ONE WAY OR ANOTHER
The Moroccan place was total decadence, everyone half-sitting, half-lying on these pillows on the floor, the walls all padded with complicated patterns like the set of a movie set in a harem. I half expected the low round tables to come complete with a hookah.
Chris and I and Bart sat with our backs to the wall and our legs splayed, drinking beer and eating with our fingers. (There’s apparently no silverware in Morocco.) Colin and Remo sat across from us.
Remo didn’t say much during the meal, told a few anecdotes about weird food on their last tour outside the US, and what have you. Chris and I talked about all kinds of shit, what to do with the Allston house, movies we were missing seeing while on the road, the food. We were shoulder to shoulder in a slouch when I thought again, what if he knew? Would he sit here with me like this?
Telling him was on my to-do list. I hadn’t forgotten that.
I made a rolling motion with my fingers under the table and looked at him. He nodded with his eyebrows and went to the men’s room. I followed a few moments later, and jeers were made about all the beer we were drinking.
I took a piss at the urinal, first. When my hands were dry, he pulled the joint out of his jacket pocket and held it out to me. “I lost my lighter,” I said.
“Asshole,” he said with affection, “it was my lighter to begin with.”
He chuckled and grumbled at the same time and pulled a lighter out of his back pocket. We each took a drag and leaned against the sinks in silence.
I was suddenly sure I was going to do it.
He took another hit and handed the joint back to me. “Hey Chris,” I said, my fingers pinched together. “You know I’m gay, right?”
He looked at me, like he was stuck for the answer, not sure if I was shitting him or what. I felt awkward for having phrased it that way, and tried to keep things moving before he could convince me to play along with the joke.
“Cuz I want your advice about something.” I felt a little dizzy, but there was none of the gut-wrenching nausea I’d felt some previous times. Maybe the pot was helping that.
“My advice?” he didn’t quite stammer. “I, Daron, look, I…”
“Chill out. Chill out. So–you didn’t know.”
He shrugged and I handed him back the joint without taking another hit myself. “It didn’t…. It’s just a surprise is all. I mean, you seem really nor–” He shook his head. “It’s none of my business, is what I’m trying to say.”
I nodded. “It’s cool. I thought you should know for sure, though. Anyway I want to ask you something.”
“Go ahead, shoot.” He crossed his ankles, casual-like.
“When you quit your job to play with Highway Death, and your father went apeshit, did you like, tell him you were doing it, or did you just do it and then wait for him to find out?”
He laughed. “Oh I told him alright. Once I decided to do it, I couldn’t wait to tell him. I couldn’t wait to shove it up his… I mean, I wanted a confrontation, I wanted to tell him how I felt about all his bullshit over the years and how I wasn’t going to take it anymore. I was going to stand up for myself and told him to blow it out his ear.”
“And then he went apeshit.”
“Yeah, but it wasn’t like I wasn’t ready for that. If I’d gone to him and like begged or something, or said hey Dad I’m thinking about maybe quitting…. he would have gone apeshit anyway, and I wouldn’t have been ready. But I was like immune to it when I went in fighting. I was like ‘piss off you old fart’ and then he couldn’t touch me.”
“You mean, it just rolled off you like water off a duck.”
“Yeah, and also he couldn’t like physically push me around. I’m not the scrawny kid I used to be and I was, you know, In His Face. He knew better than to try pushing me around because he’d lose.”
“So what happened?”
“Well, you know, we didn’t speak for a long time, and then like one night we were playing in Brockton and he shows up with some drinking buddies of his and kind of begrudgingly made this gesture of okayness. I didn’t tell him of course that we were only getting like $75 for that gig. I mean, we still don’t get along, but hey, it’s not high on my list of priorities.”
“Aha.” We stood there for a while. The roach was dead.
“So, why did you want to…” he started to ask, and then he said, “Digger approves of you, obviously.”
“But he doesn’t know.” I couldn’t quite bring myself to use the word gay twice in one conversation.
“Ohhhh,” Chris said, the original subject of the conversation dawning on him. “Well, shit. It does come as kind of a shock. Did you want me to break it to him?”
“Fuck no! But thanks for the offer, buddy.”
“I gotta say, it’s going to take some getting used to. For me, anyway. Shit, I feel like a heel for all the times I tried to drag you out to pick up girls…”
At that I had to laugh. “It’s really okay. Don’t feel bad. I’ve tried not to be obvious about it.”
“Well, you succeeded.” He whistled appreciatively. “So, are you going to tell him? Your dad, I mean.”
“No clue. Maybe, maybe not.” I was having the urge to lie down on the pillows out there again. “It’s none of his business.”
“Damn straight,” Chris said, and we went back to the others.
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Daron's Guitar Chronicles: Vols 1-3General Fiction
Daron’s Guitar Chronicles tells the story of Daron Marks, a young gay guitar player, from about the time he is eighteen onward. He arrives at RIMCon (Rhode Island Musical Conservatory) in the mid-1980s, desperate to leave behind a dysfunctional fami...