197. I Got You

The promoter’s guy, it turned out, had friends who ran a Moroccan restaurant and they often took bands there after a show for a little decadence and graft. Unlike some towns, Frisco had several competing promoters and they wanted to curry some favor. Pun intended. We went along with free food on principle.

I was about to get in a van with a few of the others when Carynne pulled with toward a cab. I figured it didn’t look like a big deal that we went together, what with there being some amount of chaos as people were getting into vehicles, and also no one else could tell what an iron grip she had on my arm.

She told the driver where we were going and then waited until he’d pulled out into traffic to say anything.

What she said was “Jeez, Louise.”

“Something bugging you or did you just want to get away from everybody for a while?” I asked.

She looked me over. “I’m not so much with the getting away from people usually,” she said. “That’s you.”

I shrugged. “Make a note in the daybook for the next tour that I get cranky if I’m forced to talk to too many people in a day. But seriously, is something up?”

She sighed and looked out the window. Then she looked back at me. “I can’t do what he does.”

My mind was still on the conversation she had with the reporter in the ladies room. “Ziggy?”

“No, stupid. Digger. Did you see that list of dates?”

Oh. “Car’, come on, trust me, it’s not Digger’s name that is opening those doors. It’s BNC.”

“Tch. You can’t really be that naive.”

“Naive? Enlighten me. If it’s not BNC, he’s been name-dropping at the agency, and working his connections. What’s the big deal?”

She gave me a murderous look, like I wasn’t taking her seriously enough, which I wasn’t. “Daron! Honestly. That’s what I’m saying. He’s got way more connections in much higher places than me. I can’t do what he does!”

I put my hand on her arm, to show her I was serious. “You can. Okay, maybe you might not have done it as fast, and maybe you would have leaned on Mills and your uncle a lot more…”

She sucked in a breath like she was panicking a little and trying to tamp it down.

“I’m not about to fire you, you know,” I said. “And I’m not about to let you quit, either.”

“Shit, Daron,” she said, her shoulders slumping. “It just seems… a lot bigger than I can get my head around.”

“Are you seriously saying I should keep him as manager?”

“Set aside for a minute that you have issues with him or whatever, the bottom line is, does he get you the work that you want and do you make the money that you want? This is like fuck-you money we’re talking about, you know.”

“What about the fact he’s borderline embezzling from me?”

Her mouth hung open a bit. “Define borderline,” she finally said.

“Opened a credit line using the band’s money or contracts as collateral, used it to rent an office in LA and hire support staff. All without telling me.”

She chewed her lip. “That doesn’t sound that far outside the realm of…”

“It’s not a Moondog Three office. It’s the Digger Marks Agency office and he’s been on the West Coast trying to drum up other clients. Movie stars, directors, that sort of thing.”

“Ohhh. Yeah, that’s definitely the slippery side of the slippery slope.” She winced. “But is it because he’s your dad?”

“What do you mean?”

“I mean, parents make unilateral decisions for their kids all the time without asking. And it sounds like otherwise he’s busting tail for you….” She thought a moment. “But no, that’s still pretty weasely. You have to set some really firm boundaries when you work with relatives. I should know.”

“Yeah, well, I told him it stops now. I don’t figure I can take back what he’s spent, really, but I can demand some ownership.”

She chuckled. “That’s brilliant. Did you think of that yourself?”

“Yeah, I did. Seemed better than just telling him to go to hell and being stuck when he runs off with the money.” I shrugged. “Basically if he doesn’t cough up paperwork and a deal to my satisfaction, I’m sending him packing. I think he’ll do it legit, though. He…. Something Remo said makes me think he wants that more than money. To be a legit player. He fakes it until he makes it.”

“He’s pretty damn close to making it,” she said.

“Just don’t leave me defenseless,” I said. “I need you actually road managing this tour. I want you double checking everything he does, anything he sets up, and I want you building the biggest damn Rolodex you can, so that if we do have to fire his ass, you’ve insinuated yourself with all his contacts.”

“Piece of cake,” she said. “I can totally play it like I’m his secretary when I need to, like anything they’d tell him they can just tell me.” She batted her eyelashes innocently.

I laughed. “I know you can bust balls when you need to.”

The cab lurched to a stop and the cabbie pointed at place across the street, explaining in broken English that it was best we just get the hell out now and walk over there. Carynne paid him and I could see what was creating the traffic jam.

Ziggy was signing autographs on the sidewalk outside the restaurant.

“Speaking of busting balls,” she said, and got out of the car.


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