90 MORE THAN WORDS

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MORE THAN WORDS

Christian woke me up the next morning knocking on my door. I’d slept maybe four hours and sat up in bed with all my clothes on, wondering if the house was on fire. “The mail’s here,” he was saying.

I pulled open the door and he thrust an oversize envelope into my hands. “What is it?”

“That’s what I want to know, stud. It’s got your name on it personally so I didn’t open it.”

The address label said it came from an office in New York and was made out to “Daron M., Moondog Three HQ” and our Allston street address, not our PO Box. “It’s gotta be from Jonathan.” I tore open the envelope and four slick copies of Spin magazine spilled out into my hands.

Ziggy’s quizzical face stared out at me. I barely recognized myself standing behind him a little to his left. Bart and Christian were shoulder to shoulder way in the back and to the right. “What a weird shot,” I murmured.

Chris looked at his own copy. “Yeah, funny. This wasn’t even posed–looks almost like an accidental shot that went off while we were standing around casually.”

“It probably is.” I put the magazines down on top of the pile of milk crates that held my tapes, albums and CDs. (Did I mention working in a record store is dangerous?)

“Aren’t you going to read it?”

“Maybe later.”

Christian shrugged and took his copy into the living room. I took a shower and went to the basement to play around some more on steel string acoustic. It was frigid down there and I turned on the electric heater. The place would be warmed up by the time the others arrived.

Michelle dropped Bart off around two with Kentucky Fried Chicken in a bucket and we sat in the living room eating while Chris badgered me about reading the article. (“I’ll read it when I’m fucking ready to read it, alright?”) Bart read it, closed the magazine without expression and said “Let’s go downstairs.”

Chris said he’d come downstairs when Ziggy showed, so Bart and I went down and jammed almost the way we used to. We came up for air about two hours later and Ziggy still hadn’t arrived. I wanted to wait until he was there before playing the others the tape of what I’d done last night. I’d multi-tracked a demo with a drum machine part and bass line, and sung what words I’d written. I was, actually, pretty damn happy with how it sounded. But I wanted to wait until he came to share it. The song was, in my mind, now called “Midnight.”

We went back downstairs and Bart slung his bass over his shoulder, then sat down on a milkcrate and said “Why won’t you read the article?”

“I will.”

“It’s interesting the spin they put on things.”

“Things? And was that a pun?”

“OK, the spin they put on everything, anything. You never know how what you said is going to be presented.”

“No lie, bwana. That’s what I’m afraid of.” I ran my fingers along the strings of the Ovation, making them squeak. “What did you say in it?”

“Why don’t you just read it?”

“Alright, alright.” I tromped back up the stairs and sat down on the couch and started to read.

The article began simply enough, a description of one of the bus legs of the trip, when Jonathan had ridden with us, some snippets of conversation. After some about what our live show was like, it went into sections about our personalities and biography. Ziggy first–I learned some things about him that I hadn’t known before: his father was Latin American and his mother was some kind of mediterranean mix of Greek and Italian and Turkish. (Turkish?) He spent part of his childhood in Florida, and then the family moved to Baltimore, then when his parents divorced he and his mother had moved to New York City. So many things I’d never asked him about because I didn’t want to tell him the answers to the same questions. And then my eyes skipped down the column to the direct Q&A section and Ziggy saying “I can’t complain. It’s brought me a host of new experiences. It’s a lifestyle which encourages experimentation.”

Let them think he’s talking about drugs, I thought to myself. Please.

Next came the section about me and I had to stop.

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