When we were finished with our soundcheck, Megaton went back on to do a “last check” and I went to hide in the bus. Kind of lame, I know, but I didn’t want to spend the time leading up to the show being nervous or having a fight with anyone.
Then I remembered Ziggy and his pre-show panic attack of the other day and wondered where he was. So I didn’t stay in the bus long.
Nothing seemed amiss in our locker room, though. I didn’t see Carynne but I assumed she was in the production office, or whatever they gave us that passed for one.
Ziggy and Colin were sitting side by side on a brown leather couch that looked like it had seen better days. Colin had welts up his forearm and Ziggy had several stripes himself.
I’d seen them play this game before. Last tour. A couple of times. They were giggling like madmen, as usual.
“How about you, Daron?” Ziggy called over. “Wanna play?”
“I dunno, do I?” I gave them a skeptical look. “Maybe I should just watch.”
That set them to laughing again, and then they counted off together, “One, two, three, shoot.”
I had forgotten the game was actually Rock, Paper, Scissors. The winner then licked two of his fingers and slapped the loser on the forearm.
Colin lost. “Oh, man,” he complained.
Ziggy held him lightly by the wrist. “You’re running out of space,” he said, and turned it over to the underside.
Colin turned it back. “No way!”
“Which is worse, the soft side, or me hitting the same spot again?”
Colin looked at the ceiling. “Shit, I don’t know.”
“Try it. If you don’t like it, I’ll go back to smacking you on the topside,” Ziggy said.
“That’s if you win. My luck has to turn around sometime,” he said.
“Okay, here.” Colin turned his hand palm side up and presented the paler side of his forearm.
I flinched at the sound of the smack and got up.
I didn’t stay to find out if Colin thought it hurt more or less. I just didn’t want to be there then. I just wanted to be far away from them for a moment, or forever, I don’t know. I went into the men’s room and shut myself in a stall and wondered if I had magically taken Ziggy’s panic attack for myself.
No, it was just I knew, you see. Let me be clear. I had one of those searing insights that is so totally convincing that it’s either a) true or b) not true but represents something even worse. Some ugly truth inside me, some paranoid demon.
What did I know? I knew Ziggy and Colin had slept together. Last tour probably. Or maybe even earlier, when I wasn’t paying attention. No, last tour.
This tour? No. Didn’t think so. Had to be last time.
Which meant… Ziggy hadn’t done it to try to get my attention?
No, it meant that I was just stupid. I was just full of it, making shit up, and my head hurt. And why the fuck did I care if Ziggy and Colin did anything together, now or then or ever, if I was a) done with Ziggy and b) not interested in Colin? Especially if Ziggy didn’t flaunt it in my face?
Fuck fuck fuck. Shoulda stayed in the bus, bwana.
Remember when Ziggy said he was sure Colin would put out for me if I wanted? I felt stupid for not having seen it then. That’s how he knew. It seemed glaringly obvious now.
So what else was I missing? What was the next thing I was not noticing until after I had run off the end of the cliff and hung there like Wile E. Coyote, not dropping until I realized what I had done?
Get a hold of yourself, stupid. Grab onto that fucking ledge and crawl back out there and pretend nothing happened. You’ve got a show to do and there’s enough fucking drama from other quarters. You don’t need to be making more.
That’s what I told myself and that’s what I did. I washed my face and wandered the place until security told me they were opening the doors so I had best get backstage.
Rock, Paper, Scissors was over. Chris was drumming on his own leg with his headphones on and his eyes shut. Colin was writing out set lists. Ziggy held up the eyeliner pencil and waved it at me from across the room.
I tried not to trudge as I crossed the locker room to where the makeup mirrors were set up. But it felt like I was anyway.
(Today’s song is by Warren Zevon, but I had to share the above Jackson Browne rendition in which Waddy Wachtel plays a guitar much like Daron’s Fender Strat. Wachtel is probably playing a much older and more expensive one than Daron’s. Below, Zevon playing it in 1995 at South Station train station in Boston. With a kind of Irish folk twist. -ctan)