767. Groovy Train

The show went pretty darn good, I think, though given that my brain was spinning like a top from prescription opioids I might not have been the best judge. But judging from the reactions of the people I knew and trusted, it was pretty darn good.

Even Matthew was impressed, let’s put it that way.

And the crowd, remember how much they loved it when Remo fucked up the lyrics and had to start a song over again? Because that was a genuine moment, something real, something special. Well, this was kind of like that for the entire show because they really didn’t know what to expect. A lot of those people had been to the show the night before and so they knew just how different it was.

Remo had introduced me after the first song with something like this: “Daron Marks on lead guitar, ladies and gentlemen. Those of you who were here last night might have noticed something different about Daron tonight. That cast he’s wearing was just put on an hour or two ago after he lost a fight with a bar knife and a bottle of tequila. But he’s here.” Cheers and whistles. “And if you’ll bear with us, we’ll see if he can make it through the show tonight.” Even bigger cheers and applause, like they were trying to bolster me up.

The band had to really be on their toes. We had to pause between songs to make sure I had the right guitar and that I hadn’t time-traveled into the sixth dimension or something, but that was what made it genuine.

I told you before it was usual to have a lot of industry hangers-on at any show in the New York area. There were people there from record companies and radio stations and promoters and you name it. What I haven’t mentioned before, I don’t think, is a lot of those people don’t actually watch the show. When we played Madison Square Garden the schmoozing never stopped.

This show? Everyone watched. I’d never seen the peanut gallery so full. Of course we also had a lot of friends and family from that area. But this was beyond that.

You could take a negative view of it. You could say it was like people only go to see car racing to see the crashes. All these people wanted to see if I would crash and burn. But it didn’t feel like that. When you go to see a high wire act you don’t actually want anyone to fall and it’s just as thrilling when they don’t.

I loved it.

I was also, as mentioned, high on painkillers, but I think I would’ve loved it anyway. You have to really be at the top of your game to make that much improvisation work. Playing with a cast on my hand was like basically learning a new instrument. It had the same six strings as a guitar but I had to play it really differently. (Remo told me later my solos sounded like Clapton’s. Heh.)

The thing I didn’t do? Sing. I stayed away from my mic. I was afraid my pitch would be off and that I might say something stupid.

But you want to hear all about the schmoozefest, right? The big party that was so important. I think I had fun? I don’t really remember much other than a steady stream of well-wishers, some of whom I knew really well (my own sister, Matthew) and some of whom I probably had never met before and probably never would again. The one relevant thing was Artie asked me if I could make it into the office for a meeting the next day and I said yes once I made sure Carynne knew about it—because I was likely to forget but I knew she wouldn’t.

Let’s see. The next thing was Carynne and Ziggy and me in the limo, with Tony driving and me with my head under Ziggy’s jacket–literally so that my cheek was pressed against his ribs–because I had very abruptly become done with people and sensory overload. I wanted to cry except I didn’t have anything to cry about, you know? I wanted to let it all out, but I didn’t even know what “it all” was, so I just sat there with opiates swirling through me for a while.

When I was ready to open my eyes again, I emerged to find Carynne and Ziggy in the middle of a conversation that I hadn’t even heard.

“I get it,” Carynne was saying. “She’s at the end of her rope. But come on. If it’s that hard, go spend a couple weeks in the Virgin Islands with an army of nannies if that’s what it takes. Remo’s got the money.”

“You mean like your mom would’ve done?” Ziggy replied softly.

Carynne’s mouth hung open, stopped in mid-rant. “Huh. Okay, so maybe it’s not that simple. But there’s got to be a better way.” She noticed I was awake and looked at me. “You okay?”

“Yeah.” I held up the cast. It seemed immense now, and heavy.

“You’re supposed to go for followup in a week.”

“Will they take the cast off then?”

“Yes, and then they’ll check to make sure your tendons are okay. And put a new cast on, probably.”

Ziggy shuddered next to me. “You’re taking this all very calmly,” he said.

“I’m drugged to the gills is probably why,” I replied. It hit me then that I had taken only half a painkiller to get me through after the explosion, and yet tonight I’d had two. I was stubborn in a different way now than I was then, I guess.

Tony left me and Ziggy off at his apartment and then took Carynne to…wherever Carynne went. I don’t know.

Upstairs Ziggy helped me get out of my clothes. Not in a seductive way, in a practical way, since with the cast it was tricky to move certain ways. “Carynne told me what happened.”

“What did she tell you?” I was curious if her version of events matched up with mine.

“She said you saved your godson from certain destruction or at least maiming.”

“Well, somebody had to,” I said. “I mean, maybe miraculously nothing would have hit him but…”

“But if it had looked like that you probably wouldn’t have caught the blade of a knife with your hand.” He stripped out of his own clothes and started the shower, then circled back to the edge of the bed where I was sitting. “You seriously could have lost a finger.”

And I still could lose the functioning of one or more if I wasn’t lucky and didn’t heal right. But I didn’t say that. “Will you wash my hair?” I’d had two rinses, one after the ER and one after the show, but not a proper shower.

“Gladly. Let me get a plastic bag to put over your hand.” Funny how there was something so familiar about this. At least this time only one of us was injured. And Ziggy was an excellent nursemaid.

In the morning I woke when all the medicines had worn off and my hand was distinctly uncomfortable inside the cast but not really what I’d call pain. No, the real discomfort was in my head. Now that I could think clearly again and the crisis was over my thoughts were starting to simmer.

“Did Carynne tell you what Mel said?”

Ziggy lifted his head. “She said she spewed a lot of invective and called you a godless bastard or something.”

I almost laughed when I said it out loud. “Drunken godless faggot bastard child.”

His eyeliner was a shady smudge down his cheeks. “That’s a mouthful.”

“It’s got me thinking.”

“That she needs therapy?”

“That Remo’s told her a lot.”

“Like one probably would with one’s spouse about who you’re picking as godfather.” He shifted onto his side and I admired the dancer’s muscles he was rippled with. “Is she religious?”

“I didn’t think she particularly was, but then I met her family, and they’re kind of…Southern.” I lay flat on my back with the cast on a pillow, pretending it wasn’t there. “So ‘godless’ okay, it’s not really accurate. Churchless is more like it, but whatever.”

“I thought you’d decided God was an overblown metaphor for the patriarchy.”

“That’s Courtney. I think there probably is a god, but god’s probably nothing like we can imagine. That’s the point. And if cathedrals and stories and prayer and incense and hymns are the closest we can get to god, then I guess I’m okay with church, too. It’s all the other bullshit about church that I can’t stand. It’s not about god. It’s about the power structure.”

“So you and Court actually agree on that.”

“Yeah, okay, I guess so. Anyway, drunken, I guess I get where that comes from but it turns out I am one of the lighter drinkers among the problem drinkers on this tour. So that felt a little undeserved, too.”

Ziggy kissed me behind the ear. “Faggot.”

“You make it sound like a nice word, when you say it like that.”

“It is a nice word, when I say it like that.” He kissed my cheek but not my mouth–neither of us had brushed our teeth yet.

“Okay, but bastard child? When people say ‘bastard’ they just mean it like ‘you jerk’ but ‘bastard child?’ That’s more like, the real definition, no? Just what does she think she knows about me?”

“Ooooh.” Ziggy sat up, the sheets draped over his knees. “If she thinks you’re not Digger’s son, she has to think you’re Remo’s.”

“I am not Remo’s son.”

“I know, but does she know that?”

“That’d make me Ford’s half-brother. And her half-stepson, come to think of it. So kind of a weird accusation to be tossing out there, right?”

“Did you ever think you’re trying to make sense out of something that doesn’t make sense, though?”


“Maybe she just flung the words at you she thought would be the most hurtful without them actually meaning anything to her.” Ziggy stretched. “Reflex. Schoolyard fighting tactic. Say whatever shit and see what sticks, what gets under their skin.”

“I don’t think any of it’s getting under my skin because I don’t actually give a fuck what Melissa Cutler thinks,” I said. “So she can call me names all she wants.”

“You punched Chris in the neck once for less.”

“Because that actually upset me. The only thing that’s upsetting me here is I think I should get some fucking credit for keeping Ford’s face from becoming hamburger.” My stomach growled suddenly.

“You said the word hamburger.”

I flung my arm over my eyes. “Woe to the wayward musician, separated from his entourage, he must fend for himself for sustenance.”

“The cafe down the street delivers,” Ziggy said, slipping from the bed. “Well, they do takeout, but I can usually convince the guy who likes me to run over and buzz the door.”

“Which one is the guy who likes you?”

“If I say the cute one with the buzz cut and the earring does that help?”

I laughed because he meant for me to. And it was funny. “No. That’s probably half the staff there. You’re right. I withdraw my question.”

He picked up the phone and hit speed dial, then said to me, “Jordan wants to know if we want to come over tonight.”

“When did he ask that?”

“Last night. He was there.”

“Wow, I don’t even remember that. Come over where? Limelight?”

“His place.”

“Just us, or a general hangout?”

‘Not sure. Oh, hello,” he said, as the person at the cafe picked up.

I went to relieve myself while he was busy. I’m a fairly ambidextrous person. I can even brush my teeth with my left or my right. But it felt all kinds of weird to hold my dick to piss with the left one.

(Sorry for the late post…I forgot to set it up before I left the country and only just realized it didn’t go live because I hadn’t set it up. Duh. Amusingly enough I did already set up a post for TOMORROW, a fanworks post with a song by Meg! So come back to hear it and read the lyrics! -ctan, from Japan)


  • Mark Treble says:

    Brings back memories of when our tenor sax player/band leader had his first narcolepsy attack midway through a performance. For the second half I switched to alto sax, transposing on the fly, our front man played piano and the lead guitarist sang. About every three songs I’d go back to the keyboard so our front man could sing, and I’d try to add the sax part to what I was playing.

    If there had been video cameras everywhere in 1969, you could watch a musical performance that looked like a Keystone Kops comedy. The audience actually ate it up. The guy supposed to be running the reel-to-reel went with the narcoleptic to the emergency room, so we never got an audio recording.

  • s says:

    Ziggy in caretaker mode makes me melt.

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