789. Shake It Up

Martin missed the bus to Detroit. This surprised no one, really, since he’d informed the crew he’d get himself there. It was only like a two or three hour drive and I think he convinced either Mary or Sue to just drive him.

Once he did get to Detroit, he thanked me before soundcheck because he’d had such a good time with them. I told him I thought even if I hadn’t been there he would have been perfectly equipped to make that pickup without me, but he seemed convinced it was my presence that had drawn them over like a magnet.

“Has no one ever introduced you to the concept of a wingman?” he asked.

“Can’t say that anyone has,” I told him. “For what it’s worth, it was my roadie who picked them up the first time.”

“I wondered. I didn’t think you did that sort of thing.”

“Pick up groupies, you mean?”

“Or talk to strangers, or have sex with women, much less multiple women…?”

“Yeah, well.” I shrugged. “I mostly don’t. But I figured I’d try it at least once.”

“I appreciate that you keep an open mind. I can’t say that I’d do the reverse in your situation.”

“You mean if I went and picked up two hot guys and invited you to a foursome, you’d say no?” I said it as a joke, I swear.

“Well, it might depend on the guys,” he deadpanned, and I’m pretty sure he meant it as a joke, too, but you know, I wasn’t quite completely sure.

Since my doctors appointment, I had started carrying Flexeril in my pocket like a good luck charm. Just putting my (good) hand on the bottle made me feel better. So had asking at the doctor’s if it was really okay to take it before every show. They had told me if it wasn’t okay to take, they wouldn’t have given it to me. I’m not sure that was the most believable rationale, given some of our previous experiences with prescription drugs, but I took it at face value.

I resolved only to take Vitamin F–as me and Flip had taken to calling it–on actual show days. But I still carried it around with me everywhere. After a few days I switched the bottle to the breast pocket of my jacket even though that was a little bulky, but at least then it couldn’t fall out. Same breast pocket where I’d carried those tabs of acid around for two years. To cut down the bulkiness I moved the pills from the prescription bottle into a tin that had once had mints in it. The result was the pills were then slightly minty.

The timing for taking it was 30 minutes before soundcheck. This meant I was just starting to feel a little loopy during each day’s lounge act. No one had said anything about it, least of all me, but after Remo’s very serious one, everyone stuck to pretty silly songs for the final two weeks of the tour.

I should talk about what was going on with the Mazel brothers and Remo in those final two weeks of the tour. But here’s the thing I have to say about it. I wasn’t surprised that to someone from the outside you couldn’t tell that there was something going on. I was surprised to find that I couldn’t tell what was going on. I know their shit wasn’t resolved, not even close, but there was no indication of it. No sullen glances, no uncivil tones of voice, no overt argument of any kind. Everyone just went about their business. That included playing music, where it gives you the feeling that everyone’s connected, that we’re all getting along, even if that feeling is an illusion.

Mel gave me my first peek behind the front they had put up. It was on our day off in Cincinnati. The hotel had a nice pool. It had been a while since I had been swimming. There had been a while when I’d been at Remo’s when I’d been in the habit of swimming every day.

I swam a little in the outdoor pool. I wanted to be kind of careful because of my hand but overall it felt good in the water. When I got out I rinsed off in the outdoor shower and then took a nap in a reclining chair under an umbrella.

A little later I woke up with one foot starting to sunburn and so I moved to the indoor section of the pool and encountered Melissa and Ford there. There was a kiddie pool of sorts–basically a shallow fountain that was okay to get in. I sat down with them. “How’s it going?”

“All right,” she said. Ford was sitting in the water and holding her fingers like they were handlebars. “I want to apologize.”

“You don’t have to–”

“Daron. You haven’t even heard what I’m going to apologize for yet.”

“We’re fine, Mel. You don’t have to make up with me.”

“Okay, maybe this isn’t an apology so much as I want to explain something–or maybe I want you to explain something. I’m still figuring it out.”


“Remo’s way of doing things. I said some not very nice things about him taking in strays.”

“Yeah, I remember that. In my case it fit pretty good. I was literally turning up at his door in the night like a cat locked out of my own house, you know.”

“I know. He got angry at me about that, though. His take was you’d rather have a selfish bastard for a husband than someone generous? Of course not, but I was still upset.”

“You seemed worried he wasn’t going to give you and Ford enough if he gave too much to everyone else,” I said. “But you know the reason he’s getting off the road is to spend more time with you, right?”

“I know. Although it took a couple of arguments before he admitted that.”

“Aha.” Ford crawled over to me in the inches-deep water. I was sitting on the lip of the kiddie pool. He levered himself up to standing by holding onto my knee. “You think he had trouble admitting it to you? Or was it himself?”

“I think he didn’t really think it through when he first decided to get off the road,” she said.

“That was my impression, too. He just went with his gut.”

“He goes with his gut a lot.”


We sat in silent agreement for a few moments, while Ford said “aaaaaaa” and “ba ba ba.” Then I said, “Mel, I’m not a threat to you. Neither is anyone else in the band. Remo has a lot of love and attention to go around.”

“Oh jeezus, Daron, I know that. Well, okay, maybe it’s good to be reminded of it sometimes, but you know how me and this baby have shaken him up? You’ve taken it really well but some other people in his life have been less than thrilled. Because not everyone is always sure there’s enough Remo to go around.”

“Like who?”

“What can you tell me about Alex and Alan?”

I thought about that. “Probably not more than you already know. They’ve just always…been there.”

“You know how I think you’re the son Remo never thought he would have? They’re the younger brothers he never had.”

“Huh. Never thought of that. What’s Martin then?”

“A drummer,” she said, and I realized she’d made a joke. I laughed and Ford laughed, too.

That was as deep as we went right then, but it was food for thought, you know? Remo Cutler had built a whole family around himself basically, with all the dysfunctions that a family can sometimes have, and now he had an actual family and I guess everyone had to figure out how they were going to deal with that.

For another ten days, at least.

(AAAAND it’s official! As of this chapter, the length of Daron’s Guitar Chronicles has now surpassed the length of the Harry Potter books. Of course it still hasn’t if you count the new play or movie scripts which were just published, but then again DGC isn’t over yet. Thanks everyone for sticking with us so long! Love, love, and more love to you all, okay? -ctan)


  • Wh4tisit says:

    Thank you so much for all these words. It is a great pleasure that comes twice a week 🙂 Have a good day.

  • Jude says:


    Thank you so much for this breath of fresh air every week. Especially in the past few months, I’ve found myself looking forward to Tuesdays and Thursdays just for more DGC.

    • ctan says:

      Thank you! It’s been kind of nice escaping into writing it these past few months since I know it’s coming to a period of upswing for liberalism…! 1992 can’t arrive fast enough 🙂

  • G says:

    Congratulations! Maybe now you can focus on reaching something like the Wheel of Time series!

    I love watching Daron grow and evolve (and teach me about music) and I root for him and Ziggy as if I know them personally.

    Thank you for this story. I love Tuesdays and Thursdays at 10:00 for this reason.

    • ctan says:

      Thanks! Hm, according to this website: http://cesspit.net/drupal/node/1869/ I’ll hit the length of Song of Ice and Fire soon (though George RR Martin is about to add another book to it so he’ll jump ahead again!) and several other epics. We’re only halfway to Wheel of Time, though. 🙂

      Thank you for reading!

  • s says:

    Whoo hoo! Daron is a part of me now (and I have a tattoo to prove it). As everyone else said, he’s sometimes the best part of my week and I hope his story never ends.

    But seriously, Daron, wingman? Have you never seen Top Gun? Go watch it now….or at least the volleyball scene. 😍

    • daron says:

      I think I did see that movie in the 80s but all I remember is staring at Val Kilmer. And that they used the same Kenny Loggins song over and over, like they were too cheap to get multiple songs? Soundtracks were stupid back then.

  • aeb says:

    Congrats!!! 🙂

    I was just wondering, is there a way to subscribe to DGC on tumblr? Like, is there a DGC update tag I can follow? Or is there a blog that links to new posts? I know it updates on Tuesdays and Thursday but I’m pretty awful at keeping track of the day of the week!

    If not, no worries, I’m just curious if I missed something like that on tumblr 🙂

    • ctan says:

      For a while I had an IFTTT script set up that re-posted each chapter automatically to my Tumblr at ceciliatan.tumblr.com but it broke when our RSS went wonky and I’ve never figured out how to fix it. And if it’s not automated I’m horribly bad at remembering to do it by hand later. There doesn’t seem to be a good “WordPress to Tumblr” autopost plugin…? (I see several that go the other direction…)

      • aeb says:

        Yeeeah. I used to be responsible for maintaining a couple of websites. It was almost enough to make me jealous of Daron and Ziggy and the fact that the most complicated technology they need to deal with is their pagers.

        Oh well. It just means when I remember or notice there’s an update there will probably be more than one I haven’t read 🙂

  • Karl says:

    I look forward to this treat twice a week. Keep bringing Daron to us, we all ejoy his adventures.

  • Stacey says:

    As another commenter said, thank you for all these words! And for this lovely story, that’s been such a part of my life for apparently many years, since my dog Ziggy is now five years old…. 😉

  • Amber says:

    I’m late but CONGRATULATIONS!!!!
    Thank you so much for this story. It has really become a part of me. I can’t believe it’s been 4 years since I discovered it. I’m so happy to be a part of this community.

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