Digger did show up at the party. Not a big surprise. He weaseled his way in some way or another, whether through connections or sneaking up the fire stairs, who knows.
But I would not have predicted that he wasn’t the uninvited guest who would cause the biggest ruckus.
That would be a woman named Janessa. Do you remember that name? I don’t blame you if you didn’t, because I didn’t.
She had coltish model-thin legs with straightened black hair and dark amber skin. Her white dress was so short it looked like one of those ruffled window blinds that had gotten stuck in the up position. She put a hand on my arm like she knew me, at one point when I was nearish the entrance where it was crowded, and I thought she was going to ask me for directions to the bathroom or something.
No. She asked for directions to Ziggy. “He is here, isn’t he?”
I was racking my brain, trying to figure out fan? reporter? industry person? She seemed too professionally put-together to be a groupie. “Um, who are you?” I blurted.
“Janessa,” she said, looking at me like I should know. My blank look was kind of damning, I guess, because she gave me an eyebrow. “Your father’s former assistant.”
I tried to play it cool. Had I actually met her before? I didn’t think so. “Former? I haven’t kept up.”
“Well, heads up, because he’s skulking around here somewhere.”
“He would be.” She wrinkled her nose like she could smell the booze on his breath from here.
That was when Ziggy found us. “Hey!” He stumbled into us, giving Janessa a peck on the cheek as he did, grabbing both of us by the hand and dragging us away from the door and toward a corner of the patio where it wasn’t crowded and where we were partly behind big potted palm plants.
“I’ve been trying to get in touch with you, mister,” she said, pinning Ziggy in place with one of those accusatory fingers, this one tipped with a nail as glossy red as a Corvette.
“I’ve been kind of busy, Janessa,” he said, in a really familiar, whiny tone. “What is so important that you had to track me down at this?”
She rolled her eyes, grabbed his hand, and pressed it against her belly, which until then I hadn’t really noticed was on the chubby side for an otherwise stick-thin person.
Ziggy and I had the same “oh shit” moment at the same time, then.
“No,” he said, shaking his head and taking a step back.
“Yes,” she said with a what-are-you-going-to-do-about-it nod.
“No. No-no-no, Janessa.” He turned toward me. “It can’t be mine. It really-really can’t.”
“This is who you’ve been visiting in L.A.,” I said, the pieces clicking into place. “This is who you’ve been making excuses to see.” Not me. Her.
“No,” Ziggy said again. “Well, yes, but don’t take this the wrong way.”
Was it reasonable that I felt like the top of my skull was about to explode and litter the patio with my brains? There was a throbbing pain right above one of my eyebrows. That’s where the crack in the bone would start, I thought. “Ziggy!”
“No.” He kept saying that word! He had a hand around my wrist. “Janessa. Listen. If it is mine, you know I’ll take care of it. If you want to keep it, that is. But there is no way that it’s mine. Please don’t think I’m a dick to insist on testing.”
“Ziggy, you’re a dick anyway,” she said with a sigh, and folded her arms, but she seemed to be giving in. “You can see why I didn’t want to tell you this in an answering machine message.”
“No, I can see that. Yes. I…thank you for telling me.” Ziggy was blinking rapidly, maybe because his head was spinning inside or because the mood swings were making him dizzy. I know I sure as hell wasn’t keeping up with everything.
I think he was holding onto my wrist to keep me from running away. Honestly I was too paralyzed by trying to take it all in and deal with it to have thought of that, yet.
And then Digger came along. “Well, well, well, if it isn’t Benedictine Arnold,” he said to Janessa. “It all becomes clear now.”
Ziggy’s teeth ground together so hard I think I heard them. “Digger, you upright ball of slime, after the way you treated this woman you’ve got no one to blame for her leaving your employ but yourself.”
“Heh. Treated her right is what I did.” Digger then grabbed a good feel of her ass, possibly under the dress. Janessa whirled on him but he was already a few feet toward the door. “Don’t worry, Jan,” he said. “I don’t mind you trading up for a younger, hotter dick to suck.”
“What! Get the hell out of here, you pervert!” she shouted after him as he left, but maybe it was just me? Her outrage had some false notes in it.
Now Ziggy was giving her the look she had been giving him not too long ago.
“Don’t you even start,” Janessa said. “You, of all people, have no right to be upset if–if!–I ever deigned to suck my boss’s dick.”
She’s right, you know, I was thinking, but I figured it was probably wisest to keep my opinions to myself right then.
“You could have told me if you did,” Ziggy ended up saying. “I mean, ugh. And don’t say it was none of my business.”
“It’s just business in this town,” Janessa said. “Anyway. Did those things I got you do any good?”
Ziggy looked at me then, and I wondered if I was supposed to know what she was talking about. “I’ll know soon,” he said. “I promise I’ll keep you in the loop about what happens.”
“Mm hm,” she said, and rubbed her belly. “Likewise.”
“You need a ride home? Barrett will pay for a cab if you need one.”
His eyes were wide. “Is it okay for you to drive in your current state?”
“Oh jeezus, Ziggy, I’m not that far along yet.” She rolled her eyes again. “I’ll leave in a couple of minutes. Give Dipshit a head start so I don’t run into him in the parking lot.”
“Good plan,” I said, the first words I’d said in a while. The throb above my eyebrow had softened to a dull pulse but the grip Ziggy had on my wrist hadn’t loosened.
We stood there awkwardly for a little while and then I added, “Well, nice to meet you, Janessa. And welcome to the FOBD Club.”
“The what, now?”
“Fucked Over By Digger Club. I’m the founder.”
She started to laugh at that, and so did Ziggy, and I let myself smile a little–I had to because it was all so ridiculous. She patted me on the arm again. “I can see why you like him,” she said to Ziggy. She leaned over and kissed him on the cheek. “You two have fun, now.”
And then she left, and I was left with Ziggy and a pretty humongous pile of emotions I had no idea what to do with.
And about a hundred partygoers still in attendance.
“You want to go smash a mirror in rage? I know just the one,” Ziggy said into my ear.
“Yeah. Let’s go.”
We left with him leading the way, pulling me by the hand, and I didn’t even give a fuck who saw.
(BONUS SCENE #10!: You guys know the drill, right? In case you don’t: If you’re over 18, the adult-only sex scene of what happens next is available as a bonus scene for supporters/contributors! Either join the Daron’s Guitar Chronicles Patreon by pledging $1 a week [Patreon link] or just make a one-time contribution right now via Paypal to firstname.lastname@example.org or using the Paypal Contribute button below!
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