Get the Message

Soundcheck went all right. Everyone seemed mellow, and pacing themselves for three days in a row. We didn’t need to overdo it and after six weeks on the road it wasn’t like anyone needed to learn anything new.

After we were done and the other bands were doing their checks, it felt to me like a whirlwind of short conversations took place. I guess because they did. No sooner would I have talked to one person when another one would grab me for a couple of seconds. Martin pulled me into a debate with someone about the superiority of New York pizza; George had a technical question about the placement of one of my effects boxes to ask me about; Louis wanted to ask about Boston.

“Did you say you had a spare room I could crash in for a couple of days?” he asked.

I pulled a beer out of a tub of drinks on the catering table and popped it open. He gave me a questioning look.

“Are we not supposed to drink it? If so, why’s it here?” I asked. He shrugged in a just-busting-your-balls kind of way and I went on. “But yeah, we have a spare bedroom. You coming to visit Shiree and the kids?”

“Hoping to,” he said. “The time between legs isn’t long enough to take another gig but it’s too long to just sit at home fucking watermelons all day.”

He almost made me snort my beer with that line. You never knew when Louis was going to bust out with something really vulgar. “As the saying goes, mi casa es su casa, man. Carynne’s got a spare key, I would bet.”

“That girl really runs your life, doesn’t she?”

“Of course. Since I’ll never have a girlfriend someone’s got to do it.”

Then I ended up talking to Barrett. Which meant talking about whether I was going to take the gig. Again. “You know my presence would chap Mills’s ass something fierce.”

To that Barrett actually laughed somewhat gleefully, but made no comment.

Courtney was there, too. She had come on the bus with the band and she took the opportunity to hand me a phone number. “She wants you to call ASAP.”

I assumed she meant Carynne, and I looked at the number. “This is Remo’s home number.”

“That’s where she is. Either she’ll catch up tonight or we’ll get her on the way north. Something about her mom.” Court shrugged. My sister was sometimes annoyingly nosy about my life, but when it came to other people she seemed to be more like me, rarely prying into anything.

Speaking of not prying, I didn’t ask why she wasn’t in school what with the end of the semester coming up. I figured Carynne wouldn’t have let her come out here if it was jeopardizing her education.

“Hey Moonface,” Waldo barked. “I’ve got three days’ per diem for you.”

I guess I had missed getting it not just yesterday on the day off but the day before, too. “Yeah yeah, you want me to get it now? I need to make a phone call.”

“Come in the office.”

I followed him back to the production office and he handed me some cash which I crammed into a front pocket of my jeans without counting, and then I picked up the phone. Took a couple of tries to figure out how to get an outside line and then I dialed to see if a long-distance call would go through.

It did.

“Hello?” Carynne sounded like she wasn’t expecting a call.

“It’s Daron. How’s the pool?”

“Nice. Except it’s too cold so I’m in the house looking at it longingly.” She cleared her throat. “I wanted to talk over these dates with you. Wenco has set up a couple of radio interviews which normally you could do over the phone except they really want you to come in studio with a guitar.”

“Okay, where?” I watched as Waldo opened the day book and studied it while sitting at the desk. I hadn’t sat down but couldn’t go far from the desk since the phone was on a short spiral cord.

“Since you’ll be in San Francisco we got one with a public radio show there, and then you’ll fly to DC to do one there, and we figured as long as you’re there to set up an in-store in Baltimore and then New York, where a couple more radio might happen, an in-store, and there’s new small jazz venue called The Cat Club where they want to do a record release party but the thing is you’d need to play a gig.”

“Okay.”

“Okay? You can’t exactly just recreate a multi-track instrumental album all by your lonesome, D.”

“So?” I was already thinking about what I could do. “All I need is a foot stand, a stool, and a microphone.” And the Ovation, but I’d bring that with me. “Although if we want to get fancy about things, just tell Bart to get his ass there with a cello.” I wondered where in the country Cray Lucas was right now. Hm. It was probably better to keep things simple. “But seriously, it’s not a problem.”

“Next question, would you do two sets, one for the VIPs in the actual release party and then another one later that night for the paying public?”

“Of course. That’d be great.”

“You won’t get a lot of rehearsal time, based on when you’d get in from Baltimore.”

“Is Bart free to meet me for the in-store? And can you book us on the train from there to New York?”

“I’ll ask him. Why the train?”

“If we have to we can do some quick rehearsing between cars. But more likely we’ll just talk it over.”

“All right. I’ll get these last details nailed down.”

“How long will I be in the city?”

“Long as you want. That’s the last stop right now for promo stuff.” She wrote something down. I could hear the pencil scratching.

My turn. “Now I have some questions for you.” I had the feeling Waldo was pretending not to be listening but he really had no choice.

“Lay ’em on me honey bunches of oats.”

“Should I take the gig as Ziggy’s musical director for his international tour this fall?”

“What? I mean, I heard you, but–”

Barrett Thomas hasn’t sent you anything about it yet?” Waldo got up and left the office and I sat down in the chair he’d vacated, which was disconcertingly warm.

“No, not yet. I take it this came up when you saw Ziggy?”

“Yeah.”

“And?”

“And what?”

“Daron! And do you want to do it?

“Let’s pretend I have no feelings on the matter and it’s purely a business decision.”

“Okay, first of all, pretending you have no feelings is a terrible strategy. Second, if it’s purely business I can’t really comment until I see the contract. But assuming you’re really going out as musical director at top dollar, it’s a no brainer, yes. You could use the money and I don’t know what else you’d do in that time slot. But to get back to that first point, Daron, honestly–”

“I know, I know.” I drummed my fingers on the wooden top of the desk. “I haven’t quite figured out if it would be the best thing or the worst thing for our relationship.”

“The best thing or the worst thing for you,” she emphasized.

“What do you think?”

“I don’t know either. It really depends on you.”

“I knew you were going to say that but I had to ask.”

We both sat there in silence for a bit. Then I said, “I’ll tell him that I’ll decide by the time I get to New York. And I’ll give him my decision then.”

“Okay. Give us both some time to think about it. And tell Barrett to send the paperwork because even if you want to do it, if the offer sucks I’m going to refuse. In fact, all the better reason for you not to say anything yet.”

Right. “Okay. I gotta go. Your uncle wants the phone back.”

“Does he?”

“I think he’s standing outside the office quietly fuming that I’m monopolizing it.”

“Doofus,” she said and I wasn’t sure if she was referring to him or me. “I’ll see you tomorrow—don’t think I’m making it there, tonight.”

I didn’t want to pry, but I wanted her to know she had my emotional support, you know? What was the right thing to say to convey that? “Hope everything’s all right down there.”

“Up there. I’m north of you now.”

“I meant in the valley, didn’t you say your mom was in the valley? I meant from where you are to where she–never mind.” I am such a dork sometimes. Especially when it comes to giving emotional support. I fell back on a stock phrase. “If you need to talk or something, I’m here.”

“Thanks. It’ll be fine. I’ll see you tomorrow.”

So I still had no inkling of whether it was a physical, psychological, or emotional crisis going on with Carynne’s mom, but she seemed pretty adamant about handling it on her own.

I emerged to find everyone in an uproar and Court looking like she wanted to murder someone.

Remember how venue security had been weirdly dicky to us when we’d driven up earlier in the day? Now I knew why. They’d been told to be on the lookout for Digger. Digger who just couldn’t stay away from trouble.


Latest DGC news!
• Mark your calendars for the next chat with Daron: November 10 8-9pm in the chat room here on the site. (See the popup in the lower right corner of your browser screen!)
• Also Nov 10th: ctan will livestream from 9-10pm eastern for book launch of Vol. 8. (Direct Youtube Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y0vzienFR-g)
• Vol. 8 ebook now up for pre-order at $2.99. Price goes up on Nov 11th!
• Amazon reviews campaign is really close now! Need only 4 reviews for books 3 and 7!

Pre-order links: AmazonApple iTunes/iBooksSmashwordsBarnes & NobleKobo

(Let me know in comments if you have questions for me or Daron for the upcoming chats and also any requests for what scene I read during the livestream! -ctan)

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Comments 4

  1. s wrote:

    Talk about someone who just doesn’t get that no one wants him around… I get a sick feeling every time I see Digger’s name. Wonder what shit he’ll start this time.

    [Reply]

    ctan Reply:

    Oh, he knows perfectly well he’s not welcome, which is why he won’t give up trying. And also… he’s desperate.

    [Reply]

    Posted 06 Oct 2015 at 10:22 am
  2. steve wrote:

    AWESOME cliffhanger!!!

    [Reply]

    ctan Reply:

    You mean that ironically right? ;-)

    [Reply]

    Posted 06 Oct 2015 at 11:25 am
  3. Janie Friedman wrote:

    Augh! Evil, evil ctan! And bleah. Digger gives me the willies.

    [Reply]

    ctan Reply:

    He should. He gets more and more creeptastic as time goes on.

    [Reply]

    Posted 06 Oct 2015 at 1:29 pm
  4. Stacey wrote:

    I think the thing that bothers me the most about Digger is the back-of-the-brain sensation that I actually (literally) know him from somewhere. That really bothers me, that I recognize the personality so innately! Then again I did grow up around a lot of sleazy people :P

    [Reply]

    Nona Reply:

    This!

    [Reply]

    Posted 07 Oct 2015 at 9:29 pm

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