It’s like getting ready for a big date. That’s the closest thing I can compare it to.

Some performers don’t put the same level of care and effort into their preparation as I do. Every little detail matters, even the things the audience won’t see, because all those little details affect your mindset. Your physical and mental state. Your flow. When I put on a truly great performance I reach a heightened state of focus, a higher state of awareness, a zen.

Shower. Shave, everywhere, even though the audience won’t necessarily see that. It’s not for them, it’s for you. Brush your teeth. Comb your hair – the audience won’t see that either. Stretch; wouldn’t want to pull a muscle.

The powder makes the air dusty. I slip into the black latex garment and it clings to me like a second skin. I pull the cord and the zipper goes all the way up my back, sealing me in. Then the hood goes over my head and the zipper finds its way home.

The savage rusted chains wrap the knuckles of my left hand. The spiked cudgel awaits in the other, its wicked steel spikes coated in dried blood.

From behind the metal bars of the gate I hear the angry screaming of the unruly mob. My audience. My hot date. My lover. Beneath their din are the panicked screams from the girl, who I know is chained to the stake in the center of the pit.

The gate rises. I clench my fists in anticipation and smile. Showtime.

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