It was our last show of tour and we were all totally pumped and determined to make sure that it was awesome. After three months of songs rotating around the same set-list I was beyond sick of playing the same guitar riffs over and over and over again. I was also sick of listening to Chris plunk away at his bass and offer up the same anecdotes and stories between songs. I could predict exactly where the audience was going to laugh, and Chris would shoot me a “stop fucking scowling – look” on those occasions that it bugged me the most. But tonight I was not jaded. I put everything I had into each song. I think I was even smiling through some of them and I walked up next to Chris for the song where we freak out a little on our guitars, and we rocked it even harder. The audience was totally getting it and responding, it was fucking amazing.
James went ape-shit on the drums and at then end of the show, after our final encore when he hurled his sticks into the audience, he nailed me in the back of the head with one. This also happened to be projected on the big screen behind us so the entire club saw it and the audience surprised me with how loud they laughed. It actually pissed me off for a second because that shit hurt. But I just picked it up and hurled it back at James then he slid off the drum stool and jumped on me, on stage and we had an all out wrestling match, knocking over a mic stand while the audience roared. Chris pulled us apart, we were only really joking around, anyway. Then James almost pushed me off stage into the audience so I picked his ass up and carried him most of the way off stage until he punched me in the back.
We were laughing our asses off back there and Chris told us we were a couple of fucking clowns. I don’t usually let loose like that in front of people I don’t know…especially not 5,000 of them. We went back to what Chris likes to call, the “holding room” and I thought, hell, I’ll do a couple more shots since it was our last show. That’s when one of the roadies, one of the new ones comes up to me and says, there a girl here who swears she is friends with you guys and she wants to come back stage.
“What’s her name?”
“She said her name is Rissa and she lives in Athens and she hung out with you guys in St. Augustine a couple of months ago.”
I nodded at him, “Thanks man, let me check with Chris.”
I handed Chris a shot glass while he sat on the couch watching a video on his phone that had been posted to Youtube already of me and James wrestling on the stage. James was yelling, “Oh shit!!!” as we watched ourselves go crashing into the mic stand.
“Hey Chris,” I said, “Guess who’s here to see us?
“Who?” he said, taking the glass.
“What?!” he said, looking at me like the roof was falling on my head. “What the fuck. What is she doing here?”
“I don’t know? Wanna find out?”
“Sure. As long as Jake isn’t with her.”
“OK” We looked at each other and shrugged then poured the Makers Mark down our throats. “This is going to be interesting” I said and went to tell the new guy to let her in.
I was sitting next to Chris on the couch, still looking at videos of our show, when Rissa and one other girl came in looking wide-eyed. Chris got up and went and hugged her. “What the hell are you doing here?” he said. “Aren’t you hanging out with that moron, Jake? I told you to stay away from him but you pretty much did the opposite.”
She laughed and said, “Yeah, we are hanging out, but not at this particular second. This is Janie. She is totally excited about meeting you guys and the entire reason we are here.” Chris shook Janie’s hand, uninterested and then put his hands on Clarissa’s shoulders and turned her to face me. He said, “Jake is such a pussy. If you want to see what a real man looks like, meet this guy.”
I suddenly realized what he was trying to do. She was cute but I’m done with girls who are so young they don’t know who the hell they are yet. But I got where he was going with this.
“Get her a drink, man” Chris said. That was odd because even though she looked plenty-old-enough, we both knew she wasn’t 21 and Chris is usually such a paranoid rule-follower. But I just went and poured her and her friend a shot of whisky and they swallowed that shit like it was Koolaid. We both looked at them amazed.
I pulled Chris aside and said, “I don’t know about this.”
“About what, Dave:”
“Getting these girls drunk. Its not right.”
“Since when did you care about serving alcohol to minors? You’ve been drinking since you were 15.”
“It just, freaking me out, what you are insinuating, man.”
“I just need you to kiss her, that’s it, that will be enough to piss Jake off and she shouldn’t mind too much right?” he said.
“I’m terrible at this.”
“At what? Kissing girls? You do this shit every night!”
“With girls who are throwing themselves at me! I can’t do it from…scratch. I don’t want to have to talk!”
He was looking at me like he couldn’t believe what he was hearing. I didn’t care. “Then send her over to me,” he said.
“To you? What are you going to do?” I couldn’t believe it. He had just scared me into calling fucking 911 because he was so into talking to Odette on the phone last night, for so damn long, that I thought he was dead. Now here he was plotting to seduce this girl just to get even with Jake?
“Where are your priorities, dude? You just made up with Odette. Don’t fuck that up already.”
“Don’t even worry about it, I’m not going to do anything lame. Listen, Dave, I just need to you help me this one time. I’m not letting this opportunity to get back at that asshole who fucked my wife, slip away. And if Rissa is into you, I won’t need to have anything to do with her.”
I shrugged. “This is NOT my thing. But okay, I guess” I said. “But don’t do anymore shots, asshole. You need to be sober for this.”
I walked over to her and her friend who were laughing at one of Alex’s dumb jokes, and just took Rissa’s hand and pulled her over to the couch with me. I sat on the sinking cushion and tugged her to sit down next to me. She scooted away from me a little and I touched her long hair and said, “Look at your hair man, how do you girls make your hair look like this, all wavy and silky and shit?” I felt so stupid delivering a line like an asshole at a bar.
She shrugged. “It’s just natural.”
“Don’t you put a bunch of expensive shampoo in it and get like crazy expensive highlights done at the salon or something?”
She looked at me with disdain, “mine is just from the sun”.
“Wow, I said. “I like hair. Um, It’s really fucking pretty.”
She kind of pushed herself up on her hands on the cushion to look around for her friend who was just standing by herself on the other side of the room. “Janie, come sit over here next to me!” she said. I shot a look at Chris who apparently had been assessing my progress from afar. He simply intercepted and started to talk to Janie, who was quite happy to ignore Rissa to hang out with Chris.
I tried to think of how I could touch her and not be a creep, so I picked up her hand and looked at her fingernails. They were short and dirty…not much for me to work with. I said, “That’s cool to see that you don’t sit on your ass all day painting your fingernails.”
“I like to go mountain biking with…well, yeah, I don’t care much about my fingernails” she laughed.
I guess I was nervously rambling or something when I said, “I fuckin hate that when girls grow them out so long that when they are texting they make like, an annoying tap, tap, tap sound with the end of their nails. Yeah, um, I hate that, yep.” I nodded.
She pulled her hand away from me and rubbed it with her other hand.
“Listen, I don’t know how long I can stay” she said. My friend out here in Colarado had tickets so I promised her I would go with her then she really wanted me to get her back stage with you guys. But I have to go in a second,” she said.
My first instinct was to give her a hug and show her the door. But since Chris was counting on me to somehow lure her away from Jake, I said, “You can go if you want, but I’ve never met anyone like you before and I’m going to be really sad when you leave.” This was so stupid. I felt like dust.
She looked confused. “Really?” she said.
“You’re not like most girls” I mumbled half-heartedly. “There is something really special about you and I’m totally into you.” I looked down at my phone that buzzed at me to let me know I had ten more minutes to buy some happy hour coins for Bejeweled Blitz…awesome, I was gong to have to do that. I looked back up at her amazed expression.
“You don’t even know me” she laughed. “What are you talking about?”
I was scrambling now. I thought to myself, what does everyone want to hear and believe about life and love? I said. “Haven’t you ever heard of love at first sight? When you walked into the room I was like, that is the girl for me.” I glanced back down at my phone, hoping my Bejelwed time wasn’t going to run out, then rubbed my nose and forced myself to smile at her.
Rissa started laughing and put her head back the couch, “You are so funny, Jesus Christ.” she said.
I looked over at Chris, perplexed and he shook his head at me and rolled his eyes. I looked back at this uber-confidant young girl all flopped back on the couch and slid my arm behind her back and pulled her up to me. She blinked, fairly stunned. I could see that the alcohol was affecting her now and I smoothed her hair out of her face and took her chin in my hands and leaned towards her to kiss her.
“Um, I have a boyfriend” she said.
“He’s not here.”
“That doesn’t matter, asshole, stop hitting on me with all of your bullshit.” She wasn’t laughing anymore.
I dropped my hand from her chin and my arm to my side. Now she was looking around for her friend, obviously so she could get the hell out of here. I felt really, really stupid which translated to instant anger at Chris. “Listen, I’m really not usually like this” I said, my cheeks burning. It was pretty sobering to be totally shot down by an 18-year-old, especially after playing such a successful, awesome show. “I think Chris wants me to lure you away from Jake or something.”
“Why?” She was suddenly interested in what I had to say.
I realized I needed to put this whole mess back on Chris’s shoulders. “I guess he likes you or something, even though technically he is unavailable.” I said.
“Really?” She looked over at him and he winked at her. “Shit” she said. “Why would he like me? Odette is so beautiful.”
“I don’t know.”
I got up of the couch leaving her sitting there and went over to Chris who had just poured himself another drink. I put my arm around his shoulders and said,” I’m done being humiliated, she’s all yours. Now you just need to figure out what is more important friend, revenge, or your fucking family.” I took the glass out of his hand, dumped the whisky in the large gray trash can. I handed him back the glass then went to sit back down on the couch to get those Bejewled coins before happy hour expired.