Taste the Pain

Ziggy was, in fact, in the men’s room. He was leaning over the sink, the giant-size Band-Aid he’d been wearing over the burn on his arm lying on the counter.

He was picking at a scab that looked like a thin slice of beef jerky glued to his arm, dark red and stiff. “The itching is driving me insane,” he said, then hissed as he pulled too hard on a segment. I could see he had already exposed about an inch of shiny pink skin.

He hissed again, then cursed. I grabbed a paper towel and handed it to him to blot on the place where he’d gone too fast and it bled.

“Fuck. Fuck fuck fuck.” He grimaced. “Got overeager, I guess.”

“Yeah.” I admit I hadn’t really resisted picking at my own scab until it was gone, but I had been too chicken to go that far. “Can I get you a new Band-Aid?”

“I guess I’m going to need one.” He sighed, and then sat down cross-legged on the floor. He looked cautiously under the paper towel. The bleeding had stopped, but it started again when he poked at it.

“Zig–”

“I’m all right!” he snapped. “Jeez. It’s not that big a deal.”

I couldn’t really blame him for being testy about it. I felt vaguely guilty that I’d healed faster, and I know that makes no sense, but that’s how I felt. “Stay here. I’ll bring you one.”

It made more sense to do it that way than for him, or the two of us, to go looking and possibly make a scene. I went out there and knew I was right, there were a lot of people around who would fuss. I didn’t want fuss. I wanted the accident to be in the past and not end up in a ton more news stories.

Who was I kidding? The accident was probably going to get mentioned in most of them. But hopefully a passing mention. I didn’t want to be remembered as the band that blew up but lived. Not that there was anything I could do about how people wrote about us.

God, I had so much shit going around in my head.

And Ziggy chose that moment to revert to his old self. I got back to the men’s room and he was gone. Yes, I searched every stall.

I went back out into the backstage area, looking for him. There were a LOT of people there. That made it somewhat harder to search. I didn’t see Jonathan either. I did catch up with Bart. “Have you see Ziggy?”

“Not in a while.” He scrunched his eyebrows. “Is something wrong?”

“Hopefully not. Hopefully he’s just having a moment.”

“Well, he’s always shown up before. Let’s not worry until the Blissmen are done.”

“Okay.”

“Hey, you know who’s here? That guitar tech you introduced me to that time in Boston.”

“Matthew? I thought he was coming tomorrow.”

“Well, he’s here. Right over there.” Bart pointed him out, in the doorway to the dressing room, talking with Colin.

I think my head’s going to explode. I thought that. At least I think I didn’t say it out loud. I made my way toward them so I could say hello and also give Colin the Ziggy heads-up.

I ran into Courtney first.

“Oh my god, you know who’s here?”

I could have given her a list, but instead I said, “Who?” since she probably meant someone else entirely.

“The Racioppis.” She saw me glance around in confusion. “Not here-here, dummy. Out there.”

“Oh.” I remember Rosie Racioppi being really nice and a girl I thought was pretty, back when I was still trying to convince myself that meant something. I had only talked to her maybe twice. We weren’t in the same circles and I was shy.

“And I’m pretty sure I saw Kevin Rosen.”

“Who?”

“That wrestler who lived four houses down?”

“Kevvy?” He was maybe two years younger then me, and had gone to Catholic school and so after a certain point I never saw him again. Even though his family lived on our street. “Wait, wrestler?”

“He came back to high school when I was a freshman because we had a better wrestling team. He made alternate on the Olympic team or something like that.”

“Huh.” I couldn’t even remember what he looked like. For that matter, I only had a vague memory of Rosie Racioppi, her hair… dark red/brown? Feathered. In a kind of hippie-print top. Or maybe I was kind of mixing her up in my head with my first impressions of Carynne back when. Huh. “Hey. Seen Ziggy?”

“I’m sure he’s around here somewhere.” She moved on in and I finally made my way to Matthew and Colin.

Matthew and I shook hands and ended up pulling each other into one of those shake-hugs. “I thought you were coming tomorrow!”

“I plan to,” he said. His hair was the shortest I’d ever seen it, and I could tell it was shot through with gray. He was more slender than I remembered, too. “But I had a chance to come down, so I did.”

“Awesome. Hey, you can give Colin some tips.”

“He already has,” Colin said.

“Hey, so, keep an eye out for Ziggy?” I said to Colin, who gave me a little nod. “What sort of tips?”

I hadn’t done this much chatting in months, I swear. They kept me occupied until it was time to go on. I went one more time to the men’s room to see if Ziggy had reappeared yet.

We hadn’t done our usual warmup. I sang a little bit by myself but I felt stupid and only did a few scales before I gave up.

Before I had a chance to get too panicked, though, there he was, standing between Bart and Christian, like he’d been there all along, in the wings, waiting to go on stage.

Fine. It was time to stop guessing what he was thinking and go to the one place where I didn’t have to guess because I knew. Onstage, I knew.


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Comments 8

  1. Averin wrote:

    Ziggy, Jonathan, Colin, Matthew … jeez, I’ve never been in the same room as two people I’d had sex with, let alone four. That’s a double confluence of weird.

    [Reply]

    daron Reply:

    And if Carynne had been in sight that would have been five. It’s enough to freak anybody. Except Ziggy, maybe, who I realize must have been used to that sort of thing.

    [Reply]

    Posted 31 Jan 2013 at 12:40 pm
  2. Nona wrote:

    I know ‘This is Your Life’ was a couple of chapters ago, but this really made me think of that old TV show: all the different parts and people in your life coming together.

    I’m impressed; I would have been a nervous wreck!

    [Reply]

    daron Reply:

    I was a nervous wreck.

    [Reply]

    Posted 31 Jan 2013 at 2:54 pm
  3. Sand wrote:

    Wow… Just… Just good luck Daron XD

    [Reply]

    daron Reply:

    Thaaaanks.

    [Reply]

    Posted 31 Jan 2013 at 8:05 pm
  4. cayra wrote:

    Aghhh, sounds like some problems coming right up!

    [Reply]

    daron Reply:

    Doesn’t it always? Ha.

    [Reply]

    Posted 01 Feb 2013 at 7:08 am
  5. sanders wrote:

    Should we be concerned that Daron can find neither Jonathan nor Ziggy, or am I being on the paranoid side?

    [Reply]

    daron Reply:

    Even I’m not paranoid enough to think they ran off together, if that’s what you mean…

    [Reply]

    Cris Reply:

    I was actually thinking more along the lines of them having a… “friendly discussion” when I read the original comment, honestly.

    [Reply]

    daron Reply:

    Oh.

    [Reply]

    Posted 02 Feb 2013 at 3:05 pm
  6. Sara Winters wrote:

    Lord. Ziggy.

    Ooh, fun game I’ve done with a friend at a party: count how many people in the room Daron’s slept with.

    [Reply]

    Posted 31 Mar 2013 at 11:16 pm
  7. JB Starre wrote:

    Ohhh jeez. *anxious*

    [Reply]

    daron Reply:

    Ha. *You’re* anxious?

    [Reply]

    Posted 03 Apr 2013 at 3:38 pm
  8. s wrote:

    Gee, I can’t imagine a single reason why Ziggy would have taken off on you like that…(yes, that was snarky)

    But, seriously, holy fuck, dude. I’m surprised your head didn’t explode. *half expects to see Daron curled into a fetal position rocking back and forth when his show-high wears off later*

    Good luck. I have a feeling you’re going to need it.

    [Reply]

    Posted 01 Apr 2015 at 12:44 pm

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