598. Holiday in Cambodia

(Holy crow you guys, this is the 599th story post. Which means Tuesday will be the 600th post. To celebrate I’m going to do a video chat Tuesday from 9-10pm eastern time on my Youtube Live channel. Details on my blog: http://blog.ceciliatan.com/?p=2180 -ctan)

The next day was Christmas day. I wasn’t the only one who’d brought a guitar, of course. I made Alan start teaching me a song I didn’t know. This Nomad tour would be a little less “greatest hits” and a little more material from the most recent record than what we’d done in Japan. So there would be various numbers I’d need to learn.

Why is a song is called a number, when it doesn’t seem to have anything to do with numbering? I’m going to guess it goes back to vaudeville, but that’s as much as I know.

When Remo figured out what we were doing he looked me straight in the eye and said, “This is the one day a year no one’s supposed to work.”

To which I replied, “Tell that to the people working in movie theaters and Chinese restaurants.” Would it surprise you to learn that night we went to see a movie and to Chinatown for dinner?

Remo and Melissa got married a few days later in a small but fancy function room in the hotel. Those who’d been planning on leaving on the 26th stayed over for the ceremony and a couple of new people flew in: I’d be lying if I told you I learned their names. One was a sister of Melissa’s. Her daughter was the flower girl and Ryan Mazel was the ring bearer and they were basically like a miniature version of the couple which I found kinda weird.

And I may as well not keep you in suspense: Melissa and Remo stayed in New York until she had the baby, which was maybe ten days later. As planned they named the kid Ford.

Me, I stayed in town, too, though I moved to a cheaper hotel where Court and I met up with Carynne, Bart, Michelle, Colin, and Christian. We were staying down near 14th Street. Colin lucked into the corner room with the king bed, couch, and table for four, so that became the hangout room immediately.

Shortly after the Allston contingent arrived, Christian and I were sat down at the table to eat Cheetos and drink canned soda from the vending machine.

“I almost didn’t come along,” he told me.


“Yeah. Worried about temptation and that kind of thing, but then, after the trainwreck that was Christmas with my relatives I wanted to be with you guys.”

“You want to talk about it?”

“Heck no.”

“Just checking.”

He crunched vehemently on the Cheetos. “I’m still a little worried about temptation but then I thought, okay, you know what? Can’t stay home forever. I’m not going to be like the boy in the bubble.”

“That’s good because you know someday we’re going to hit the road again. I don’t know in what configuration, but something will happen someday.” I was getting close to that point in Cheeto-eating where you have to switch from eating them to sucking the orange stuff off your fingers.

“I believe you. I believe it. I think that means I’m not depressed anymore.”

We toasted with our Coke cans. “Knock wood. I should probably warn you that the New Year’s Eve party we’re going to is at the city’s notorious hotbed of ecstasy.”

He made a dismissive sound. “Ecstasy isn’t tempting to me. Kiddie drug. I don’t even think it’s addictive.”

“It’s not?”

“Don’t think so. They would’ve banned it by now if it was, don’t you think?”

“I have no idea. I’ve been avoiding it under the theory I didn’t want to get hooked.”

“I suppose it’s still better not to get hooked up with a dealer, gateway drug and all that?” Chris said with a shrug.

“And you know, you worry if you’re getting the real thing or rat poison, and so I’ve pretty much steered clear so far. But I wanted to warn you that’s the scene at Limelight.”

“Thanks. Don’t feel you have to stay straight on my account.”

“I think champagne’ll be more than enough for me.” I gave up licking my fingers. “Be right back.” I went and washed my hands so I wouldn’t end up with orange stains all over my jeans. We were getting near the bottom of the bag anyway.

When I came back, Chris said, “This reminds me of a joke but it’ll be funnier if I don’t tell it right now.”


At that point Carynne arrived, plopped down in the chair opposite Chris, and lay her head down on the table with an exasperated sound.

I rubbed her between the shoulder blades. She lifted her head enough to tell me, “Don’t say it.”

“Don’t say what?”

“I told you so.”

“About what? Oh, you mean Mr. Wrong?”

“I said don’t say it.” She put her head back down.

Colin stretched out on his bed. “Are you the dumper or the dumpee?”

“The dumpee,” Carynne said.

“Congratulations, me, too.” Colin took a deep breath. “My New Year’s resolution was to do something good for myself and I realized that was the best thing I could choose.”

I guess that meant I didn’t have to try to remember the name of the woman he’d been seeing.

Chris sighed. “Wait. So we’re all single except Bart and Michelle?”

At which point Michelle came in and said with a deadpan shrug, “Yep, but we’ve been trying to recruit a third through the want ads,” waited a beat for everyone’s jaws to drop, and then added, “Just kidding.”

Chris nearly coughed a Cheeto through his nose.

“Oh, that reminds me,” I said. “Ziggy’ll be there, too.”

“At Limelight?” Carynne looked interested in this news.

“Yeah.” I really didn’t know what else to say about that, and no one asked anything more, so I left it at that. Court, who had been reading a book by the window, looked up inquisitively, but didn’t say anything. Yeah, Ziggy will be there, and that’s literally all I know, that’s the entirety of my expectations.

Late that night, when it was just Carynne and me and Colin still awake, she would insist on getting the full rundown from me, not only about Ziggy, but about Remo’s sudden wedding, et cetera. And I got to hear about the awkward Maine vacation with Mr. Wrong’s uptight, solicitous family.

“I need somebody in the business,” she admitted. “Otherwise it’s like… it’s like having to deal with my mother all the time.”

“Oh, I know what I haven’t told you yet,” I said. “I’m going on the road with Nomad.”

“I know. I already got the dates from their management company.”

“Right. I forgot I told Remo to tell you the dates.”

“You excited?”

I flexed my fingers. “You know? I am. I’ve wanted to do this for a really long time. But I worry about getting sidetracked.”


“From my own career.”

“This wouldn’t be part of your career?”

“Well, it is, but…” I didn’t have a good way to explain it without sounding ungrateful. “You know, same old worry that I’m going to be all about Nomad, and then my other stuff, the stuff that starts with me, will die off.”

She nodded. “Just promise yourself you’ll work on something when you get back. With Bart and Chris or not. Your career has a lot of work for other people in it already. I see a lot of variety in it. It’s already like that, Daron. I think it’s going to continue that way. I don’t imagine you settling down into one style or one genre. That’s just not who you are.”

“Not who I am, or not how I fit into the industry?”

“Have you been talking to Jordan?”

“Some. Why?”

“Because that’s like something he would say.” She shrugged and yawned. “Here’s my suggestion for a resolution for you for this year. Try not to stress too much about direction or destination and just enjoy the ride.”

Colin, who hadn’t spoken in a while said, “That’s deep.”

“Okay, but…”

“But what?”

“But isn’t that kind of what I did last year?”

“Last year you took a detour,” she said. “This is different.”

“And the mortgage, Court’s tuition, the lawsuits?” To name just a few things I stressed over.

“Stressing about them won’t improve the situation.”

“So you’re saying one step at a time.”

“I’m saying enjoy the stepping stones even if you don’t know what the next one is.”


She yawned again and stood up. “Time for my beauty sleep.”

“Happy New Year, beautiful,” I said, and kissed her on the cheek before she went out the door.

Colin stifled a yawn. “You want to channel surf a little?”

I propped myself against the headboard next to him. “They have a decent channel selection here?”

“It’s not the best but it’s adequate.” He flipped on the TV to a nature documentary, showing two cranes doing a courtship dance.

I immediately got interested in the musical score and wondered who had done it. The orchestration had real wind instruments in it, not synthesizers. Hiring an orchestra could get pricey.

Colin picked at lint on my sleeve. “Hey.”

“Hey.” I was not as oblivious as I used to be. “So. You’re single now.”

“And horny as fuck,” he said, with his eyes closed, as if it hurt a little to look at me. “But that doesn’t have to be your problem to solve.”

“Thanks for the out but c’mere.” I kissed him hard, the palm of my hand fitting around the bumps on the back of his skull where his hair was shorn down to almost nothing.

We had fairly perfunctory but energetic sex, after which we were both mellow and sleepy. I lay there thinking I was pretty much spoiled rotten if I could have sex that good and rate it as merely fair.

“Hey, so is this what ‘fuckbuddies’ means?” I asked, as I extracted my arm from under Colin before it fell asleep.

“Yeah, probably,” Colin said, rolling onto his back and looking up at the ceiling. “Or is it ‘friends with benefits’?”

“That sounds like some kind of insurance policy.”

“Yeah, insurance against blue balls if you’re single.” He turned toward me and ran his hand through my hair. Colin was only physically affectionate like that right after sex. Not that that’s a criticism: I’m exactly the same. “I like ‘fuckbuddies’ better. Fits better.”

I made a murmur of agreement as I was starting to drift to sleep. All that relationship processing had tired me out.

(Colin put me in the mood for some classic punk. -d)


  • chris says:

    Daron going out on the road with Nomad at this point reminds me of Adam Lambert going out with Queen. While Adam is amazing with Queen, I really want new music and a tour from him on his own. Just like Daron, I guess I’m hoping he can do both. And just like Daron, I’m hoping that somehow that will eventually include Daron/Ziggy — Adam/Tommy Joe.

    • Amy says:

      Adam Lambert announced a new album today! I’m stupidly excited.

      And Daron, it’s nice to see you chill with the band, even if Ziggy is no longer “the band.” I don’t know where things will go with y’all, but Happy New Year, kitten. 😉

      • daron says:

        Lambert did what? I’m on the road right now and failing to keep up with the news. I haven’t even read twitter and he’s one of the only people I follow.

        I’m never living this kitten thing down am I.

    • ctan says:

      Yeah, it’s a lot like that. And Nomad is a big part of Daron’s history. Those guys have been kinda waiting for a long time for him to grow up so they can do this.

  • chris says:

    Cheeto Fingers is a universal concept. There is a certain volume of “Cheeto Dust” that must accumulate before you lick it off to get the maximum cheese experience. And if there is not somewhere to wash your hands afterward, that’s what the inside of your jean pockets are for!

    • sanders says:

      This also works with Doritos and white cheddar popcorn. The popcorn dust is the worst

      • daron says:

        The original formula of Smartfood, before Annie’s sold it to a big corporation, was pretty intense with the sticking to the fingers. But it wasn’t toxic orange so it wasn’t as noticeable. To me anyway.

        • sanders says:

          It’s still pretty intense. I think of it as the ghost-fingers phenomenon, and I always manage to also be wearing a black shirt whenever I get a bag of it. You’d think some enterprising person would invent an industrial-strength handiwipe to package with these kinds of snacks.

    • daron says:

      The inside of jeans pockets are for accumulating random guitar picks and cash.

  • Michael says:

    I’m really curious what perfunctory but energetic sex with Colin is like. The sex you’ve had with him in the past has been some of your hottest. I wish you’d given more salacious details. Bonus (for pay) chapter, C Tan? Or was it too perfunctory? :p

    • daron says:

      Eh, there wasn’t much to write home about, as it were. Colin likes to be on top but he only gets bossy with me if I really need it, which I didn’t here. Come to think of it I probably learned a little about being bossy in bed from him. But not from this time.

    • ctan says:

      I promise I’ll write a bonus chapter the next time Daron and Colin have interesting sex.

  • cayra says:

    Colin screentime makes me happyyy.

  • Kim VanOver says:

    I don’t like being caught up and now having to wait! Lol

    • ctan says:

      It’s rough to go from bingeing whenever you like to rationing, I know! 🙂

      • Kim VanOver says:

        It was all I could do to keep from skipping ahead and reading Ziggys Diary! But I didn’t! And now I can’t wait for the next piece of this story! I want to purchase the complete set of books when I can. I’m disabled and waiting for my sis to be approved. Those books are the first thing on my list to buy! Well, after I get caught up on bills! Lol…life first, lust for reading second! Thank you for sharing such an amazing story!

        • ctan says:

          Grin. I love your enthusiasm! But bills first, man, bills first. You can’t eat books even if they will make you happy for a long time… 🙂

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