157 HEY HEY, WHAT CAN I DO

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HEY HEY, WHAT CAN I DO

Energy came back to me slowly and I got up to find Colin had already dismantled my rig and carefully stowed the guitars in their cases. He was working with Chris and Kevin on getting the drum kit apart. “Thanks, man,” I told him.

“No sweat,” he replied, handing me a cymbal stand. “You’re paying me, after all.”

I put on a dry shirt and my denim jacket and looked around for Carynne to find out what she thought of the show. I was hoping to hear some effusive praise, actually. But the only people I could see were the crew and Chris at the kit, and Bart with one elbow on the bar talking to the tall girl from the front row who’d been glued to him earlier. I went and got the water I’d been wanting and sat back down on my crate to wait.

The truck was mostly loaded and the bar cleared of patrons by the time I got up again and went into the men’s room. Three scuffed black doors demarked multiply painted stalls, facing three urinals and three sinks. A pretty big men’s room for such a small bar. Maybe they drink (and piss) more in the South. I went to the farthest urinal and began to unzip.

The sound of a whimper came from one of the stalls behind me, whether a sound of pain or pleasure was hard to tell. It might’ve been a woman’s voice. I took my piss, figuring if people couldn’t wait until they got home, it wasn’t really my business. The sound of motion, clothes rustling rhythmically, could be heard while I tinkled. I didn’t linger.

Now Bart and fan were nowhere to be seen and I wondered if it was perhaps the two of them in the men’s room. I joined the others sitting on the back of the truck and sharing a joint. Ziggy came out a little while later, in dry clothes and carrying his backpack of wet things. “Where’s Bizzy?” he said.

We shrugged. “Probably talking to the owner,” I said, realizing I should have looked for her in the office. Whatever.

She appeared some time after that, looking worn out and faded by the heat, her hair limp and her eyes closed. “Where’s Bart?” she asked.

“Went off with a groupie,” Chris said. “He said not to wait up for him.”

“Figures,” she said and motioned us to the van with a languid sweep of her arm.

Her tiredness sort of pervaded everybody and we kept quiet on the drive to the motel. This was a place with doors that opened to the outside, a yellow light outside each door surrounded by a small swarm of bugs. The doors were red on the outside and beige on the inside. After we were settled I knocked on Carynne’s door, feeling slightly hungry and still wanting to ask her about the show.

“I knew it was you,” she said, opening the door. She was wearing a bathrobe and her wet hair had the furrowed look of the just-combed. “Oh god.” She sat down on one bed, put her feet up and looked at the ceiling while she lit a clove cigarette.

“I thought you were quitting,” I said, sitting on the other bed.

“Yeah,” she replied, watching the smoke she blew.

“So how’d you know it was me at the door?”

She shrugged. “Maybe I was just hoping it would be you.”

“I wanted to ask your opinion on tonight’s show.”

“What did you think?”

“You first.”

She pursed her lips. “Seemed okay.”

“Compared to the other shows this tour?”

“It was hard to tell what was going on from the back.”

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