The two dreadlocked musicians sat in a SOHO restaurant. “I just don’t know what I feel right now. I love Daisy but I am electrified when I see Monigue. When I’m with her Daisy just doesn’t exist. I think I’m afraid I could fall in love with her too.”
“Oh boy! Fennell I don’t know what to say other than I hope you work it out. In my mind, I see you and Daisy as long term thing. Even though after all these years I’m still a little pissed that you stole my girl friend, I see you two together.” He laughed. They had just done another shot each when Lee leaned in to utter another perception of her situation.. Fennel looked up as Skimpy plopped himself down at the table. Lee held his tongue and shot Fennel an accusing look. Before saying, “Hey buddy how did find us?”
“Fennel texted me and said we needed to talk. Where’s Les?
“He’s not coming.” Fennel said uncomfortably.
Lee was fuming and Skimpy was agitated and distracted. Skimpy leaned in and whispered. “Jesus, take a look at this.”
Three men joined the two women who had been eavesdropping on their conversation. One peeled off his leather outer coat revealing a vest emblazoned with the legend - Hells Angels London. One leaned down and was looking over the shoulder of one of the women looking at some photographs. He turned around and also displayed the Angels’ colors. His were a little less road weary than those of his companions’. The oldest looking member of the bunch was sporting the tattered and faded colors of the Holland chapter of the motorcycle club. They chatted for a few minutes and the women obediently got up and went to the bar at the opposite end of the restaurant.
Fennell changed the subject not wanting to talk about Daisy in front of Skimpy. Besides they had business to discuss. Lee was fascinated by the bikers. They all were pretty well dressed. They were all chatting on their cell phones. Twice the calls were made in very fluent French. One headed to the bar. Lee’s attention was diverted again when an agreement was made and sealed with a clink of three glasses. He wanted to know what kind of business they were discussing. He viewed them with awestruck fear. He longed for their kind of lifestyle, without considering for a moment he had created his own “outlaw” existence which was just as interesting and romantic. He feared the bold and macho connotations putting on “the colors” represented. These gents lived by a different set of laws. They weren’t as down and dirty as some of their predecessors described by Hunter S. Thompson or Tom Wolfe, They were the torch bearers. Just like PRY, their band, was with the genre of music forged by the Grateful Dead.
They were fellow travelers with roots going back to the parties Ken Kesey hosted in the California Hills, the dress rehearsals for the legendary and infamous Acid Tests, where the Hell’s Angels were frequent guests. These brothers carried about the family business with youthful and vibrant energy, aware that on the other side of the pond, previous generations of club members, like Sonny Barger, as he struggled, gasping for breath through his breathing tube, relied upon them to carry out their decades long legacy eagerly awaiting the fruits of their youthful ambitions, as they took the club into the next generation possessing the skill set required to succeed as multi-lingual inter-continental outlaws, pro-actively growing their business.
“Amazing, Lee thought.” Lee missed something as he was jarred back to conversation by Skimpy asking,
“Do we have to talk about this now Fennel?”
“When are we going to talk about it? Lee’s not going to be around for a couple of months.”
“Oh, yeah Dr. Thoreau and his book tour.”
Lee kept his voice down but delivered, “Ya know Skimpy, Fuck You. Why don’t you write a book?”
“Why don’t you write some songs, I did.” Lee was fuming, why does he let Skimpy do this to him? He’s the only one who pushed his buttons like this.
“We could have made a lot of money this summer, Bonnaroo, all of the festivals. We could have even come back here.”
“Look, Skimp, You know I love you and I would do ANYTHING for the band. This is a good example of why we need to take some time off to regroup. Think about the future, we can go anywhere. What I don’t need is this jealous bullshit that you seem to think I am causing. I and every member of the band has to know that we can do our own thing with out animosity from others.”
“Fuckin’ … you write about us, it’s like dirty laundry.” Skimpy was now fuming.
“What is your problem? No, it isn’t dirty laundry, and as far as not touring goes. I need that time. You should use your time wisely. What do you think? I let the world know you’re a dope addict?” he whispered. “Clean up your act a bit and you don’t have to worry about not keeping the cash juggernaut rolling…”
Fennel stated, “Look, you guys need to get through this shit. Les is gigging this Summer, what’s stopping you? ” Skimpy sat silently fiddling with a paper tube full of sugar. Fennel continued,
“Skimpy, you know your temper, Lee you are just as bad. I cannot leave this country and part ways with each of you unless I know whether or not PRY is going to remain an active touring and recording unit, and whether or not you, Skimpy, are going to show up at the Princeton Show on Tuesday. I took that little outburst you had a couple of weeks ago with a grain of salt. Obviously it wasn’t your last show since you are still here. But, there is a lot of work that needs to be done for the upcoming tour, and I’m going to be pissed if I do that work and don’t have a band to follow through with the plans.”
She continued, “Skimpy your songs on the next album are great.” Lee nodded in agreement.
“I love them, everyone does. Can’t you hear the crowd when you sing?” Lee interjected. “This is not about Lee or who is more popular with the crowd. Or who is depriving whom of what. You are an amazing musician and we’ve been together for 20 years, Things are happening for us, our price tag just went up. Why are you so agitated now?”
“Maybe I am jealous.”
Again Lee raised his voice. “Dude….Of What. Everything you have I have. Skills, publishing rights, there is not one of my songs that hasn’t been attributed to the Band. I don’t know what you want. Do want me to apologize for something I did? What is it?”
“People treat you differently, man. You don’t seem like the same person I knew ten years ago.”
“Who is who they were ten years ago, you’re not, and that is a compliment. Please man, take this time and use it wisely. Think about what you want, think about what you need. I started seeing a shrink to deal with some of my shit, maybe you should see someone to deal with some of your shit?”
Lee reached out and touched Skimpy’s arm. “Fuckin’… ya talk about dirty laundry, this is dirty laundry dude.” Lee intentionally brushing his thumb against the bumpy festering hive growing on Skimpy’s skin. It was obvious that Skimpy had just injected himself, and missed the vein at one point, the mis-directed drug caused his skin to bubble and crawl. He probably did it quickly in the WC at the pub he just left. The hive looked pretty irritating. Lee continued,
“Skimpy, I love you and would do anything for you, I’m not the bad guy who is holding you back.” He pulled his arm away and started rubbing the wound himself. “You need to get away from that man. You know I did it once, and it felt too good. I can’t imagine being there every day.”
“You think I want to do this shit? It’s not fun. It feels good for about ten minutes. It’s bad enough waking up sick but Imagine being sick and in your shadow every day.” Lee groaned and Skimpy turned away. Fennell interjected,
“ Skimpy, please everyone loves and supports you. Princeton Tuesday…Sound check at 5 o’clock. Are you gonna be there?”
“I’m cool with that.” In his mind he said, “But, I’m not going to detox.” We’ll set the time and date for the next meeting then.” She grabbed his hands and looked straight in his eyes. “I love you, man. We can get through this”
He thought to himself, “I know.”Lee fumed keeping his thoughts to himself. “ Huh - my shadow. If he knew what goes through my head every time I try to look in the mirror…Maybe I should tell him ... maybe, but not."
Next a flash back to the present when Skimpy heads into that Barber Shop.
I am still "Running Hard out of Muskrat Flats."