608. 3 AM Eternal

I shipped my clothes and two guitars ahead and carried two with me to Los Angeles. I couldn’t sleep the night before I left. It wasn’t really like there was any particular thing keeping me awake, either. I just had general jitters.

When I got tired of lying in bed I went down to the kitchen and made some warm milk–it was soy milk but I hoped it would work anyway–and paged through the latest issue of SPIN without really absorbing much of it. Glenn Danzig was on the cover and I realized I only had the vaguest idea what his music sounded like, but from the look of him and his band I could guess. There was a bit talking about a band called Soup Dragons. Based on their name and their look I really couldn’t guess what they sounded like, which was why they were “alternative.” Right?

About three in the morning Colin came downstairs. “Insomnia?” he asked, leaning his long, lean body in the kitchen door frame.

“Yeah.” I looked into my mug of now-cold soy milk.

“You want a goodbye fuck?”

“Yes.” I gulped down the last of my drink, rinsed the cup and stuck it in the top rack of the dishwasher, and followed Col’ back upstairs. We went to his room and we did that thing of trying to be quiet, which you know makes everything more urgent and intense.

I still wasn’t sleepy afterward, but at least I was relaxed. Colin spooned me and I reached back and grabbed his bony ass. “Won’t be much of this for me for the next two months.”

“Mm, no?”

“Doubtful, anyway. Tour bus living. It’s going to be a grind, but the good kind of grind,” I said. “A lot of back to back dates.”

“Mm-hm.” He sucked sweat off my neck.

“Do you think I should get a tattoo?”

“Do you want a tattoo?” Colin asked. “Is it legal to get one in LA? Is that why you’re thinking about it?”

“I hadn’t actually planned that far ahead. I’m just feeling like I wouldn’t mind a record on my skin of where I’ve been, you know?”

“You’re thinking of doing a map?”

“I meant it metaphorically not literally, Col’.”

“Oh. Well, sure, no reason not to.”

We lapsed into silence then and then I could feel he was drifting to sleep.

I waited until he started to snore lightly, and then I slipped out from under his arm and took a shower. The van to the airport would be picking me up all too soon.

While I was on the plane I had vivid, fucked up dreams, like I often did when I didn’t sleep at night but had a nap later in the day. One of them was almost like an out of body experience where I dreamed I was walking down the aisle on the plane and I saw myself asleep in my seat, and I reached over to touch my own face and I jerked awake.

In one of them Ziggy had a scalpel in his hand. You remember that drawing of a rocket he’d made on the shoulder of my leather jacket with spray paint marker? In the dream Ziggy was cutting through the drawing right into my skin. It didn’t hurt and the look of concentration on his face was one of the most beautiful things I had ever seen.

When I woke up I was leaning on that arm and my fingers felt a little numb. But that made me think. Maybe that rocket design was the perfect idea for a tattoo. Especially if Moondog Three as we knew it was well and truly no more.

I am the original Moondog, I thought, and that isn’t going to change no matter what happens.

I knew something was up when Flip picked me up from the airport instead of Remo. Not that it wasn’t great to see Flip.

“Hey, are you coming with?” I asked, as we man-hugged and then started walking to baggage claim.

“Yep. I’ll try not to break any important limbs this time.” He cracked his knuckles. “You’re looking great, man. God, I wish my hair would grow like yours.”

“This is what happens when you don’t cut it for like two years.” Mine was a good way down my back now, and straight as a board.

Flip, on the other hand, had shaved his head and had a small mustache currently. “Mine’s better off like this,” he said, rubbing his hand on his bare scalp. “You really do look good, though. Been working out?”

“Not really.” In the past couple of weeks I had joined Christian in the pursuit of picking up heavy things and putting them down several times, more as a way to hang out with him than because of any real interest in weight training on my part. Let’s put it this way. I was still scrawny when compared to Glenn Danzig. I never wanted to be that pumped up.

“So how’s Remo?” I asked, some time later, when we were in the car and getting somewhat close to the house.

“Crazy. But it’s a good crazy. You should see him and that baby. Un-frickin’-believable.”

“What’s unbelievable about it?”

“You’ll see soon enough.”

As we pulled up the driveway, Flip stopped us short of the garage and pulled down the driver’s side visor. I could see a kind of chart there, with different lines highlighted in different colors.

“Baby’s nap time,” he said, checking the time against the chart. “There’ll be hell to pay if I open the garage door and it wakes the kid up.”

“Let’s go get pie, then,” I said.

“You are smart. So smart. I forgot that about you,” Flip said, and rolled us back down the driveway and started the engine at the bottom.

So we had pie and coffee and then drove back up to the house. “Still forty minutes to go,” Flip said, “but you know, the tyranny of nap time can only put its yoke to the neck of the people for so long.”

“Uh, sure.”

“Still, let’s go in the front door.”

So we went as quietly as we could in the front door, and don’t ask me how I could tell, but it looked to me like Remo and Melissa had been arguing. They were all smiles now, and Remo hugged me and Melissa came and gave me a kiss on the cheek and apologized for the whispering because it was Ford’s nap time, but once Flip had gone out the door and I had gone to leave my bag in my room, I could hear the two of them start up a round of vehement whispering behind me.

Nobody’s relationship is 100% smooth, you know?

I ducked into the room where I guessed the baby was sleeping, and discovered him waving to me. Okay, he probably wasn’t waving to me so much as just waving his arms because he could, but I went over to the crib and he stared at my face and I stared back.

“Hi, Ford,” I whispered. “Your parents think you’re asleep.”

He sort of cooed, which made me smile, and he seemed to smile in response, which freaked me out a little because I wasn’t sure if babies that small were supposed to be that smart yet. He was what, two months old? Maybe it was just a coincidence.

“You’re supposed to be asleep,” I added. I looked around. The room was still partially an office, with both desk and couch, and now crib. The crib was close to the couch.

I lay down on the couch and fell asleep. Nap time.

(P.S. I’ll start posting fanworks this weekend! -ctan)


  • Stacey says:

    “Do you want a tattoo?” Colin asked. “Is it legal to get one in LA? Is that why you’re thinking about it?”

    –OK, pardon my ignorance — I was still in high school in 1991, and I do recall that we had to drive to Los Angeles to buy our Doc Martens and to get anything but our earlobes pierced (the joys of small town living!)… but were tattoos illegal in some states?
    I got my first tattoo in 1994, but again I know California is the Wild West…
    Thanks for educating me!

    • ctan says:

      Tattooing wasn’t legalized in New York City until 1998, and wasn’t legalized in Massachusetts until 2000. Tattoo artists had to set up shop in New Hampshire and entice people over the border to get inked, or be underground outlaws.

      • Stacey says:

        I had no idea! No wonder everyone has such funny ideas about us Left Coasters 😉

        • ctan says:

          Grin. This is why getting tattooed was seen as a much more underground thing to do back in the day.

          I was curious so I looked up the stats:

          NBC News reported recently that in 1999 21% of Americans had someone in their house with a tattoo. Now it’s double that: 40%. (And I’m betting in 1989 it was more like 10%.)

          The really fascinating thing that has changed isn’t just that tattoos are so common that now they’re mainstream, it’s that WOMEN getting tattooed now outnumber men, by a lot, twice as many according to a Fox News poll. (You know something’s mainstream when FOX is reporting it as Tattoos Aren’t Just for Rebels Anymore. They say “Nearly half of women under age 35 have gotten ink, almost double their male counterparts (47 percent vs. 25 percent).” (It used to be way the other way around, that men with ink outnumbered women 3 to 1.)

          • Sue says:

            I have 5 tattoos and will be 52 (gulp) next month and working on a half sleeve. I love them! It’s amazing how many women I know have ink.

            • ctan says:

              You’ve seen mine, right? I’ll post a photo in the next liner note maybe. Or wait, I can probably put one in here. I have quite a few on my arm, mostly black feathers that represent the books I’ve written. Here’s me right after getting this set of three done for the Struck by Lightning trilogy:
              Cecilia Tan tattoo

            • sanders says:

              My mum is 57 and has six with plans for at least two more. She didn’t get her first one until after she was 40. It was part of her “My kids are grown, I’m rebelling” phase. Since then, she and my younger brother have gotten inked together, and I’m the odd one out (after being an alternagothpunk for ages) since I haven’t much interest in getting any body mods at all.

          • Stacey says:

            You know, these stats make me feel better about my mom’s statement in 1992-ish that she would disown me/never speak to me again/something like that, if I got a tattoo. The moment when I showed her mine in ’96 was really difficult for me! Obviously it went fine.

            I’m glad tattoos are more accepted now. They are SO attractive, almost always. In my eyes anyways.

  • chris says:

    Would you remind us of what Colin looks like?

    • ctan says:

      Colin is six feet tall, skinny as a rail, with tattoos on his neck and a black mohawk (though he wears it down unless it’s a special occasion).

  • iain says:

    I didn’t think anyone even remembered KLF anymore! I’ve tried to tell a few people — usually when I’m nowhere near a computer or Youtube — about the video for “Justified and Ancient” they did with Tammy Wynette in this long, tight blue dress and this huge crown, looking like she both got talked into something unexpected and she’s having all sorts of fun, and nobody ever believes me, because, well, Tammy Wynette and British rappers/early hip-hop artists are not concepts that go together at all.

    I didn’t realize that they’d even done a video for 3AM Eternal!

    • ctan says:

      I think the Tammy Wynette/KLF crossover was possibly discussed in a liner note a couple of years back, but it might have only been in the comments…

      And everyone knows the KLF and the Timelords were the same people, yeah? I should make sure I get them into a liner note coming up. 🙂

  • sanders says:

    Oh, man, I’d forgotten about the Soup Dragons and KLF. That is one of the many reasons I love DGC.

    Can we talk about the kid being named, iirc, Ford Cutler? He sounds like a touring car. Why do parents never think about what they’re doing to their kids with these names?

    Daron confronted with a baby. This should be preciously awkward.

    • ctan says:

      I confess I couldn’t actually remember what the Soup Dragons sounded like until I went and found some. KLF on the other hand is in regular rotation in what we call “Radio Free corwin” i.e. when corwin puts his iTunes on random shuffle through the house speakers. 🙂

    • daron says:

      *snickering* oh man don’t let Remo hear you say that.

  • Amber says:

    Most people look scrawny when compared to Glenn Danzig. Did you know he’s the same height as you?

    • daron says:

      Yeah. He’s also from New Jersey. I think the similarities end there but I could be wrong.

      Speaking of short musicians from the NY/NJ area, Paul Simon is an inch shorter than me and Billy Joel is only 5’5″.

  • chris says:

    I did not know that about Tattoos… amazing what you can learn from reading DGC. When I met my husband in 1983 he already had quite a few and has added steadily ever since, maybe the mid-west isn’t as backward as it seems. I got my first one 6 months ago. I totally love the reaction I get.

  • s says:

    Oooh I was hoping one or both of them would get some ink! I’m a little younger than Daron and never really thought about tats being illegal. Of course I was nearly 30 when I got my first one so by the time I became truly interested in them personally, there was much less weirdness about it than there would have been in the ’80s anyway.

    I want to see Ziggy’s reaction to the sexiness that is an inked Daron…Mmmmm.

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