Christian and I went out the next night. We went to a place I had been with Jonathan years before, the Union Oyster House. We got recognized as Somewhat Famous People by the host and shown to a table where we couldn’t be seen from the door. The host, a young-looking guy but with his hair so short it made it seem like he was balding, fluttered nervously, though. “Is this all right?” he asked. “It’s somewhat close to the kitchen.”
Chris patted him on the shoulder. “We both worked in kitchens before we made enough money to afford to eat here. It’s really okay.”
“Oh, thank goodness. Your server will be right with you.”
Outside, summer was starting to take hold, so eating cold oysters was nice. They say you shouldn’t eat oysters in any month without an “r” in it–or so I’ve been told–and this was May, but I didn’t notice anything wrong with them. Maybe that was an old wives tale, like the one that you shouldn’t wear green on stage. That’s why the band’s dressing room is called “the green room,” you know, because it used to be you left anything green you were wearing in there. Or so I’m told.
“So how are you, I mean, generally? I feel like we didn’t really get a chance to talk in the city,” I said.
“Well, we were kind of busy making two albums in the time it takes most bands to record half of a song or less,” he said with a laugh.
“Okay, not for nothing but I always assumed that these bands who spend two years making an album are either insane or can’t play,” I said. “But how are you?”
“I’m good. Did you see what I did to the back porch?”
“No! What did you do to the back porch?”
“Demolished and rebuilt it. Or, well, I’m in the middle of rebuilding it.”
“Did it need–?”
“It was rotted through in a couple of places, and it made more sense for me to do it than to pay someone to do it. I…I do a lot better when I have work to keep me occupied every day.”
“Okay, but now I feel a little like I’m not keeping up my end of the ownership. I learned to lay tile and plaster in Spain, you know.” I’m sure I could learn some other renovation skills, too. But I was also wary of breaking a finger with a hammer or what have you.
“It’s okay, Daron. You haven’t been adding to the wear and tear on the place, either.”
The restaurant was a dark-wood-paneling kind of place. Maybe that helped give the whole conversation an air of conspiracy. After we’d gotten our food and were on our second round of drinks, I dug into it: “So what do you think about doing double-duty on this tour, with all three of us not only playing in the opening band but in Ziggy’s backing band?”
“Already told me yes on the phone this afternoon.” Bart’s exact words were something like “you know I’d follow you to hell so why not Venezuela” and when I pointed out we already knew we were going to Venezuela as openers–but now I wanted to know if he’d play behind Ziggy, too–he told me Venezuela was a metaphor. Damn all these smart alecks in my life.
“Ah. And Barrett said the whole tour, it’s all a ‘no drugs’ gig, right?”
“Right. Doesn’t want to chance anything that might send Ziggy”–or anyone else I didn’t need to name sitting right there with me–“back to rehab.”
“Smart.” Chris picked up his Guiness. “Alcohol okay, though?”
“I’ll drink to that.” We clinked glasses.
After I’d had a gulp or two more of mine I asked, “Does that mean you’ll do it?”
“You’re leading this band?”
“Do you need a keyboard player? I feel like I might be better off on keyboards than on drums.”
“Could you play some auxiliary percussion as well as keys?”
“Of course. Just get someone else to go behind the kit.”
I nodded and was going to leave it at that. Then I remembered all the reasons why leaving stuff unsaid wasn’t always the right course of action and decided to check. “Any particular reason? Or anything we should talk about?”
“Eh, not really. I just think I’ll be healthier, if that’s the right word. Fewer negative associations. Also I won’t have to switch gears so much from set to set. And I am just really getting into keyboard playing. That reminds me, the piano tuner is coming tomorrow, first thing in the morning.”
“Thanks for telling me. I’ll try not to have a hangover, then,” I said. We didn’t order a third round. (We did get dessert.)
I didn’t listen to Ziggy’s album that night. I tried to catch up on email and message boards instead. which resulted in me staying up until dawn and then crawling into bed with my head spinning and my eyes trying to shut while I was climbing the stairs.
My favorite time to fall asleep is when I’m so tired from not sleeping that I practically fall asleep the minute my head hits the pillow. I crashed rapturously.
Of course I was awakened a few hours later by the sound of the piano tuner. I stuffed earplugs into my ears and tried to sleep, but I was fitful and couldn’t stop listening to the sound of the tuning, which if you’ve never heard it is like a soundcheck that goes on for an hour. Each note gets hit over and over and over again, while each is infinitesimally adjusted.
I gave up on going back to sleep and instead I put headphones on and rewound Ziggy’s album again, thinking at least I’d get another run through on it.
I hit play. Before “Parade” was over, I had fallen back to sleep.
(SITE NEWS: Okay, so I’m trying a new strategy to try to bring some readers to the site, or at least some income into the DGC coffers. I’ll explain this more in detail in the long overdue liner note soon. Short version: I’ve taken the section of DGC where Daron goes to Spain, rewritten it a little so that it has more sex, fewer references to the rest of Daron’s life, added some romance-novel-esque flourishes, more sex again, and have given it an SEO-keyword-laden title and description on Amazon and put it up as a standalone gay erotica novella for $2.99 and it’ll be free to read if you’re in Kindle Unlimited. If you’re in KU PLEASE DO READ THE BOOK — authors get paid for EACH PAGE you view, so please please page through that sucker and a wee kickback comes to me for each one. Here’s the preo-order link: GAY LOVE: Spanish Nights: An Erotic Novella (First Time Gay) Goes live on Feb 14th, Valentine’s Day! Tell your friends! -ctan)