When I got back to the party, the jam session had broken up, the Ovation was in its case. I could tell from the way everything was arranged that Flip had been the one to put it away. Once a guitar tech, always a guitar tech.
I went to find him to say thanks. He was expounding about posture to Martin, who was nodding like he’d heard this one before.
“Hey,” Flip said to me. “I picked up my messages from home. I’ve got two questions for you.”
“Funny guy. Two for the moment. One, do you have six hundred dollars.”
“Not on me.”
“Two, if there was an opening in a Guitar Craft workshop next week, would you want to go?”
So that’s what the $600 was for. “Absolutely. Why? Is there an opening?”
“Might be. There’s normally a waitlist, but there were six guys all coming from overseas together as a group, something got fucked up with their visas or something. I didn’t get the whole story. And it’s short notice. Not everyone can jump on it. So I got a call asking if I knew anyone who might want to go.”
“Tell Carynne when and where and she’ll handle everything.”
He grinned. “Must be nice having a secretary.”
“Manager,” I said automatically. “Never mind. I’ll tell her myself.” I patted him on the shoulder so he wouldn’t think I was pissed at him or something, because I knew that came across a little snippy. I needed some rest and to have drunk two or three fewer beers.
I resolved to find Carynne and tell her before I forgot and then go to bed.
I found her sitting where I’d been with Remo earlier, looking at the beach. I got some water and sat down with her, starting to feel drowsy now that I had resolved to call it a night.
She spoke first, though. “You know, if you join Nomad you don’t need me anymore.”
I had been half asleep, but I was suddenly wide awake. “Whoa, wait a second. First of all, I’m not joining Nomad. Second, even if I did, what makes you think I wouldn’t need you anymore? Are your other bands doing that well you need to move on?”
Her eyes went wide, too, like what I said woke her up. “Holy shit, no, I was thinking you might want to fire me.”
“Quit that. Quit even thinking about that kind of thing. I’m not firing you; I’m not leaving you. Even if I gallivant around the world from time to time.”
“Okay, good. I’m not leaving you, either.”
We both sat back and rested a moment, and then we both burst out laughing.
Which made me ask, “Are we starting to become alike or something?”
“Can I tell you about my next round of gallivanting?”
“Where are you going next?” She gave me a critical look.
“Virginia. Flip has the details. For a guitar workshop with Robert Fripp. Can you figure out how to get me there and all that?”
“I’ll talk to Flip. Can I tell you my latest dating failure?”
She told me about a guy she had gone out with a few times and the various reasons why she thought they weren’t compatible. My impression was that the main problem was she liked his “resume” but didn’t like him. She liked a laundry list of things about him–his build, his hair color, his job, his background, his hobbies–but that didn’t mean she liked his personality.
When she ran down, I pointed this out.
“I don’t think it was that,” she said. “I think it was that he can’t handle what I do for a living and he can’t handle that I used to fuck rock stars as a hobby.”
“Used to. Come on, D. It was one thing when I was just a kid with no real responsibilities. Now if I’m going to have any respect in the industry I can’t.”
“And you told him about your… hobby?”
“Of course. How the hell am I supposed to get intimate with someone unless we exchange sexual histories? If he can’t handle where I’ve been, I shouldn’t let him in.”
“Ah. Well put.”
“So he was a bore in bed, really repressed, I suspect because he was comparing himself the whole time to who he imagined I slept with when I was like eighteen.” She shook her head. “And that’s the real dealbreaker. If a guy is not good in bed, then there’s really zero reason to date him. Everything else a boyfriend brings to the table I can get somewhere else.”
“Everything but the sex. I’ve got all the emotional attachment and fulfillment and income handled for myself already, thanks.”
So it seemed. We sat quietly for a minute or two. Then I asked her, “Did you ever think that every guy you date turns out to be a bore in bed, though, because you’ve slept with all these rock stars?”
She shrugged. “Some of them weren’t that great.”
“But rock stars are what turns you on. Not nice guys with nice resumes.”
She looked into her beer. “Point.”
“This hasn’t occurred to you before?”
“I hadn’t thought about it quite like that.” She sighed and then looked at me. “Why aren’t you straight? That would solve all my problems.”
“Yes, because you and I would have the perfect friends with benefits arrangement. You would totally handle it. I know you would.”
I felt good and bad about this. “I love you, Carynne. But not like that.”
“Except that one time.”
“I love you, too, Daron. But I wish…” She shook her head again. “Sorry. Don’t mean to make you flip out. This is not a pass, okay? But you happen to be the only friend I can really talk to about it.”
“I totally understand.” I did. I knew all about the person who was your affliction being the only remedy, too.
We sat there not saying much then, and although I was happy she was there, I was a little depressed. End of tour. Although it was going to be nice to have a few quiet days at the beach.
I said, “Find out anything about Ziggy?”
She shook her head.
A thought came to me then. Now that the tour was over and I didn’t have to think about anything regarding that, I had space in my brain to have other thoughts. The thought was this: I didn’t want to go home to Boston unless Ziggy was there.
Which was stupid.
But there it was. I wondered if I would have to go directly to Virginia. No reason not to, really. I could send my excess stuff home with Courtney. Which reminded me:
“He’s all right. He thought about coming down here, too, but his family asked him to spend the holidays with them and he decided to go along with it.”
“I thought he and his father didn’t get along?”
“They don’t, but I guess he felt like maybe this would be the time to try to make one more stab at reconciliation.”
“Don’t use the word ‘stab.’ They had a violent relationship from what I remember.”
I told her my thought. “I don’t want to go home if Ziggy’s not there.”
“Oh, honey.” She held me then. I didn’t cry. I’d reached a state of fatigue or numbness I guess where I felt awful, but not the crying kind of awful.
She held me for a long time. I could hear water, waves. At one point I said, “Please tell me I’m not doing to you what he did to me.”
She kissed me on the hair. “No, honeybunches of oats. It’s not like that at all with us. I’m very happy with how much I love you and how much you love me back.”
“I’m sure. Even if I bitch that I’m not getting laid enough.”
“Let’s find you some hot Australian at least.” I suggested.
“That would be great. What about you?”
“Yeah, I could use a hot Australian, too, I guess.”
We fell silent again. Then at pretty much the same moment we both tried to make the exact same joke: “Think Michael Hutchence is available?” Which set us both to laughing so hard then that when Bart came to find out what was so funny we couldn’t even stop laughing long enough to tell him. Which was just as well since it couldn’t really be explained.
(This song would make an outstanding speed metal cover. Don’t you think? -d.)