How to Bang Ch. 02

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Characters are fictional.

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Second half of rehearsal went even better than the first. Aaron put in little fills where the other drummers hadn’t thought to add anything and used his double bass drum pedals to kick the songs up a notch past rocking to melt your face off.

We ordered a pizza for delivery, and when it came we called it quits. We filched a few beers from the bar—the owner was Julie’s uncle and ran us a tab—and settled in at one of the high-top tables.

I looked at Aaron and was ravenous. Not normal hungry. Like, alien invasion, could eat the whole pizza pie myself and still be hungry, hungry. My stomach growled. I wanted him bad.

Without realizing it I glanced to bathrooms in the back. The men’s room was spacious but disgusting. Bob, who owned the bar, wasn’t known for his cleaning skills. Besides, I was pretty sure I used my emergency condom I usually keep in my wallet two weeks ago with that redhead, after the diabetes benefit charity gig. Also, I’d need lube, right? I didn’t know anything about gay sex, never having done it before, but I was pretty sure if I was going to insert tab A into slot B, I was definitely going to need lube. I doubted Aaron was the type of guy to carry lube in his gear bag.

Zeeter was snapping his fingers in front of my face. “Yo, dude.”

I was actually looking toward the back of the club.


“I said, do you think we need one more rehearse, or do you think we’re good to go?”

I blinked, looking around at the three of them.

“Aaaah, we’re good to go.”

“That’s what I think,” Zeet said. “So I’ll pick you up at five p.m. on Wednesday. That way we’ll have plenty of time to make it to sound check.”

I nodded.

Aaron talked about school, and I tried to pay attention. But I was picturing him naked. It was freaky. I was also wondering if I could get him to come over to my house later tonight without Julie and Zeeter realizing it.

No such luck.

So, as it was, I didn’t see him again until Wednesday.

It was a two-hour drive to Statesburg, the first stop on our tour. We played there a lot, but we’d never been to this place. The venue was big, and we heard an ad for our band on the radio on the way in, a great sign.

Sound check was at eight. The club actually had their own sound mix guy, which was a luxury we almost never got. We sounded even better than we did in Bob’s bar. We played through half of two songs, and then we had two hours to kill before the opening band. We asked for a recommendation for a good pizza place.

Aaron bumped into me on the way out, and I noticed how good he smelled. At first I thought it was cologne, but then I decided it was just soap. And him.

Again when we got to the pizza place I had that crazy hunger when I looked at Aaron. I considered ordering an entire large pie for myself, but I didn’t think I’d be able to play well if I was that loggy. So I settled with being hungry, and tried not to think of Aaron in a sexual way, so I’d have my mind in the game when it came time to play.

Aaron was telling a story about a girl who kept trying to sit on his lap on a break during his performance of his final recital. He had me in tears, I was laughing so hard. Zeeter regaled him with the story of singing loudly when his amp went out, in a the show must go on way. It was a story I’d heard before, but it was still pretty funny when Zeet told it.

There were only fourteen people in the club when the opening band started. But by the time we got on stage there were over a hundred. As soon as we started, we were on fire. And we just kept getting better. We were playing off the electricity of the crowd, the better sound, the bigger raised stage, the lights. And I didn’t fool myself, it was Aaron who was bringing this all together.

Our tip bucket starting filling up right after the first song. As soon as some people saw the first couple put money in, they started following suit. At the merch table during our break we ran out of CDs, and I had to pass out the cards for people to buy the downloads. For the second set, there were even more people. I was sweating under the lights, but I was happier than ever as I looked out at people dancing and grooving to the beat.

We played our four hours, and at three a.m. were ready to pack it in.

A chant of ‘one more song’ started up. I loved that.

Zeet did what he always did when we heard that. “Two fans drop Benjis in the bucket, and we’ll stay for two more songs.”

I unplugged.

But two people came up, each one dropped a hundred in the bucket.

I plugged back in. We played the covers, Superstition, and Smooth, and called it a night.

I tripped climbing illegal bahis offstage, and Aaron caught me.

I was staring right into his eyes, encircled in his arms.

“Thanks, man,” I said.

It seemed like it took an extra second before he let me go.

“It was a great show,” I said, after he had got me back on solid footing. “And it was all you. You’re the key in bringing this all together.”

He just looked down in an ‘aw shucks’ kind of way, and then finished loading his gear.

We loaded everything into the RV and then had to wait for a while to get paid. Aaron was bouncing on his toes, and tapping his chest to some imaginary song, an invisible, internal rhythm only he could hear. His gaze darted all over the place.

“That was wild,” he said. “Crazy messed-up.”

I nodded. He was high from the excitement. I was familiar with the feeling after a gig. You’re exhausted, but you’re too high and wired to sleep, or even sit still really, and there’s not a lot you can do at three or four in the morning.

Zeeter got our money, and it was time for our post load out ritual. We usually drive for about an hour toward our next stop, talking too loudly and rehashing the gig. Then we find an all-night diner, usually a Denny’s, a Waffle House, or if we’re lucky, a real authentic local Greek place, and order dinner/breakfast.

Then it’s time to park for the night. Calling our small camper an RV was a little bit of a stretch. It was really more of a glorified van with slide-out extensions on the sides, that Zeeter calls bump outs, and Julie calls wings. We load our equipment in first. All our gear fits next to the tiny bathroom—a beige and brown monstrosity Zeet calls the shit box. It’s just a toilet and a hose that connects to the sink so you can shower yourself off by standing over the toilet.

Closer to the back doors is the living space. This is where the wings come out; the sides of the van are literally able to expand an extra few feet on each side. The sides have padded pieces on the wall that slide down when the bump-outs extend. Everything slides into place and it’s basically one huge king size futon across the whole back. The middle portion of the futon can be raised and has a flip side, which in that inversion, makes it into a dining room table, but as often as not we just leave the whole back as the one big futon. Zeeter and Julie have strung a curtain over one wing, which takes up about a third, for their side, and the rest is for me and the drummer to split.

Maybe we watch a little TV. By this time we’re tired. We’re smelly and sweaty. Our general routine is Julie washes off first. Then Zeet, then me, then the drummer. There’s not much room to dress in the bathroom, we’re not exactly modest, but we’re not immodest either.

It was a little after five a.m. when we said our goodnights. I was wearing my basketball shorts. Aaron was wearing pajama bottoms and a white tank top. As usual, I took the side closest to the window, so Aaron is in the middle, near Zeet and Julie’s curtain. While technically we were on the same futon, there was a good three feet between us. As I lay awake, aching for him, I named this space the great divide—the Grand Canyon—the impassable impasse. I stroked the futon cloth right in front of me. So close, yet so far, was my last thought before I fell asleep.

In Tacoma, Washington, ten people showed up. We ended up with two dollars in the tip jar. The bar owner was not happy about paying us, and we waited over an hour and a half, until the bar was completely shut down to get paid.

“How often does that happen?” Aaron whispered to me after he loaded his drums in the RV.

“Often enough,” I said. “We try to give a good show every time though.”

“Why does it happen?” he asked. It sounded like he was asking himself more than me.

“Usually it’s poor promotion on the part of the bar. Zeeter and Julie are supposed to promote too, that’s one reason they get a bigger share. Sometimes it’s the weather. Sometimes it’s the day of the week. Sometimes it’s what’s playing on TV, or another band somewhere else having a really good show, or the planets aligned for disco or something. It happens. You can’t let it get you down.”

“It sucks,” Aaron said.

“Absolutely,” I agreed.

Seattle was a great show. A hot chick asked Aaron to sign the top of her breast. Aaron’s eyes bugged out of his head. I handed him a Sharpie.

“All in a day’s work,” I whispered.

Then across into Canada. Vancouver, Calgary, Banff. The scenery was beautiful. The women were beautiful. The crowds were great tippers, in the cleanest clubs I’d ever seen. Back to the United States. A small club in San Francisco.

“I feel like I’m playing in an elevator,” Aaron said.

“Could be worse, you could be playing in our bathroom,” Zeeter said.

The San Francisco gig made seven gigs in a row. Finally we had a break. Two days off. The first night we were booked at a Red Roof Inn. Because it was the beginning of the tour, Zeeter had planned that luxury for us that we weren’t going to get very often.

“Real showers!” Aaron said.

“You illegal bahis siteleri got it, cousin,” Julie said. “And you need one.”

“And you smell like a flower,” Aaron said.

The four of us shared a room. There were supposed to be two double beds and an extra bed, but the extra bed turned out to be more like a cot. A short, scraggly-looking cot. I offered to take the cot.

“We could flip for it,” Aaron said.

I considered it for a second. I’m tall and lanky; I had a feeling my feet would dangle off that thing.

“Nah, you need a good night’s sleep. Drumming is hard work. I just have to stand in front and look pretty.”

He smiled at that.

We spent the day exploring San Francisco.

“And just think,” Zeeter said. “We could have been doing all this with Nick.”

Julie made a puking sound.

“Life is good,” I said. And I looked right at Aaron.

Pretty soon we were on the road again. Down the coast of California. One gig in Utah. All the way across to Texas. We took turns driving. The hypnotic feel of long stretches of road are good for zoning into creativity. Zeeter played the guitar and wrote music, and Aaron and Julie helped with lyrics.

“You should add in a word or two,” Aaron said.

“I’m just the bassist,” I said. “I’m lucky I can put a sentence together without trying to rhyme.”

“How do you know the stage is level?” Zeeter said.

“The bassist is drooling evenly out of both sides of his mouth,” Zeeter, Julie, and I said at once.

Aaron laughed. It was an oldie but a goodie. Obviously Aaron had never heard it before.

“Don’t laugh,” Zeeter said. “I’ve heard the exact same joke, but take out bassist and insert drummer.”

“Jerk,” Aaron said good-naturedly.

We played four gigs in Texas. Two in Georgia, one in Savannah, and one in Atlanta. On a break in Atlanta a guy from the audience stopped Aaron.

“Hey buddy, how late does the band play?”

“About a half beat behind the drummer,” Aaron said.

I sniggered into my hand. The guy looked confused, but I thought it was hysterical.

We played at a college in Athens, GA. Then on to Nashville. Aaron was excited for Nashville. But we had a last minute schedule change. We got to Nashville only to find the gig was double booked. The other band who was booked for the same gig got it.

“Fuck,” Aaron said.

My sentiments exactly.

“How often does this happen?”

“More often than you’d think,” I said.

“More often than we’d like,” Julie said. “But Zeeter will work something out.”

Zeeter came back a moment later. “Good news, bad news.”

“Hit me,” I said.

“The club owner got us another gig instead, pays a thousand bucks.”

“Yes!” Julie said.

“Gig’s in New York City, tomorrow afternoon. We have to leave, like, right now.”


We piled into the RV.

“There’s no way we’ll make it.”

“We’ll make it.”

“Welcome to tour life,” I said looking at Aaron.

“Kind of exciting,” he said.

There are other ways I’d rather show you exciting, I thought. But I kept my mouth shut.

Zeeter took the wheel first, and waaaaay broke the speed limit. We kept our eyes out for cops. I checked the weather. One good storm, traffic jam, or construction, and we would be late for this gig.

“No pressure,” I said.

Aaron smiled at me. He started singing the Jackson Browne roadie song, ‘Stay’. I was surprised he knew it; it was kind of before his time. He had a beautiful voice.

We made it to the gig with fifteen minutes to spare. Aaron set up his entire drum kit in nine minutes.


There was no time for a sound check, but there was a sound guy, so he could adjust as we played. It was a private party, so we didn’t have to worry about how many people would show up since they had a guest list. Julie and Zeeter went off to ask if it would be okay to put our tip bucket out.

I looked at Aaron, sitting at the drum set. We weren’t sure how to dress for this gig so we had decided on all black. I wanted to run my hands over his silk black dress shirt. Maybe he saw the way I looked at him, because his eyes dilated. I took a step toward him, and then another. Like I couldn’t help it.

“Go out to dinner with me,” I whispered. “Just the two of us.”

He shook his head.

“We’re in New York City. Broadway, Radio City Music Hall, fine dining, Blondie, Sonic Youth, Steely Dan, Vampire Weekend.”

He laughed.

I stepped even closer and leaned over his drums. I tried to make my voice a sexy whisper. “The Village.”

“The Village People.”

I laughed. “Authentic New York City pizza.”

“Fine,” he said. “But it’s not a date.”

I saw Zeeter and Julie a few feet away from us; they were almost back. “Of course it is,” I said under my breath. I knew he heard me. He might be a drummer, but he hadn’t lost all of his hearing, yet.

“Good news, bad news,” Zeeter said when he reached us.

I groaned. “I think I hate when you say that,” I said.

“Good news, we can put out a tip bucket,” canlı bahis siteleri Julie said.

Then there was a pause.

“Bad news?”

“They want us to play standards.”


“Standards like what?” I said cautiously. Two things simultaneously going through my head. Eric Clapton, The Rolling Stones, Muddy Waters. I didn’t even want to think of the other thing, but then Zeet said it.

“Like New York, New York, and Johnny Mercer, Frank Sinatra, and Bing Crosby.”

“Oh God,” I said, as my stomach began to heave. “I’m going to throw up.” I turned to Aaron.

“What, you don’t like that stuff?”

“It’s not that,” I said, fighting down panic. “I haven’t read music, since like, high school. Do you have your iPad with you?”

“Yeah, in the car.”

I didn’t have to tell him to go get it. He was up and running.

“Zeet, can you call out the chord changes? Do you know how to play this stuff?”




Aaron came back with his iPad. Approximately two minutes to show time.

“I have an idea.”

“I’m willing to listen to anything.”



“Lots of classic hits have been remade over the last sixty years. For the first set, we play every song we can think of that was actually done in the 30s to 60s, but you might know because you already know the remake, so it’s actually a standard. Like ‘Killing Me Softly’.”

“By the Fugees, originally done by Gladys Knight,” I said. “Fever, Don’t Be Cruel, Summertime Blues.”

“All of The Beatles songs,” Zeeter said.

“Rich Girl,” Julie said.

I took a deep breath.

“White Christmas,” Zeeter said.

“It’s July, that’s not funny,” Julie said.

“Actually it kind of is,” Aaron said.

“Okay, what should we start with?” Julie asked.

“Can’t Help Falling In Love,” Aaron and I said at once. My eyes snapped up and met his.

“Good choice,” Julie said. “Everyone loves that song. What key?”

“B flat,” Zeeter said.

I propped up the iPad where I could see the music. No problem, I could do this. Zeeter introduced us, and then Aaron counted us off.

I actually had a good time. It was a very different type of challenge. I never got to be in the zone where I was cruising along, lost in the music. It was more like doing math, always thinking, but it was still fun. It didn’t surprise me that Aaron was just as good on Moon River and Sea of Love as he was on our original tunes and The White Stripes.

We ended up with five hundred dollars in the tip bucket.

“And we didn’t have to break a sweat,” Aaron said.

“Speak for yourself,” I said.

We only had to wait five minutes to get paid. We packed up our gear, and I tried to use some finesse to get Zeeter to take Julie out for a nice dinner.

“It’s New York City, man. Fine dining, pretty lights.”

“I don’t know, we just drove a really long haul.”

“And made a butt load of cash. You both changed the set on the fly. You deserve something nice.”

“You two will be okay?”

“Yeah, go ahead, have a good time, we’ll go out for pizza or something.”

“Okay, thanks, man. We’ll meet back here in a few hours.”

Then they were gone.

Suddenly Aaron was behind me.

“I heard that. You’re a heel.”

I smiled at him.

“Yeah. Come on, let’s go. Oh, and a heel? What are you? Sixty? What next? Are you going to call me a card? A pip? Wait. What about a hoot?”

“Actually, ass was the word that came to mind.”

“But it’s an ass that you want to get a hold of, right?” I smiled at him.

Aaron smiled at me, a bigger smile than I’d ever seen from him. “What about a messed-up ‘outcome engineer’? Or…a douche? Wait, wait, I know. You’re a tuba player.”

I put my hands over my chest like I were shot. I staggered backward.

“A piccolo player,” Aaron said and held his fingers up, about four inches apart. “With a teeny, tiny, little piccolo.”

I smiled wide at him. Wanna bet?

I laced my fingers through his and gave a brief squeeze.

Aaron looked at me. “I know you sent them off, as if it were for their own good, on purpose. You’re worse than a cad; you’re a French horn player.”

“Nah,” I said. “Just greedy.” If I smiled any wider my face would split. I squeezed his fingers one more time and let go. “At least where you’re concerned. Come on.”

I had no idea how to negotiate the subway system, so we took a cab. I asked the cab driver to recommend a good pizza place in the Village, and he dropped us off on an odd-shaped corner with a pizza place with a small green awning.

“Ever since I met you,” I whispered to Aaron as we walked in, “I’ve been really hungry.”

He looked at me.

“For pizza?”

“Yeah,” I said. “That’s it. For pizza.”

The guys behind the counter threw the dough up in the air just like you see in the movies. They had herbs growing on the counters and cut off some and baked it onto your pizza. The pizza was the best I ever tasted. Or maybe it was because I was with Aaron.

I paid the bill. We walked outside, and we hadn’t gotten more than a few steps, when the heavens opened up and a huge rainstorm dumped on us. We ran back to the pizza shop and huddled under the awning. We were so close I could feel the heat coming off his body.

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