The practice-space was stifling hot and Alex flipped on the air-conditioner with a drumstick. He had the middle of his light blonde hair stuck up in some kind of a Mohawk and he wiped the sweat out of his blue eyes that girls always freak out over. He threw the sweat-rag on a stool.
I grabbed my guitar off the hook on the wall, then leaned against the amp stack.”I don’t know if I should go on tour” I said to Alex.
“Why not?” he looked surprised. He tossed the drumstick on to the snare drum which promptly rolled onto the floor, and he lifted his bass from behind the keyboard stand.
“Pretty sure Odette is going to leave me.”
“No way. I can’t believe that dude,” he said shaking his head. “What are you going to do?”
“I’m wondering if I should I leave her first. I spoke with Dave’s brother and he said I would be able to keep all of the money from the band since I earned it before we were married. So, she would only get half of what I earn from the record store and maybe the house. I wonder how soon it would be for her to move that Asshole in? Did I tell you I met him? He’s a fucking kid! I am not even sure he is out of puberty yet. I am sure I saw a god damn zit on his chin.”
James came in sucking on a Slurpee and walked between us. “Who died?” he said.
“Odette’s doin’ it with some college student” Alex said. “And Chris is trying to figure out how to leave her with no money.”
“She’s got plenty of money.” I said. “She doesn’t need anything from me.”
James sat on the drum stool and started spinning one of the sticks between his fingers. He shaved his head yesterday so he kind of looks like a freak with his shirt off…so much skin it’s disturbing. “I thought you guys were the real deal” he said. “I can’t believe she’d do that to you.”
“I had a chance to confront her too.” I said. “Last week I came home early one day and he was in my god damn house. I just let it go though because she didn’t even fight for me. She didn’t deny anything, not really anyway. She ran to her room and acted all wounded and scared. She acted like I was the bad guy. She acted like Odette.”
“Did you punch the kid?” James slurped up some of the blue ice on the bottom of his cup. He pulled the straw out and some blue dripped onto his bare chest. He looked down, “Lick that up for me would ya?” he said to Alex.
“Shut up asshole,” Alex said, and threw him the dirty sweat-towel. Then Alex looked back at me. “So did you….punch him?”
“Nah, I went over there and I just couldn’t do it. I just didn’t have the anger or energy or something.”
James and Alex flashed each other a look.
“And, I didn’t get it.” I said. “I mean, sure, he’s not ugly, but it’s not like I couldn’t get any girl I want!”
Alex laughed, “It’s true pretty-boy!” he said.”And you never even cheated on her on tour either did you? And you had like, a hundred opportunities.”
I shrugged, not really wanting to think too much about that. “That was a long time ago.” I said, “But now there’s that fine chick at Starbucks with the pink streak in her hair to match her bra strap that’s always hanging out.” They both nodded and murmured in approval. “She hasn’t charged me in like 5 months! I don’t do anything about it. Yet my wife falls for some asshole that is studying carbs or something.” I took my guitar pic out of my pocket and put it between my lips.
“You want me to go over there and beat the crap out of him? Maybe I should stuff a fucking sausage roll down his throat?” Alex said.
I smiled, enjoying the image then spat the pic out on the floor. “Thanks Bro, but what good would that do? And what about Zoe? The Mother always gets custody. I’ll have to be one of those weekend Dads. I’ll have to go to Chuck E Cheese.
“I’ll go to Chuck E Cheese with you!” James piped in.
“Maybe I’ll tell Odette we have to move. Maybe if we start over things can go back to the way they were. Maybe things will even be better. We can have another kid. We can have a fresh start.”
“You can’t move. The band needs you here.” Alex said and James threw his drumstick at him. “what…are you doing?”
“This isn’t about you.”
I looked at James and Alex. They had been there from the beginning. They knew how important this was to me.
“I can’t let her take Zoe from me. I can’t lose Odette.”
They both nodded grimly and I felt bad that I had bummed us all out.
Dave walked in with his guitar strapped across his chest ready to go.
“Lets do this!” I said. “I gotta get home in time to make dinner!” James shook his head at me and started to bang on the drums. I plugged in and listened to the loud hum resonating through the warehouse. Then I grabbed the mic, “Check check check”. I wasn’t saying, “Odette, Odette, Odette” anymore. She’d lost that privilege.