234. Cheeseburger in Paradise

So I actually did spend the rest of the day working on a song called “Needs a Bridge,” which turned into just “A Bridge” and quite serious after the first ten minutes, and ate my brain right up until Christian interrupted me to say it was time to leave for rehearsal.

By then I’d gotten around to putting on a shirt, but I still hadn’t made the coffee, and I hadn’t eaten anything yet, either. “Can we go through a drive-thru on the way?” I asked as I grabbed a denim jacket out of the heap of things under the wall hooks by the door.

“You betcha. I’m famished myself.”

We got into the van. “Did you miss breakfast?” I asked, trying to think of a tactful way to ask who he’d had in his room.

“And lunch,” he said as we pulled out onto the street. “Karen, I mean Lacey, just can’t get enough of me. It’s kind of surprising.”

“It is?”

“For one thing, she’s your age, for another, she’s the hottest woman on the planet, and she’s richer than god, so it’s kind of funny that she’s totally digging this thirty-something working class joe from the suburbs of Boston.” But he chuckled, sounding very pleased with himself.

“Well, good for you,” I said. “I guess you got over worrying about bringing her over to the house?”

“Yeah, I figured I’d find out if love is actually blind. She wants to redecorate, but she didn’t run screaming.”

“That’s a great idea.”

“What’s a great idea?”

“Let her redecorate.”

“What do you mean?”

“Were you serious, or joking? Because if she actually wants to redecorate I would be totally all for that. I mean, unless she wanted to spend a million dollars or something, in which case, we don’t have the money and if we did, we should just move anyway.”

“Huh. You know, I’ll ask her.” He pulled up to the drive-thru menu. “What do you want?”

“Three double cheeseburgers, fries, and a Coke. No, a chocolate shake. And a Coke.”

“Make up your… oh, hi, yeah.” He stuck his head out the window to give the order, then inched the van forward until we were behind the next car in line again. “Anyway, but who’s to say just because she’s a fashion model she’s got taste?”

“There is that. But it’s a thought.”

“It is that.” We edged up to the window. “You got cash?”

“Shit, I think so.” I patted my pockets. Out of the breast pocket of the denim jacket I produced a twenty and something else. I handed him the twenty and looked at the other thing, which at first I thought was a flyer or something, folded up. It was a folded piece of paper but it had a folded piece of foil inside it. “Hang on a second…”

Chris handed me back my change. “That’s the acid I gave you at that Christmas party after the Jingle Bell show.”

“Holy crap, I forgot all about it. Think it’s still good?”

“Far as I know it doesn’t go bad unless it gets wet. You want to do it tonight after rehearsal?”

“Not if we have to be up early in the morning.”

“We have to be up early?”

“Ah, right!” I took the bags of food he was passing to me, sorted out two cheeseburgers and handed one back to him to eat while he drove. I took a bite of one myself. “I was going to tell you this morning but you were kinda busy.”

“Gettin’ busy, yeah,” he joked.

“We’re filming a video tomorrow.”

“For who?”

“A music video, of our own, I mean. They’re going to release another single. And so now all of a sudden they’re in a hurry to get a video ready.”

“That’s the biz,” Chris said. “Hurry up and wait, hurry up and wait. What time?”

“Nine a.m.”

“Shit-h.” He had this way, when he really wanted to emphasize it, of saying “shit” with an extra “h” tacked on at the end. I thought of it as a Boston thing. “And just tomorrow?”

“They claim they only need us for one day.”

“Well, at least it’ll be over with,” he said, then gestured for me to give him his other burger.

“Yeah. Oh and I didn’t tell you the other thing. It’s Wonderland.”

“You’re shitting me.”

“No. It’s already turning into this underground hit, apparently. So we better add it to the set.”

“Well, you know, we could…”

“Put it in the encore, I know. Already talked to Bart about it.”

“Isn’t it funny how things work out?” He took a sip of Sprite. “I’ll have to cancel with Kar… I mean, Lacey tomorrow.”

“Does she prefer to be called one or the other?”

“Well, you know, Lacey Montaigne is her stage name, but her real name is Karen. She likes me to call her Karen. But I think just to her, not to other people. Does that make sense?”

“Yeah, makes sense.”

“Colin ran into her this morning in the hallway and just about shit in his pants.”

“Colin needs a girlfriend.”

“Yeah. No use setting him up with one if we’re about to hit the road though. To make it up to him, we should just make sure he gets laid a lot on the trip.”

“Uh, okay, you’re in charge of that,” I said.

“Shit! You’re right. Sorry. Yeah, I guess it will be up to me, since I don’t think he swings both ways. Although, you know, if you’re really, you know, not into girls, you’re going to leave a lot of disappointed ones in your wake.”

He sounded a little uncomfortable, now. Christian never says “you know” unless he’s nervous, and twice in one sentence? “Oh, like they wouldn’t be disappointed when I leave town anyway?”

“Trust me, a committed relationship is not what most groupies are after. All I’m saying is Colin will probably have a steady stream of your rejects to choose from.”

Now I was uncomfortable. “Chris, I love you like a brother; can we talk about something else now?”

That got him laughing. “Sure thing, bro’. Sure thing. Like how about we take bets on whether Louis loses his shit when we tell him we’re changing the set with less than two weeks to go.”


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