That’s my name.
It’s probably the only thing my parents gave me that I like.
It has a nice sound to it and I like the way it looks when it’s written. I know that’s the weirdest crumb of a thing to have good self-esteem about, but there it is.
Did I tell you the story of how I got that name? Remo’s the one who told me. Digger wanted to name me Baron and Claire objected to something that sounded like a good name for a dog.
A moon dog maybe
“Jeezus, what!” I think I hit my head on the ceiling of the bunk, or maybe Flip was shaking me so hard he knocked me into the wall, or maybe my head just felt like something that hit it.
My eyes were open and I was staring at him and he was staring back at me.
I repeated the word “what” and blinked. Blinking seemed kind of like an effort.
“I was starting to worry you weren’t going to wake up,” he said.
I blinked again. “What?”
“Are you okay?” He put his hand on my forehead like he was checking for a fever.
“I’m fine.” I wanted very much to climb out of the stuffy little bunk. It felt like an oven.
“I think you’re not.”
“Balderdash.” That’s a great word. Doesn’t get used enough. It’s like an accordion: only appropriate for certain uses. I forced myself to climb out.
I immediately began to regret being upright. “Weed’s never affected me like this before.”
“I don’t think it’s the weed, honeybunch.” Okay, actually Flip wouldn’t use the word “honeybunch” but he sounded so much like Carynne right at that moment that it was like her voice was coming out of his mouth.
“Um.” The overwhelming urge to go into the toilet and use it seized me. “Be right back.”
I shut myself in there and emptied the contents of my insides via the traditional route. I suppose because the residual marijuana in my system was keeping me from puking.
I felt terrible about it. It’s generally considered bad form to do anything in the tour bus’s head that is noxious. You’re supposed to save it for a rest area or the venue. But there was no way I would’ve made it from the bus to the building without shitting myself. I barely made it as is.
For a few moments I felt relief and then an overall feeling of illness grabbed me like a giant fist. Like some giant deity was trying to squeeze me like a toothpaste tube to get the last vestiges of anything left inside me. But there wasn’t anything left so the ill-feeling didn’t let up.
Delirium is a terrible thing when you’re not prepared for it. I thought back over what I had done in the previous 24 hours. Drank too much but nowhere near as much as I had in the past, Flip’s hangover cure, whatever Jam had shared with me… could that joint have been laced with something? I had a couple of full on Nancy-Reagan-esque drug paranoia flashbacks to scares about shit like angel dust. I didn’t even know what angel dust was but when I was a kid there were horror stories about people going insane from it.
I wiped up but couldn’t stand up. My hands were shaking. I felt every kind of bad.
I suddenly wondered if I was going to die. That’s how bad I felt. Nausea, headache, chills, cramps, every possible thing basically. I can’t even describe it other than to say I contemplated whether a tour bus bathroom was the last thing I was ever going to see.
And I’ll tell you what I did. Me, who doesn’t believe in God, started to pray. Because when you feel that bad you figure you might as well try praying since there’s nothing else you can do. Okay God, whatever I did to deserve this, give me a sign so I can change and never do it again.
No sign was forthcoming, though, which left me guessing which thing of the things that were bad for me I should stop doing if I lived through this.
It penetrated my consciousness that someone was banging on the door. It seemed to take a very long time to get my hand to move, and I felt like I was watching it in slow motion as my fingers reached for the door handle. (The bus restroom I was in was tiny enough that I could reach it without getting off the throne.) At last my fingers curled around the latch and it felt very hard, like it was bruising my fingertips. The thought that went through my mind: oh shit guitar strings are going to be excruciating if this feels like that…
Then everything sped up because on the other side of the door was Flip and two EMTs and they grabbed me and pulled me, pants down and all, out of there and to an ambulance.
That can’t have looked good. I kind of wish I had a photo of it, but thankfully one doesn’t exist. But just picture the strung out rock star with his hair in his eyes and his pants around his ankles being dragged by EMTs from his tour bus.
They put me in a gurney.
I gather from the words being said above me that their first assumption was the same as mine, that some kind of drug thing was going on. Then they took my temperature. I remember them stripping me out of my clothes but I don’t remember them putting the IV in.
The IV bag had a magic thing in it. Salt water. Yep, saline. Like the stuff you rinse your contacts with, I guess.
Another voice, gravelly and low. Remo. Asking them what was wrong.
Them telling him they needed to bring my temperature down stat. They were packing damp towels against me.
I don’t remember this but apparently I tried to talk Remo into delaying the start of the show so I could play it. I tried to get Flip to speak on my behalf. They told me this later since I had no memory of it. I have no memory of Remo leaving or of Flip being deputized to stay with me. I have no memory of the ambulance doors shutting.
Next stop, my least favorite place: a hospital.
(I’m at the Jersey Shore right now. Daron can’t wait until we leave. We head to NYC Thursday, though, so he’ll calm down soon. I’ll be at Flamecon, the LGBT+ comic con in Brooklyn, but don’t let that stop any of you who were thinking of dropping something into the tip jar. I see we’re getting pretty close to tipping a Saturday post! -ctan)