(If you missed last night’s livestream celebrating the 10th anniversary of DGC, it’s embedded below!)
10th anniversary contest!
Okay, let’s do another thing to celebrate. I have a contest for you! Winner gets either a $25 Amazon gift card, or $25 worth of DGC merch: your choice! Below is a list of songs. Some of them are up next in Daron’s iTunes queue, and some are in Ziggy’s Spotify queue. Two are in both! Reply with which songs you think are in each! You must list at least 5 for each, and up to 10. You get a point for each one right, and subtract a point for each wrong. In case of a tie, I’ll pick at random. You have until midnight on Wednesday night November 13th to enter!
Here’s the list!
Adam Lambert “Superpower”
Amanda Palmer “Drowing in the Sound”
Billie Eilish “Bury A Friend”
Ed Sheeran “Beautiful People”
Greta Van Fleet “Highway Tune”
Harry Styles “Lights Up”
Harry Styles “Sign of the Times”
Hozier “Almost (Sweet Music)”
Jack White “Connected by Love”
Kurt Vile “Pretty Pimpin”
Lady Gaga “Poker Face”
Lizzo “Truth Hurts”
Mumford & Sons “Blind Leading the Blind”
Sam Smith “How Do You Sleep”
Sting & Shaggy NPR TinyDesk Concert
Taylor Swift “You Need to Calm Down”
Walk off the Earth “I’ll be There”
Walk off the Earth “Red Hands”
War on Drugs “Under the Pressure” (Live)
And now on to today’s actual chapter!
I think a few more days went by, long adagios of sitting with Claire broken up by sudden cymbal crashes of phone calls that would ultimately fade back to silence. Maybe a week. The phone calls didn’t tell us much, just who Barrett or Carynne or our lawyers had talked to, but nothing much was said. Meanwhile, Ziggy gave up harping on working on the non-existent song. I found I could only practice on building up my calluses again when he wasn’t there.
We almost had a fight about it when I tried to tell him. “Could you go on an errand with Court or something?”
He’d just gotten out of the shower and was toweling off with the door open to let the steam out. “What errand?”
I felt really anxious about asking this and when he challenged it my throat tightened. “I dunno, just something.”
He sat on the edge of the bed, white hotel towel across his lap, and looked up at me. He looked calm, but… “You need some time to yourself?”
“It’s not that. I need to practice and… I just can’t when you’re here.”
“It’s not like you to be self-conscious.”
“Yeah, well, it’s not every day you try to come back from something like this.” I held up my hand, but it was closed in a fist pressed to my chest. “And it’s not about me. It’s just that… you’re too distracting.”
Now a little smile curved his lip. “Should I go sit in the lobby and read for a while?”
“I’ll spend the whole time thinking about how you’re sitting in the lobby, though.” Which was probably all right if all I was doing was trying to give my fingers a workout. I knew I wouldn’t be able to write a song, though, if I was distracted thinking about him. Well, unless the song was about him, maybe.
“But you won’t if I go somewhere else?”
“Don’t ask me to explain how my brain works, please.” I found myself standing between his knees, him hugging me around the middle. “I think about you all the time, even when you’re right here.”
“Then does it matter where I go?”
“Yes, because it’s just different.” That was about as much of an explanation as I could make.
He stood up and kissed me. “No one likes people listening to them practice,” he said. “You’re not crazy.”
“I’m not worrying about being nuts, just about getting my practice in,” I said.
“I’m taking my book and going to the lobby, okay?” He pulled on some clothes, half of which were probably mine. “I’ll come back when I get bored if you don’t come get me first.”
So he took his book, which was some kind of fat thriller—set in Japan, maybe, judging by the title?—and kissed me on the cheek and left me alone.
The good news was that I could play for a good fifteen to twenty minutes before my fingers hurt enough to be a distraction of their own. I was starting to work through a lot of routines that I had used as a teenager and in music school. Many of them I hadn’t played in years, but it was like my brain riffled through the piano bench in the back of my head and dredged out a bunch of half-forgotten things.
A couple of them I knew I probably had actual sheet music of somewhere, probably in Allston, which made me want to ask Bart to dig through my room (and the piano bench…) looking for them. Because I wanted a benchmark of how I was doing. Was I at least back to the level I had been when I was thirteen? Fourteen?
The bad news was that the phone rang about fifteen minutes after Ziggy had gone out. I answered it in case it was the hospital, of course. Which was also why I didn’t make any jokes when I did. “Hello?”
It was a female voice, which only reinforced my thought that it was a nurse calling, except she only used my first name. “Daron?”
“I’m in your neck of the woods for some meetings and I wanted to ask if there was any chance we could meet up for a drink. You and Ziggy, if possible.” She paused, and just as I was about to ask who she was she said, “This is Patty Marshfield. From BNC.”
“Oh!” I hadn’t seen her for a couple of years, but I remembered her. Well, the main thing I remembered was that she had a very stylishly long, professional looking overcoat and the kind of blonde hair that had many shades of blonde in it. “How are you?”
“I’m great,” she said emphatically. “So? Can we talk?”
“You know I’m in the middle of nowhere Tennessee, right?” She had to. She had called me.
“I know. Okay, look. I’m in Memphis but it’s not actually for any reason other than I was hoping to talk with you guys. If you can’t get away for an hour or two, I’m happy to meet you wherever, though. I’ll come to you, or you can come here.”
That was a bit stunning, of course. You dragged your ass all the way from New York City down to here just to talk face to face with us? I felt like I should have been suspicious, but it didn’t feel like a sneaky move. More like the opposite. “Um…”
“I just feel like we’re getting nowhere with all the middlemen,” she said. “I don’t work well that way and I get the feeling you don’t either.”
“Yeah.” My mind was racing. It was probably her trying to trick us into negotiating without our representation, right? But it didn’t feel like that. Except, wait. “Are you still reporting to Mills these days?”
She laughed and it was like I could see the relief on her face, I could hear it that clearly. “No. I’m head of division now. And I’m loving it.”
So she had the magic pen. Again, this should’ve made me suspicious, but it just didn’t feel underhanded at all. Maybe because she wasn’t Mills and didn’t sound like him. “That must be what Barrett meant by a shakeup at BNC.”
I could still hear her grinning. “That’s putting it mildly. If you really want the gory details, come grab a drink with me. Or let’s not, if you’d rather not. The corporate org chart is not the most scintillating subject.”
“Yeah, I bet.”
“We don’t have to talk official business at all. You ever been to the Sun Records studio? I haven’t. Figured I would drop by there as long as I’m in town. I just want to get to know you better. If you want, we can just talk about music.”
“Music,” I heard myself say.
“Yeah, that thing that BNC was kind of forgetting about for a while. Mills only cared about money. I think the money will take care of itself if we concentrate on the music.”
That was the kind of thing a politician would say, wasn’t it? It sounded too good to be true. But politicians have to keep some of their promises, don’t they? “Let me check with Ziggy. I think we might be able to get away for a few hours. Does it have to be today?”
“I’m here through Friday at least,” she said. “Take my pager number and my hotel and let me know, all right?”
“All right.” I took down her number and then went out to the lobby, where Ziggy was curled up on another very rectangular couch with a to-go cup of tea and his book.
He looked up when I guess he sensed me coming. “What’s wrong?”
“You want to drive into Memphis to meet Patty Marshfield?”
“Some time before Friday?” I had no idea what day of the week it actually was, of course. “Right now if you really want. She just kind of… showed up and… yeah.”
Ziggy hopped to his feet. “I would love nothing more than to not spend the next six hours in the hospital.”
“Cool. I’ll let Court and Remo know we’re going to take a little trip.” A surge of energy hit me then, like a light switch had been flipped inside my chest. Anything not to spend the next six hours sitting in the hospital. The prospect was suddenly thrilling.
Besides, I wanted to look for a piece of sheet music. How convenient.