191. Fame

The girl behind the monitor’s name was Bailey. She unlocked a little office upstairs in the back so Carynne could make a few phone calls, but C. instead sat and motioned for me to close the door behind me and join her. “Mister Zee’s off the edge,” she said as she sat down behind an empty desk.

I sat on the desk. “God, maybe he was always like this but I didn’t notice because I was too worried about other things. Speaking of which,” I looked at the billboard with old concert flyers tacked to it instead of at her, “how are things with you and him?”

“Thankfully null. He’s latched onto that reporter-groupie.”

“Oh god, she was a riot. I couldn’t believe it…”

“Bart told me.” She was looking at the small, neat unpainted nails on her left hand. “What do you think he’s going to do?”

“Sulk a bunch, take it out on Ms. Walsh, and then sing like a banshee tonight.”

“So you’re not worried.”

“No. This time last year I would have been beside myself. I would have been on my knees begging him to forgive me, or I would have been floating around out there in a state of panic, waiting for the other shoe to drop.” I sighed and swung my feet, drumming the heels of my high tops on the metal desk quietly. “Now, he can try what he wants. I’ll deal with it when it comes.”

“You’re not worried about stage fright.”

“No. Not anymore.” I was only mildly surprised to find that true. “He can try what he likes up there–I’m ready for him. I don’t even know what got into me…” I trailed off and sat there, wondering if that was what she’d wanted to talk to me about.

She leaned forward on the desk, her hands in her lap, her chest against the edge of the blotter. “Is it true you turned down an offer to do a beer commercial?”

“Yeah, you knew about that.”


“Don’t you remember, like a year ago. They wanted to feature us in the commercial, us talking about the band in little snippets, it was going to look almost like a mini MTV style documentary, make us look way hip, and the beer too, by extension.”

“Why didn’t you do it?”

“They wanted ‘Welcome’ as the background music, and wanted to use it as a jingle, you know, people walking into a bar, and here’s this anthemic ‘welcome’–as in ‘welcome to beer country’ or something. I just couldn’t.”

“How much money was it?”

“That’s the thing. It wasn’t even that much money. They were like practically acting like we should be grateful for the exposure and all that, like they were making us this career-making offer and ought to suck up to them. I was having none of it.”

“What did you tell them?”

“In the end I told them look, I can’t do this. I’m not even fucking old enough to drink.”

She laughed then like I’d told a good joke, which I guess I had. Then, smoothing her lips together, she added. “You know Zig wanted to do that commercial real bad.”

“I know.” We sat like that for a few more seconds. “Hey, don’t you have calls to make?”

“Daron,” she said, her face serious. “Has he talked to you about outside projects like acting or stuff like that?”

“Ziggy you mean?”

She nodded. “There’s nothing about that kind of stuff in your contract.”

“Why would I care if he wants to act or something? Unless it interfered with a tour or our schedule or what have you. He can dance in the fucking Nutcracker for all I care. Why do you ask?”

Carynne slicked her dark orange hair back from her face and it cascaded forward in a wave. “I think you better ask him about that. Maybe not today, but you ought to bring it up.”

“What do you mean?”

“Ask him, Daron, not me. Maybe it’s nothing. But ask him.”


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