344. Spy In The House Of Love

(Great news! Donations for Colin have topped $75, so he will definitely have a bonus story! Meanwhile a generous donor who wants to know more about Jonathan ensured that he will have a story of his own, too. One more week left for the “popular vote” poll and it probably surprises no one that Ziggy is in the lead there… If you haven’t voted yet or answered the other poll questions, please do! Click *HERE* -ctan)

Courtney and I went back to the party for a short time after that. I know, I was planning to crash, but somehow I followed her back. Turns out that was a good thing, because it meant I could give her the one piece of advice that might make sense, which was, “talk to Carynne.”

I mean, I suppose I had made it clear enough by example that my decree against sex on the tour was a sham at best, but I still didn’t want her getting herself in trouble. If I thought I had issues with being gay on the road, I am sure being a woman worker in the business had even more–or at least different–issues I didn’t even know about. Carynne, though, did. Intimately.

Some of the guys from the other bands started playing music. You should’ve seen the look on Colin’s face when one of them handed him a guitar. He went with it, though, tuning it up a little nervously and then watching Topher’s hands to see what chords he played. Colin picked it up quickly, figuring out that the way Celtic folks songs works is about the same way the blues works, only different chords. Actually, now that I think about it, no they’re not, a lot of them are the one-four-five, too.

When my eyes started to droop they were still playing. I wandered out and started to wonder where Ziggy had ended up. Carynne had already disappeared for the night. So had Courtney, so I couldn’t ask her if she knew which room he was in.

My wanderings took me down to the niche where the soda and snack vending machines were. The snack machine had something I hadn’t seen often anymore, Andy Capp’s Hot Fries. I dug some change out of my pocket to get some.

I was leaning over to dig the package out of the bottom of the machine when Christian came around the corner. He was in one of our tour crew shirts and jeans, but barefoot, his feet slapping on the concrete walkway.

“Hey,” I said.


“How’s it going?”

“It’s going.” He got himself a Diet Coke. “What did you think of the show tonight?” Pure band small talk.

“Loved the acoustics. I think it went off good, considering everything.” I yawned. “Hey, did you see where Ziggy went to?”

“I heard Carynne knocking on his door to make sure he took his meds before he went to sleep,” Chris said. “Maybe an hour ago. They said he’s doing all right, then?”

“The inflammation is down they said, and he told me it hurts a lot less than it did.” I breathed a sigh of relief. “Hopefully the worst is over.”

“Yeah, hopefully,” Chris agreed. “Well, see you in the morning.”

“Yeah.” I turned back to the machine as if I were going to get something else. But I looked to see which door Chris went to. After it had shut behind him, I took a walk that direction. Part of me was thinking, well, that was a nice, normal conversation with Chris, who seemed neither upset nor high. Ideal way to be. The other part of me was trying to figure out which room Ziggy was in.

Turned out not too difficult, since he had left the curtains open a crack and the bedside light on.

He was asleep with a book on his chest. Not his notebook, some paperback, his hands folded atop the spine of the book. His mouth was slightly open.

I had a sudden surge of irrational panic that he had died. He looked like a corpse in that pose, and he had dark circles under his eyes.

You’re being stupid, I told myself. He’s asleep. He fell asleep while reading and he never took his eye liner off and he gave himself raccoon eyes from rubbing them.

Okay, yeah, I am being stupid, I agreed. So then I stood there torturing myself with the thought of what it would be like, though, if he did die. Impossible to contemplate and yet, it could happen to anyone any time. It’d change the entire course of my life, I thought. If something like that happened. And life would be very, very… hard to live after that. Don’t ask me how I thought I knew that since I’d never had someone close to me die. It just seemed obvious. It’d leave us all, but me especially, with a gaping wound.

A new surge of fear welled up. But then he moved. He rolled away from the window and tugged the covers over his shoulder. He was alone in the room.

I nearly knocked. I nearly woke him. But he needed his rest to recover. I was a big boy and could wait to talk to him later. No need to be a drama queen and wake him in the middle of the night.

I went back to my room and jotted down a couple of thoughts about a song, about looking at your lover asleep. I was thinking the whole idea was a cliche often used in love songs, but those kinds of songs didn’t usually have the beholder panic and wonder about death. I was too unfocused and tired to actually try to write any lyrics or work out any riffs. I got into bed and was asleep before Colin came in.

(Given that we were just in Detroit, this video by Was (Not Was) made a good fit, eh? Yet another minor hit from 1989. -d)


  • Jude says:

    Clearly you’d been listening to too many folk songs, which is why you were writing about panicking about someone dying. Pretty soon, you’ll find yourself writing a jolly song about a hanging.

  • s says:

    Hey ctan. Got a question for you. I’ve commented on probably 75ish chapters and you or the guys have commented back on about half of those, yet I’ve only received like 9 emails alerting me to your replies. That seemed odd to me, so I just wanted to see if that was normal or a glitch? Not a big deal, just thought it was curious and thought you might want to know. I’ve never read a story like this before, so I guess you can say I’m a newbie 🙂

    • ctan says:

      What’s weird is that I should also be getting an email notification for each of your comments, and I’ve only gotten a few. (Fortunately Daron and I can see them all from the dashboard inside WordPress once we’re logged in.) So I think there’s definitely either a glitch (i.e. the site isn’t sending all the notifications) or Gmail and Hotmail have decided that too many things that look similar must be spam and they’re getting filtered out?

      Either way, some kind of a glitch! Sorry about that.

      • s says:

        Yeah, it’s weird. Today I had 2 notifications, plus the 2 emails you sent me. I had to hunt this one down just out of curiosity, but I can’t remember all the ones I’ve commented on now. LOL. BTW, it’s always Daron’s posts that I get notification for. Never you or Ziggy.

        Hotmail sucks, so that’s probably the problem. I’ll try my gmail account today and see if that changes anything. I love the interactions you have with your fans, and I love the format for this story. Thanks for being so awesome!

        • ctan says:

          I got a flurry of notifications of your comments today… but only about half of them. Sigh!

          I’m always excited when people leave comments. The least I can do it answer them! 🙂 (Daron answering comments was not originally planned, but so many people were leaving comments addressed to him… he felt he really needed to answer them, too. So that’s how we ended up with both of us answering them. He does livechats sometimes too.)

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