You’re probably wondering what was going on with the lawsuits, too. I’ll get to that. We eventually ended up back at Ziggy’s, and Barrett invited us to come up to his apartment for dinner.
That afternoon I wanted to do my vocal exercises, but Ziggy didn’t have a piano–unless you counted a keyboard synthesizer he had propped on end between the desk in the office and the wall which I didn’t feel like setting up. (And even if I had, I’m not sure there was an amp.)
There was, however, a guitar of mine. One of my two tour Ovations lived there. (The other was in Boston at the new apartment, and the 12-string and the backup were in Allston, along with the rest.)
I hadn’t been exaggerating when I’d said the night before that I hadn’t even touched a guitar in weeks. I had the weirdest feeling taking it out of the case, suddenly worried I was going to scratch it.
“I’m too tired to stand up to sing,” Ziggy said. “I’m going to lie on the floor.”
“You don’t have to do this with me,” I said.
“But I want to.” He sat cross-legged on the throw rug in front of the TV. “I shouldn’t let myself get out of shape either.”
“You didn’t look the slightest bit out of shape last night on the dance floor,” I said. “And I’m not saying that because I’m biased.”
“Ha. Oh, hey, one sec.” He got up and while I tuned the guitar he rummaged through his shoulder bag. When he sat back down he had his notebook in his hands. “You’ve memorized the notes for the hymns by now, yeah?”
“And the German words for the most part,” I said. “Not that they matter that much.”
“Here. I’ve been writing an English version. I’ve only done the first verse so far.” He showed me the page.
Well, of course we tried it. We warmed up first, which was an exercise in itself the way Priss had taught me to think about where my tongue was while I did it. I knew Ziggy was doing the same. Then we got down to work.
I didn’t think about where this was going, if we’d ever record it, none of that kind of thing. I just concentrated on being present with him and learning the words and making the sounds.
Time sped by pretty fast that way. Before long someone–Barrett–was banging on our ceiling, not to tell us to be quiet but that it was dinner time.
When we got upstairs, I was surprised to see Carynne open the door. “Happy Thanksgiving,” she said, as she hugged me with one arm, a glass of wine in her other hand.
“Wait, is it Thanksgiving?”
“Not till later in the week, officially,” she said, matter of factly. She steered us away from the kitchen area, where Barrett was in the midst of doing several things at once, it seemed.
“Can we help?” I asked.
I received a firm “NO” from Barrett. “You can all sit down.”
His apartment had almost the same layout as Ziggy’s, except where Ziggy had an immense bed, Barrett had a dining room table, and where Ziggy had a couch and TV, Barrett had a desk and file cabinets. We took seats at the table. A bottle of wine, bottle of sparkling water, and a couple of candles stood in the middle of the table.
“Wine?” Carynne asked cautiously.
“Water would be better for me,” Ziggy said. “How about you, dear one?”
“I’m not a big wine guy.”
“More for me, then,” Carynne said, and refilled her own glass before opening the sparkling water and pouring for us. “So how was the thing?”
She meant Jordan’s. “Okay, I guess? Everyone’s a bit freaked out.”
Ziggy added, “Better to be freaked out together than freaked out alone.”
Barrett came to the table then, carrying a roasted bird of some kind on a rack in a pan, two huge oven mitts on his hands. As he set it down on a pair of mismatched trivets he said, “This is a first.”
“First what?” Ziggy asked.
“First time I’m having people I’m not related to by blood over for Thanksgiving.”
“You said dinner,” Ziggy said. “You didn’t say Thanksgiving dinner.”
“Well, surprise. I knew you guys didn’t make any plans and what the hell. I see more of you than I do my own family anyway.” He pulled off the oven mitts and went back to the kitchen to get a few more things. In due course he came and carved the bird–or maybe hacked into pieces is a better word. The bird turned out to be a goose, meaning it was less enormous than a turkey, and also much fattier, which suited us just fine. There were potatoes and stuffing and carrots and a caesar salad.
“I had no idea you could cook,” Ziggy said to him as the plates got empty and our bellies got full.
“I like to think I can do most things that require following a set of directions,” Barrett said, pouring himself a glass of wine. “Did I ever tell you about my disastrous first marriage?”
“No, do tell.” Ziggy poured himself more sparkling water and then sat back to listen.
“There’s not a lot to tell. Fresh out of college, deciding whether to apply to full-time MBA programs or to take a position with the agency and do a night MBA program, I somehow thought it was a good idea to let my mother arrange a marriage for me.”
Carynne snorted her wine. “Arrange-arrange? As in she picked out your wife for you?”
“Yes. She picked a nice girl whose family owned the summer house next to ours in the Hamptons. I didn’t remember this but apparently we’d been caught jumping in her family’s backyard fountain with our clothes off when we were four years old. My mother decided that meant we were compatible.”
Ziggy held in a laugh. “Let me guess. You were not.”
“God, no. Not even close. We didn’t even last a year. Maybe that’s a blessing. I can’t even begin to tell you all the ways in which we didn’t work.” He looked around at us. “I can’t remember now why I brought that up.”
We all had a good laugh at that. When there was a lull I decided to change the subject somewhat. “Speaking of failed marriages, anyone heard from Digger lately? Or if he still on the lam?”
“Sarah didn’t tell you?” Carynne sat up in surprise.
“Um, no, we mostly talked about, you know, funeral-type things.”
She reached for the bottle of wine. “Digger went and turned himself in, paid his own bail, and went free, but now they’re moving forward on the embezzlement case.”
“Good? Right?” I asked.
“If they win, yes, I suppose,” Barrett said. “Maybe that’ll help us get the suit against WTA thrown out. But I’m mostly concerned about Ziggy getting pulled in as a witness and how that might negatively impact his career and/or the outcome of the case.”
“Digger really doesn’t have a legitimate case against WTA though, does he?” Carynne asked.
“Given that he fraudulently represented himself as an agent for us when he was only working as an accountant, you might think he wouldn’t have the balls, but he seems to be trying to sue everyone possible.” Barrett shrugged. “He’s suing both BNC and WTA for a portion of Ziggy’s deal, BNC for a portion of Moondog Three’s future earnings, and the agency for poaching Ziggy and Sarah. You figure if Sarah proves embezzlement in court, the poaching case is going to go very badly for him.”
“Wasn’t MNB also suing him, though?”
“A countersuit which appeared to mostly be a defensive tactic, i.e. you sue us, we sue you,” Barrett said. “That was what was holding up the payments for so long. MNB wasn’t going to cut any checks if there was a legal question about who they should go to and how much.”
“But they started paying us,” I said. “Didn’t they?”
“They did. A portion, at least. I and some good lawyers convinced BNC that if they were going to act on the deal, they needed to at least start making good faith payments, and if they felt the need to hold back the agent’s fee in escrow until the suit was settled, they could do that.”
“Are they doing that?” Carynne asked.
“Beats me,” Barrett said. “The checks we’ve been getting come with some paperwork that I’m sure is intentionally obfuscatory.”
“Obfuscatory,” Ziggy repeated. “That’s a ten-dollar word if ever I heard one.”
“Good name for an album,” I said.
(Back to 1989 for this one. Did you remember who played bass on this tune? You’ll see in the video if you forgot. -d)