830. Tighten Up

(Saturday post! Enjoy! -ctan)
Flip, approaching from behind me, smacked me on the back. He waggled the granola bar in his other hand like a dog biscuit. As he came around to see my face though, his jocular demeanor changed. “You alright?”

“No,” I said. Colin still had my hand in his grasp. He seemed a lot calmer than I was, but then again I knew Colin had the ability to hold his anger in until–for example–he had a trashcan to kick the shit out of.

“Maybe this will help.” He peeled open the granola bar and handed it to me, then pulled a Gatorade out of his cargo shorts and cracked it open for me. He and Colin made eye contact and some silent signal passed between them.

I sat down on the spot, right where my mark was on the stage, and while the two of them loomed over me I ate the granola bar. It was either stale or just naturally had the texture of carboard, but hey, it was covered in chocolate and was therefore edible. My jaw got tired of chewing it after a while and I washed the last of it down with Gatorade. I stared at the scuffed place on the stage where my heels had been rocking back and forth a few minutes ago, while I’d been thinking that things were okay. Now, no.

“Are you even going to make it through today?” Flip asked. “You’re white as a sheet.”

“Ask me again after the Flexeril kicks in.”

“Here.” He handed me one and I swallowed it. Then I looked up at Colin. “I’m sorry.”

He got down on one knee and squeezed my shoulder. “Don’t stress,” he said.

I felt a nervous spasm rip through me that could have come out a laugh or me bursting into tears but I kept it in and the moment passed. “I’ll try.”

“We’ll have plenty of time to talk later, okay?” He patted me again like I needed comforting. Which I guess I did, but at the time I felt like that was backwards, I was the one who had just sprung a surprise on him, I was the one who’d chosen Ziggy.

Looking back on it now, of course, I can see that almost all of the angst was inside my own head and that Colin wasn’t taking the ring as any kind of a guarantee of monogamy between me and Ziggy, but I was assuming he’d see it as that, and in my mind it in fact meant that. Plus: god what kind of a shitheel was I that I basically eloped with Ziggy without giving Colin a second thought? I was terrified that I’d just hurt him badly when all he’d ever done was good things for me.

Mickey caught my eye from the floor. “You good? Ready for phase two?”

Flip answered for me. “Five more minutes.” He took my right hand in his and felt around the wrist with his fingertips and then jerked on my hand without warning. I yelped in surprise but my wrist made a cracking sound and the pain stopped instantly.

“What did you just do?” I asked, feeling as dazed as if he’d just slapped me across the face.

“What my chiropractor always does when I go to see him.” He shrugged. “Better?”

“I will be.” I could already feel the Vitamin F filtering my consciousness. I made eye contact with Colin, who was still genuflecting to be closer to my level. With Mickey standing there staring at us I couldn’t bring myself to say anything much.

Colin patted me for the third time, then got up and went somewhere. The men’s room or the break room or somewhere. The rest of the band was meandering back to their places.

I flexed my hand. It felt okay. Flip put me back on my feet and handed me another guitar.

The Aesthetician stood next to Ziggy at center stage considering me with identical curious expressions, their hands on their chins. Ziggy approached me on his own. “What do you think about coming out here during ‘Wonderland?'”

“What do you mean, ‘out here?'”

He gestured to the spot at front of the stage where a tape X indicated where his mic stand should go. (This was one of the things the tech crew had to rehearse, when to whisk it away to make room for dancers, when to put it back.) Linn had turned around to address Mickey who came to the edge of the stage.

They were apparently discussing whether it would look too weird for us not to match in the mic department, given that mine was a wireless headset mounted one but if Ziggy had one of those for a non-dance number he then had nothing to do with his hands.

“I’m sure I’ll think of something to do with my hands,” Ziggy said, completely unsarcastically.

They debated. Apparently they felt it was going to look better if we both stood up there while he belted out the song instead of me staying back with the rest of the band. I agreed silently. Since it was one of the Moondog Three songs it felt more natural to me to be up there, too. I wondered if it had originally been Ziggy’s idea, or if it originated with Linn.

They settled on Ziggy having a mic stand with wireless handheld mic. Now the techs had to remember that and I had to remember when we got to “Wonderland,” which was the last song before the halfway break, to go down off the band riser and join him. You’d think that would be easy to remember.

Yes and no. When we got to it in the run through I had it in my mind, but it seemed to make too much of a pause while I got down off the riser and walked to the front of the stage. I could see Linn frowning.

“You need to get to your place sooner,” she said, as if I were a dancer who needed to be in position before the music started.

“No,” I said.

“No?” Her nostrils flared.

“No. What we should do is right after we’ve hit the last note, I should go right into the riff that announces ‘Wonderland,’ and Ziggy should come to center stage as if he’s going to sing it solo. Center spot. And I should be gradually making my way toward him in the dark and then hit me with a spot when I get about here,” I played the last chord changes before the chorus came in, which we both sang. “And then we do the rest of the song together from there.”

Mickey nodded his head. “You’re gonna get a big applause on the opening riff as people recognize the song, and then I bet you get another one when the light hits you.”

Linn’s nod was curt, as was her comment. “Good. Do it.”

Concerns like that occupied me for the next hour or so. After my next enforced hand break we decided to try to do the whole first 45 minutes of the show without stopping, from the opening dance number, “Parade,” right through to “Wonderland.”

It went pretty well, honestly. I felt crappy emotionally for a ton of reasons but even so I knew it was at least an adequately performed half-concert.

Then it was time for lunch.

Colin brought me some of whatever it was and I felt bad all over again.

(Another 1991 hit featuring Johnny Marr on guitar. Nice to see how much he kept busy after Morrissey went solo, right? -d)


  • marktreble says:


    God, you’re fucked up in the head. Ziggy is telling you everything is OK. Colin is telling you everything is OK. Flip is telling you everything is OK. The Autopsyist (or whatever she’s called) and Mickey are telling you everything is OK.

    Just listen to them.

  • s says:

    When did Colin kick the shit out of a trashcan? Hell I can’t even remember Colin being truly angry…

    Deep breaths, Daron. You can’t do anything until rehearsal is over. So just get through it, let it distract you for now, and talk to Colin when it’s over. K? Deep breaths.

    • daron says:

      Maybe I never told you guys about the trash can. Colin’s got a lot of stories about how he got into punk and industrial as a way to get his aggressions out.

      And I’m trying to breathe. The great thing about Vitamin F is no panic attacks.

  • G says:

    I’m glad the concert (at least the first half) is coming together. I wish I could see Wonderland. And I think when you can talk to Colin you’ll see that he really is going to understand. I am sometimes iffy about you or Ziggy, but I have faith in your friends. He may freak out and totally surprise me, but I’m going to sit my naive self over here and believe. And I am obviously going to need to start drinking before I read these posts; I’m too stressed out.

    • daron says:

      And I am obviously going to need to start drinking before I read these posts; I’m too stressed out.

      Oh man, don’t you start too now

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