The whole Boston-based crew–me, Carynne, Chris, Bart, Bradley, and Courtney–went north for the July 4th vacation week. Ziggy stayed in the city and said goodbye to me with an enthusiasm for the experience of being apart that I think I was finally starting to understand. Now that I was no longer terrified that while we were apart everything was automatically going to fall apart (although there were still some paranoid moments–this is me, after all), I could see the appeal of looking forward to a reunion. That makes sense, right?
Besides, we both had stuff to do.
I spent a lot of time in the basement with the Mac and the DX7 and a couple of guitars. Just fucking around. I wrote some things that might be songs if I worked on them enough. I found a software program that tested ear training and made myself do it a bunch although it was a lot harder to hear what the intervals were with the fake sounds the computer made than real instruments, but maybe that was good for training purposes.
Oh, yeah, Colin’s reaction to my hair. “Did you bleach out pieces of it and then dye them?”
“Uh, no. They’re fake. Um, don’t pull my hair while we fuck and it’ll be fine.” I should mention we were in bed as I said this.
Colin’s idea, I swear. It went fine. I decided it would be weird to ask him to make a decision about coming with us to South America while we were naked so I didn’t.
Okay I should tell you one more thing about sex with Colin. After having frequent sex with Ziggy for several weeks at that point, I had forgotten what Colin was like. It wasn’t just that he was a tall person with a big dick who naturally took charge, which was a contrast to what I’d gotten used to, it was also that everything felt almost unfamiliar, as if we hadn’t had plenty of sex before? It came back to me after a bit but it was like playing electric again after months of not touching the Strat. I hadn’t expected to forget the sensations so quickly. This wasn’t a bad thing, just unexpected.
On July 4th itself we all went to Bart’s for an all day party. “We all” meant the crowd as listed above, plus Colin, plus a couple of extra people. One of them was a booker for the Lyons brothers who was a friend of Carynne’s and whose name I forgot within an hour, but she spent a lot of the party hitting on Chris, which made him feel pretty good about himself even if in the end it didn’t lead to anything. There was also a guy from the hotel and restaurant industry who was a cousin of Michelle’s but he left around sundown.
There was the usual barbecue and beer except this was a party Bart was in charge of so there were all kinds of exotic beers and meats. He couldn’t just serve Bud and make burgers and hot dogs. He had lamb chops and beef shish kabob and three flavors of chicken wings and–apparently–ostrich kabobs but I think I mistook them for beef and so I can’t really say I noticed the difference.
At one point I went into the kitchen looking for something that wasn’t meat to eat and ran into Bradley and Chris talking.
Bradley was saying, “I just don’t feel like I’m keeping up.”
Chris had just said, “Look, we can work on–” when he looked up and noticed me.
“Hey,” I said as I opened the fridge, then shut it again in favor of taking a brownie from the container sitting on the counter. “You guys okay?”
Bradley looked at Chris, then at me, in that wide-eyed stare of his, and then mumbled an excuse and hurried out of the room.
“Okay, what was that about?”
Chris opened the fridge and poured himself some seltzer. “That is Bradley still being in sink-or-swim mode and convinced he’s gonna sink.”
“That’s what it sounded like. But shouldn’t he tell me that?”
Chris cracked open the seltzer and then had to hold it over the sink because bubbles (and water) went everywhere. “He’s afraid to disappoint you.”
“He’s doing fine, though.” And he was. Musically everything wasn’t perfect but I wasn’t pushing for it to be perfect yet when we still were going to have another few weeks of rehearsal.
“It’s good he’s looking up to me for advice, I guess,” Chris said. “Since he’s afraid to talk to you about it.”
“I do not get this ‘afraid of me’ thing. That, honestly, is my only worry about him at this point.”
Chris plopped a lime wedge into his glass from the cutting board where lemons and limes were sitting with a small knife. “It’s just nerves. I think he’ll get over it. I figure him and me and Bart can do some rehearsals on our own, just to keep it fresh, while you’re gone.”
“Speaking of which, you and me and Bart should rehearse tomorrow.” I thought for a second. “Or maybe the day after. Hey, pour me some of that.”
“You going to stick to not drinking even though Ziggy isn’t here?” Chris asked.
“Yeah, but Bart isn’t.” The pile of empties by the back door was already getting pretty big. So we’ll see if he feels up to rehearsing tomorrow or not.”
I ate the brownie and washed it down with seltzer and lime, and then got into some kind of crazy two-person video game with Colin that kept seeming weirder and weirder. I thought I knew the rules but they seemed to me to be changing as we went along. I figured it was just me and I would figure it out eventually if I just concentrated harder on what was going on. The screen was really huge, the room was dark, and Bart had put in surround sound.
“Daron, are you all right?” Colin asked at one point.
“You seem a little…”
Just then Chris stuck his head into the game room. “It’s almost time for the fireworks. Concert’s starting shortly.”
“Come on.” Colin took me by the hand and led me up to the roof deck where the sky seemed very surreal with blimps flying through it and lights shining from the direction of the Esplanade. “Are you sure you’re okay?”
“Um.” Come to think of it, I was feeling a lot like the video game had leaked out and enveloped the real world. “Everything’s weird.”
“And you’re really quiet.”
“Oh, shit,” Bart said. “Did I forget to label which ones were the hash brownies?”
I’m not exactly sure how the logic went this way, but upon discovering that I was accidentally high on hash oil, the rest of the group decided the solution was they should all join me. So pretty soon everyone except for Chris, who was continuing to abstain from drugs, was catching up with me.
Then a kind of time dilation occurred and it took forever to get to the actual fireworks. The1812 Overture took a really long time, but it was neat to hear all the church bells ringing, standing there on the roof of Bart’s townhouse. It occurs to me now that the sound of the orchestra wasn’t reaching us live from the Esplanade–Bart had to have hooked up speakers on the roof–but the church bells ringing and the cannons firing, that you could hear in the open air. Church bells all ringing at the same time from all over the city like that probably would’ve made the hair on my body stand up even if I wasn’t high.
Fireworks make me feel like a child again. But in a good way. The excitement to see them, the anticipation–it’s almost painful in the way that raw childhood emotions always are. But maybe the hash or maybe my recent change in outlook on life had me enjoying the rawness of it. It’s easier to enjoy anticipation when you’re not fearful that someone’s going to yank it away, whatever it is.
The fireworks were bright and beautiful and synchronized to the music–no, that wasn’t my drug addled imagination, that was how they designed it. In fact I think I was sobering up by that point because I finally felt like talking again.
“Hey Bart,” I said. “You know we predicted this.”
“Predicted what? Oh, that we’d do July 4th on my roof if we didn’t have other gigs? I thought you made it our vacation week on purpose because of that.”
“Oh. Maybe I did without totally realizing it. Good job, Daron.” I patted myself on the back with my right hand.
When the fireworks were over the party became a dance party on Bart’s roof, where we all just danced because why the fuck not dance. And when it was time to be quiet nobody really felt like going home so we ended up sleeping on couches and in guest rooms and on floors in various rooms because that’s just what made sense. I woke up early in the morning on a pulled out couch with Colin wrapped around me and Bradley curled up on the loveseat next to us, like a lost puppy. It seemed to me that when I opened my eyes, he opened his.
“It’ll be all right, puppy,” I said, and then I closed my eyes again and went back to sleep. Hopefully Bradley did, too.
(Time for me to remind you all I’m collecting your images and suggestions for who you’d “cast” in DGC! Who do you picture when you imagine the various characters? Email daron.moondog @ gmail.com with your suggestions. Also a reminder if you have a blog or social media and would like to be part of the cover reveal or launch blitz for DGC Volume 9, OR you would like to review DGC Volume 9 on Amazon or Goodreads, sign up on this form here: http://goo.gl/forms/N4fYgFHHFH5wbFek1 -ctan)
(A song that we definitely heard that day. -d)