This will be live tomorrow – but in the meantime I couldn’t help but give you this sneak preview. Hope you like it <3
She’s fucking nowhere to be found. We’re on in five minutes and Darcy’s wandered off somewhere and left no discernible trace, at least not that I can find. Her phone’s going to voicemail. None of the small army of people wearing black and talking into earpieces has seen a dark-haired, blue-eyed girl in a vintage dress, ripped fishnets, and combat boots, so I don’t know how the fuck I’m supposed to find her.
“Call time was ten minutes ago,” Nigel is saying, as if telling me will magically make Darcy appear. “I told her this morning—”
“I know,” I say, cutting him off.
“Is she lost?” he says, his graying eyebrows knitting together with a level of concern only our manager can produce. “She hasn’t gone to the wrong stage, has she? She knows it’s at the main one?”
If I fucking knew I’d have found her by now, I think, but I manage not to say it out loud.
“I’m gonna go look for her again,” I say. “Text if you or Gavin find her.”
“I’ll check the loo!” he calls after me.
Backstage at Grizzly Fest is a throbbing mass of people. There’s the assistants and coordinators who make everything run, all wearing headsets and carrying clipboards. There are the festival-goers who somehow got backstage passes and then wandered out of the designated ‘backstage’ area so they could stare around, goggle-eyed, and get in everyone’s way.
There’s the ‘talent,’ half of whom are dressed more or less like me — shirt, jeans, shoes — and half of whom look like they’re from a Vegas show about Ziggy Stardust.
Darcy, our bass player, is somewhere in this shitshow when she’s supposed to be going on stage in less than five minutes, and since everyone knows we’re best friends, finding her is now my job.
I step out of the stream of humanity and into an alcove, just for a moment, letting some stagehands carry a huge upholstered pair of lips past. She’s obviously not here. One, I would have found her already, and two, despite having played arenas for a couple years now, she still gets nervous before every single show. She’s probably somewhere quiet, by herself, and lost track of time.
With that in mind, I head away from the zoo. I open a door, push through some curtains, go around some set pieces, and suddenly it’s quieter. I can still hear the hubbub — they can probably hear the hubbub two hours away in Seattle — but it’s a dull roar, not ear-piercing. I’ve got the feeling I’m closer.
I walk past a tiger painted on plywood, a cage with a stripper pole in it, a giant plastic cloud, and suddenly I hear her voice.
“The graduation ceremony from explosives school must really be something,” Darcy says.
There’s a pause. I duck around an enormous painting of a half-naked woman giving the finger, and there she fucking is, talking to some guy. He’s got his arms full with spent fireworks, and he looks like he might drop one at any moment.
“We didn’t really have a graduation ceremony?” the guy says, sounding kind of baffled. “We just, like, got the certificate and went home the last day.”
I don’t think he got the joke.
“Darce,” I say. “We’re on.”
The guy jumps a little, and Darcy turns toward me.
“Oh, shit,” she says. “Already?”
“Ten minutes ago.”
“Fuck, I’m sorry,” she says. “I already turned my phone off and I lost track of time.”
“Hey, wait!” the guy says, so excited he drops a cardboard tube that he’s holding.
Darcy flinches, and I look at the side of it. Definitely a spent firework, which you’re definitely not supposed to just fucking drop.
“Listen, I know you’re like, going on tour and stuff, but if you’re ever in Tallwood again and you want to hang out or something…”
He leans down, depositing the rest of the spent fireworks ungracefully on the floor. Darcy takes a step back, toward me, as he searches his pockets.
“Fireworks school didn’t teach you not to drop those?” I say.
I fucking know not to just throw those things around, and the extent of my education was lighting bottle rockets off in the desert until the cops showed up.
“Sorry,” he mutters, then rips a label off of one, then scribbles something on it against his leg, stands up, holds it out to Darcy.
“But, like, call me if you’re ever in town again?”
She takes the torn label. It’s got a phone number and a name: Phil.
Phil. Fucking Phil.
“C’mon,” I say to her, shooting him a glare. “We’ve got a show.”
“Um, thanks,” she says, folding the scrap of paper between two fingers. “Nice meeting you!”
Phil smiles hopefully as Darcy turns and ducks behind the naked lady painting, shoving the phone number into her pocket. I can hear Phil fumbling with the cardboard tubes as we walk away and I wish I could tear his fucking number up.
I’m not jealous, he’s just clearly a fucking idiot, so there’s obviously no reason for Darcy to bother keeping his number. That’s all.