530. This Is How It Feels

You know how in cartoons they often depict someone having an internal debate by putting an angel on one shoulder and a devil on the other? And the little angel and devil each puts forth their argument?

I didn’t have an angel and a devil on my shoulders. I had two pathetic, ineffectual weak versions of myself. One of them was saying the following: what the hell is wrong with you? you’ve got people who love you downstairs, you’re strong, you’re over that shit, you’re talented, you’re good-looking, people like you, you wrote a hit song, girls faint when they see you, hot men would line up for you if you let them…

The other one was saying oh shit oh shit fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck.

What the fuck is wrong with me, indeed.

You shouldn’t have been shocked by that, voice one said.

But I was! voice two insisted.

I went into the men’s room because I didn’t have enough brain power to think of anything else. I could hear the sound of the crowd starting to take their seats. I locked myself in a stall.

I wasn’t crying. I was kind of hyperventilating.

Voice one: There’s got to be a rational explanation, don’t jump to conclusions. You don’t even know who that guy was.

Voice two: fuck fuck fuck fuck shit shit shit.

You remember how thrown for a loop I was that time I lashed out at him and hurt my thumb? There’s a reason they call it “losing it.” It’s not just losing control, it’s losing your mind. And what I felt like right then was like I was losing my mind. Like every other time I’d lost it was happening to me again simultaneously.

No wonder I was afraid to talk to him. No wonder I’d been so chickenshit about calling him. I felt like I was having a heart attack or a seizure or something. It was like after having kicked the Ziggy habit, my resistance was at an all time low and a single look was an overdose.

Voice number one wouldn’t give up, though. Are you sure that was him and not some fan impersonating him? They do that, you know. Are you sure you didn’t just imagine it? Why the fuck would he be here, for this? He was in Los Angeles yesterday.

But that was yesterday. He could have taken a red-eye.

The thought struck me then that if Ziggy was here, Digger was probably lurking around, too.

Shit. That straightened me right up. Like hell was I going to let Digger see me like this.

Like hell.

I could hear applause, and I could make out the baritone squawk of the PA system. Someone was making some kind of introduction in the auditorium.

I splashed a little water on my face but like I said before I wasn’t crying. I dried my face and then slipped into the back of the main balcony.

Down on the stage they were introducing the director of the film and he was waving to the crowd. He was in a stylishly cut suit. Was that him? The one? In my mind I could definitely picture him in my memory, but I felt like maybe I’d gotten too quick a glimpse to be sure. I might have been retroactively adding him in.

But it would make sense, given Ziggy’s m.o. of using sex to control whoever held the creative strings.

The director was one of those guys who didn’t really know how to hold a microphone and who kept turning his head away from it so some of his words were lost. He said a couple of things about why he wanted to make the film. Then he said he had a special surprise for everyone.

He introduced Ziggy with a wave of his hand toward the balcony I’d been trying to get to.

Ziggy stepped out of the shadows and waved. There was a swell of cheers from down below and he threw some T-shirts, but up here in the balcony the crowd seemed to be mostly guys in their late teens and twenties whose “yeah”s were kind of derisive. Maybe I was being oversensitive. I supposed these were the guys who were there to see Jennifer Carstens’ tits and they were only grudgingly acknowledging the guy who actually saw them in person.

I doubt they were put off by Ziggy’s outfit, like the ET guy had been. This one was quite a bit more butch, though he did have on black lace gloves the rest was a long-cut tuxedo jacket with black satin lapels. When he was out of T-shirts, he sat down with as much dignity as he could muster.

The lights went down, plunging him into shadow as the film started.

He was hurting, that much was clear to me. Maybe you’re seeing what you want to see, I told myself. No. I knew him too well. This was the last place he wanted to be.

I didn’t last ten minutes into the film. The audience was not swayed by the angst evident in the first couple of scenes. Some of them were there because they were Ziggy fans, some were there because they wanted to see Carstens’ tits, and some were there because what the hell, they had won free tickets. The upper balcony wasn’t even full.

I wondered if that boded ill for the success of the movie. I had no way to know.

I went back to the men’s room to make a plan. Okay, what were my choices? Leave? Stay but hide in here? Leaving would probably result in Sarah and Jonathan panicking unnecessarily. I didn’t exactly relish the thought of hiding out in the bathroom for two hours, though. I also didn’t want to see Digger if I could help it.

Antonio. If I could find him, he could tell Sarah and Jonathan I’d slipped out. They could meet me in the lobby of the New York Hilton. Wasn’t that the place Jonathan had said the concierge was the best?

I prowled around a bit. If I knew Antonio, I didn’t think he’d sit through the movie. He’d be checking on things.

I was right. I met him coming up the stairs as I was about to go down. “Tony.”

“He still up here?” He meant Ziggy.

We were stage-whispering. “Far as I know. Why didn’t you tell me Zig was going to be here today!”

“I thought you knew!”

I shook my head, trying to think of what to say.

“I mean,” Antonio went on, “it was supposed to be a surprise for the people but I figured you would know.”

“I haven’t talked to him since the night he fell from the stage,” I blurted out.

“In Chicago?”

“No! The show here in the city!”

“Oh, oh, oh, that one.” Tony looked pained. “I still don’t know what the fuck happened there, boss. I’m sorry.”

“It’s not your fault.”

But Tony took it like it was. “Look, it’s time for me to get him out of here.”

“Where are you taking him?”

“Back to the hotel.”

“Which one?”

He looked around to make sure we weren’t being eavesdropped. “Carlyle. Room 408.”

“Where’s Digger?”

“Downstairs. I’m leaving him here to gladhand afterward.”

I made a decision. “Get Ziggy out of here. I’ll catch a cab up to the Carlyle.”

“You got it, boss.”

Voice number one had won. You’re not a kid anymore. He’s not trying to hurt you. Sit down and talk for god’s sake. There’s nothing to be afraid of.

Just keep saying that. There’s nothing to be afraid of.


  • cayra says:

    Uwahh, good luck Daron.

  • Connie says:

    Grown up looks good on you, Daron.

  • Peter Wilcox says:

    Yes, Daron Keep saying that in your mind. Just to talk. Nothing to be afraid of, except???

  • Sue says:

    Remember to breathe

  • JB says:

    Ok, how much do we need for a Saturday post?

  • Emma says:

    Arrrrgggg. Waiting for today was hard enough! I don’t know how I’m going to last till Tuesday.
    I second JBs comment, how much more is needed for a Saturday post?

    Also, good luck Daron! Keep a level head, be smart like you had been the last couple of chapters! 🙂

  • Amber says:

    I’m very glad voice number one won the argument.

  • Joe says:

    That was good. Loved voice one and voice two. Especially voice two.

  • sanders says:

    Tony is good people. I’ve loved him each time he’s shown up, and he looks out for the guys while being so utterly unfazed by any of their antics. I hope you can surround yourself with more people like him, Daron, as you keep your career going.

    If Tony does stick around when things work out for the band (eternal optimist, me), I’d love to see him as an option for a non-Daron POV section. He’s in the thick of things with them but outside of it, too, and sometimes seems like the only proper adult in the room. A glimpse into his head would be fascinating.

    I’m afraid the post tomorrow is going to be Daron fretting in the cab or running into Mills and Digger, not the reunion we actually want. I’m onto you, Daron and Cecilia 😉

    • JB says:

      It never goes the way we think or want. But don’t make me regret shilling for a Saturday post. 🙂

      • sanders says:

        I’m thinking of it like this: if tomorrow is what I fear, then it means Tuesday is the reunion. If y’all hadn’t put up for a Saturday post, that would mean Tuesday would be the feared post, and we’d have to wait until THURSDAY for the reunion, which would probably kill us all with

        (and now I’m mentally mapping the band to Rocky Horror, and thinking of meta about how Daron desperately wanted to be Brad at the start of this whole journey, became Eddie (chopped to pieces by Ziggy’s Frank) and might come out of it all more like Janet with her newfound self-assurance and appreciation of sensuality.)

        • Amber says:

          You know, there’s always a chance that Ziggy bolted and Antonio won’t be able to find him and we’ll have to wait even longer.

          • sanders says:

            Oh, wow. I thought I was a pessimist. I like this version better:

            Daron rushes through the lobby, avoiding Digger, thank gods, and goes to flag down a cab. He tries to hang onto being rational as a taxi pulls up. He goes to open the door and Ziggy bolts into the car and tells him to get in. At which point the cabbie experiences The Most Awkward passengers ever.

          • daron says:

            Shh! Don’t give Ziggy any ideas!

        • Stacey says:

          Sanders, that’s funny, we start Rocky Horror rehearsals tomorrow. Now I’m going to have your metaphor stuck in my head 😉
          It’s a good analysis though!

          • sanders says:

            I can’t decide if Carynne is Riff or Magenta. I like the idea of her and Courtney as Magenta and Columbia rather a lot. Christian as Riff. Jonathan as Rocky, although it doesn’t hold together for characterization as much as for being blonde. Bart as Dr Scott, with all the answers about what’s really happening.

            I see writing an AU fanfic fusion in my future. Goodbye, weekend, I barely knew ye.

            • Stacey says:

              I hope you share it with us someday!

              I also like the idea of C&C as Columbia and Magenta….

            • daron says:

              Hm, I better brush up on Rocky Horror. I saw it when I was in high school, on 8th Street in NYC, wasn’t exactly in my right mind when I saw it, and can barely remember it. I remember the music. I think I might have blocked out the rest.

      • Amber says:

        It occurred to me as well that a lot can happen between Daron saying he is going to meet Ziggy at the hotel and him actually getting there. But even if their reunion doesn’t happen tomorrow we will at least be one more post closer to it. But I really hope it happens tomorrow.

    • daron says:

      I would trust Tony with my life. I would trust him with Ziggy’s life. Yeah.

  • JB says:

    I’m assuming we’re due for a month long flashback to Daron in junior high. 😉

  • Alan Katz says:

    Ctan: don’t you DARE make this a false alarm! We know your tricks, and how you like to stretch those important moments out and out and out…

    But, puhleez, just this once, give us what we’ve been waiting for – for ages!! How long since Ziggy went to rehab? Seems like forever. Time to bring these two together, again, for better or for worse!

    Bring it on, CTan, we’re challenging you….

    • ctan says:

      The next several chapters were written a few weeks ago, so what happens–and when it happens–is already set! Daron doesn’t get to skip anything and neither do we.

  • Squigglet says:

    Excellent song choice. This was one of the anthems of my teenage years.

  • Bill Heath says:

    It just occurred to me that Ziggy didn’t return to Daron’s life until Daron had the maturity and resources to deal with him. Deal effectively, maybe not, but deal none the less.

    Daron grew tremendously during the separation. And he now has a good support structure with Sarah, Jonathan, Tony, Carynne, Courtney, Bart, Travers, Colin and Chris. Yes, Chris.

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