Twist and Crawl

It took me a long time to get back to Remo’s. I think maybe there’s some chance that heatstroke had something to do with that.

Or maybe I just felt like shit.

The crying jag ended when I got out of the truck and puked into a garbage can outside the convenience store. I wasn’t really thinking at that point. I was on autopilot. I remembered puking backstage in Austin, Texas, and I remembered Christian introducing me to Gatorade. Remember that? Not just for jocks–who knew?

So I went into the store and bought some Gatorade, and went back to the truck and turned the engine on, and then the AC and sat there really cautiously sipping the stuff. I don’t actually remember now but it’s possible that I had sat there with it off all the time I had been crying. At the time I was pretty sure I was the stupidest human being on earth anyway, so I wouldn’t have put it past me. My brain was in that mode where it replayed a montage of horrible moments from the last several days but didn’t think useful thoughts of any kind, and the coherent ones were mostly me blaming myself for everything.

The problem is you’re underwater.

A PR reason.

Tell your boy what reality is.

Weak.

That’s what happens when…

It took me an hour to make my way through the bottle of Gatorade–it was one of the big bottles–and then I went in and bought two more of them and tried to drive.

I only went a couple of blocks before I decided I wasn’t ready for that, and I parked in the shade, and kept the AC cranked, and drank another bottle. This one went down quicker.

I started to feel a little better then, and I decided to just try to get back on the highway and make it to the next exit, and I’d pull over again there. I am at my stupidest when I’m sick or injured, I think. All I could think was that I wanted to get back and somehow that turned into this plan to take it one exit at a time. Never once did doing something intelligent like driving to the hospital occur to me. (Despite the fact there was a hospital pretty much right there.)

So I made it to the next exit and parked again. And I switched from Gatorade to water. And I began to worry that maybe sitting in the car with the engine running wasn’t that good an idea because maybe I was carbon monoxide poisoning myself. That’s how terrible I felt. Horrible. So I drove to the next exit–yeah, I know–and found an actual grocery store and walked up and down all the aisles, pushing a cart, because at least the cart held me up when I felt somewhat weak and at least I looked like I was a shopper rather than a derelict.

Let’s face it. I was a derelict. I thought at least they can’t get me for vagrancy, because I had probably hundred dollars in my pocket, but then again, knowing the “war on drugs” maybe I had too much cash on me and they would get me for suspicion of dealing or intent to buy or some dumb shit…?

So, add paranoia to the list of things I was suffering. I broke down again in the dairy section. Actually, I didn’t cry. I just covered my face with my hands and stood there holding it in until I thought maybe I was going to puke again. Amazingly, no one challenged me or said anything. Maybe they were afraid of the crazy person.

When I got myself back together I put a gallon jug of water into the cart, and more Gatorade.

I went to the checkout stand being worked by the person who looked to me most likely to be a responsible adult: a woman even shorter than me, with her black hair in a net and very chubby arms. She looked at what I was buying and said, “That’s it?”

“Um, yeah. Hey, do I look like I have heatstroke?”

She looked me up and down. She was probably fifty. “You look okay to me. If you’re sweating, you’re okay. If you stop sweating, that’s when your brain boils.”

I accepted this diagnosis at face value. “Thanks.”

Thus reassured that my temperature probably wasn’t going to be fatal, and feeling somewhat more coherent after spending half an hour wandering around in the air conditioning, I went to the pay phone to call Jonathan. The line was busy. I tried calling the fax number, and it was busy, too. Jonathan must have been on both lines at once.

I ended up dumping half the gallon of water over myself in the parking lot and then got back in the truck.

I limped the rest of the way back to Laurel Canyon, sticking with my plan to stop at every exit to make sure I wasn’t about to pass out. I know, I know, that doesn’t make any sense when I think about it now. But at the time it seemed like the best thing I could come up with. I did not pass out, and I made it, though it took five or six hours.

To this day I don’t know if I was actually in physical distress or if it was entirely emotional. Maybe when emotional pain is bad enough there’s no difference.

Anyway, I made it to the house. I didn’t crawl in, but I felt almost like I did. Instead I carried in the two bottles of Gatorade I hadn’t yet opened, put them in the fridge, and then sank down and sat at the foot of the refrigerator. It blew hot air on my butt. No rest for the wicked. I didn’t care. I didn’t move. I could hear Jonathan’s voice from the writing room, where he must’ve been on the phone, but I couldn’t make out the words.

A few minutes later he came out and looked around, I guess because he had heard the garage door but couldn’t figure out where I was. When he finally realized I was on the floor behind the counter island, he said, “Oh!” And rushed over and knelt down. “Are you all right?”

“I’m fine,” I said. But I just could not say anything more. I couldn’t even begin.

He held my hand for a bit, and brushed my hair out of my face. He eventually stood, still holding my hand, and encouraged me without saying a word to move from the floor to the couch. I guess my silence was contagious. I ended up lying on the couch with my head in his lap, and he stroked my hair soothingly while I tried to untangle my distress enough to explain.

I failed. I failed to say anything, and I had failed to talk to Ziggy, and I had failed to keep Ziggy’s interest once he was separated from me, and I had failed as a professional musician.

And I was pretty sure I was going to fail at this relationship with Jonathan, too, if I couldn’t even make some words come out of my mouth, at least some simple ones.

I think an hour or two went by. The phone rang at one point and we ignored it. The machine picked up but no one left a message. I would quit trying to say anything for a while, and then every 20 or 30 minutes I would try again, and the most I managed was a kind of choke sound.

Then I finally thought of some actual words to say. He was already gone. But I it took several minutes of repeating it over and over in my head before I finally said it out loud.

“He was already gone.”

The last thing I expected J. to say in return was, “I know.”

That was a jolt. You know how in old movies they slap people across the face to “snap out of it”? This was like that; I sat up suddenly, nearly banging my head on his chin. “What?”

“I said, I know. I’ve been on the phone all day. Ziggy’s on his way to India with a woman who hasn’t been positively identified yet, but is probably his Star Baby co-star.”

“Jennifer Garner?”

“Jennifer Connelly. No, wait, Jennifer Carstens. Too many actresses named Jennifer, sorry.”

I honestly had never been sure, even when I heard her name, which one she was. “And… India? How do you know that?”

“I didn’t expect to find out anything about him, you know. I was trying to find out who took the photographs of you, of us, and one thing led to another. I have a very crappy fax of a photo taken as he was leaving Betty Ford at dawn if you’d like to see it.”

I blinked at him. “That’s… wow. That’s amazing.”

“This is what I do, Daron. It’s not all fluff pieces in the record trades.”

“I… I didn’t say it was. I mean, I had no idea investigative journalism was… was so investigative.”

He smiled and went to get the fax. In it I recognized the lobby entrance of the clinic, where I had been a few hours before. Ziggy was clearly recognizable, holding hands with a woman wearing dark sunglasses and her hair under a scarf.

“There’s also one of them getting into a cab, but you can’t make out their faces at all in that one.”

“Oh.”

“You can make out the cab’s license plate and the company name and phone number, though. I called them and managed to find out where he took them, which was Burbank Airport, which only has about forty flights a day…” He paused. “You get the idea.”

“I get the idea. Which means you have a scoop. Right?”

“You know, I hadn’t really thought of it that way.” He made a face. “I don’t think I really want to sell this story, Daron. The only reason it matters is because it matters to you.”

“Oh. Oh. Then.” I wasn’t making sense. “And you’re sure India?”

“I’m sure.”

“Thank you.”

He took hold of my hand. “You’re scaring me, dear.”

“I’m sorry. I… I’m…” I didn’t have a word for it.

Jonathan did. “Devastated.”

“Yeah.” It felt like my heart and soul had been laid to waste by a nuclear bomb. All that was left of me was one of those shadows on the side of a building.

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Comments 10

  1. Connie wrote:

    India? Alrighty then.

    [Reply]

    daron Reply:

    Yeah. I’m thinking, is this like the Beatles? It’s kind of a rock star thing to go off to run around with a guru, isn’t it? Sigh.

    [Reply]

    Posted 01 Aug 2013 at 10:09 am
  2. Connie wrote:

    Major points for Jonathan. I really didn’t know if he would turn down a big story or not for Daron’s sake. Should have had more faith in you, Jonathan.

    [Reply]

    ctan Reply:

    What’s funny is because Jonathan wasn’t thinking about the fact it was a potentially big story, I wasn’t either. But Daron thought of it right away once I put him in the scene.

    [Reply]

    Joe Reply:

    Isn’t it awesome how that works out?

    [Reply]

    ctan Reply:

    Daron is often clear on things I’m fuzzy on, once it comes to actually writing it down… :-)

    [Reply]

    Connie Reply:

    Very telling about Daron’s worries. Very telling.

    [Reply]

    Posted 01 Aug 2013 at 10:11 am
  3. Averin wrote:

    Some people might think Ziggy is being selfish again, but maybe he is looking out for himself in a good way, staying out of the limelight, off to meditate.

    Or not.

    Poor Daron, you just can’t do that for yourself. Will you ever get used to there being someone to turn to?

    [Reply]

    daron Reply:

    Since he’s gone I have no way of finding out the answers to the questions I want to ask. what if he thought he was doing me a favor by clearing the way for Jonathan? Of course he doesn’t know that things are falling apart with BNC, either.

    I also can’t guess if his time at the clinic was really good for him or if it was hell. It looked like a really nice place but something still gave me the creeps, like it’s a really nice-looking prison. Maybe getting as far away as possible was all he dreamed of for 30 days.

    [Reply]

    Posted 01 Aug 2013 at 11:12 am
  4. M.C.A. Hogarth wrote:

    [Reply]

    daron Reply:

    I don’t even know what to think. But then again my brain isn’t working that well at the moment.

    [Reply]

    Posted 01 Aug 2013 at 11:22 am
  5. sanders wrote:

    Worse before it gets better. Understatement of the century.

    I feel like we’ve taken the off-ramp into some bizarro world and I can’t even be heartbroken about it because I’m still trying to figure out what in the hell happened. Things were going so well and then they… weren’t. And there’s been Jonathan for ages and no Ziggy and I want Ziggy back and Jonathan less, and this situation just sucks for Daron.

    Stop shredding my heart, Cecilia. It’s not very nice of you at all.

    [Reply]

    ctan Reply:

    You feel exactly like Daron feels. Or at least how Daron’s id feels.

    [Reply]

    sanders Reply:

    You aren’t forgiven, but I did find something musically amazing that made me immediately think of you & Daron. I just had to watch it four times before I left a note. The band Walk Off the Earth has a cover of Goyte’s “Somebody That I Used to Know” that’s the entire five person group playing a single guitar simultaneously. It’s up on Youtube (walkofftheearth is the channel) and I’d link but I know your spam filter gets finnicky about that. Their original song “Red Hands” is also a pretty Ziggy/Daron track in my head and has a fun, single-take video to go with it that’s in the vein of some of OK Go’s videos.

    [Reply]

    ctan Reply:

    Ooh yes! I think we linked to the “5 Peeps 1 Guitar” video in a liner note a while back (as well as a parody of another group then doing it on one ukelele…) but I totally did not realize that “Red Hands” was them! I’ve heard it on the radio! Let’s see if admin commenting power will let me embed it:

    I can see why you think of Daron and Ziggy with these lyrics… oh yes…

    Bah, it seems like it’s just not showing me the embedded video. Not sure why, when I’m pretty sure I’ve gotten it to work before… Okay, now I’m seeing it sometimes and not others! So now it might be in this comment twice? Great video. Worth seeing the “making of” video, too! Fascinating!

    [Reply]

    s Reply:

    +1 for the original comment…except I’m definitely heartbroken :'(

    [Reply]

    Posted 01 Aug 2013 at 4:29 pm
  6. T L Thurston wrote:

    yeah its a left turn but actually i’ve found that real life does this all the time, haven’t you? And Daron’s life is so much more real than fictional lol that’s why we love him.

    [Reply]

    ctan Reply:

    A total left turn… except I’ve known it was coming for such a long time! What I hadn’t realized is that the left turn career-wise and the left turn relationship-wise were going to happen at the same time.

    [Reply]

    Posted 01 Aug 2013 at 11:04 pm
  7. Peter Wilcox wrote:

    Yeah, leave it to Ziggy, always. So selfish, so self-centered. He uses, and abuses people. Darron, get on with Jonathan, do what you can to reclaim what you had, and still have. The hell with Ziggy. Find a new one!

    [Reply]

    daron Reply:

    I wanted to jump to all kinds of conclusions when I heard he was gone, but it’s like I don’t even know enough to conclude anything. He didn’t know he’d be doing this to me, did he? Is this my fault for pushing him away so much? Maybe he thinks he’s getting out of the way for me and Jonathan? I don’t know. I don’t know because he’s not here to ask.

    [Reply]

    Connie Reply:

    With all the mixed signals Daron’s sent in the past, I really can’t begin to guess what Ziggy is thinking about them, together, or apart.

    [Reply]

    Posted 02 Aug 2013 at 12:00 am
  8. T L Thurston wrote:

    well…maybe Ziggy is also just trying to look after himself for once also instead of self destructing. Usually after recovery time you are advised to stay somewhat distant from ppl who might put you back into bad habits. Daron’s not the only one with issues and Ziggy just came off a suicide attempt, while Daron is comparatively ok…I hope! Daron may be the last thing on his mind if he’s trying to recover and deal with all his own problems. And when i hear India, I think Buddhism, and that’s not a bad thing.

    [Reply]

    ctan Reply:

    Yeah. Plus it’s totally a rock star thing to go off to India for spiritual retreat…. Perhaps in Ziggy’s mind that’s sort of two birds, one stone. Though Daron really can’t see it as anything but a kind of abandonment. Daron blames himself more than Ziggy at this point.

    [Reply]

    Bill Heath Reply:

    Ziggy is doing a very healthy thing, giving himself space to process the Betty Ford experience. The previous five weeks are not yet integrated, necessary to benefiting from them.

    I do this nowadays with business owners who have nearly destroyed their companies. We have a half day of talk followed by three and a half of processing. Sometimes more. During the processing time I work with the company to slow the bleeding and buy time. After four to seven weeks the owner has integrated the new information or it’s all over. The lesson is always the same: It’s not what you did, it’s how you thought.

    [Reply]

    Posted 02 Aug 2013 at 7:50 pm
  9. AK wrote:

    Ok, so I’m slow in catching and just finished reading the lastest post. But I can’t stop thinking about what is going to happen between Daron, Ziggy and Jonathan. If Ziggy no longer wants to be with Daron, can Daron let go of Ziggy enough to love Jonathan? I know Daron seems happy with J, but I think it’s just a comfortable and safe relationship. And I don’t think Daron can love J the way J loves Daron (J seems totally head over heels). I think if Daron doesn’t open up and be honest with J about his level of feelings for him and about his feelings for Ziggy, this could end up ripping J’s heart to shreds. Can’t wait for more!

    [Reply]

    ctan Reply:

    You’re just about caught up!

    I worry about J. too. But I worry about all of them…

    [Reply]

    Posted 19 Aug 2013 at 8:47 pm
  10. Bill Heath wrote:

    It was a good thing that Z took off with somebody else, especially a woman. It has taken me this long to figure out that Z needs a rock, something hard and reliable and stable that won’t let Z play games.

    This explains Z’s initial attempts at manipulating Daron. If D wouldn’t fight back, Z didn’t need him. Z was infatuated with D during that early period, and wanted him for a rock. Had D let Z take full control they would be over almost immediately. It’s D’s refusal to be controlled, even amidst his obsession over Z, that let Z grow from infatuation to love.

    Z tried to manipulate Carynne and succeeded to the point that she ran away. She is no rock. His (affairs? one-night stands? trifling?) with women always gets cut short. I suspect he does not want a woman as his rock, he wants a man. And Jennifer Whoever isn’t a man. She’s a sort of temporary someone. Sex? Probably. Love? Never. His rock? Impossible.

    In his current state Z might have tried to manipulate D again, and D just might have let him. That would spell a permanent end to the love relationship that’s still a possibility. Far, far better that he went off with a matzoh ball than a prospective rock.

    Ctan, some time before the decades-yet-but-inevitable windup of DGC, can you at least hint at what in Z’s childhood made him crave a male rock to take care of him? If that doesn’t exist I’ll give up my membership in the retired-shrinks’ association.

    [Reply]

    Posted 28 Dec 2015 at 5:37 pm

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