(A couple of quick reminders!
Love you all! -ctan)
I was more alert while getting on the plane this time. I still felt like a jerk for having other people carry pretty much everything for me, but at least I didn’t give myself a cramp in my hand, and we could proceed with my non-show-day medication regimen.
This time I noticed that the different parts of the entourage were in different parts of the plane. The roadies and stagehands were all the way in the back. The band was in the section in front of them— behind the bulkhead galley and the overwing table section. The dancers were in front of the table section. Management had taken over business class. And what I guess I have to call Ziggy’s inner circle took first class and the upstairs lounge.
Understand that it wasn’t like someone went around assigning sections or telling people they weren’t allowed here or there. It was more like something unspoken. And once I realized it, I felt kind of uncomfortable in first class.
Maybe that was also a holdover from me feeling like the usual people I encounter in first class always give me the hairy eyeball. But I was uncomfortable with the implication that the people in the front were somehow superior to the people in back.
Maybe I was reading too much into it. In a normal plane, the more you spent, the closer to the pilot you sat. On a plane like this, it was the more you were getting paid, I suppose. Still.
We were on the ground for a long time. At first I didn’t notice that. I sat in a recliner in the upper lounge reading a book while Ziggy had a long talk with Linn. That might have been the time they got into the fight about Jackson Pollock. Ziggy felt Pollock had made himself into a celebrity in order to promote his art, which was trash, and Linn felt Pollock’s art was brilliant but that his celebrity actually hindered people from taking it seriously. Linn had also known him so maybe she was biased.
The delay was eventually long enough, though, that Linn went to try to find out what was going on. She went down into the main cabin and I was suddenly aware that Ziggy and I were alone.
“Hey,” I said.
He looked back at me. He was made up for traveling, which meant full hair and makeup in case of paparazzi. “Hey.”
He came over to me and sat on the arm of the recliner and took my good hand in his.
“I never got to tell you what I thought of the show,” I said.
“Nor I you.” He squished in next to me in the seat. We could just about both fit because the seat was so wide (and we both had hips as skinny as ferrets). “What’d you think?”
“You’re a really good dancer,” I said, utterly deadpan, and he burst out laughing.
“That was so not what I was expecting you to say.”
I shrugged. “It wasn’t what I was expecting to think during the show, either.”
“You thought it went all right, though?”
“Yeah,” I said. “All right.” Isn’t it weird that the expression “it went all right” actually means “it went mostly right?” Not the greatest, but not the worst either. I didn’t bring up the Star*Gaze set at all. “What did you think of the set?”
He shrugged. “It still has some glitches to work out. But the crowd really liked it.”
And I guess that’s what matters most, ultimately. They paid their money to see a show. They weren’t disappointed. I hope.
Ziggy kissed me on the ear and climbed out of my chair as someone came up the narrow corkscrew stairs.
Linn came bearing bad news. “We’re being held for some kind of inspection, we think.”
“We think?” Ziggy asked.
She sniffed at him, as if to say, if you don’t like my delivery, go find out for yourself.
He declined to do so. Ziggy looked out the window while I looked at him. Did he look happy? I couldn’t decide. I felt something about his eyes looked glum, but maybe that was about the delay.
Linn was looking at me like she didn’t like my hair. This made me decidedly uncomfortable. The last thing I wanted was for her to change it again.
Ziggy stood up a bit straighter all of a sudden. “Look.” He pointed out the window.
I turned to the oval window nearest me. On the tarmac I could see Mickey–his hands on his head–talking to two armed guards. By armed I mean one of them had a machine gun, which wasn’t something I was used to seeing every day. At first I thought his hands were on his head because they were arresting him, but no, it was in dismay. We couldn’t make out what he was saying but he was near to shouting and looked upset. Behind the guards were a few governmental-looking types.
I knew it made no sense for me to go down there and get in the middle of it and yet that’s what I had the urge to do.
I saw Carynne join them.
“What do you think’s going on?” I asked, feeling an inkling of dread in the back of my mind.
“No idea.” Ziggy gnawed on one of his thumbnails, though, leaving his cuticle stained dark with lipstick.
Linn huffed and opened a magazine.
“Where’s Barrett?” I asked.
“Probably talking to someone else about this same thing,” Ziggy said. “I hope.”
We then watched Mickey disappear under the plane with the rest of them following him. Ziggy and I hurried to the other side to see if they would reappear. They did, by the loading ramp to the hold which we couldn’t see well from where we were.
Ziggy bolted for the stairs down. Linn and I followed. From windows closer to the wing I could just make out that they went up the ramp into the belly of the plane.
“I guess it is some kind of inspection?”
Ziggy sighed and leaned against one of the galley tables, trying to see what was going on outside. A bunch of the entourage were sitting around in that area. “What’d you see?” Bart asked.
“Carynne and Mickey taking some guys with machine guns into the hold,” I said. The back of my neck prickled as if I might hear gunfire at any second. Trained by too many action movies.
Linn marched up to me. “We need to discuss your problem,” she said.
“Me?” I asked. I could think of a lot of possibilities. “Which problem?”
“The point of a stage costume is not to rip it off midway through the performance.” She gestured up and down me as if I were naked right now and deserved to be ashamed of it.
“What?” For a moment I had no idea what she was talking about. Then, “Oh, you mean me taking my jacket off?”
“And looking like a vagabond underneath!”
“You mean, like a ‘Nomad,’?” Bart quipped, but quietly so that although I heard him I wasn’t sure if Linn did.
“A ragamuffin!” she continued.
“Another good name for a band,” Chris murmured to Bart.
“As if this weren’t bad enough!” She flicked the edge of my hair which was well below my shoulders.
So she was looking at my hair. “What’s wrong with it?” I
“You look like one of those junkies who lives in an alley in San Francisco,” she said with a sneer.
I was feeling attacked, to say the least. “No, I don’t,” I said. “And even if I did, so what?”
“This is not the brand identification we’re trying to build for Ziggy. He’s the future, he’s technology, he’s post-racial.”
Post-racial? I didn’t even know what that meant. “And I’m…?”
“Looking like some kind of marijuana-smoking hippie throwback.” Her arms were folded.
None of my usual advocates were in evidence, and even Ziggy seemed to have disappeared. “You approved this haircut yourself!”
She snorted. “I should have known better.” She pointed at the floor. “You think they’re not looking for drugs? They’re looking for drugs.”
“Because of my hair?”
“Of course! If everyone was clean-cut looking, this wouldn’t be happening.”
“Don’t be fucking ridiculous, Linn–”
“Don’t you use such language with me–”
“Are you going to tell me Jackson Pollock didn’t use the word fuck? What the fuck is wrong with–”
Ziggy made a shushing sound and gesture from behind me. He’d gone a few steps out the main cabin door and had hurried back in because someone else was coming.
Barrett. He put one foot into the plane. “Hey everyone. Spread the word. We’re going to be grounded for a little longer. Inspection.”
“What kind of inspection?” I snapped, still angry at Linn. “Are they looking for drugs or what?”
“Mmmmm-no,” Barrett said, considering. “I think they’re looking for a bribe. Just trying to make life difficult for us until we catch on and pay our way out of the red tape. Right now we’re not planning to do that.”
I glared at Linn. She glared back and then began climbing the spiral staircase to the upper lounge again. I went to the back of the plane. Putting some distance between us seemed like the best thing to do right then.