369. Pop Goes the World

(We’ve had two requests for another adults-only bonus scene, this one for what happened between Colin and Ziggy at the end of last chapter! It’s so soon after the last one, I’m going to repeat the offer, to get Bonus Scene #5, if anyone’s too broke to donate, do any of the following and email me a screencapture or link as proof! Recommend DGC to your Tumblr, LJ, blog followers, Twitter, Facebook, or other social media friends by linking to the site, leave a review of any one of the DGC ebooks on Amazon or on Goodreads, or review the audiobooks at Audible.com! OR just make a donation like usual, and if it’s your first donation be sure to say you’re 18 years of age or older! I’ll write the scene this weekend!

I was woken by the whisper of a sheet of paper slipping under the door. The day sheet, no doubt. Soundcheck would be in the afternoon, lights up on the opening band was 7pm… wasn’t it? It usually was. I hadn’t really talked to anyone in the other bands in a couple of days. I wondered how they were doing. They had press of their own to do, plus Wednesday’s Child had that club show, plus they wanted to play tourist in New York. I was kind of glad to be “from” here–at least sort-of. I couldn’t really call myself a New Yorker, but I could say I grew up here without feeling like I was lying.

New York was big, dirty, and confusing if you weren’t used to it. I was used to it.

Someone had shut the blackout curtains. Jonathan must’ve gotten up in the night and done it. It was probably eight or nine in the morning.

One thing that was good about Digger having wangled us the entire floor to ourselves, he had made a deal with the housekeepers to do us last. So people who wanted to sleep in weren’t being woken by vacuuming in the hallway before noon, for example. Not that it helped me, since I’d had to be up at the asscrack of dawn how many times this week?

That was probably why I couldn’t get back to sleep. I’d gotten used to being up and even though we’d been out late, and everything had been exhausting for so many reasons, and I felt too tired to sit up, I wasn’t falling back to sleep. J. seemed out like a light and I decided to try not to disturb him if I could help it.

They say troubles that haunt at night often look smaller in the light of day. Hm, so how did they look now, in the pitch blackness of an insomniac morning? The emotional rollercoaster did seem less bumpy in retrospect. My main worry was that Ziggy would be too hung over to be at his best tonight. Madison Fucking Garden.

Eventually I slipped out of bed to use the john and pick up the day sheet. In the bathroom I looked it over. Every day sheet started with the day, date, and city we were in. They usually said it like this: “Today is Friday July 22 and you are in Chicago, Illinois.”

Today’s read: “Today is Friday July 22 and you are STILL in New York Fucking City.” That made me smile. Clearly Carynne and I were on the same wavelength.

What didn’t make me smile was the fact that between soundcheck and the show they had scheduled ANOTHER press confab. For fuck’s sake, were there any reporters left in the city we hadn’t talked to yet? Apparently there were.

And that probably meant they were going to be hanging around during the soundcheck itself. And we hadn’t played in days. My fingertips itched because I wanted to rehearse.

I pulled some clothes on in the dark and sneaked out of the room so I wouldn’t wake J. and went toward the smell of coffee.

Carynne was in the suite. She had the big coffeemaker going, and two boxes of donuts on the table, and the phone glued to her ear. When she saw me she hung up, and said, “I hate being on hold.” Then she looked me up and down. “You’re up early.”

I think I said something like, “Eh.” Maybe less.

“You don’t look like you had an early night,” she said, handing me a pre-counted wad of cash.

“Didn’t. Eh.” I poured myself a cup of coffee, found ice cubes in the suite fridge, melted them in it, and then drank it as quickly as I could. I woke up enough to perceive her amused smile. “What?”


I tried to growl but it came out more of a groan. I reverted to words. “Seriously. Do I have feathers in my hair or something?”

“No, but you’re wearing Jonathan’s shirt.”

“Oh.” Well, I did get dressed in the dark. I pressed my palms into my eyelids. “I know this is going to be a huge pain but I’m going to ask, because you never know until you ask, right?”

“What is it? Daron, sit down before you fall over.”

I sat at the table. She was on one corner of it and I was a few chairs down. “The press thing at the Garden, does it have to happen there?”


“Because I’d rather not have them all listening to a soundcheck when we haven’t played together in a week.”

“It hasn’t been a week. It’s been three days.” She frowned. “Daron, what’s really going on?”

“Ugh.” I got up and repeated my coffee trick, then returned to the table to try again. “Ziggy got into some kind of psychedelic drugs last night, and I worry that he’s going to wake up speaking pig Latin or something like that.”

For a moment she thought I was kidding, then I saw her eyes snap into focus. “What kind of psychedelics?”

“Ecstasy we think.”

“That’s psychedelic? I thought it was just a party drug.”

“Whatever. I don’t know. I don’t want to know. And how’s Chris? I haven’t seen him for days either.”

“He’s fine. Lacey’s keeping a tight leash on him.”

“Lacey? Lacey’s the one who got him back into coke in the first place!”

Carynne yawned and tossed her hair out of her eyes. “Get back to the point, Daron. The press thing?”

“Yeah, so, what I was saying was what if we sound like crap? I don’t want them in earshot. Can we move it over here somewhere? Conference room or something? Keep them distracted with food until we’re done?”

“It’d be a hell of a lot easier to do it over there…” she said, but I could see the wheels were turning. She was seriously considering my idea. She looked at the closed door to Digger’s room. “You never ask for anything, you know.”


“You, compared to most touring musicians I’ve worked with, never ask for anything. So when you ask for something I know it must be important.” She got up and listened at Digger’s door, then came back. “Still snoring. When he gets up I’ll have him call his catering buddy and see if we can work something out. If they can’t, I’ll get on the horn and see if there’s a bar nearby we could commandeer. If I can’t find anything within two blocks though, this won’t work. Trying to do it completely offsite would be a completely clusterfuck. The food idea is a good one. Writers always like free food.”

“Yeah, J. told me it’s a rule. Never pass up a free meal.” I got a third cup of coffee, didn’t ice this one, and sat down with it. “So what did you do last night?”

“All I did was sleep,” she said. “Sorry to miss Matthew’s thing. How was it?”

“Fantastic. I don’t know shit about photography, but it was fantastic.” I ended up telling her everything at that point, from the disturbing AIDS patients photos to the bistro to running into Antonio to running into Ziggy to Colin taking over “babysitting” duty.

“Ah, that explains the noises,” she said. I guessed Colin’s room shared a wall with hers. “Well, it sounds like you had a good time anyway.”

“When I tell it like that it does,” I said.

She looked me in the eye. “If Jonathan hadn’t been here, would you have gone with Zig?”

“Inevitably,” I said.

“Oh, Daron,” she said. But that was all she said.

I only felt sad and sorry for myself for a moment. I had other things to worry about. “Can you find out what the best way to recover from an Ecstasy hangover is? I think Zig’s going to need it. And we’re sure as hell going to need him at his peak tonight.”

She nodded. “Oh, there’s one more thing you should know.”

“Something for the day sheet?”

“No. Don’t leave the hotel without a security escort.”

“What? Why?”

“Word’s out that you’re staying here. Some DJ let it slip on his show this morning.”

“Some DJ? I bet I know which one.”

She smiled coyly. “There are probably a hundred fans camped out in front of the building.”

“A hundred doesn’t sound too bad…”

“It’s only nine in the morning. By noon I’m predicting it’ll be a thousand. By soundcheck…? Who knows. I’m hoping for ten thousand and to make the evening news.”

I think my mouth hung open a little. Then I said, “I see why you said it’d be easier to do the press thing over there.”

“Thinking about it from a PR standpoint, though, it might be kind of smart to make them all come over here and see the screaming horde.” She nodded her head like she was agreeing with herself.

I nodded, too. “See, it was fate. It was like it was your idea all along.”


  • Joe says:

    Two things jump out:

    1) “asscrack of dawn” — love it

    2) “Oh, Daron.” — two little words, but they speak volumes

    “Do I have feathers in my hair or something” is a nice runner-up.

    Very nice story today, thanks.

  • Sara Winters says:

    It was like it was her idea all along, hm? Yeah. Kind of like the thing with Colin. I wonder what level of fucked up Ziggy’s going to be when he makes his next appearance.

    All right, it only took me *counts* 6 hours to read the last 50 posts (in between reading other stuff on the interwebs). More, please.

  • Songquake says:

    Whose idea was it to have a press thing between the soundcheck and the gig??? I’d hate that. Hell, I hate to have to actually deal with any non-performers after I warm up–including dinner. I get snippy.

    • ziggy says:

      Soundcheck isn’t a warmup as far as I’m concerned. As the headliner, we can sometimes be done with it by two or three in the afternoon (if the gear is already set up), and we don’t hit the stage again until nine or ten p.m. That means six to eight hours between the two a lot of the time, making it not just the prime hours for local press and obligations, but the ONLY time to take care of those things.

    • daron says:

      What he said about soundcheck not being a warmup. It’s got too many stops and starts in it to be a good warmup most days, and yeah, it comes too many hours before the set. The only reason I’m annoyed about the press thing is we already did so MUCH damn press this week.

  • Bill Heath says:

    I’m grinning like mad. 1969-1970 our band would have killed for a chance to do a press thing between sound check and the performance, between breakfast and the Apocalypse, or even standing up in a hammock.

    We once got three reporters at the same time. It turned out one of them had mistaken us for somebody else. It was in Baltimore, so we had one from Baltimore and one from DC. Since we never broke out of a small following in the mid-Atlantic, and never recorded more than a couple of singles, what D is going through is something we would have killed for. But that was at the time.

    Today I see it very differently. Had we made it big the catastrophes would have come earlier. One died of AIDS in the early 80s, one of a heroin overdose in the late 80s, one of suicide in the late 90s, one will die shortly of tobacco-related illnesses after more than half a century of chain smoking.

    Sex, drugs, rock and roll and self-destructive behavior. In retrospect, I think the rock and roll and the self-destructive behavior are a chicken and egg issue. Self-destructive personalities are drawn to rock and roll performance. Rock and roll performers are drawn to self-destructive behaviors.

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