118 THE MORE THINGS CHANGE

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THE MORE THINGS CHANGE

Ziggy left me standing alone in the men’s room.

That woman is surely gone by now, I thought.

I went back into the main room. As I scanned the crowd I saw Carynne wave to me. She was standing with Digger by a table with huge glass bowls of ice and shrimp. An overeager snacker reached from behind her and pushed her forward into Digger, who caught her and then smoothed imaginary wrinkles off her dress. His face was Santa Claus red. Boozy.

“Daron,” she said, giving me another one of her meaningful looks, “we were just talking about you.” She slipped an arm around mine.

“Oh yeah? About how ruggedly good-looking I am?” I had to talk loud to be heard.

She giggled that fake giggle I remembered from years ago. “Actually, I was trying to pump your manager here for information about the new album.”

I was going to say “he’s not our manager” but somehow I was quick enough not to. Instead, I winked at Digger, such an obviously fake move I thought for sure he’d see through it, and said to her so he could hear, “Hey, baby, if anyone’s going to do some pumping, it’s me.”

Again the giggle. And goddamn if Digger didn’t wink back at me as he sauntered away.

“Oh, Jeezus,” I said in Carynne’s ear as his back receded. “Did I really call you ‘baby’?”

“I’ll forgive you, for rescuing me.”

“Shit, I can’t believe he pawed you like that. I mean, God, I hope it doesn’t change the way you feel about working for us…”

She planted a kiss on my cheek. “Par for the course, baby, don’t sweat it. Now if you really want him to be convinced, we ought to leave together.”

“Alright. I’ve had enough, anyway.”

We made our way, arm in arm, to the door, she retrieved her coat from the back of a folding chair, and out we went. “Two questions,” she said as we stood on the curb with our breath fogging. “Want to share another cab? And,” she chewed her lower lip for a moment before asking the second. “Are you sure you’re not, I mean, would you… oh fuck, never mind!” She pressed her gloved hands over her grinning mouth. “You’d think I’d give up one of these days, wouldn’t you!”

I hugged her and was disturbed a tad that she was at least four inches taller than I was. “Don’t change for you,” I sang, “and don’t change a thing, for me.”

The cab left her off in Brookline and then took me to the dark, quiet house in Allston. As I lay awake I didn’t think about the show. I didn’t think about Ziggy or Digger’s drunken leching. I thought about friends.

And I thought about how I was going to have to tell Bart next.

(By the way, had some questions from readers about how they couldn’t figure out how it would sound when I played slide guitar in a rock and roll context, as opposed to something like country steel slide. Here’s a video with some great hard rock slide guitar that just happened to fit the title of this chapter…)

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