522. Public Image Limited

(Saturday post! I realized I had neglected to count some of the Paypal donations! So guess what? The final total was actually $257 from Paypal. Add that to the Kickstarter total of $5,258 and you get $5,515! So we really did completely meet all stretch goals! To celebrate how amazing you all are, here’s a Saturday post! -ctan)

The meeting with Feinbaum was useless. Carynne and I went to his office for it. I had jokingly asked her if that meant I should wear something without any holes or something with. (Without.) The weather was stupidly hot and inside his office it was refrigerator cold, suitable only for people wearing three-piece suits, I guess, which neither Carynne nor I were. Feinbaum had seemed rushed, like he didn’t have time for us, and I was just as glad to get out of there quickly anyway.

We got in Carynne’s car in the depths of a parking garage where it was slightly cooler than outside and I asked, “Do you get the feeling he didn’t really want to talk to us?”

She shrugged and started the engine. “Maybe now that it seems like we’re not about to try to sue the pants off BNC, he’s not having as much fun.”

“Or making as much money.”

“Yeah.” She then took me into Cambridge so we could stop at the little guitar shop that carried all the strings I liked so I could restock. They were surly in there in that way that passed for friendly in New England, which is why I think I liked them.

She dropped me off at the house. As she was pulling into the driveway she said, “The premiere is on Thursday.”

“What day is today?”

“Tuesday, D.”

“Okay.” I took a deep breath. “Can you get me a phone number for him? But I think I should wait until the weekend to call him.”


“Have a heart, Car’. This is his big moment. Let him have it without me nipping at his heels. And then I’ll give him a day to recover.”

“He’s supposedly off drugs…”

“Drinking and drugs aren’t the only things people need to rest up from,” I said. “I’ll try him Saturday or Sunday. That’s assuming we get a number for him.”

“Oh, speaking of numbers, Sarah Rogue called and left a new one for you. Here.” She put the car in park and dug in her big purse for her address book. She copied a number onto a piece of paper and handed it to me.

I went into the house and didn’t call Sarah right away. I set to restringing everything and adjusting the truss rod on the Ovation. Hitting Orlando’s cousin in the face with it had knocked it out of true so there was a slight buzzing in the strings. Colin came down and helped me restring, which was nice, since otherwise it’s kind of tedious.

When I say I restrung everything I actually meant six guitars. The Ovation, the backup that was just like it, the 12-string version, both Fenders, and the Yamaha we’d found in the junk room back when. The other guitars I had sitting around I hadn’t played in years now, and didn’t have plans to. So they could wait.

I played a couple of the classical guitar pieces I’d memorized forever ago, back in school, on the Yamaha. Something about going back in time like that seems helpful to me. It gets me grounded and gives me a kind of benchmark. I needed to file my nails. If they get too long, they break too easily, and then you’re kind of up a creek until the broken one grows in.

Colin had painted his black.

We walked to the pho place and stuffed ourselves happily on beef brisket soup and rice noodles, and when we got back to the house I called Sarah.

I lay down on my bed to call her. Her machine picked up. “Hey, Sarah, it’s Daron.”

She picked up the handset. “Heyyyyyy! The world traveler returns.”

“Yep. How are things with you? Did you fire my dad yet?”

I’d said it as a joke, but her voice dropped immediately. “Oh, jeez, Daron, I need some advice about that.”

“What kind of advice? Give him the boot. That’s my advice.”

“Seriously. This is the thing. My mother was all for getting rid of him. We were getting the paperwork together for me to move to a full service talent agency. An agent there was all gung-ho, I really liked him, and then all of a sudden, poof, they turned me down.”

“Was it Weiland Thomas?” I asked.

“Not him, but someone else at WTA, yeah,” she said. “How did you know?”

“Digger used to work there. And I’m sure he has his grubby fingers in somebody’s pie there. Blackmail? Someone owed him a favor? Who knows.”

“Or maybe the rumor that I’m a lesbian scared them off.”

“Is there such a rumor?” The back of my neck prickled.

“Not so far as I could tell, I mean, nothing in the press. And yet there was this sense… something the guy said to my mother made me think that was what was going on. He wouldn’t come out and say it directly, because then we’d deny it. But you know how you can sometimes tell?”

“Yes.” The prickling spread across my shoulders and I rolled over onto my side. “How much you want to bet it was Digger himself who spread the rumor to them?”

“But he’s the one always going on about how I shouldn’t ever let my image slip or people will whisper!”

“You told him?”

“No! But he’s concerned that my image will slip within the industry…”

“Not to mention that your contact at your record company is a homophobic shit who would think nothing of eighty-sixing your career if he thinks you’re a dyke,” I added.

“Mills, you mean.”


She was quiet a second. I could hear a siren in the background. Ah, New York. “Daron, there’s something I think you should know about Mills.”

“What?” I was imagining she was going to tell me something about BNC, or that she’d heard him say he didn’t believe in guitar-oriented rock anymore, or something.

“I think he’s a closet case.”

It took me a second to understand what she said. “What? I mean, I heard you, but… what makes you think that?”

“You told me yourself that your gaydar’s broken.”

“Even still!”

“He’s the only man in this entire industry who doesn’t flirt with me or outright try to get me to sleep with him.”

“Maybe because he’s your rep? Or because he’s been there done that with some other acts and it’s old hat to him now?”

“Are you seriously defending the guy?” She was almost yelling at me. Almost.

“No! But back up a second. That’s a really big leap to make.”

“You don’t understand. Every man. Every. Man.”

“Oh shit, are you telling me Digger came on to you?”

“Of course he did.” I think I could hear her rolling her eyes at me. “Daron, wake up, this is what it’s like for a woman in this business. They think if I’m a sex symbol that means it’s okay for them to proposition me right and left. Every single one thinks maybe he’ll be the one to get lucky.”

“Is that why it’s called getting lucky? Like luck is the deciding factor? Because a guy finally asked the right girl at the right time if she wants to fuck?” I was thinking out loud. “Um, now that I think about it, that’s kind of how cruising works.”

“Because when you’re cruising you’re looking to find someone else who’s cruising too, right? This is what I’m telling you, though, straight men, at least in the business, are cruising for pussy all the time. At least all the time I’m around. It’s like I walk into the building and all their dicks point at me like divining rods.”

“That’s… Sarah…”

“That’s reality. It’s okay, I’m used to it. Anyway. The thing that makes me think Mills is a closet case is that he’s the only one who never gives me that vibe. And I used to think what you said, that it was because we had an actual business relationship and maybe he was too principled a dude for that. But then after what he did to you, after what he said…”

I was putting two and two together. “You mean, he’s a homophobe because he hates himself.”

“Bingo.” She let a couple of beats go by, before she asked me, “So when are we going to piss off him and Digger by going out together?”

“You haven’t found someone for that yet? It was a year ago we talked about that, Sar’.”

“Oh, I did. I was seen in the tabloids getting felt up by Ryan Rasner. But that’s old news. And he was kind of a head case anyway.”

“Like I’m not.”

“No. You’re not. Not in comparison. Plus you have talent. What are you doing this weekend?”


“Come to New York. We’ll catch a show or something. I’ll see what guest lists I can get on. Come on. Now that you’re back in the States you need to show your face.” She let me think about it for a couple of seconds before she added, “Call Carynne. You’ll find out she agrees with me.”

“Okay, but did Carynne tell you what’s happening with us and BNC?”


I opened my mouth to tell her and then realized I didn’t want to be on the phone for another hour, which was what I knew would happen. “I’ll tell you when I see you.”

“When will that be?”

“Friday. I’ll take the train. Should I pack rock star standard?”

“You mean like what you wore for house parties in L.A.? Yeah. Call me when you know what time your train gets in and I’ll have my driver pick you up.”

“Your driver?”

“I know, I know. But come on. Like I’m going to drive myself around New York Fucking City.” She snorted. “See you in a couple of days. I’ll alert the media.”

“Wow. That’s the first time I ever heard someone use that phrase in a non-sarcastic way.”

“Oh, hey, and bring a guitar.”

“I wouldn’t leave home without one.”

After that I called Carynne to check that it was really okay for me to go to the city and be seen gallivanting around with Sarah Rogue on my arm–or more likely me on her arm. That woman was like an Amazon once she put her heels on.

Carynne agreed I should go.

And she gave me a phone number. Ziggy’s. In Los Angeles.


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