Having seen Rodney with his big hand around the junkie looking Dude’s throat, I stopped worrying about him. He had come to cover my back, when it counted. It there had been a threat to his girl or Soda, he might not have been there. I would not have blamed him for covering Soda, while I dealt with the immediate threat. Of course Swamp Dog was gonna be pissed that we left Soda to take care of two guys running away with a shopping bag full of money. My argument, if Joan made a report, was a man with a gun in Soda’s vicinity was a potential threat.
Yes it was bullshit, but it would fly. Since her access to cock would be affected as well, I didn’t think she would complain. She could probably request I be transfered, and I would never be able to prove that it was her. Just a realignment of forces.
It was a good thing that we were having a travel day that Monday because we didn’t get back to the motel till 3AM. What with the cops writing reports, then the detective showing up. Just because there was a gunshot, we had to stay and go over the same story with the detective.
Then there was all the bullshit from the crew on the bus who witnessed the whole thing. They needed a hero for the little incident, so they chose both me and Rodney. The one comment that summed it up came from Soda’s number one man. “I never seen nothing like it. You two running at those stickup men. Me, I was trying to hide under the seat, and you just ran up them and took them on. I ain’t never gonna forget that.”
“It’s what we are paid to do,” I said.
“No ma’am you was paid to hide in the bus and keep my man safe,” he said.
“Why, I knew you had the bus covered,” I said throwing him a bone.
“Yeah, I guess,” he replied smiling.
I had told the truth sorta. A stranger would have had a hard time getting on the bus, even if the crew was window dressing, they were window dressing with guns.
When we finally got back to the Embassy I got Rodney off to the side, and said, “Well I got no more questions about where you stand.” He simply nodded, smiled and went into Joan’s Suite.
It took me a while to wind down, but when I did, I slept hard. However it was for must to short a time. Check out time was noon, so I put a wake up in for 10AM. That would have given me six hours sleep. I didn’t last that long I was up at 8AM.
The first thing I did was cancel the wake up call, then I put on the running suit which was a little smelly, but dry. I took off from the motel and ran till 9:15AM. I got back in time to shower then sit down naked to remove the elastic bandage. I had a feeling the hand was swollen some. Even before the previous night’s altercation, I could not make a fist. That morning even trying was too painful. I might have put myself right back at the beginning, therapy wise.
With the bandage off, I used my right hand to guide it to the table. It was a little swollen and it throbbed. I though a day or two on the road would take care of it, so I re wrapped it. I searched for and found my sling. I probably could hide the stun gun it there, if I needed to easily access it.
I walked from the door at 10AM and headed out to breakfast. I noticed that Joan’s suite door was open. “Hey hold up,” she said. I stopped outside her door.
“I wanted to tell you that was a hell of a thing you two did last night. Nobody got hurt and two bad guys went to jail. Well done.”
“Is there a but coming?” I asked.
“No but, just a big pat on the back,” she said. “Why the sling?”
“I did a little damage to my hand last night. Nothing a couple of aspirin and a day in a sling won’t cure. If you would like to have me replaced, this is a no harm, no foul time to do it.” I said it to give us all a way out.
“I couldn’t, even if I did want to, Soda would have a fit. This time the boss would listen.” You are a bona fide heroine. Of course Rodney is a hero as well. I expect even swamp dog would like the coverage, I gave it on the web. Photos at eleven. I will check the local newspaper when they post it on line and add a link to the story.” Joan said.
“You do that,” I replied turning to go have breakfast.
“Do you want Rodney to drive today,” She asked.
“No thanks, we are on downtime. I can make it work to get to the next event. You two have fun,” I said.
“I would offer Reggie but she is Persona Non Grata, I expect,” she said.
“Well thanks again, but no thanks. I’ll pick up a hitchhiker, if need be, it would be safer. If you want to help, check me out. I’ll go back and get my bag from the room,” I suggested.
I had come to like the chain breakfast joint, so I went there for a pancake and bacon sandwich. Who would have thought sugary syrup and bacon would be so damn good.
“Well hello how are you?” the waitress asked. “Why the sling. I saw you yesterday with a bandage, but no sling.”
“You are very observant, but it is just a ploy to gain attention from pretty waitresses,” I said being far to obvious to do any good. Also I was on my way out of town.
“Well thanks but I have a girlfriend already,” she said. “So what else can I do for you?” she asked looking down at her pad.
“I think I’ll have your pancake sandwich, with bacon and eggs on it.” I said.
“Good Choice,” she replied heading away to place my order with the kitchen staff. She also left me with a cup of not too awful coffee. It was almost 11AM when I decided what I was going to do.
The tour’s work crew would take all day that first day and probably some of the next to tear down and load the props. There was also the musician’s crap to load. Then they would truck it all down to Philly, where we the next gig was. They would be there probably on Thursday. They were in no hurry since it was Friday before the first show. They would have a full 30 hours, if necessary, to set up. Then they would just stand bye to repair anything that failed. It was a trimmed down but still a pretty much self contained unit.
I was free from Monday morning to Friday night with just a ten hour drive to make before Friday. I again would be on the management company’s dime Friday night. So I had another three day holiday. I knew I didn’t want to spend it in Philly, it was to busy there for me. I decided to go back to the mom and pop, Paki motel instead. I had some good memories of it.
Even though I wasn’t directly on their dime, I was using the company credit card which would go directly onto the management company’s bill. I could have stayed at the Embassy, but I preferred the smaller older Paki motel.
Once I was back in the motel, I removed the sling and the stun gun from it. I propped my hand on a pillow to rest it. I was pretty much asleep sitting up when I decided to get in the bed. The very next thing I knew it was time for dinner. I swallowed some OTC pain killers then found a small home style restaurant near the water.
The place didn’t have a river view, but it did have a decent steak. I had to have hash brown potatoes, since they didn’t make french fries. I really didn’t want mashed potatoes. The salad they served with the steak was good. I wondered what their objection to french fries was, but I didn’t care enough to ask. The hash brown potatoes were quite good enough.
I decided to stay away from the lounge, where the big black college men hung out, “Could you tell me where a girl would get a drink in this town?” I asked the waitress.
“If it were me, I would go to the dockside lounge down by the river,” she suggested. I wondered why the first waitress hadn’t mentioned it.
“I’ll give it a try,” I said.
“Well if you intend to go there tonight, it is a bit early,” she said. “Best to go after nine. If you go tonight, I just might see you there.”
“That a nice though, and yes I will be going tonight,” I said. The waitress had not been flirting. She just meant that she might be headed that way. If she did show up I would know someone there. It was always nice not to be a stranger in a bar.
Cutting that steak was a nightmare with the hand in a sling. I had more or less learned to juggle the knife and fork to allow me to eat properly. It took some time, but I did pretty well with the utensils, but I wasn’t comfortable with them. I would rather have picked up the steak and bitten it, but that would never do in a restaurant. Of course I could always ask the waitress to cut the steak for me. Now that would be flirting. Instead I struggled. At least I had the good sense to choose a table away from the other diners. I almost wanted to cry from the pain and embarrassment of the clumsy attempt at cutting up the steak. I had started with it and I damn sure would finish. Even so I wouldn’t ordering that any more in a sit down restaurant. I would only get it as a take out, so that I could pick it up, when I became frustrated.
I left after leaving a nice tip for the waitress and paying the bill. It was a reasonable amount. As I drove back to the motel I thought about dinner. I decided that the hand was going to require more advanced planning because it was never going to be right again, I decided.
I had feeling in the hand, so it wasn’t dead weight, I just couldn’t make it work properly. I would probably never be able to use it completely again. That was what they said after the first round of surgeries. I had no idea, what it all meant at the time I was beginning to realize that I would need to make some real changes. It wasn’t going to be like the ribs. I couldn’t just wait it out. In time I would get used to not being able to grip things with my left hand.
It was only a minor inconvenience, I told myself. It would come around I though, well neither thing was true. I was in for an adjustment period I finally admitted to myself.
On the way back to the motel I stopped at a package store and bought another bottle of cheap bourbon. I tried to decide if I really wanted to get drunk, or go to the Dockside lounge and get laid. I knew that a woman almost any woman can get laid, if she really wishes to badly enough. What kind of escape from reality did I really want?” I asked myself.
I sat staring at the unopened bottle. I could drink it and masturbate, or not drink it and go to the club and get laid. I walked to the bathroom and got a plastic cup, filled it with ice, added coke and left the bottle unopened.