I didn’t think, however, that Ziggy wanted me to call that night. So Martin and I ended up channel flipping and shooting the breeze in his room until nearly dawn and finishing the last of a bottle of Jack.
“I hear you’re coming with us this time,” he said at one point.
“Yeah,” I said. Right. It still hadn’t quite sunk in that I’d said yes. I told myself it was because mentally I was on vacation and couldn’t really think about work.
“Good time for it. I have a feeling it’ll be the last big tour for a while.”
“What makes you say that?”
“Oh, you know, besides the whole Remo having a baby thing, Alex has been complaining he wants to spend more time with the family, too, plus we haven’t even made a single plan for when to record the next album. I see the writing on the wall: next year we won’t be hitting the arena circuit.”
“That’ll be a change.”
“First summer in five years? Yeah.” He was lying along one edge of the bed, one arm behind his head, which meant from the tip of his elbow all the way down to his toes was like seven feet. “You want to take bets on whether Remo convinces her to move in with him?”
“You think he’ll try?”
“Oh yeah. I’m sure of it.”
I wasn’t so sure, but then I was still sussing out the whole situation. “Who’s Melissa again? This isn’t Cray’s mother, is it?”
“Oh, hell no, do the math, Daron, Cray’s thirty.”
“Ah, right, hadn’t thought of that. Well, so who is she?”
“She’s an on-again, off-again woman he’s known for a while.”
“I get the feeling that describes a lot of people.”
“True. Let’s see. I think she’s from Chicago but she’s been living in Atlanta with her mother. She’s my age but, you know, got an old soul. Like you.”
Martin just laughed.
“And she’s in the business?”
“Yeah. She’s been in and out of bands of minor repute and she sings.”
“Cool.” Somehow this did not surprise me at all. “How’d they meet?”
“One of our backup singers fixed them up.”
“Fixed them up?”
“I mean, introduced them to each other.”
“Like a blind date?”
“Kind of? I’m not the one who knows all the gory details, you know.”
“I know, but can you imagine me grilling Remo about it? ‘Where’d you meet her?’ I’d come off as the nosiest motherfucker in the world.”
“Aren’t you?” He laughed. “Well, maybe she’ll tell you the whole thing herself.”
Martin laughed again. “You’re like, positively bristling, Daron.”
“I am? I think I’ve just hit my limit with meeting new people and this is somebody I really am worried about making a good impression on.”
“Oh, come on, Martin, if this woman’s going to be a permanent part of Remo’s life and she hates me…”
“Why would she hate you?”
“Well, I don’t know. The thing is if she does it’s going to be… bad.” I sighed, trying to let go of the anxiety I hadn’t even realized was bubbling up. “I hope I like her, too. She’s cool, right?”
Martin hesitated a second before answering. “She’s great. A little high-strung maybe, but….” He shrugged.
“Great.” High-strung. “How long have they been on-again, off-again?”
“Oh jeez. Years. Practically all the way back to when we first moved to LA.”
That made me kind of hopeful, actually. “From before the band took off?”
“Pretty much. It must’ve been one of those really early promo tours we did when they met.”
So they’d been on-again, off-again for six or seven years. I couldn’t imagine what that was like… wait. Yes, I could.
Yes, I could. Sigh. “Okay, last question and I promise I’ll quit being nosy after this. Are they on again or off again right now?”
Martin looked at me, both eyebrows all the way up. “Gooooood question! I guess they were on-again a couple of months ago to knock her up, but right now? You’ll notice she wasn’t already here for the holidays.”
“You know what I don’t have the guts to ask him? Whether he’s sure the kid is his.”
“I didn’t even think of that. What if it isn’t?”
“Knowing Remo, he might not care. Did you see his face? He’s always wanted kids.”
I could definitely see that.
“He’s just never found the right momma. Until now, I guess.”
“I was under the impression this wasn’t intentional.”
“I’m not sure. I couldn’t tell if he was surprised by the news or just over the moon about it.”
“Hm, me neither.” We trailed off after that, and my mind wandered off thinking, okay, if Ziggy is my on-again, off-again relationship, what’s the thing that would glue us together the way a baby might glue Remo and Melissa together?
Hm. If anything, you would have thought the band was that. In fact, the more I thought about it the more I felt like there was a good comparison there. What Moondog Three was belonged to both of us the way a child belonged to both parents: it wouldn’t have existed without both of us.
Which meant all the upheaval we’d been going through for months was the equivalent of a messy divorce and custody battle, complete with lots of lawyers.
I looked at the clock. It was almost six in the morning, still pitch dark. “Is today Christmas eve?”
“Yeah. Dinner tonight at seven in the private dining room. Jacket required.”
“Right. I almost forgot that.” I stood up. “I better get some shut-eye.”
Martin yawned and stretched, banging his hand on the headboard. “Ouch. Yeah. See you in the morning. Or, afternoon.” He clicked off the TV and I went to my own room.
But I didn’t fall asleep. I got into pajamas and brushed my teeth and all that and then I sat on the edge of the bed for a while.
Ziggy surely didn’t mean for me to page him tonight, had he? No.
Right? But he’s also said I should page him whenever I needed to talk to him. Did it matter if we were on again or off again for that to apply?
All the drinking had made it a little difficult to think. But maybe I was overthinking it anyway. Maybe the way to be on again was to call.
I dialed the number, entered in the hotel number and my room number, and hung up, wondering if he was awake or if I’d just guaranteed myself a few hours of anxious insomnia.
(Another one-hit wonder from 1990. Anyone remember this band? They were an Australian outfit, started out playing Duran Duran & George Michael covers, worked with a couple of well-known producers, moved to LA to try to follow up this one hit, disbanded shortly thereafter. I think I literally only remember them because the singer has earrings in both ears. -ctan)
Meanwhile, look what launched yesterday! The DGC Volume 6 ebook! It can be purchased for “name your own price” right here from the box below. Minimum price is 99 cents, suggested retail price is $5.99. After your paypal payment goes through, you’ll receive email with an encrypted download link! Fancy!
Book 6 is also available for sale on Amazon or Smashwords. Both of these stores are listing it at $5.99.
I swear I had something sympathetic to say to Daron, but the sight of a man’s face projected onto a woman’s white-clad ass distracted me completely. WTF, 1990. WTF.
That was a cutting edge effect for videos of the time, wasn’t it? Oh no wait, it was actually completely a cliche by then. But that’s fitting for a band who were forcibly molded to be copycats by their record companies…
Thank you for that laugh!
OMG… I had forgotten about the wonderful technology of pagers and waiting for the “call back”…. makes my stomach hurt just thinking about it.
And just think, I’ll go a whole week without reading my email and no one will notice. And when I start reading it again it’ll only take me an hour or two to catch up. (It’s mostly from the nm-list and e-music-l listservs)