79. Comfortably Numb

Belle woke me up shaking me by the shoulders. “Come on, rock star,” she was saying, “time to go.”

I sat up slowly, waiting for my head to spin, but it didn’t. I knew the fever had broken before I touched my forehead. “I think I feel better.” The sky was dark outside, I realized, looking out her window at the illuminated offices of late workers across Sixth Avenue.

I stared at the glowing windows until she said “Driver’s waiting for you downstairs.”

“Where are we going?”

She smiled. “Back to the hotel for some more rest. No more publicity today.”

I came awake slowly. “What’s on the slate for tomorrow?”

“Nothing. Tomorrow is your day off. Day after, you hit the road.”

“Day off?”

“Sweet child. Even rock stars need to have a day off once in a while.”

She didn’t seem to trust that I’d find my way back to the hotel on my own. The others were already gone. She rode with me to the hotel, then pointed at the doorway as if I might forget which building I was supposed to go into. Smart woman. I must have looked a sight, wearing two coats and a glassy-eyed look. But at least I didn’t have a fever.

I made it up to my room without incident, which was good, because if hotel security had decided to screw with me I don’t think I’d have been very good at explaining myself.

I ordered a bowl of chicken soup from room service. But I was asleep long before it arrived and I slept through any knocking there might have been. I think I remember the door opening at one point, but I might have imagined it. Or maybe just hoped it was Zig…

I didn’t have any dreams. My brain had finally hit the off switch and I just slept and slept.


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