Colin was waiting for me to finish my little chat, off in the wings. I asked him how his fingers were holding up.
“A little sore, but okay,” he said, then blew on his fingertips. “You want your dog tags back?”
“Thanks.” I took the laminates on a lanyard he held out to me. One of Colin’s jobs was making sure they didn’t go missing while I was onstage–or had taken them off to play otherwise, like in the lesson. Let me tell you, it doesn’t go so well to play guitar with something long and dangly around your neck. I doubted I would go through what I once had with lack of credentials on that summer tour with Nomad if I lost them, but it was a bad idea for them to fall into the wrong hands. “Seen Carynne?”
“Bitching somebody out on the phone last I looked.”
He led me back to the production office, a sparsely furnished room with a desk, two folding chair, one lamp, and one phone. She was sitting in one chair behind the desk and had the day book in her lap.
She looked up as soon as I leaned in the doorway.
“What’s the word?” I asked.
“Motherfucker ain’t coming.”
“Digger? What?” I took a few steps into the office.
“Well, that’s not exactly true. But he can’t meet us until Florida.” She blew her flat, red bangs out of her eyes.
If I remembered correctly, that was still four or five shows away. “So what are we going to do?”
“I guess I’m just going to be queen bitch of the universe and hope that works,” she said. She took a deep breath.
“Anything else new today?”
“Well, among other things, we’re sure as hell not sharing a drum tech with them. We’ll pick up a guy in New Orleans, so it’s only a few more days. The good news is both Austin shows are sold out now. I booked a hotel for the night of the 26th, the day you’re in the studio, so the crew gets a little break and the bus can air out some.” She flipped back and forth a page or two in the day book. “Got anything to add?”
“Ziggy thinks we should all eat at, what is it, Captain’s? Commodore’s? Palace that night.”
“Commander’s Palace, and I will look into that,” she said, making a note. Then she looked back up at me. “Band only, or am I invited?”
“I would say you’re invited! I mean, I don’t think he meant it as some kind of ‘team-building exercise,’ if that’s what you mean. Or guys night out.” We both sniggered a little at that thought.
“What about Colin?”
I shrugged. “I guess? I don’t know. Maybe you should ask Ziggy what he had in mind before I go stepping on his dreams.”
“So what did you think of the show last night?” I asked. “I never got a chance to hear what you thought.”
“Why, what did you think?”
“Rough crowd. Our first ever mosh pit. We made some changes to the set to try to be a better fit. Shit, I better warn Louis we might do that again.”
Louis stuck his head in at that moment. “Warn me you might do what again?”
“Cut some songs from the set. Crap, I can’t believe I completely forgot you might want to know.” I shook my head. “I told the band and didn’t even think to–”
“Nah nah, it’s fine.” He waved his hand. “I roll with it, whatever you do. It was clear enough. If you’d done it on the first day of the tour, that would’ve thrown me. But I know your stuff well enough at this point.”
“I won’t do it tonight unless we think we have to, but I have no idea what to expect.” I slipped past him into the hallway. “Talk to you later, Carynne.”
Louis took my place in the office and I figured whatever they were going to talk about I didn’t need to hear. Or if I did, they’d call me back.
Back in our dressing room Chris was paging through the local newspaper at a card table. I sat down across from him. “So who else played here?” I asked, just making conversation.
He looked up. “What? Am I supposed to know?” He looked sort of insulted, which I couldn’t figure out. I mean, he was the one who was into the fact that the Beatles had played Red Rocks and Hendrix had played the LA Coliseum, right?
“Just wondered if you did,” I said. “The limo driver said the Beatles and Elvis played here.”
“So you already knew.” He stood up and plopped the paper onto the table like he was sick of it.
He started to walk away.
Normally I would have just let him walk away. Because that was how I dealt with problems: ignoring them. But that hadn’t worked so well in the past. Maybe now was the time to start dealing with things. “Hey,” I said. “Are you mad at me or something?”
He looked back. “Everything isn’t about you, Daron.” Then he kept walking.
Whoa. I yelled after him. “Well, shit, man, I’m just checking. If it was something about me, at least I could offer to do something about it.”
He ignored me and kept walking.