning? Weighed himself! What the fuck is wrong with him?" Cried Izzy, finally collapsing into an armchair.
"He weighed himself before he went out too." Said Steven in a hushed voice.
This only made Izzy grow angrier at the situation.
"What should we do about it?" Asked Slash.
"Fuckin' make him eat!" Snapped Izzy.
"Izz calm," Said Duff, "We can't force him to do anything he doesn't want to. We'll just talk to him and try to convince him to eat."
Apart from Izzy, they all agreed that talking would make more sense than forcing. However, one thing they did all agree on was that talking Axl into, or out of, doing anything was near impossible.
"No really, I'm fine thanks." Said Axl, waving away the food.
Izzy ignored him and pushed the plate in front of him before sitting down to his own food.
"We're not going out tonight on empty stomachs Axl. Alcohol and empty stomachs don't fare well together." Said Izzy.
Slash, Duff and Steven who were all sitting at the table with Axl and Izzy were watching the singer intently.
"Why are you guys staring at me?" Asked Axl, still not touching his food.
The three startled Guns looked away and clumsily pretended to be busy, not looking back up at Axl.
"Didn't your mother ever tell you not to waste food?" Asked Izzy.
"Since when did I listen to her?" Axl fired back.
"Just eat it Axl!" Shouted Izzy causing Duff to throw him a dirty look and shake his head.
"Fine." Axl sulked and ate up his food reluctantly.
His band mates smiled to themselves, feeling as though they had accomplished something great. Axl eventually finished his late lunch and to the others, all seemed fine again.
"See? That wasn't so bad now was it?" Asked Izzy, smiling at the singer.
"Guess not. Thanks for making me lunch man." Said Axl, clearly not thankful at all.
Axl got up and left his friends in the kitchen before trudging up the stairs and into the bathroom, shutting the door behind him and locking it.
"Stupid Izzy..." He grumbled to himself as he fumbled around the medicine cabinet.
He pulled out a little brown bottle on which he had stuck an old sticker from a prescription drug he had in the past. If his band mates actually took the time to notice it, they would think it was just some pills Axl had to take for his 'manic depression'.
He let the hot tap run for a few minutes until the water was hot but not too hot to drink. The singer took a glass out of the cabinet and filled it with warm water before unscrewing the cap of the little bottle. Tapping and tilting the bottle, he poured the salt into the glass, allowing it to be dissolved in the water before replacing the bottle back in its hiding place.
Axl looked down at the now cloudy water, shaking it slightly to stir it some more. He slowly walked over to the toilet and got down on his knees in front of it, still looking down at the salty water in his hand.
Taking a deep breath he downed it in one gulp and upon swallowing, immediately began to vomit into the toilet.