The Continuing Adventures of Meet The Blacks
Jett awoke refreshed. And no redo dream. He thought he had it sorted. The dreams only came after a day of drama or turmoil. And what he really wanted was resolve, one way or another. He gazed down at the tent under the covers and knew only a cold shower would help. He didn’t date and never brought anyone home. He met a lot of women, some in the clubs and others through he and Beaverdell’s business dealings on behalf of the band but as soon as he realized it wasn’t her it was business as usual.
Night after night he searched the crowds to no avail, always convinced that the face was a fantasy one. And every relationship he had ever been in since his early thirties had suffered because of it. How can you replace a face that haunts you? Maybe never, baby. And to prove it he had penned a new song last night called Satisfied. It didn’t explain the dream girl but it took him to the very core of his frustrations. The few times things had been serious with a girl, he found himself pulling further and further away until he was detached completely. They left bewildered and confused and wondering what the hell had happened to the relationship. His longest relationship, the seven-year fling as he called it, had ended with her cheating on him. She moved out and he in turn ignored her calls of reconciliation. And he never really learned how to say good-bye.
The cold shower had done the trick but maybe a little too well. He felt like he was a frozen popsicle as he was drying himself off. Even the towel struggled to warm him. He padded off to the bedroom to select the day’s wardrobe attire. Let’s see. Black jeans. Check. Black cowboy shirt. Absolutely. Black cowboy suit jacket. Indeed. Splendid choices! He always marvelled at his selections as if today was a breakthrough day. Funny old thing, he’d been dressing in the same colour and style for the last ten years. A lot of clothes in his closet. Everything black. Oops, correct that. One deep rich red sweater. One lonely red sweater. A very special sweater.
And now look. Head to toe in black. It really had nothing to do with his last name. Or the man in black himself, Johnny Cash. He just always saw himself or imagined himself with the white Gretsch strapped to him. Maybe his secret best friend. They always spoke to each other in a language that only existed between them. Or maybe God perhaps. His lack of female house guests brought up questions and scrutiny from time to time for he was well-liked and the neighbours were fond of him and his easy going demeanour. No one wanted our Jett to be lonely. He brought joy. His neighbours loved it when he sat the front steps and sang with that big white guitar of his.
Maybe it was time to buy a pet. He didn’t care much for cats, they’d only need him when the food was gone or the litter box needed changing. Jett didn’t really see it or catch on. He needed somebody to need him. He just figured a dog would be nice to have around the house. Maybe a pug. No, definitely a pug. He loved those little buggers. Even his shyness around women wouldn’t stop him from approaching one if she had a pug by her side. Funny old thing. And Buster .. he’d call him Buster. Buster the pug.
Dressed and feeling much better, and almost like he already had a pug named Buster, he headed off to the kitchen to rustle up some grub or something like that. When he talked to himself in his mind the other voice was John Wayne’s. Pilgrim. Saddle up. All the old cowboy cliches` .. well pardner, they were served up by the Duke on a daily basis. He grabbed a banana from the counter and put it into a large mixing cup and then added milk until the cup was almost full. He then added a teaspoon of brown sugar, a dash of vanilla extract and sprinkled some nutmeg into the mixture. He then plugged in the hand blender and went to work on his drink. Nobody had taught him this recipe. His own unnamed creation. He halved his bagel and put each half into the toaster. Then peanut butter on the bagel to be washed down with the banana thing. Heavy breakfasts were a thing of the past. He had to watch his weight. No telling when your redo girl will magically appear. Yeah, right.
Sunday. And the band didn’t have to tear down. The band’s two roadies; Dave the Roach and fast Eddie had quickly volunteered to do the teardown today. Jett wondered if it had anything to do with the blonde woman he had spotted the night before. He had to admit that all the ladies working at the television station were knockouts. Either that or Dave the Roach and Eddie were really high last night. It didn’t really bother Jett as long as the stage was set up properly and he didn’t face electrocution on a nightly basis. But the boys knew their shit. Jett himself rarely smoked. Jett never arrived at a gig stoned or with a few drinks under his belt. The same could be said for rehearsals.
There would be money to transfer to the accounts today. He and Beaverdell had worked out a system where the club owners did a direct deposit to his account for services rendered. From there the money was directed to each member. A little risky at first. A couple of dive club owners wouldn’t pay. The band agreed from the start that losses like that would affect all the members. They would eat the losses together. But a great way to keep track of earnings and even easier on each member when the taxman paid them a visit.
A happy bagel and banana thing in his belly, he sat down at the computer table and fired up the Mac mini. He logged in and then proceeded to his bank account. And no surprises. Deposits from Diego’s and Cowboy’s. Excellent start. After he had finished transferring the money to each member’s account he imagined he heard a loud Hurray! coming from the band house. Beaverdell was good with his money. But Dusty and Rusty? Not so much.
Not so much. A phrase an old friend always said. Shit, that was twenty years ago. He thought about Nancy for a second and pondered the moment. It was wonderful and amazing how everyone you meet in your life leaves a little something behind for you. Maybe without it you’d go crazy. That’s plain ol’ tomfoolery the John Wayne voice told him. Whatever. Onto his g-mail account to check for new gigs and the bit of fan mail that came his way. Mostly asking for Rhett’s home number. And right now Rhett wouldn’t care if there was money in his account at all. After the taping, Jett had seen him whisk away the two blondes into a waiting taxicab. Like some kind of rockroll star. Probably making memories at Rhett’s sex palace this very moment. He imagined neon lights flashing out their welcoming beacon.
There was a brief power surge in the building and he diverted his eyes from the screen momentarily. When he focused his attention back to the screen he saw an ad for an online adult dating site. Just one photo caught his attention. A beautiful blonde woman named lovesex333 and three large words in bold print just below that. COME FIND ME. Jett shook violently. Unaware but seconds away from a massive heart attack. It was her. Fuck, Fuck, Fuck .. it was her! He didn’t care what it would cost. He didn’t care how risky it was to put down your credit card on a scam site like SnapChat. One thought drove him. Fuck, Fuck, Fuck .. it was really her. His redo girl. In real life. No. Yes. He hastily scratched out her username on a notepad. If he had to he would do a refined search. But let’s calm down. Simmer down now.
Okay, who are you Jett Black? After ten minutes of this and that, favourite foods, favourite sex position .. hell, it had been so long he wasn’t sure anymore so he put down missionary because he was starting to feel like one. Do you smoke? Hah. Only after intercourse. Hell, there wasn’t even a wisp of smoke down there. Profile picture next. He searched through his photos and couldn’t find one where he wasn’t wearing the guitar. So he chose one that had the best shot of the Gretsch. If you’re going to be shot down in flames you may as well make a big splash. That’s our Jett. He found her profile almost immediately. That smiling, toothy grin and the eyes that burned all the way down to his soul. And more pictures. He clicked on each one like a thirsty man in the desert. Her name was Wendy Jeal and she lived in Pine Knot, Kentucky. Born on February fourteenth. Valentine’s Day. Cool. Thirty-one years old. Jett had never been on a dating site before and was a bit overwhelmed at how aggressive the women were. Pop-up after pop-up. All inviting him to chat or offering something a little more carnal. There had to be some sort of notification to her that he was looking at her profile because her pop-up message to him was almost instantaneous. “Hi, baby.”
He froze and had to leave the computer and the room itself. Walls were closing in. He stood at the kitchen sink and braced the counter, the sweat rolling down his forehead. The most intense white knuckle ride without moving an inch. Ever. If Buster the pug was here and took one look at his supposed master he would whimper and cower in the corner. Jett shouted aloud, surprise and fear in his voice. “Fuck, Fuck, Fuck — she’s real.” And then he started laughing uncontrollably, mostly from the joy of having found her and not being insane but also from something else. Whenever they gigged at Diego’s he would find Little Joe, the head bartender, texting at one of the tables. Jett’s greeting had always been “Are you on 1-800-hi-baby again?” Joe would look up and grunt, only stopping when Dusty entered the room. Jett had wondered at times if Dusty and Little Joe were after the same girl. And now the shoe was on the other foot … Little Joe would have a field day with this if he ever found out. It would be 1-800-hi-Jett. No one would ever know. Not until he told her the story to her face. He had been carrying this secret around for so long that it would take an awful lot of prying to get anything out of him. If at all.
Beav awoke from a sleep that offered none. He had cornered Rusty after last night’s taping but Rusty was all small talk. When Beav dug deeper the door slammed shut on him. It was dark, the parking lot almost deserted and very dimly lit. But he could have sworn that Rusty’s fist had clenched up as if ready to strike. And the fighter’s stance. Enough body language that said leave it alone. Rusty was icy and Beav felt that he was cornering him so he backed off. The ‘friendlies’ were exchanged and Rusty headed off on foot although several offers of a ride home were there for the taking.
When Beav arrived back at the band house it was dark and cold. Was this a band house or a fucking morgue? The place was always shaking after a gig. And to Beav the night’s taping was like a gig. Fuck, shit no, it was a gig. No lip-synching and a real crowd. No applause sign. And a couple guys who missed the bathroom sink when they were throwing up. That’s a gig, folks. And when Rhett started the drum intro to Folsom Prison Blues, a couple of cute and very busty blondes in the front row threw their panties at him. Rhett had caught a pair on his drumstick, then flipped them high in the air without missing a beat. The panties ended up caught on one of the stage lights above Rhett’s head and minutes later a liquid was dripping down from the lamp and onto his forehead. Edible panties? Now that’s a gig.
He smiled at that briefly and then thought about Rusty again. He thought about making a cup of sleepy-time tea before bed but he was beat. He was sure he would sleep well. He would leave the Rusty thing alone until he talked to Jett. Jett was always sensible and level-headed. He was dead wrong on both counts. There was no sleep. And Jett? He was now punch drunk with love, giddy with the universe. Can I get a cosmic praise for my redo girl? She’s real, you know. There wouldn’t be much time for Jett to celebrate or high-five himself because in Jett’s world there’s always a new crisis around the bend … just around the bend.