I got a handle on the problem that is you
When it gets slippery is when you slip loose
If we’re going to win this game, we’ll do it together
Uphill both ways in all kinds of weather
When we finally walked out of there we’d pushed off the dinner reservation twice, but in the end we left Jouett with everything he needed. He would work on the final mixdown without us. We were done. I was ready to collapse.
But there were Plans. Right. Commander’s Palace. I was amused to find Carynne had conjured up dinner jackets for all of us, a set of sort of over-the-top prom coats, each one different. She had also cooked up a photographer, who ran us through a blissfully short photo shoot (i.e. 20 minutes) at the restaurant, where they seemed quite accommodating to our madness. Or our fame. Something else to feed the publicity machine with, I guess, for them and us.
And we had a small dining room to ourselves, since by then it was quite late. We were upstairs, in a side room, at a table that could seat eight, and the other two tables in the room were empty. It was just the four band members and Carynne. I didn’t ask where Colin went, or Courtney. I was too wiped out to talk.
These fancy New Orleans meals are like eating from a gourmet fire hose. The food just keeps coming, and it’s all so good you really don’t want to stop eating. Fortunately, I’m the one with the hollow leg. I think I probably made up for every missed meal for a week in one sitting.
Then they made coffee with flaming booze in it and I felt awake for the first time all day.
Which meant that instead of collapsing when we got back to the hotel, I decided after dumping my tuxedo jacket in the room to take a walk down Bourbon Street.
The night air was hot and steamy but I really didn’t mind. The bars looked a lot less crowded than I expected, but I eventually figured out it was Monday. I stood outside Michaud’s Cajun Cabin listening to some guy in a cajun band play the mother-lovin’ shit out of a pair of spoons on a washboard.
Sometimes I think my dick and my feet conspire when my brain’s not paying attention. I kept going down the street, toward where the bars turn decidedly gay.
Ziggy had walked me down here once, disappeared for a little while, then reappeared in time to have an epic fight. Then disappeared again. I have no doubt in my mind at all that what he did was get laid, then have a fight with me, then find another trick to spend the night with. Or who knows, maybe the same one.
Of the two places, I went into the quieter one and ordered a club soda. I was still pretty full from dinner, and with the crowds sort of thin I thought I might be there for a while. I rolled up the sleeves on my T-shirt to show off my arms.
An hour later I had replayed the fight with Christian a hundred times, didn’t understand it any better, I was on my second club soda, and I was starting to get antsy. I tried to concentrate more on making eye contact with the guys there, but they mostly seemed to know each other.
The bartender looked to me to be in his mid-to-late thirties. He had his hair cut so short I couldn’t really tell what color it was, brown or dark blond, and a single diamond stud in one ear.
I ended up talking to him, and he gave me a bit of a clue. “We know who you are,” he said.
“You must get a lot of musicians coming through this town, though.”
He shrugged. “Wouldn’t want you to think we’re not friendly here in Nawlins, but you know, these days, people can’t be too careful.”
I gave him a questioning look.
“It’s a rough time,” he said. “A couple of regulars died last week. One of ’em was a starfucker. It’s nothing personal.”
“Jeez,” I said. He didn’t have to tell me what they died from. Jeezus.
“A real rough time.” He wiped out some glasses. “And a slow night. You might have better luck across the street?”
I considered my options. The guy I’d picked up in LA had told me I looked straight, but that he liked that. Not every guy did. Most of them seemed like they wanted to look exactly like each other. And that kind of guy would probably take one look at me and assume I was slumming.
I suppose I was. And I wasn’t about to cut my hair to make getting laid easier. Or to fit in. Anywhere.
I thought about Colin. For all I knew, he had already hooked up for the night. Besides, Bad Idea, remember? Not an option. Not an option.
I finally turned to the bartender and said, “Do you know anybody you trust?”
He considered a moment.
To make sure he knew what I was talking about, I added, “Who does hotel calls?”
He nodded. He definitely knew what I was talking about. “There’s a service you can call, but let me see if a friend of mine is available.” He went to the phone at the other end of the bar.
He came back a few minutes later and handed me a card. “He’s not working tonight, but here’s a number you can call. You can even prepay by credit card.”
“Thanks.” I put the card into the back pocket of my jeans.
I walked back out onto Bourbon Street and headed back the other way, toward the hotel, trying to make up my mind to actually call the number. I had a room to myself, didn’t have to be anywhere tomorrow until the afternoon, I had unspent cash wadded up in my guitar case, and I wasn’t going to have a chance like this again in a long time.
But I still wasn’t sure about it. I walked slowly, ducking my head in tourist trap T-shirt shops and listening to the music coming out of doorways. It was past midnight and a fair number of places were shuttered.
I went into a shop about a block from the side street that the hotel was on and bought a T-shirt for Courtney. I don’t know why. It was black with silver and gold lettering on it that said “New Orleans” with a mardi gras mask. A little keepsake.
I had just stepped out of the shop, and was standing there trying to psych myself up to go those last two blocks and then phone up an escort service, when someone stepped up close behind me, slid a hand into my front pocket, and murmured, “Boo,” in my ear.
Site News: I’m putting in the order for the Kickstarter T-shirts. A few people who missed the Kickstarter wanted to know if they could pay now: I said “yes!” Otherwise, I don’t really plan to be selling T-shirts regularly. If I do, they’ll just be the band logo, not the exclusive “tour” shirt that this one is, with the logo on the front and the tour dates on the back. Hey, you’ve all lived through this tour with the guys, you should be able to say “been there, got the T-shirt.” :-)
If you want to jump in on the shirt order, it’s $25 per shirt (including shipping in the US/Canada), and you should look at the link below for the size & style chart. We’re offering a “ladies” soft cotton one and a “men’s” heavier-duty cotton one, all black.
Drop me the money via Paypal to email@example.com and then email me with your size choices no later than August 24. Link to info: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1458565937/darons-guitar-chronicles-omnibus-book/posts/290723