(And now a segment from Martin, Nomad’s drummer.)
Wow, I’d totally forgotten that the night Daron showed up with a black eye was the night before we met Ray. But of course that makes sense because that explains why he was there and his Dad wasn’t.
Okay, wait, maybe he didn’t have a black eye. That was a different time. He spent the night at my house that time, too, so it’s easy to get mixed up. I didn’t know if he’d taken a smack or if it was a more emotional blow at the time. But I’m getting ahead of myself.
We had played our usual show at Maddie’s. Maddie’s is on the second floor, above a tailor shop and a pharmacy, and the stairs are kind of narrow, which makes them a challenge for the inebriated. Which I always thought was awesome. Kind of like a test you had to pass before you could get in your car.
It did make loading out of there kind of a bitch, though, even using the back stairs which opened onto the alley to the parking lot in back. I was just going down those stairs lugging a drum when he was coming up. The front was already locked up by that point.
“Daron? What’s up?” I asked him.
“Nothing. Reem’ around?”
“Nope. He left a little after you and your dad. Just me and Madison left.”
“Ah, okay. Hey, you need help with that stuff?”
“Hell yes. Take this and I won’t even grill you about what you’re doing here at two in the morning, alone.”
He gave me a fake smile and said, “Digger’s getting a new asshole torn right about now. I made myself scarce.”
“Smart man.” I handed him the drum and went back up, two steps at a time. Probably a bad idea since I was wearing a leather trench coat long enough to trip over. But I didn’t.
We got my stuff into the back of the fake wood-paneled station wagon that was my wheels. It’s one of the most important things for any working drummer–a vehicle big enough to carry the whole kit. I could do it with the back seat down, or if passengers put some stuff on their laps, though I wanted to add more pieces. That’d have to wait until I could afford a van.
Daron got into the passenger seat next to me.
“You want a ride home, or a place to crash?” I asked him.
“It’d be awesome if I could crash with you,” he said.
“It’s a deal if you’ll be my roadie for the show at The Top tomorrow.”
So I took him home. It was probably one of a handful of times he ended up at my house over the course of that year.
When we got there, my roomie, Oliver, was in the shower. We left the drums in the car and I put my spare pillow and blanket onto the couch. Daron sat there looking a little lost.
“So seriously, what happened?” I asked him.
“We would’ve been fine if Digger hadn’t been so drunk he puked in the back yard. He was rinsing out his mouth with the hose when she flipped the light on. When the fight got loud and the neighbors’ lights started to come on, I figured it was time to leave.”
“Fair enough.” Like I said, the last time he’d run away he’d come with a shiner. Not this time. I guess he was getting savvy.
Oliver stuck his wet, blond head into the living room, holding a towel around his waist. “Who’s your friend?”
“Daron, this is Oliver, my roommate. He’s the perfect roommate because he works hours just as late as mine.”
“Oh? Are you in a band, too?” Daron asked, as Oliver plopped down next to him on the couch.
Oliver laughed and put an arm around the kid’s shoulders. “Nope. I’m a stripper.”
Daron just had this deer-in-the-headlights look. We laughed. Oliver and I shouldn’t be cruel, but we just can’t help messing with people. Not that it was a lie–Oliver really was a stripper.
Which only made it funnier. Maybe you had to be there. I am 100% straight but if I were going to give the other side a try you bet Oliver would’ve been at the top of the list. He was, to put it mildly, a looker.
“Yep, keeps him in shape and the money’s great,” I said.
“Except tonight. Tuesdays are always a bitch.” He sighed and leaned back against the couch, the towel slipping a little.
He patted Daron on the arm. “You should come see the show sometime.”
“He’s only, what, sixteen?”
Daron just shook his head.
“Yeah, okay, call me in a couple of years, kid,” Oliver said, and then got up, hand on towel on hip again. “I’m for sleep. Keep it down if you stay up.” Then he waltzed out.
Daron’s eyes were like an owl’s, watching him walk out. I just laughed. At the time I didn’t think anything of it. For that matter, I think there was a while I thought Oliver was straight and I can’t remember when I figured out he wasn’t. I can be thick sometimes.
For that matter, I didn’t figure it out about Daron until Reem’ told me. But I’m getting ahead of myself again.