Lil’Debbie was rooting around on the floor when I got the call from Jess. Uriah would go over and poke her every few minutes and she would giggle the way only babies can giggle. Uriah still considered his sister to be an alien life form. From day to day his attitude would vary from absolute doting love to anxiety that maybe he was no longer king of the roost. Today was an anxiety day. I had been a bit tight as well, but now had the 5:30 buzz on. Brenda would be home soon, so I needed to stay on the right side of intoxication’s precipice. If I tipped over she would turn mean, but if I didn’t get at least close to the edge I was gonna lose it at some point.
I hadn’t heard from Jess in what, something like ten years. We had been young knights together, jousting our way across the Southwest with Fenders and Stratocasters in the late 80’s doing covers of everything from Steely Dan to Zeplin. Last I heard he was working as a dealer in Vegas, which was hard to picture as he had an even bigger problem with coke than I did in those days and the casinos are pretty hard core about that shit.
But I was off all that now. It was just G&T’s for me these days, and I knew to even keep that under control. After watching the old man go to progressively deeper shades of green until his liver finally gave out just after 50 I have a good idea of just how bad it can get. But that isn’t going to happen to me, I keep it all under control, and keep things cool. Just me and the kids. People call me a stay at home Dad, and as Brenda always says, of course he stays at home, where the hell would he go? But that’s OK with me. I’m keeping it together. That’s what matters.
So then Jess. I didn’t know what to say, except “Sure man, we can get together for a drink. I mean, why the hell not, right?” He sounded a bit weird on the phone, but Jess was always a bit weird so I didn’t think much about it.
Sure enough, Brenda got home and she was in a foul mood. She walked in, went straight to the bedroom and after a few minutes I could smell the weed. She still smoked sometimes, mostly after a bad day. I thought it was sort of a crazy thing for a high-powered lawyer to be doing. I mean if she lost her license we would be toast, but I also knew not to rag on her about it. Domestic tranquility, and all that shit. Plus, pot usually leads to sex, unless she drinks too much afterwards and passes out. As it turned out the night turned pretty weird and sex was definitely not in the cards.
She emerged from the bedroom looking civil, gave me a quick peck on the cheek said “How’s the little man?” and went over to pick up Lil Debbie. Uriah took this as his cue to start screaming and running around the living room with a toy space ship he called his “Air Brain”. I had made a coq au vin with couscous. This was part of the deal, I loved to cook and Brenda loved good food. So, I spent part of each day planning and preparing the evening’s repast. The kids didn’t seem to mind. Lil Debbie mostly just played with whatever you put in front of her and Uriah had a healthy appetite. He spent so much energy running around the place that he needed to stock up.
Between stuffing things into Debbie’s mouth and dodging food that flew off Uriah’s plate like dirt behind a dog with a bone Brenda and I tried to have a semblance of conversation.
“So, you’ll never guess who called me today.”
“I was close. What did that old faggot have to say?”
“He’s coming to town, and he isn’t a faggot.”
“Sweetheart, I may not be the most tuned in person in the world, but I know competition when I see it.”
“What’s that suppose to mean.”
“You figure it out.”
“Jess? And me? You’ve got to be kidding.”
“Oh come on, you didn’t think he just hung around with that band of yours because he thought you were so fucking talented, did you?”
“We were OK. We had fun. You never seemed to mind.”
Uriah, who had an uncanny sense of when to dump food on the floor, picked this moment to send his chicken sailing across the living room and before either of us could move our twelve year old Lab, Ginger, had the drumstick in her mouth and was headed for the backyard. Unfortunately the sliding glass door was closed and Ginger, who was never the brightest creature on four legs and was now pretty much blind, ran smack into it. This was not the first time this had happened, but it was the most violent. She yelped and then stood wagging her tail. I walked over, grabbed the drumstick and played tug-of-war for thirty seconds or so before she relented.
Brenda and I sat back down to finish the meal. Uriah was done so we got him out of his high-chair and sent him off to comfort the dog who was sulking on his bed in the corner. Brenda launched into a rave about her work. Her boss, as usual, was driving her crazy with his lack of attention to detail. I had met him a couple of times and he didn’t seem like such a bad guy to me, but Brenda could talk for hours about how slack he was. Being more or less a professional slacker myself I did often wonder what that meant about how she saw me, but, I guess I have some other qualities that outweigh my slackness.
The rest of the evening followed our nightly routine. Brenda went into the kitchen to clean up and I put the kids in the tub. Lil Debbie was a very happy baby. More so than her brother was at that age. Uriah had seemed sullen from the day he was born, and then shortly after his second birthday had turned into a little monster bent on destroying anything in sight. I blamed myself for this, as I definitely have a destructive urge as well. Maybe he inherited it.
I got the kids to bed and went into the living room to find Brenda watching a re-run of Hawaii Five-O. She loved to veg-out in front of the T.V. when she was stoned. I sat down next to her, my second G&T close at hand. After a few minutes the inevitable physical activity began. Brenda and I might not get along that well, but our bodies are sort of like steel and a magnet, especially when we have a bit of a buzz on. We were just getting warmed up when we heard the also inevitable cry.
I sighed, got up and headed into Uriah’s bedroom. Before I could get there I ran into him coming down the hall.
“Daddy, I think something’s a mater.”
Something was the matter all right. There was blood pouring out of his nose. He had left a red trail leading back to his bedroom.
“OK, OK, just wait there. It’s OK.”
I said these things, but I was really thinking, what the fuck is this? How much blood could the little guy have in there and why was it coming out all over his pajamas. I yelled out in what I hoped was a voice that communicated urgency to Brenda without freaking out Uriah,
“Brenda, could you call the doctor?”
“What, what’s the matter?”
She came wandering in and stood in the hall, her mouth gapping open.
“What the hell?”
“It’s OK, just call the doctor. I’m going to get a cold rag on his nose.”
Within half an hour we were at the hospital. The ER nurse was really nice to Uriah. She said it could he his adenoids, this happens to kids from time to time after a tonsillectomy and since Uriah’s tonsils were taken out just a few weeks before we weren’t to worry. Brenda gave me a nasty look as this was something of a sore point between us. I had gotten really tired of fighting perpetual tonsil infections and insisted on pulling the little suckers out. She had maintained that they had to be there for a good reason, but as the stay at home Dad I had won out. Now I had a fountain of blood going off in the night and Brenda looking at me like I was the devil incarnate.
I put Brenda and the baby in a cab when it became clear that we were going to be in ER for a couple of hours at a minimum. Brenda would be a mess tomorrow without any sleep. Uriah and I settled down in the room. His bleeding had slowed down quite a bit. He really was a great kid. He just sort of went with the fact that he was bleeding, and that was interesting to him, but he didn’t seem that upset. I of course, was imagining how horrible it could be when the doctor showed up.
After what felt like hours but was really only twenty minutes or so an Asian woman that was about my age poked her head in.
“Hi there, I’m Dr. Wynn.”
“Oh, hi, I’m Derrick and this is Uriah.”
“Hi there Uriah. Can I have a look in your mouth?”
Uriah immediately opened his mouth as wide as he could. The doctor took a few minutes to poke her instruments into Uriah’s nose and mouth.
“Well Uriah, looks to me like you’ve got a bleeding adenoid in there.”
“Yep, and we’re going to have to fix that up for you.”
She turned to me.
“We’ll have to schedule another little procedure for this. We can give him something to slow down the bleeding for tonight, but we’ll need him, and you or your wife, to stay here tonight.”
“OK, well, that will be me. My wife just headed for home and she has to work tomorrow.”
“Oh, but you have the day off?”
“Yeah, I guess you could say that.”
She wandered off and Uriah and I were left alone to watch the blood slowly drip out of his nose. He was being very brave, which I told him. He said nothing which either meant he was freaked out about being in the hospital, or he thought it was cool being just the two of us for a change. It was sort of strange being alone. In the early days, it was just the two of us for hours at a time. I thought he was the coolest thing I had ever seen. Babies were cool. It was like they were tripping all the time. Just lying there, taking it all in. And then he started to walk, and then to talk, and he was my little buddy. We did everything together. And now he was lying there in my lap, blood dripping on my pants. I didn’t care, what did it matter? They were just pants.
After another twenty minutes or so, a nurse came in, and I thought, oh no, she’s got a needle. So, we went through the whole torture scene of me holding Uriah and trying to tell him to be brave. It was just a small stick, but Jesus can that kid scream. Parents always say it hurts them as much as it does the kids, but I never knew what that meant until it happened to me. I don’t know about just as much, but it sure doesn’t feel good. I bundled him up; we grabbed a handful of suckers for him on the way out the door, and headed for home. Just for good measure I stopped at the Dairy Queen on the way home and got us an ice-cream.
For some reason Jess had insisted that we meet at a Holiday Inn we had played a couple of times when the band was still together. It wasn’t a Holiday Inn anymore, but it still had the look. The walls were festooned with photos of minor local celebrities who had either frequented the bar or stayed at the hotel at some point. I was relieved that there wasn’t a photo of Jess and me in our 1980’s regalia. I still had a certain fondness for The Long Nights, but the clothes and hair I was trying to forget. Jess had always been in charge of designing our look, and had thought it was important. To me it was just about playing rock and roll and meeting girls who wanted to sleep with the band. If the big hair with shirts opened to the waist helped, well, I wasn’t going to complain.
I stood at the bar for a few minutes and was just beginning to wonder if this was all some sort of joke when what was obviously a big burly guy wearing a ridiculously tight sweater and skirt walked up to me.
It was probably only a brief hesitation on my part, but it felt like time was standing still so I can’t be too sure. I looked into a face that was wearing a sort of gross glittering lipstick and way too much mascara and my head felt like I was sliding between two dimensions. I recognized the face that was looking out through the makeup and over-permed over-dyed hair but I didn’t want to recognize it. My brain rejected the image. My brain said, no, you aren’t seeing what you think you are seeing. This is some sort of weird flashback, but just then I heard my voice say.
“Oh, hey, Jess. Is that you?”
“Of course it’s me. What do you think?’
“Uh, well, you look like a fucking clown, but, how are you man?”
I reached out to give him a sort of half hug. This was the guy I had known since I was fifteen. The guy I had so many firsts with. My first joint, my first acid trip, my first gig in our garage with nobody there but his Mom, my sister, and Johnny Davis from down the street who kept jumping up and down because he was so hyped up on Coca Cola that he couldn’t sit still. I mean I had to give him a hug right? But at the same time I was thinking, what the fuck? He didn’t hug me back, he sort of just stood there, and then stepped back.
“And you look like a fucking middle-aged house daddy. What the hell, this is me, man. This is who I am.”
“Jesus Christ Jess, what are you talking about? I mean, sure, if this is you, OK, whatever, but, where did this you come from?”
“It was always me, I just couldn’t live it. You know, I just, well, I wasn’t comfortable with it, and now, well, I guess I am.”
“I need a drink. Let’s go sit down.”
We grabbed a booth near the back. I felt sort of self-conscious being with him. I mean I’m a broad minded guy. I don’t have anything against gay people, right. Hell I grew up in the 70’s, I knew lots of gay guys, and whatever, they left me alone, I left them alone. But this was one of my oldest friends, and he looked like one of those sailors from South Pacific doing ‘I’m gonna wash that man right out of my hair’. He was like a joke, like something Uriah would produce if you asked him to draw a woman. His hair was long, curly from the perm and bleached blond, but you could see his roots coming in their natural brown. He must have been wearing falsies because his boobs were stuffed into his sweater like a bag of potatoes, and I realized as we walked to the booth that he was wearing 5 inch spiked heels. I mean, who does something like this?
We sat in the booth and I couldn’t help thinking about how far we had come since we played this place fifteen years earlier. It was weird, like time was slipping, and I was back then again. Back with the band, back before Brenda and I even hooked up. Man, was that weird to think about. The waitress brought Jess some mineral water and I had a double shot of whiskey, straight up. It was that kind of night.
“You and Brenda still together.”
“Yeah, sure. You know we have two kids now.”
“Oh, no. I didn’t know that.”
“Sure you did. I sent you the announcements, or Brenda did.”
“No, I didn’t get them.”
“Oh really. That’s weird. Yeah, Uriah is three and half and Lil Debbie is six months.”
“That’s funny. I can’t imagine you with kids.”
“Really? I love kids. I’ve always loved kids.
“No you don’t.”
“Well, I love my kids.”
We sat for a few minutes, drinking. I didn’t really know what to say. It was all just too much. First, Brenda saying Jess had a thing for me, which seemed totally crazy, and now this. It was like waking up one morning and finding out that your parents were really extraterrestrials. I had to get this figured out.
“So Jess, how long have you, uh, been like this?”
“You know, gay.”
“I’m not gay.”
“No, come on man, how could you think I was gay?”
“Well, gee, I don’t know. You show up here looking like a line-backer crammed into a street walkers suit.
I guess I just jumped to conclusions.”
“Jesus Derrick, how could I be gay? I mean after all the women we had back in the day?”
“Well yeah, exactly. So are you surprised I would be just a little bit freaked?”
“And what if I was gay, which I’m not, why would you be so freaked out?”
“What, because you are a homophobic idiot?”
“No, man, I don’t give a shit about who does what. You know, I just, well, I’ve just never been comfortable around gays.”
“Man, you must live a pretty sheltered life. In my world everybody just does what they want. And this is what I want. You know I have always been into clothes. That was the whole thing for me with the band. It wasn’t the music, it was the clothes.”
“Yeah, I remember. Brenda just had me all messed up.”
“Yeah, she said, oh never mind.”
“She said. Oh, it’s too crazy.”
“Derrick, what the fuck did she say?
“Ok. She said you had a thing for me.”
“What? No offense, but she is so full of shit. I mean, I have a girlfriend, we do all the stuff you do with girlfriends. I just like women’s clothes. Is that such a big deal? Brenda, I’m sorry man, but she has never liked me. She was pulling stuff all the time back then. You remember all that shit with Linda, right?
“Linda? Yeah, I remember Linda. But what shit are you talking about?”
“Fort Worth? 1989? Remember?”
I didn’t really remember much of anything from 1989, or 88, or 90 either for that matter. I was doing a shit load of coke in those days, that was pretty much all I knew about that period. I did remember Linda though. She had been Jess’s girlfriend for a couple of years. She was big and mean and had a voice like a hyena. She could also drink more straight whiskey than any human being I had ever met. There had been some bad blood between her and Brenda, I remembered that, but that was about it.
“Man, I really don’t know what you are talking about.”
“Jesus Derrick, it was what we broke up the band over. Brenda said Linda and me had ripped you off from the show. She said we had taken like $500, which was total bullshit, and that you didn’t want to be in the band anymore. I can’t believe you don’t remember that.”
“Wait a minute. Yeah, I do sort of remember this. We were going to Dallas, and who was that dude we were suppose to meet up with, Roy, or something, no, maybe it was Ray. Yeah, that was it, Ray.”
“Yeah, Ray. He had the gig lined up, and he was going to bring us some coke, but Brenda said we had taken the $500 and now we couldn’t get the coke, and you were all freaked out about it.”
“Yeah, that’s right.”
“But it was total bullshit. We didn’t have the fuckin money.”
“Man, that’s too much.”
I sort of laughed. I mean what else could you do right? It was a long time ago. And hell, it was only $500, but it did make me wonder what happened to the money. And it also sounded like Brenda. She was a conniving manipulative weasel, or, at least she could be. So she had broken up the band. That was too much. I ordered another G&T, and we sat around drinking and talking about the old days, but I couldn’t put the idea of Brenda breaking up the band out of my mind. And the more I thought about it the more pissed off I became. I mean, who the fuck did she think she was, breaking us up? And that was when I got the idea.
“You know what man, we’re gonna fuck with Brenda.”
“Oh man, don’t get started on one of your pranks.”
“What the hell, she broke up the Long Nights over $500. Who the hell does she think she is, Yoko Ono? No man, we’re definitely gonna get her for this.”
When we got to the house we found Brenda in the yard attacking weeds. I’ve never known a person who hated weeds more than Brenda. She found them to be a personal affront, like they were spitting in her face by growing in her yard. It was a hot night and the kids were running around naked, as they generally did in the summer. Some of the neighbors treated us like we were unfit parents for this, but fuck them, right?
Jess had fired up a big joint on the way back from the bar. I don’t smoke much anymore, but for old-times sake I figured, why not? Between the gin and the weed I was feeling pretty good, and was getting into the idea of our little plot. There was some risk, of course, because Brenda’s sense of humor can be a bit unpredictable. But she deserved it for breaking up the band. After thinking about it the days around the band breakup had started to emerge from the fog of my memory. I sort of remembered something about the $500, and also that Brenda had loosened up with the money after the band broke up , which was definitely worth remembering. She had grown up poor and was very tight with a dollar, and that was why we could afford for me to stay home with the kids. As we pulled up to the house Brenda looked up, saw Jess, and got this look on her face that reminded me a bit of the face she makes when changing Lil Debbie’s poop filled diapers.
“Hi Brenda. Been a while, huh?”
Brenda stood up, wiped her hands on her pants and was reaching out to shake hands when Jess wrapped his big line-backer arms around her. I could see her face just peeking around his side and she mouthed “What the fuck?” to me. Their embrace was long and I was just starting to think he was being sort of extreme when they let go.
“Hi hon, isn’t this great? I told Jess he should come over for dinner, and we got to thinking on the way over, he might as well just spend the night with us.”
“Oh, you thought that did you?”
“Yeah, Jess has a reservation at some place out by the airport, but we don’t want him stuck out there, right?”
“No, no, well, you’re cooking, so, whatever.”
Uriah came running over, grabbed me by the legs and started making grunting sounds.
“What are you, a monster?”
“Yes, monster. Me eat you up.”
And the grunt turned into a roar. I hauled him up.
“Come here you little monster. Meet your uncle Jess.”
“Hello there monster.”
Uriah buried his head in my chest.
“OK, don’t worry, he won’t eat you up. Come on monster, let’s go cook.”
I put an arm around Jess’s shoulder and we headed into the house. I looked over to Brenda to make sure she was taking this all in, and she raised an eyebrow as we walked past. That was good. It was just where I wanted her.
I didn’t really have anything in particular in mind for the meal, which was sometimes the most fun. Just go into the laboratory and see what emerges. Sometimes I think I should have been a chemist. A little of this, a little of that, hopefully nothing explodes.
Uriah pulled his little stool up to the counter and Jess was leaning up against the counter. I made Jess a vodka and tonic, that had always been his drink. At one point it was about all he lived on. I mixed up my standard G&T and started grabbing stuff out of the fridge. After a few minutes I realized Uriah was staring at Jess, then it came.
“You look funny.”
“So do you.”
Uriah looked at me and for a second I thought he was going to cry. He really was a sensitive kid, but much to my relief he recovered.
I decided to go for crepes with some left- over chicken and a reduction sauce from some stock I had stored up. I also tossed together a salad and we had some nice Italian bread I had picked up that morning. I cranked out the crepes, opened a nice Chablis and we were sitting at the table within half an hour of walking in the door. Brenda had lots of things to complain about with me, but being slow with dinner was not one of them.
Dinner for once went smoothly. Uriah kept eyeing Jess all through the night. He was just at that age where the “I’m a boy, you’re a girl” concepts were starting to gel, so, he clearly was quite confused by Jess. Like he was a new species. I didn’t see any harm in this, but I wasn’t too sure about Brenda. She made the occasional catty remark, but that was not unusual for her. In fact, she was sort of catty to me most of the time. Lil Debbie was perched in her high chair with the pacifier stuck in her mouth like an appendage for most of the meal. Every once in a while she would spit it out and scream until we pushed some mashed potatoes over to her which she would then smear all over her face like cold cream.
Afterwards it was getting the kids to bed and more drinks for Jess and me, but Brenda went to bed claiming she had to go to work in the morning even though it was Saturday, which may have been true. She does work lots of Saturdays. I had to make sure she didn’t get too soundly asleep or our plan wouldn’t work, so we got the fold out couch setup. Fortunately our bedroom is just next to the den where the couch is so she would probably wake up even if she did get to sleep, since she is such a light sleeper. We had to wait until we were sure the kids were soundly asleep, because I didn’t want them to wake up and spoil the whole thing.
After an hour or so of Jess downing Vodka and me doing the G&T’s we decided it was time We both pulled off our shirts, which he was a bit funny about as he didn’t like me seeing his hairy chest, like I’d never seen it before. We got into the bed and started moaning and bouncing the bed. We had to do this for about ten minutes before Brenda finally heard it and came running out. She took one look and fell hook line and sinker.
“What the fuck.”
I rolled to the far side of the bed from Jess feigning as much shock as I could.
“Oh no, she woke up.”
“What the fuck is going on here, Derrick?”
“Oh hon, I’m so sorry. I thought I could resist, but Jess and I, we just couldn’t stop ourselves.”
Jess wasn’t sure about the whole thing. It was like the excitement of the situation and the Vodka had gotten the better of him. He was just lying there in a stupor. I nudged him.
“Jess, isn’t that right?”
“Yeah, yeah, that’s right.”
I looked back at Brenda, but she had disappeared.
“I think we got her man. She seems really pissed off.”
But then, just as quickly as she had gone she was back, and she was holding her .45.
“Ok, listen you two faggots. I am just going to say this one time. I want you to pick up your faggoty assed selves, and get the fuck out of my house.”
This wasn’t good. Brenda had snapped. I had foreseen her getting mad, maybe doing a bit of yelling, or punching on me at the worst, but the gun was not something I had counted on. I knew it was loaded because this was a big issue between us. So, I very carefully, and slowly, stepped out from under the covers.
“Look Brenda, we were just fuckin with you. See, I have my shorts on, and so does Jess. It was just a joke.”
“Fuckin with me, fuckin with me? I’ll show you who is fuckin with somebody.”
And then the gun went off. At first I thought she had shot Jess, as he started screaming like a cat stuck in a fan. Then I realized she had just shot the couch, and he had jumped out from under the covers.
“See, look, Jess has his shorts on too. Nothing was going on. Put the gun down before somebody gets hurt.”
Then, of course, the kids started crying. For once this was actually a good thing.
“Derrick I’m going to go take care of the kids. When I come back I don’t want to see you two in this god damn house. You got it?”
“Where am I supposed to go?”
“I don’t give a good god damn, just get the fuck out.”
She disappeared down the hall and Jess and I just looked at each other like bad boys caught smoking out behind the garage, which, we had been, more than once, when we were fifteen. There wasn’t a lot of choice. We packed up his things, I grabbed a bag, and we headed out to the car.
We decided to go back to the sleazy ex-Holiday Inn, where Jess really did have a hotel room booked. He wanted to smoke another joint on the way back, but I was pretty loaded at that point and if I got stopped for winding all over the road I definitely did not want to give the cops any reason to search for pot. DUI was one thing, but a possession bust would really polish things off with Brenda. But I was trying not to think too much about Brenda. Maybe I had gone too far, but who would have guessed she would pull out her .45?
I looked over at Jess as we headed down the 180. He had passed out and was leaning up against the door. He still had that clown look, but I could also see that face I had known practically all my life hiding behind all the makeup. For some reason I started thinking about this time we had gotten in trouble with Jess’ mom. We must have been around ten, and his mom had come home early from work. She was a large woman, in fact at that moment Jess sort of looked like her. We had been doing some sort of experiment with a chemistry set that had been a birthday present from his seldom seen Dad who lived on the East Coast with Jess’s half-brother and sister. The experiment had sort of blown up in the bathroom and there little bits of brownish matter stuck all over the walls. I had immediately remembered that I was supposed to be home right away, and left Jess to face the cleanup alone. What was funny about that was that Jess’s Mom hadn’t really seemed that mad. She just looked at Jess with a look of utter disappointment, and he had looked down like he felt really bad. Maybe that was the clue to this whole dress-up thing he was into now. Maybe it was all that time alone with his Mom, but who really knows. Maybe it was just what he said, he likes women’s clothes. Of course, that didn’t explain the makeup.
I managed to get us to the hotel without running over anyone or getting pulled over by the cops.
“Come on, big fella, time to get up. Wakey wakey.”
Jess didn’t stir. I shook him a few times and he very slowly opened his eyes.
“I think I’m gonna puke.”
“No you aren’t. Come on, let’s get you to bed.”
We stumbled up the stairs to Jess’ room. He fell into the bed and was snoring within seconds. I considered the other bed, and wondered about my chances of making it back home without getting pulled over. Of course there also was the chance of Brenda using the .45 on me, which tipped the scales towards staying at the hotel. I didn’t much like the idea of lying there listening to Jess snore, so I headed down to the bar.
The bar was just as depressing as it had been earlier in the day, but now had that sort of fuzzy look that came from five G&T’s and a joint. I sat down and decided to make it an even six G&T’s, which was just a hair over my limit, but, what the hell. It isn’t every night that Brenda pulls a .45 on me. Actually she does pull it out every few months, but she’s never actually fired it off. So I sat down in the back of the bar and tried to conjure up an image of the Jess and me and the rest of the Long Nights gathered at the end of the bar trying to sound like rock stars. I could almost picture it. Jess in that ridiculous jump suit he loved so much, his hair all teased out and the suit open in front to show off his chest. I was always more muted in my stage days. Being the bass player I liked to sit back and just be cool, let Jess be out there pretending he was Mick Jagger or something. No, I had always been the sit in the back kind. And that was OK with me. Tomorrow I would go back to Brenda, apologize for the joke, maybe whip up some nice breakfast crepes. If the kids cooperated, who knows, we might even have makeup sex in the afternoon. Uriah had to go back to the hospital for his little adenoid procedure. But that was tomorrow, right then, I was happy to just sit there and take it all in. It was just me, the Holiday Inn bar, the images of the Long Nights swinging their Strats, and number six G&T. It tasted so fine.