(Donations update: $
17 32 $37 in donations have come so far this week. Just $ 33 18 $13 more would trigger a Saturday post! Just sayin. *Tip Jar*)
An hour to go until dawn, and the edges of the sky were just starting to lighten when we got into our rooms. We got the last rooms the place had left. Marty stayed in the bus and I think if Carynne had not admonished him strongly, he might have slept outside the bus to keep away marauders.
Curiously enough, Chris and Bart had already decided to room together. I did not question this. It was probably better that someone kept an eye on Chris anyway, and Bart was always a level-headed peacemaker. Also Bart had known him longer than any of the rest of us. While I’d been holed up with Ziggy in a bunk, Chris and Bart had gotten talking. So be it.
Me and Ziggy and Colin, we all got in a room together, and Courtney and Carynne got one. Carynne flat out ordered everyone to get a minimum of five hours sleep, preferably six, with our roll-out time set for eleven in the morning.
In the morning, the graffiti looked even more garish. I think Christian and Bart only got maybe an hour or two of sleep because they had stayed up talking all night. We all looked pretty strung out, I guess. We were the largest, quietest group eating at Denny’s.
In other words, we were all in absolutely tip top shape when we arrived at the venue to meet Digger. He didn’t even get through half of a hello to me before Carynne, god bless her, dragged him into the production office and shut the door.
They didn’t come out for forty five minutes–maybe an hour. I went back to the bus and took an actual nap. When I rejoined the waking world, I had missed the big father-daughter reunion, but I had a feeling I’d hear all about it from each side.
I’d also missed Digger’s first meeting with the Shithead Brothers. I had no idea how much of the way things were that day had to do with him and how much with the graffiti incident itself. Everyone seemed very, very serious. Maybe focusing on our jobs was the only way to get through it. Even all the techs and venue employees seemed to pick up the vibe. And of course security, but those guys are always like that.
I wasn’t clued in about our own security until after soundcheck. Digger introduced a pair of new hires, Antonio Reyes and Dirk Ericson. Antonio had a hispanic name but a black face and an imposing presence. Turned out he was from Staten Island and used to bounce at some of the clubs I used to haunt when I was underage, but I didn’t find that out right away. Dirk was as blond as Antonio was black, the kind of guy you’d cast in the role of an assassin nicknamed the Ice Man.
Especially when they stood together, they projected an aura of Do Not Fuck With. I approved.
I finally sat down with Digger by the catering spread while Megaton was on the stage. The venue was the Bayfront Auditorium, and here the bay was hard to miss. The building was basically built on the end of a long concrete pier, a whole street really that ran out into the bay for a whole block and then ended in a square, concrete island that held the auditorium and the space for trucks around it, and nothing else.
It was not a huge place, I think the capacity was more like three thousand instead of the ten thousand we’d gotten used to, and it was built back in the fifties and not really renovated much. So we were actually sitting at a back door that was propped open to the view off the water. Normally you wouldn’t just prop open a door to the outside that went right into a band’s green room, but here, you could. I was eating rolled up baloney, because it tastes better when it’s in a roll shape than when it’s flat. (Doesn’t it?)
Digger was drinking a beer and filling me in. “So I’ve talked to almost everyone since I’ve been here.”
“And I’m pretty sure it was one of their people who did it, but I don’t think even they know who. The buses were sitting out there for two whole days and one night pretty much unattended, so it’s hard to pin down.”
“Did they tell you about the break-in?”
“Yeah yeah. So I wouldn’t put it past these stupid shits. The main thing is just keep a lid on it. We only have to put up with their shit for two shows after this.” He rubbed one eye with the hand that wasn’t holding the beer bottle. “Do you think it would’ve made a difference if I’d been here?”
“I don’t know. They were screaming at us and being dicks right from the get go.”
We were quiet for a while and I wiped my greasy fingers on my jeans. Then I asked, “Hey, so Courtney is kind of a surprise, huh?”
“Oh my god. That girl almost gave me a heart attack.” He took a pull on the beer. “I had no idea the brainwashing they put her through. I always knew your mother was crazy, but I never knew how crazy until now. There but for the grace go you and I, you know.”
“I’ll drink to that.” I had only a bottle of water, but I tapped it against his Rolling Rock. “She’s a firecracker though, isn’t she?”
“Tell me about it. She’s got more balls than you and me put together.” He shook his head. “I told her I’d help her get going somewhere else. Set her up a college fund. But she had to promise to stay in school and do the work, you know, not just live off Daddy’s money and party all the time.”
“What did she say to that?”
“Acted insulted that I would dare to suggest she might enjoy her freedom more than the library. Hah. I wasn’t born yesterday, kiddo, I said. And she’s nowhere near the actress that your mother was. Yet, anyway. So we’ll look at applying some places. Maybe in Boston. There are a ton of schools there, after all.”
I refrained from saying anything to that. I didn’t want him to think I didn’t want her there, but I didn’t want him to think I did, either. I didn’t really know what I wanted with regard to my baby sister.
I finished my water and tossed the bottle across the room where it landed inside a big garbage can with a clatter. “All right. I’ve got to go get my makeup on.”
Ziggy was putting on my eyeliner a few minutes later when Antonio came skidding down the hallway.
“Boss, you better come look at this,” he said to Digger.
“Opening band is using some kind of pyrotechnics. Very not approved. The venue is quite upset.”
“On it.” Digger hustled out of the room with him.
I rolled my eyes. “The stupid-shittery continues.”
“Seriously,” Ziggy agreed.
“Hey, how’s your eye? I can’t really see the bruise anymore. Does it still hurt?”
“Only when I press on it hard,” Ziggy said. “Which I try not to do. Hey, at least it’s a small crowd and a small stage tonight. I won’t miss my marks this time.”
“You better not,” I said, but lightly.
“So, your sister is asking me about art school.”
“Yeah. I had to tell her I’m a dropout. Not exactly setting the best example, I know, but…”
“Well, like I’m one to talk. The only one of us who didn’t drop out of college was Christian, who never went in the first place.”
“Yeah, no kidding.” He brushed his fingers through my hair, then pulled back suddenly like he realized what he was doing. He blinked, then got up hurriedly and left the room.
I looked around. No one was there. I guess everyone was out front watching or screaming at each other backstage about whatever it was Megaton had done now.
I decided it wasn’t a bad time to hide for a while. I got the guitar I usually took with me onto the stage and went out behind the building and sat on a folding chair and played for the fish and seagulls. When the music died down I could hear the water lapping. I figured I had a good fifteen minutes to myself before anyone came looking.
I think closer to a half hour went by, and I was just standing up to go see what time it actually was, when Colin stuck his head out the door. “Oh, here you are. Come on, boss. Show time.”
“I’m ready.” We brought the chair in and closed up the doors, and I saw Dirk was standing guard at the inner door. We walked to where the rest of the band was waiting. I handed my laminates to Colin who strung them over his own neck.
And then it was time to do it.