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I’ll give you one guess who the first person was I called about the drumming gig.
It never occurred to me he would say no.
He said no.
In fact, he said, “No offense, Dar’, but I’d like a little time off after Nomad’s tour wraps, you know? And you need to remember that us mere mortals can’t learn a whole set in two days.”
I was sitting on the front stairs with the cordless phone, talking to him. “I know. Rehearsals start in two weeks. There’ll be plenty of time.”
“Yeah, no. I know some people you can call, and maybe if the timing were different you could convince me, but no.”
“Are you seriously saying no to work?”
“Yes, Dar’. I’m saying no to work, not to you, okay?”
Oh. “I’m really not taking it personally.”
“Well, good, because you sound a little rattled.”
“I’m just incredulous is all.”
“You’ll reach the point someday where you have to say no to work, too, and it’ll be hard at first but you’ll eventually learn to pace yourself.”
I was having trouble imagining it. “What if I don’t?”
“Pace yourself? At worst, end up dead in a hotel room somewhere, probably. At best, have money but never be able to enjoy having it.”
“That’s deep, man.”
“Truth always is. You’re going to have a great time, though. Just don’t pick up any tropical diseases.”
“Boy, you’re just full of advice today.”
Martin had a maniacal laugh. It sounded extra maniacal through the phone.
So I had to find a drummer. From what I’d heard of the album so far I thought we probably didn’t want horns but I wanted to check with Ziggy and Barrett about that. Backup singers, same thing. I could go either way, depending on who we had in the band.
I decided to call Fran and Clarice anyway. Yes, I’d gotten their number before the break in the tour. From the area code it appeared they were in the Chicago area. I got the answering machine and left a slightly rambling message about how I wasn’t sure if I was hiring but that I might be and if I was, were they available?
I was still sitting there, watching the occasional car go by and thinking, when the phone in my hand rang. “Hello?”
“Hey. You want to do dinner and a movie tonight?” It was Bart.
“Sure. What’s playing?”
“Dunno. Michelle probably knows. Her idea, actually.”
“Sure.” I wondered about that. Michelle wanted me to come out with them? I hadn’t seen her in forever but it wasn’t like I expected she’d missed me.
“Pick you up at six-ish?”
I went inside and checked the time. Six o’clock was still a couple of hours away. I pondered whether it was a good idea to check my email or if I would get sucked into mailing lists.
Christian was in the former junk room which now was supposedly a guest room but had been turned into a sort of exercise room. He was lifting weights.
“You want to lift some, too?”
You know how sometimes you agree to something without fully thinking things through and it turns out you’re getting much more involved than you expected? Well, I don’t know about you but I feel like various things in my life were like that.
This was one of them. I thought I was going to pick up a few heavy things and put them down. No. Chris basically made me go through his whole workout with him, including all three hundred situps (not all at one time).
I didn’t lift as heavy as he did, but I lifted just as many things in as many ways. And I wasn’t even tempted to try to lift as heavy because of two things. One, the logic that if he weighed almost twice what I did (not kidding, I was around 140 then and he weighed 275) then I only had to lift half as heavy as him to be doing the same work. Two, we were both aware that macho bullshit was the worst thing we could let get between us.
So I lifted heavy things. And afterward I lay there on the situp pad, sweating and exhausted, but calm.
He handed me a cold beer in the bottle.
“Isn’t this just undoing what we just did?” I asked with a laugh as I sat up to drink.
“Nah. Nature’s Gatorade,” he said, taking a swig himself.
“I’m pretty sure it’s just as hard to manufacture beer as Gatorade,” I said.
“Well, okay, not nature’s Gatorade so much as…the ancient world’s Gatorade. Full of electrolytes. You wanna do this again tomorrow?”
I guzzled gratefully, then wiped my lips on the back of my hand. “Will I be able to do this again tomorrow? Or will I be so sore I can’t move?”
“Uh, we could go lighter tomorrow. If necessary.”
“Sure, whatever. I’m on vacation. Kick me out of bed if I’m not awake.” I took another swig of the beer. “Not too early though.”
“Don’t worry about that.” Chris yawned. “In fact, I need a nap. After a shower, though, I bet I won’t feel like it anymore.”
I nodded, while something in the back of my brain was nagging me. What was it? I finally looked at the label on the bottle. Kaliber. It was non-alcoholic beer. I looked back at Chris. “I thought you weren’t going totally sober?”
“I’m not. Still like it better than Gatorade.” He had his hair in a pony tail but where strands escaped they stuck to his neck in sweaty strings. I didn’t even want to know what mine looked like.
“I’m going out with Bart and Michelle tonight,” I said. “Michelle’s idea. Are they getting along better?”
“I think so? He hasn’t mentioned it to me, anyway.” Chris shrugged. “I guess you can fill me in when you get back.”
“I could ask if you can come, too?”
“I see them all the time. I think it’s you they want to catch up with,” Chris pointed out.
“Yeah.” I emptied the bottle by upending it into my mouth and getting to my feet. “You want to shower first?”
“You go on. I’m going to do a little meditation. Just don’t use up all the hot water.”
“Okay.” I was curious about the meditation but it sounded kind of like he was ready to be left alone to do that. I resolved to ask about it after our next workout and went to take my shower.
SITE NEWS: Couple of quick notes today:
• As mentioned above, please take this quick survey to let me know the loading times for you for DGC: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/W7NWDPG.
• Another thing I should mention since I haven’t in a while is it is really helpful if people vote us up on the Top Web Fiction list. Basically once a week you can vote, and it takes about 6-7 votes a week just to stay on the list. Stats show about 200 readers a year find us through the Top Web Fiction list so it really is worth it! Click HERE TO VOTE.
• I wrote an essay the other night after I realized there’s an overarching metaphor in all of David Bowie’s work and it’s not what I thought it was: http://blog.ceciliatan.com/archives/2751
• Please keep telling your friends who are m/m, gay fiction, or erotica fans to pick up Spanish Nights in the Kindle store. It’s only a pre-order right now but goes live on Valentine’s Day, so if you buy it for someone else they’ll get it as a V-Day gift!
Oh, and lookie here, we’re more than halfway to triggering an extra story post! :-)
Thank you all for all your support! This year is off to a great start!