256. Mad World

Here’s what would have happened, in a perfect world.

In a perfect world I would have followed Zig back to his room, and fucked his brains out, and he would have apologized for being such a pathological shit to me, and I would have apologized for being such a fucked up closet case in the first place, and, and… and I don’t know. Something like that.

But this world isn’t perfect. Here’s what actually happened.

Lacey came into the room from the hallway, her makeup such a perfect mess that I thought she must have made it look that way on purpose, lipstick streaked, mascara run, hair askew. Her skirt was on sideways, too. She was walking in this very deliberate way, a sort of exaggerated sashay. Maybe she thought she was on a runway or something. She sashayed right into Ziggy like she didn’t even see him there in the doorway, and he didn’t see her coming since he was looking back at me. Wham.

He caught her before she fell completely to the floor, but she went limp a moment later and I wondered what was going on. Had she passed out?

Then her arms started to twitch and I had a very bad feeling about that.

Pretty much everyone had seen it, including the two caterers, one of whom was on the phone in a heartbeat, and before I could even cross the room, a big guy in a tweed jacket carrying a large, boxy black hand radio came running in. Hotel security.

Ziggy had shifted so that her head was in his lap and he had his hands on her shoulders like it would keep her from thrashing around. Maybe it did.

I had no idea what to do, and was going to at least sit down next to him, but the guard was telling people to back off and the next thing I knew Digger was giving people the bum rush.

More security guards came down the hall from the elevator. It finally occurred to me to wonder where Christian was. I didn’t know his room number, but I knew Carynne’s so I called her.

She sounded sleepy. “Oh, God, Daron, is it important?”

“Um, yeah. Christian’s girlfriend just passed out in the party suite and is having like a seizure or something.”

“Oh shit, be right there.”

“Wait! Before you hang up. What’s Chris’s room number?”

“Crap, crap, crap… I can’t remember. It’s on the same floor as yours… shit.”

“Don’t sweat it. I’ll call the front desk.”

The front desk, God love ’em, followed our security procedures, though, and wouldn’t give me his room number. They did connect me, though. After the phone rang ten times, I decided to just lay the phone down without hanging it up.

As I made my way around where she lay, I noticed Ziggy wasn’t holding her anymore.

He was just outside the door, which security had shut most of the way but left the safety lock in it to keep it from latching all the way. “Where you going?”

“Looking for Chris. Do you know what number he’s in?”

“He’s on the same floor as us. I think just a few doors down from me.”

“Come on. Hopefully we’ll hear the phone ringing.”

We took the elevator down then went to Ziggy’s door, and started listening.

“Bingo, it’s this one,” I said, just two doors down. You didn’t need a musician’s sensitive ears to hear the phone ringing off the hook. I banged on the door.

I heard a murmur of voices. Okay, that was good. It meant someone was alive in there.

“Chris, it’s me and Zig. Open up.”

A few moments later the door opened. It was Colin. “Hey, wassup.”

“Chris here?” I asked, while trying to tell if he was on drugs or what. Colin seemed a little drunk, but the room was dark. The phone was still ringing. “That’s me on the phone, by the way.”

Chris stuck his head out of the bathroom then, looking more bloodshot than I’d ever seen him. “How can it be you if you’re standing right here?”

“If you’d just answered it, I wouldn’t have to be here,” I said. Someone in the room I couldn’t see finally lifted the phone receiver. “Look. Lacey passed out upstairs.”

Chris chortled. “Lightweight.”

“No no, I mean she passed out as in fainted, and is having a seizure.”

“What? Holy fuck, what?” He kind of lurched forward at me as he said it, then loomed over me.

“Seizure,” Ziggy said, pushing between us and putting his hands on Christian’s upper arms. “What’s she on?”

“Shit, man, what isn’t she on,” Colin said, shaking his head.

“Be serious,” Ziggy snarled.

“I am serious, man.”

“Can you give us some hints?”

“Cocaine,” Chris said, his voice rough. “It’s mostly cocaine. Fuck.”

He sagged against the wall like his legs wouldn’t hold him up. “I’ve got to get up there.”

But Ziggy pushed him back into the room until he collapsed on a bed. “You’re not going anywhere like that,” Zig said. “Any cop who took a look at you would bust us all, probably. If you’ve still got anything, I suggest you flush it. Daron, get back up there and tell them?”

“Okay.” I backed out of the room and practically ran to the elevator. It was a relief, honestly. Until I got into the hallway I hadn’t really processed how close and rank the air in the room had been.

By the time I got up there, the door was fully closed. I knocked, but no one opened it. I knocked again.

The caterer whose name I had already forgotten opened it, looking a little spooked. “Oh, it’s you.”

I could see there was no one on the floor behind him. “Are they gone? Did they… go to the hospital?”

“Yeah, um, your manager went with them, too, I think.”

“Which one? The guy or the girl?”

“Oh, the guy. The girl, I think she’s talking to the Emmo Dee.”

“Emmo Dee?”

“M.O.D.,” he spelled out. “Manager On Duty. Probably downstairs in the office.”

“Ah. Okay.”

I stood there feeling foolish and unsure what to do next. He just stared at me.

I was not about to make another pass at him.

“So,” I said, trying not to sound as shaky as I felt. “This sort of thing happen often?”

He shrugged. “More often than management would like to admit,” he said, relaxing a little. “You can come in, by the way, but we’re just cleaning up.”

“That’s all right. I’ll… um… I’ll just go back to my room if anyone needs me.” I turned away, then looked back suddenly. “Oh! Hang up the phone.”

“Excuse me?”

“Hang up the phone, over by the couch.”

“Okay.” He lingered then, looking at me. “Um, nice meeting you.”

“Er, yeah. Nice meeting you.”

I walked back to my room, though I felt like running. But once I was there I couldn’t imagine just sitting around alone. I didn’t want to go back up to Christian’s room, either.

And I didn’t want to run into Ziggy, and have some kind of fucked up replay of the last time we were here. The first time. You know what I mean.

There was only one reasonable option I could think of. I went down to the bar.


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