We didn’t end up stopping for pizza after all. We got a bad vibe about the place as we looked in. A big guy was shouting at the cashier in a rather belligerent way. We steered clear and ended up in the bar of a small hotel just on the other side of Market.
I ordered a bourbon and a bowl of Maraschino cherries and then went and washed my hands. Twice.
Ziggy went and did the same. When he came back I had decided what to say.
“What in the fucking fuck was that the fuck about,” I said.
“Shh, shh. Sorry. I got carried away. You know I don’t think straight when my penis is doing the thinking. And neither do you.”
“Don’t blame it on that. That’s like saying you’re not responsible for what happens when you drink. Only worse. ‘Sorry, man, I saw a sexy girl in a TV commercial and just couldn’t help myself?'” I sat back as the waitress put our drinks down, along with the bowl of cherries. She put a bowl of bar mix down in front of Ziggy and then left, looking back at us a little suspiciously. “That’s bull.”
Ziggy put his hands on the table, palm down, fingers spread. “I’m sorry. I… you’re right. I should’ve just ditched you and gone back there by myself later. I’m sorry that was ridiculous. But I’m not sorry we talked.”
Truth was, I wasn’t sorry we talked either. “It just feels a helluva lot like you just gathered up a whole hunk of my chain and yanked it really hard,” I said.
He pressed his palms against his forehead. “I know. Which is why I’m apologizing. I didn’t mean it like that. But seriously, would it have been better for me to sneak around? Sneak away and then do it on the sly? Would that really be better?”
I took a swig of the bourbon and let it burn on the way down before I answered. “I don’t know. Maybe. I…” My cheeks were hot not from the drink but from thinking about him wrapping his hand around mine. I chewed vengefully on a cherry. “You crossed a line, Zig.”
“Fuck.” He scrubbed his hair with his fingers then looked at me from between them. “Do you feel violated?”
“No.” Violated was way too strong a word. “But you crossed a line.”
“Okay. I get that. I’m sorry, I just… Yeah. I’m sorry.” He finally picked up his drink and sipped at it. “Good to know it now. You know this won’t be the only time we’ll need to take care of something like that.”
He gave me a look. “Unless you’ve changed a lot, you’re going to come off stage at least half the time in a… state.”
I sighed. “And your point is?”
“The point is I’m going to have a much easier time finding… relief than you will. Be realistic, you’re going to need it sometimes, and unless you’re going to be hiring a rentboy at each stop–which I can’t picture you doing–you’re going to be kind of stuck with your own hand. Have you made any kind of a plan for this?”
“Maybe I’ll give groupies a try.” I tried to say it as convincingly as possible, but it only came out even more sarcastic-sounding. I nearly said: what, my own hand isn’t good enough? Except for what had just happened.
“Actually,” Ziggy said, so slowly it was like four separate words, “you know who would almost certainly give you a great handjob?”
“Who?” No, I couldn’t believe we were having this conversation, either.
“Colin. He pretty much worships the ground you walk on, he’s totally bi-curious if not actually bi, and a hand job wouldn’t be too challenging for either of you, don’t you think?”
I shook my head, trying to imagine having this conversation with Colin. Yeah, I have this extra string that needs to be tuned. Ugh.
“Come on. He’s your sherpa. He would totally go for it. I’m telling you. I thought that was half the reason you brought him.”
“Say a word to him about it and I swear I’ll scrape your fucking eyeliner off with a grapefruit spoon.”
He pursed his lips. “No need to get violent. Point taken, jeez.”
“I’ll take care of my own problem,” I said, making a motion with my hand like I was cutting off a section of the orchestra. “End of discussion.”
Then we both dissolved into sniggers. Because, come on, that’s how ridiculous it all was. Neither of us could really take ourselves seriously.
Actually, which was more ridiculous, talking about getting me off like we were talking about getting a dog sitter, or the fact that after that we had a totally normal conversation about all kinds of other stuff?
(Quick note about this song. It’s a cover, the original is by Stevie Wonder, but I couldn’t find a video of his version. Interestingly enough, Eric Clapton did it recently. The annoying thing about this video is they don’t actually show you pretty much anyone playing their instruments, which means it’s almost certainly lip synched, in which case, it’s like what is the point of actually having Eric Clapton play himself? Remo likes him anyway.)