51 Who Can It Be Now

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Who Can It Be Now

A few days later I was working the register in the record store when a gangly long-feathered-hair type in three quarter sleeves sauntered up. “Michelle said I might find you here.”

“Yeah.” Do I know you? I didn’t say that, though, kept my face blank.

“Bart talked to me about coming to a rehearsal, like maybe next week?”

This had to be Christian. He looked right at me when he talked without looking like he was staring. “Whenever you’re free.”

He shrugged. “Actually, I was thinking you guys might come over to my place to rehearse. I have a kit set up there, and deaf neighbors.” He had a mild New England accent and wide fingers. His hair was a natural shade of dull brown and eased off his shoulders in soft wings. I decided to try liking him.

“How about next Wednesday? No wait,” I had to think. “No we’re playing out on Wednesday. How about the day after.”

“Sounds good. Here. Bart knows how to get there.” He slipped a business card out of his back pocket and handed it to me. We shook hands and it occurred to me that if I hadn’t been up on the riser behind the register, he would have been at least half a foot taller than me, maybe more. The business card was slick, very pro, with his beeper number, fax number, address. It suddenly struck me that Christian might be quite a bit older than I was, too, even though he didn’t really look it. (He was–he’d later tell me he was “twenty nine for the second time”).

 He showed up to load in that Wednesday at the Rat and I talked to him more. He played in a lot of bands, he did a lot of session work on drums, keyboards, sometimes producing, arranging. The band he was currently in, Highway Death, had just changed their name to Miracle Mile, and he wasn’t sure if he was going to stay with them. He threw around music biz jargon with an ease I didn’t quite have, yet. “Cool guy,” I said to Bart. “We might learn a lot from him.” He was easy to be around, fun and laid back. I appreciated that although he knew more than me and had more experience, he didn’t make me feel like an idiot.

At the club I called the number Remo had given me and they said he hadn’t checked in yet. There were a couple of hours before our set anyway, though, so I tried not to worry. Christian knew the guy doing sound and they stood around shooting the shit while I hovered. There was still a huge amount about live sound I didn’t know and I wanted to. I was just getting up the nerve to ask the sound guy something when someone tapped me on the shoulder. I turned to see a woman with frizzy dark hair and very, very dark-lined eyes dangling a key from a paperclip between her fingers. “Hey,” she said. “You see Ziggy, give him this.” She pressed the key into my hand.

“Um, do I…?”

“I can’t stick around right now. I’ll try to catch the show later, though. Tell him.” She had that wobbly-L sound to her voice that I thought of as Puerto Rican.

“Who should I…?” But she was already stalking out in her pointy-toed shoes.

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