Colin and I eventually got out of bed. There were some post-tour things to take care of here and there, equipment and stuff, but nothing urgent. Laundry. I couldn’t quite motivate myself to sort and wash when I had clean clothes at home. Then Chris told me he had used the last of the detergent, so I had a legitimate excuse for leaving my bags packed for a while. I did go through all the guitar cases and empty out the random things that had collected in them. I hung Christmas Cat Elvis in my window. I wondered if I should buy curtains. I made sure Courtney had a towel and knew what was what in the kitchen. That was about the extent of what I accomplished.
A day or two later I got an answering machine message from Digger. He’d called while I was out buying detergent. The message was to say that there was nothing to report. I suppose I should be grateful he bothered to call me at all. The upshot was I wasn’t going anywhere anytime soon and neither was Ziggy.
Then I did what I always did when I needed advice: I called Remo.
Amazingly, since neither he nor I were on the road, I caught him at home. He picked up on the second ring. I was lying on my mattress with my head at the wrong end.
“Are you home?” he asked, as soon as he heard it was me. “I heard something happened.”
“Did you hear it from Digger?”
“No. Just gossip. What’s the scoop? You guys okay?”
Okay, how to sum this up? “It’s a long story but the short version is Ziggy’s at Betty Ford right now and I’m in Boston with my thumb up my ass.”
“Jeez, that was quick.” I could practically hear him shaking his head. “Cocaine?”
“Painkillers. Started with the explosion. Mix in the fact that he was on Prozac, which was fucking him up but good as far as I could tell, plus other recreational chemicals… Yeah. He unraveled really fast. And then in the second to last show, he had an accident trying to climb the sound system when a bunch of it came down.” I left out the bit about me probably having a concussion. It already seemed really piddling in comparison. “Then he said something scary to the ER docs and they committed him.”
“No shit. Do you know what he said?”
“Nope. But I guess it must have been enough for them to think of him as quote-unquote a risk to himself or others. That was the phrase they used. And I really can’t see him being a danger to anyone else.”
“Jeez. That’s heavy.”
“No kidding. Everything’s on hold until we figure out what’s up with him. He’s at the clinic for a month. Pulled the plug on the festivals we were going to do, and BNC has been squidgy about firming up plans for a follow-up record.”
“So you’re not doing anything for a while?”
“The only thing I have on my to do list is laundry.” I tried to make it a joke but it came out dead serious.
“You want to tag along on a trip to Japan in the fall?”
“I don’t know, Reem. By then maybe we’ll know what’s up.”
“Okay. Just putting it out there. No pressure. Here’s another suggestion. You want to come out here for a visit?”
“Betty Ford is like a two hour drive from here.”
“Do I sound that desperate?”
“Okay, wait a second, what do you hear? Serious question.”
“I just know you. You never call unless something’s wrong. And you only sound like this when things are bad.”
When aren’t things bad? I wanted to ask. But that would have been whiny.
He went on. “And I put two and two together, you know. Even if you and him aren’t whatever, he’s a bandmate and your co-writer and probably the most important person in the world to you right now.”
“Yeah. True.” I didn’t bring up “whatever,” but maybe the beautiful thing about Remo was I didn’t have to.
“So if I were in your place, I’d be freaking out. If there’s anything I can do to help, you know I will. If you want to come here, the place is yours. We’re leaving for Munich end of next week, and I’m basically gone for a month solid before a quick stop back.”
“I don’t know, Reem…”
“I like it when someone’s here to check on the place. If you need an excuse to come out, that’s a favor you could do me. Keep it in mind, all right?”
“All right. Maybe I’ll know more in a while?”
“Maybe you’ll know more after I go for a drink with your old man. What’s he told you?”
“Uh huh. I bet I get a call from him any minute if he’s in LA. Tomorrow’s Friday. He’s going to want to go out drinking, and he’s going to need a drink if everything you’ve told me holds up.” He chuckled. “I’m sure I’ll get the whole story with three part harmony and diagrams if necessary.”
“Okay. That would be awesome, Reem. I mean, this is really important to me.” God, I sounded so lame, but the right words just weren’t there.
“I know,” he said. “I’m on it. Hey, now, don’t do anything stupid on your side of the country.”
“I’m not about to get myself committed, if that’s what you mean.”
“That’s exactly what I mean.”
“I’m fine,” I insisted. “I’m not addicted to anything and I’m not suicidal.”
“All right. Don’t beat yourself up too much, though. The week or two after you get off the road it’s always going to be an adjustment period. A lot of guys get depressed, even without any heavy shit going on.”
“Really. I know you think it should be like summer vacation, but think about it. You may be tired, but all that love and attention you’ve been soaking up is gone, and all the stimulation and excitement is gone, and it can feel like whoa holy shit I’ve forgotten how to toast my own English muffin.”
“Okay, point taken.”
“Go do your laundry. You won’t regret it.”
“Yeah, I suppose.”
“And call me any time. I’ll let you know if I get anything out of your dad.”