282. Clampdown

Ziggy’s hands were warm and dry, and gentle, as usual, as he applied the eyeliner to me. I looked up at the ceiling and didn’t say anything, and he didn’t say anything either. It felt like it took a long time and yet it was over with too quickly.

I felt like I should do his, then, but if I tried I’m sure I would just make a mess of it. This wasn’t the time to be trying to learn a new skill that an audience of ten thousand were going to judge.

Instead, I said, “You have to show me how to do it, one of these days.”

He sat back. “Um…”

“No, no, I didn’t mean it that way.” Fuck. I fucking suck. “I don’t mean so you can stop doing it. Ah fuck.” I just held his hand in mine, then, in much more of a death grip than I intended. “Forget I said anything.”



He put his other hand over mine. “It’s okay, Dar’. What’s got you so keyed up?”

“I don’t know. I don’t deal well with conflict. Have you met the other guys yet?”

“The Megaton guys?”


“Just a couple of friendly words in a hallway. Why?”

Somehow Ziggy, who always knew everything about everyone’s business, had missed the whole shouting match. I told him the whole thing.

He waved it off. “They’ll work it out. Carynne will handle it. Hey, what was that thing you played at soundcheck today? Was that another one of the things you wrote when you were ten?”

“Hah, no. That was a thing I learned note for note off a Van Halen album. Might’ve been one of the things that got me dropped by a guitar teacher, because I could play it and he couldn’t.” My grip had loosened. “I played it a million times, so it’s still in my fingers.”

“But you have a kind of spanish-sounding one, too. Of yours.”

“There are a million flamenco riffs from music school, too.” As well as stuff I wrote. Or at least riffed on. “Why? Got an idea?”

“Maybe. Next time we sit down, maybe.”

“We are sitting down.”

“Idiot. You know what I mean.” Zig mussed my hair. “Seriously, though, try to remind me when we get in the studio in Nola, if we have time.”

“Like I’m going to remember.”

“Here.” He let go my hand and went to dig in his bag for a notebook. He wrote something on a piece of paper and then stuffed it into my jacket pocket.

Then Megaton started to play. Where we were, it came through as just a rumble through the walls. Some dust shook loose from the ceiling.

Ziggy looked up. “Is it Han Solo who says ‘I have a very bad feeling about this?'”

“Uh, Leia, I thought.” I looked up, too. “But point taken.”


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