This issue reprints Uncanny X-Men #131.
Tuesday it was Zappa’s out on Staten Island for some outdated Aerosmith and Zep. Wednesday it was some progressive Elvis the C and Graham Parker for the folks on the island at O.B.I. East. Thursday’s gig at Rutger’s Barn was canceled. Friday is Disco Night at L’Amour’s. Whoopdeedoo. This is her life. Her name is Alison Blaire. She is a singer. She is a mutant. She owes three months rent.
(ca. 0:30 a.m.)
Dazzler is on stage with her band, wearing her silver disco outfit and her blue trademark make-up. She is closing her act with her own version of “Ring my bell,” supporting her act with her light powers. Her voice is so beautiful that it’s almost painful to hear it wasted on such a song, but to Alison it doesn’t matter. She loves being on stage more than anything else and all her troubles are forgotten for these hours.
The show over, Dazzler and her band get off stage, only to be congratulated on their great show by Gags, the owner or barman of L’Amour's. He wonders about the secret behind the special lightshow though, and Alison says that one day he might figure it out. She then asks for the time and, to her surprise, learns that it’s already a quarter to one. She quickly puts on a jacket, grabs her bag and asks Gags to tell Mickey the next time he does a ten minute drum solo “I’m gonna shove my skates up his Buddy Rich autographed snare!” As she rushes out of the stage door, putting on her magnetic clip-on skates, she thinks that she is late again, but it’s partially her own fault as she jus had to add an extraverse to Knock on Wood and Stayin’ Alive.
As she blades out of the back alley, Alison cheers as she spots a ’56 fin-back Cadillac passing by, almost crying to be taken for a ride. She holds on to the car’s back, letting herself be dragged along, and asks the teenagers in the car if they don’t mind her hitching a ride on the back of their “batmobile.” Sure they don’t, the boy in the backseat says, even asking her if she wants to share a brew with them. Dazzler refuses, asking if their parents know what they are doing out this late at night, which the teenager thinks must be a joke, coming from a babe like her wearing silver spandex and blue face paint. Alison replies that the joke will be on them when they wrap themselves around a telephone pole, but maybe they’ll see the light themselves. Dazzler lets go of the car as it passes the exit towards Brooklyn Bridge, but she manages to create a glow above the car. Immediately, the four teenagers start to panic, dropping their beers.
Now holding on to a van, Dazzler thinks that she can’t really change the world as she has already troubles changing herself. Doctor, lawyer, Indian Chief. Can’t choose a path, can’t find no relief.. Alison reminds herself to stop thinking in bad lyrics, especially when they hit too close to the core. Crossing the Brooklyn Bridge, Dazzler admires the view; it’s too beautiful for such silliness. Entering Manhattan, though, that’s a whole other matter. As she skates next to the traffic, Alison thinks that the shortest distance between two points is a straight line, which is why she finds her logical course of action to be rather illogical indeed. Ready or not, it’s time to take a bite out of the big apple.
Dazzler heads for the government district and leaps over a barrier of a construction site, hoping that the work there will be finished soon. She crosses Canal Street, marvels at egg rolls being sold for two dollars, passes Thompson Street, an area where many artists live, and sees that the Fantastiks are still playing there. Dazzler proceeds, proclaiming her love for the village as there is so much to see, including a guy opening his trenchcoat, who she hopes is just selling hot watches. She reaches Washington Square Park, passes the huge monument there and calls out to the Insomniacs that she is coming. Finally having reached her destination, the Nighthawk Diner, she waves her friends who are sitting at a table behind one of the windows.
Entering the diner, Alison greets her friends; “Fellow Insomniacs – your Guiding Light has arrived!” Over an hour late again, though, Andy reminds her, to which Alison replies that makes her consistently on time. Sitting down, Alison greets Fritz, the cook, but her three friends finish her sentence for her “Wet naps.” Dazzler says that they must think themselves really funny, and one of them answers they have to be to put up with her. This, coming from a woman who renamed herself Arrogant Cur, the blind Andy says, also commenting how he looks forward to these Friday nights they spend together.
Grunt, the waitress, approaches the table, ready to take orders. Alison learns that the others have already ordered and asks what they have for a buck-fifty. The waitress’ only response is “hurm.” Dazzler wonders what the matter with her is, but her friend Harry explains that she won’t acknowledge her as long as she is wearing the sins of the 80ies, referring to her blue stage make-up. As he hands her a handkerchief, Alison protests; she has to keep up her image. Cur agrees with Harry and tells her to “scrape off the trappings of your decadent existence, Disco.” Dazzler does as told and tells the waitress she’ll have one of each of whatever the others are heaving. Then she asks what the agenda for today’s discussion is. Harry announces: religious freedom of expression versus religious fanaticism. In particular, do the actions of Ayatollah constitute a legitimate act of survival or is it a constraint on the Moslem faith? Dazzler though asks if anyone saw Buck Rogers last night. Andy, of course, didn’t. Arrogant Cur calls Gil Gerard the Adam West of the 80ies, as their meals are served.
Cur admits that her parents were decent enough folks, but – Harry finishes her sentence for her, saying that for some reason she felt this indescribable need to step all over anyone who’s ever loved her in the name of personal independence. Well, when put that way, yes, Cur is forced to agree. Dazzler interrupts her, there has got be more than that. Cur’s dad is a successful chiropractor; her own father is a lawyer, yet they have both chosen to distance themselves from them. Cur jokes that, in Dazzler’s case, it could be that her father heard her sing, but Andy takes the discussion back to a serious level, as he thinks Ali has a point. He knows that half of his own songs are about how his parents dying affected him. He wonders why so much of how he perceives the world is filtered through his ambivalence to them. Harry suggests that it’s because he never got the chance to tell them his feelings while they were still alive. In his own case, his still alive mother is a burden though. Dazzler agrees; his mom has won the Pulitzer price for poetry, but Andy can’t muster a rejection slip. Seriously, though, she wonders if she has this problem because she tried telling her family of her feelings but either they didn’t care or believe her.
Harry asks if she is honestly telling them that she has never walked past a residence-free individual and averted her eyes. Arrogant Cur says that she was one of these individuals before and, indeed, she does not ignore them. She gives them what little she has, a nickel, a dime – whatever. Harry says that he is simply not that magnanimous, but Andy sides with Cur that it doesn’t have to do with being able to afford it. Cur agrees; it’s not like she is a regular J. Paul Spaghetti, it has to do with responsibility to people.
This prompts Andy to ask Alison a question. Does she feel guilty for not joining the Avengers or some other group and strut around in the city in spandex and glory? Alison is taken aback a little bit, prompting Harry to offer a change of topics. However, she insists on answering, feeling that her friends has the right to know. She says that she is unsure if being a mutant with some light show power makes her eligible for this sort of dilemma, so she rephrases the entire question: Should having a power prevent her from being allowed to live her life as she sees fit as long as it’s in a reasonably legal and responsible manner?
Andy announces that it’s time to do something about their immediate environment and starts clearing the table of the dishes. Alison wonders why Grunt doesn’t do it, but Andy says that he believes in personal accountability. They made the mess, they have to clear it up. He hands the dishes over to Fritz, whom he can smell standing on the opposite side of the counter. As he returns to the table, he finds that his statement about personal accountability has started another discussion.
Alison wonders how many of them are willing to put the burden of their own poverty on their own shoulders. She does; she could have gone to daddy’s law school and would be a 2L now, cruising down corporate tracks, but instead she chose to be an impoverished canary instead. Cur is not so sure about that. Granted, the choice to become a singer was hers, but in many ways it was made for her, wasn’t it? Dazzler says that can be said about any choice. Andy disagrees; it’s not that he chose to be blind. Harry says that he has captured the essence of the discussion – sometimes life dictates them, sometimes they dictate life. The process of balancing the two out is what keeps them sane, agree – disagree ? Right then, the waitress comes to the table, asking if she can help with the dishes. Alison comes up with answer C: Grunt rules all. The friends laugh.
Four cops of fresh coffee are on the friends’ table, all of them being quiet. It’s an eerie silence, the Nighthawk Diner being the only building in the neighborhood with lit lights. The two males yawn, the ladies too look tired, but that doesn’t stop Alison from starting a new topic “Well, what about Reagan!?”
Andy says that he doesn’t agree with what the man says, but he admires the way he says it. Dazzler wonders if he is saying that style is more important than substance, earning her a snappy remark from Cur. Harry asks her to stay fair, to which Arrogant Cur replies how fair it is that the dividing line between the haves and have nots is disappearing. Andy, speaking from the have nots side, asks what she expects; after all they are living in a capitalist society. Alison asks if he thinks it okay that the rich get richer. Andy explains that if that’s what they want, why not. He too could have been an accountant or something else. Harry thinks Andy is missing the point – what about those who can’t make the choice, what about them? Andy comments, “Gotta do work works for numero uno.” Alison, rhetorically asking even if it means walking all over everyone else in line, states that she wonders if she is going to like this decade.
She’d be a super-anarchist, Cur is convinced; she’d be speedier than a politician’s denials. No kidding, she’d crush entire governments in her bare hands, that’s the stuff supervillains are made of. Dazzler asks Andy what he would do. He answers he’d make everyone who is blind sighted, and everyone who’s sighted blind – just for one day. To let them all see the light, Alison asks. He confirms it, saying “Moreso than you are, Ali.” Harry says that was a low blow, and right then Fritz announces that their time’s up.
As the friends put on their coats and jackets, Alison asks where the law is that says she has to be a “card-carrying stupidhero.” Cur answers it’s more a question of ethics than law. Dazzler is slightly annoyed, feeling that they are dogpiling on her. Once outside, though, Andy assures her that this is not the case; it’s just that they thinks he could do so much more with her powers than light up a stage at some crummy disco club. Harry and Cur agree. What about laser technology, fiber optics or working as stage director for Styx? Ali thanks them for their great suggestions, but all night they have been talking about personal choices, and she chooses never to be a superhero. That said, she skates away, telling the others they’ll meet again next Friday.
A new day begins.