200. Take the Long Way Home

Remo and I walked for about a block in silence, climbing the hill toward the hotel, me propelled upward by energy and the feeling like I couldn’t quite get enough air into my lungs. Streetwalkers called to us, homeless-looking men shifted toward us and then away. It felt almost like New York.

“Wow,” I said when I started to speak again. “Wow.”

Remo chuckled. “I seriously thought you two were going to get into a punch up.”

“There was only that one moment there, when he called me a pussy.”

“And then you called him a pervert.”

“Yeah well.” Our boots tapped out a few bars.

Then Remo said “So you didn’t tell him.”

“But I came close.”

“Are you going to?”

“No.” I knew it with the same certainty I knew I was going to tell Chris earlier. “No, I’ve said enough.”

“What are you going to do when he finds out? Cuz you know he will, Daron.”

I sucked my teeth. “You know what? I think he already knows. I think he would have pressed the issue in there if he didn’t. He doesn’t want to hear it, though.” It was like Claire, tolerating anything the neighbors didn’t know about. Plausible deniability meant he could pretend. “Maybe, there’ll be a day when he’ll finally decide to confront me about it, and then, we’ll have a huge fight. But I’ve got my ammunition for that fight, if it ever comes.” The wind was cold and wet on my cheeks but I didn’t much mind, the heat draining away from my reddened face. “But I think he knows that, which is why he’ll leave me alone.” I slowed down a little and we walked side by side. “It’s nobody’s business but mine.”

Remo nodded to himself. “So… you gonna keep him as manager?”

“I don’t think so, but at the same time, you don’t get off a horse that’s taking you somewhere. I’ll wait until he slows down.”

“Was I right about the money?”

“You were right about the money.”

The clammy breeze shifted and starting pushing us uphill. We went for a little bit before Remo said, “Have you thought about maybe talking to someone else at WTA? I mean, look at the dates you have coming up. You shouldn’t be knocking on doors anymore. People should be knocking on yours.”

“So, I tell him I’m firing him for someone else.”

“He won’t be mad.”

“Like hell he won’t.”

“Okay, he’ll be ripshit, but then it’ll pass.” Remo sighed. “How long do you think you’ll be together?”

“The band, you mean?”


I shook my head. “I don’t know. After the album comes out in the summer, and after the worldwide tour… who knows. Me and Ziggy seem to have a fine creative battle brewing.” At that moment I couldn’t picture us starting from scratch again with new material. “And you know he’s going to make a movie?”

“No shit.”

“Sure sounds like it.”

Then Remo said, “You gonna stay in Boston?”

“For now, I guess. Chris and I bought the house we live in. I’d probably, I don’t know, sell him my half if I was going to move.” I turned to look at him and the wind blew my hair into my eyes. “Why?”

“You ever think about LA?”

I shrugged. “Why, there a good gig there for me?”

“Great gig, in fact. Real established band, tour every summer, new album or no. It’s really picked up the last couple of years, too, lot more jams. Not quite the Grateful Dead but you know what I mean. Seriously need another guitar player.”

“I don’t know, Reem’.”

“I’ll confess you a secret. I keep hoping something goes wrong with M3 so Nomad can have another crack at you.”

I thought I was all done with blushing tonight, but no. “I… that means a lot to me.”

“The door’s basically open, man. Unless I get so old I have to pack it in completely.”

We could see the gold lights of the hotel as we rounded the corner. “Hey, Reem’?”


“If I hadn’t been there, would you have, I mean, would you and Digger have…?”

He let out a burst of laughter. “I don’t think so. Fifteen years ago, maybe, but not any more. I… lost my taste for it, I guess, about the time you…” He frowned slightly. “About the time he started dragging you out to the bar. I started to get less enthusiastic. Since I moved to LA, nope.” He must have seen the look on my face (which was probably a mask of sudden and intense curiosity) because he closed the subject down then with: “I get my share of groupies, son.”

“You fancy a nightcap from room service?”

“I could do with a ginger ale.”

“We can get that from the vending machine.”

“I’ve got a six of it in my room.”

“Well, alright then.”


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