The next night we played the Centrum again. Clarice and Fran smuggled me into their dressing room so we could do vocal warmups in the immense sports-team sized shower they had. Because, yes, everyone sounds better in the shower.
“M.D. got some range,” Clarice said when we were done. My range wasn’t especially good: my upper notes were weak and my lower notes were hard to keep in tune. I think they said things like that so I wouldn’t feel like chopped liver singing with them. These two had serious vocal firepower.
“Don’t he?” Fran answered. They had this way of referring to me as if I wasn’t there, and of making up nicknames for me. I think M.D. stood for Moon Dog, but I could be wrong. “Where’d you learn to sing again, boy?”
“Same place you did: church.” I shrugged.
Fran clucked her tongue. “Not a gospel-singing church.”
“True, it was a northern church where most of the singing was in Latin, and we only went on holidays.” I tuned my top two strings again without thinking. “And that was before my voice changed, anyway.”
Clarice patted me on the shoulder. “That must be some kind of a trauma for a boy, when you start cracking all over the place.”
“Yeah, but then they settle down,” Fran said. She hefted her boobs in her “show bra” which I understood was both structural enough to support her and was fancy enough that it would look good if it showed on stage accidentally. “I’ll never get over carrying these everywhere. Man alive.”
Clarice snickered. I think they kept thinking they’d eventually embarrass me with girl talk but I took it in stride. (Same way I did when guys in the crew got overly masculine on me, now that I think about it.) I changed the subject. “You decide what you want us to do for your birthday? You still want The Stones?”
Fran wrinkled her nose. “Someone else would have to sing the Jagger part and I don’t know.”
“Because I heard a song on the radio yesterday that I thought might work with your voice,” I said. “But I would want us to do a rock-blues arrangement. And it’s kind of crazy, I know, but I know the band would go for it.”
“Well, you gonna tell me what it is, or you want me to guess?” Fran batted her fake eyelashes at me.
“You’re either going to love the idea or hate it. I’m thinking Terence Trent D’Arby’s ‘Wishing Well.'”
Clarice shrieked, which was really ear-piercing given that she’s a soprano and we were still in the shower. “That’s a fabulous idea!”
Fran rubbed her chin like she was pretending to think about it. “You think the other guys will go for it?”
“I’m sure I can convince them.”
“You leave Remo to me,” I said.
My plan was to talk to Reem about it that night, after we got back to the hotel, but there were two messages for me when I got back. One was from Jordan saying please call. The other was from Ziggy saying please call anytime. It was a Los Angeles phone number.
I called Jordan first and got his machine. “Hey. It’s Daron. We’re in Worcester for a couple more days. Day off tomorrow–I’ll probably spend it in Boston. Here’s my number there if you don’t get me here.”
That left the unfamiliar LA number that Ziggy had left.
I dialed it. A woman answered.
I was a wuss and hung up.