(As sharp-eyed readers may have noticed, last chapter seemed to skip a bit of time? That’s because I managed to get these two phone calls mixed up. Daron talks to Carynne first, then Ziggy, but I posted the Ziggy phone call last time by accident! Sorry about that, folks! Here’s the Carynne call you were expecting! -ctan)
Okay. If there’s one thing you should try to remember about all the lawsuit stuff, it’s that there are a million details and a whole team of lawyers was required to keep track of them. In other words, trying to keep track is a $500 an hour proposition. I’d say that was above my pay grade except I know I’ve made ten—no, a hundred—times that much in one night, so maybe not. The point is that at first I thought I couldn’t keep track of it all because my brain was in avoidance mode. But actually it was just that there was too much to keep track of.
I mostly stayed focused on the fact that it was Digger’s fault. Everything pointed back to him. I kept this in mind while Carynne and I talked.
“So, first thing that threw a wrench into the works was, get this, Digger and his lawyer ‘parted ways,’” she said, and I could picture her making the quotes with her fingers in the air.
“Meaning his lawyer dumped him?”
“Or possibly he dumped his lawyer because the lawyer was pushing for him to settle some of this shit, and your father doesn’t want to settle.”
“So we offered him a settlement?”
“Stop getting ahead of me. One thing at a time.” She blew out a breath. “This would be easier if you were here.”
“I’ll be there in like… less than two weeks.” I couldn’t remember the exact dates. Carynne probably knew them better than I did. She and Court shared a brain.
“Yeah, well, depending on how this goes we might need you in LA.”
My heart sank. The last place on Earth I wanted to be, unless Ziggy was going to be there for some reason. But I remembered a lot of why Ziggy had been spending so much time there over the last couple of years hadn’t been to rendezvous with me, but to dig up dirt on Digger by getting into a relationship with his former secretary… My head hurt just thinking about it. “For what?”
“For a deposition at his lawyer’s offices.”
She said it like I was supposed to know about that already. “Um, what?”
Her huff sounded impatient, like she didn’t have time for my ignorance right now. “Which part of it should I explain?”
I was probably being touchy. And if Carynne was testy it was probably because she’d just spent a bunch of time talking to lawyers instead of doing anything else worthwhile in life. “How about tell me what Feinbaum told you that prompted you to call me in the first place?”
“Right. Jeez. My head’s a mess. One sec.” I heard a sound like a chair leg scraping the floor and papers shuffling. Then a single, heavy knock: a glass being put down on a wooden table or desk.
“Where are you?” I asked, but she hadn’t picked up the phone again yet. My guess was she was at her apartment. It may sound funny, but I had never been to her place. Since I didn’t know what it looked like, I pictured the old place on the upper West Side that Sarah used to sublet. That’d put Carynne in a barstool at the wooden countertop that separated the kitchenette from the rest of the living room.
“Okay. I was writing fast so I’m trying to reread my handwriting.” She cleared her throat. “Basically, there was a bunch of negotiation that all went out the window when Digger switched lawyers. His new lawyer—Mintz and Feinbaum are still trying to figure her out.”
“Oh, it’s a woman?”
“Yeah. Can I say, just between us, that I kind of hate that her being a woman is a huge problem? I feel like that fact alone has put our team off their game.”
“Really. I think they were depending on a certain amount of old boy network chumminess to get us to a settlement, and the rules of engagement with a female are different.” She made a frustrated noise. “I am so tired of that shit. I mean, I know I’ve used it to my advantage as much as it’s sometimes been to my disadvantage but Jeezus H.”
I lay on a hotel bed and for half a second it was like we were on the road together and she was bitching about the tour promoter, her in a room down the hall from mine. “Like when?”
“Oh, you know, like that asshole venue manager in Chicago. If I’d been the typical guy in charge of a band we would have butted heads so hard, but instead it was, you know. It’s the equivalent of the gentleman who would never hit a lady or whatever, I guess. I bat my eyelashes and ask him to help me out by giving us a break on using the in-house truss or whatever the fuck the issue was. I don’t even remember.”
“But then there are the guys who try to take advantage or who won’t listen to you, too.”
“Yeah, but there are always ways around them. Or through them, when necessary.”
I imagined her sharpening her nails and then coolly examining them in the overhead kitchen light. Yeah, don’t fuck with Carynne.
But back to lawyers. “So our guys don’t know how to handle her.”
“I’m sure they’ll figure her out, but they have to feel her out first, and start over trying to lay out the groundwork for a settlement. Meanwhile, what Feinbaum was calling to try to work out is does it make sense to try to double dip.”
“I don’t follow you.”
“With the Rogala deposition, to try to get some sworn testimony on the books in the case between Digger and you and BNC.”
“I thought there wasn’t a case yet because we hadn’t actually sued anyone yet….?”
“Yet,” she said. “Yet. That’s part of what we’re trying to decide. The crux of it is that BNC hasn’t paid us money they owe us that was part of the Ziggy deal because Digger’s essentially claiming that money should go to him and not us.”
“Yeah, that much I remember.”
“But then who do you sue? Digger’s the problem, but what exactly would we be suing him for there? It’s BNC we’d have to sue.”
“Except isn’t Digger also suing us already for the money?”
A shuffle of papers. “He’s suing for wrongful termination, back royalties, blah blah blah… I don’t think that’s specifically mentioned. But if he wins this suit…that could affect… shit, this is complicated.”
“So it’s not just me.”
“No. Anyway. What do you want to do?”
What did I want to do? I wanted to dive into a crystal clear swimming pool, then emerge seal-like and dripping onto the hot pavement on the other side, where my lover lay sunning himself, and press my chilled skin against his, sizzling hot and fragrant with tropical oil. I wanted to lose myself in dancing, in noise and moving bodies under a cathedral ceiling splashed with colored light, the beat getting ever stronger and the groove deeper as the clock moved from midnight toward dawn. I wanted to hike through a primeval forest older than my family name until I emerged at sunset atop a rocky crest, my hand in my lover’s, pulling him close for a kiss that no one but birds and the emerging stars would see.
Was that so much to ask?