Chapter 5: The Last Supper
Don motioned to the table. Well don't make a fat man stand all night, sit down and eat ya bastards! He said, with a Texas accent that seemed impossible to have as a born and raised Canadian.
I watched as the ugly band struggled to fit into the tiny leather booth that wrapped around the even smaller half-circle table. I sat down next to Shawn, and immediately shifted and elbowed for any sense of comfort in the cramped area. Our make shift comfort was then completely destroyed when Don positioned himself across from me, taking up nearly half the booth with his disgustingly wide frame.
Don pointed to the various plates on the table. You know I tried waiting. He said. But you bastards took too long to get here, and I've never said no to an Asian.
He immediately began to pick things off our own personal buffet in the middle of the table and place them on to his plate. I eyed the various foods that Don had ordered, and hesitantly took tiny portions in fear of an outburst from the blimp like man across from me. I began to picture myself as a coyote; sneaking up to a dead zebra after the killer was through with it, only to be chased off by a giant, obese Don-lion.
Don broke my imagination. So, Dan. He said.
I looked up at his round, balding head. What's up Don?
He pointed with a messy hand towards the ugly bunch. Do these turkeys. He said, pausing to slurp an entire noodle into his mouth. Know that they are allowed to eat?
I turned to the three-piece, who were sitting quietly like a teenager after being walked in on during self-service. You guys are already annoying enough, please tell me you aren't vegetarians. I said.
No. Shawn said, while rolling his eyes. We aren't vegetarians, we're just really excited and not hungry.
Don laughed. Well, I guess we'll get down to it then, even though you should let a fat son of a bitch like me eat. He said, throwing down a full fork of lo mein. Who the hell are ya bastards? He asked.
All three members shifted in their seat, hesitating to speak first. Jesus Christ. I said, hanging my head in embarrassment. I stared at my mute clients, all struggling to breathe let alone talk.
Alright, I guess I'm going to have to do this. I said. This guy to my right Don, is Shawn. He likes growing his hair as long as the elf from the lord of the rings, playing drums, and being the only member that talks.
Don laughed and shook Shawn's hand, who was clearly surprised to learn that Don hadn't wiped his hands after inhaling a plate of crab legs.
I pointed to Coulter. Don, this is Coulter. He doesn't say much, but when he does it's usually muffled by his tampon. He also likes working out to look like Lou Ferrigno, and playing guitar.
Coulter gave me the finger with his right hand, and reached across and shook Don's hand with his left.
Oh that's right, he can multi-task too. I said, and then pointed to Tanner. And the final guy there Don is Tanner, who unlike Coulter can't multi task, as thinking and talking at the same time is very hard for him. I said. He plays the bass and sings, and also grows Elvis sideburns in his free time.
Don shook Tanner's hand and sat back in the booth. Well Dan, you haven't stopped the whole treating clients like an aborted child I see. He said.
I smiled a full mouth of fried rice. Well you got so god damn fat Don, that if I hadn't stayed the same we wouldn't have recognized each other.
And still a bastard too. He said, laughing. But let's get back to the band. We did the introductions guys, but not the one I wanted. So let me repeat myself, who the hell are ya bastards?
I watched as the band stared at him blankly, rendered silent this time not by social skills but by stupidity. I placed my head in my hands once again in embarrassment. He means your f--king band name you idiots. I said.
Oh! Shawn said. Well it's actually a funny story.
Previously hearing the funny story on the drive to the restaurant, I interrupted Shawn. It's not a f--king funny story Shawn, just tell him the name. I said.
Shawn supported Coulter in giving me the finger. We're called The Halves' and Dan hates it. He said.
Don began to talk with a full mouth of pork. Well I don't like it too much either, but what's this funny story?
Shawn perked up. Well the story is Dan used to call us pugs, when we were a six-piece. He said. And then we split up and it was just half of us left with Dan. So instead of being lost and found dogs, we were lost and half found dogs. He said with a smile, waiting for a sign of realization on Don's face.
Don still didn't stop chewing his food. Honestly, that sounds like something my idiot of a daughter would have thought of.
Shawn sank into his chair in a world of embarrassment. I leaned into his ear. I told you it wasn't f--king funny. Are you trying to blow this deal or what?
I leaned back and smiled at Don while Shawn leaned into my ear. You're awfully tough even though your wife is across the room giving hand jobs under the table. He whispered.
I kicked Shawn under the table as I turned to look at my family. Their table seemed to be acres away, separated by obstacles of cheesy oriental decorations, breaded food, and waiters who had blatantly fake North American names. I turned away when I saw Phil lean into kiss my wife on the neck, in full sight of my disgusted and embarrassed children. I turned back to a table that was dead quiet and all eyes on me.
Now forgive me if I'm wrong. Don said. But isn't that your ex-lady over there?
I took a long drink of beer. Why yes Don, yes it f--king is. I said, desperately trying to cover the fact that I was struggling to restrain myself from watching my family eat all night.
Don laughed. Well then why didn't you say something? We could've gone somewhere else. These waiters tits aren't big enough anyways. He said, gesturing to his own man bosoms.
I chugged the rest of my beer and slammed it down on the table. No, it's fine. I said, standing up. Listen, I'm going for a smoke, I think you guys can carry on without me. I said.
I looked down at my clueless, quiet band. Well, maybe not. But I need a f--king cigarette. I said.
I walked away from the table and eyed my family on the way to the door. I noticed that Liam was no longer at the table, and discovered where he was as soon as I exited the restaurant.
Dad? Liam said.
I took a deep breath. You smoke? I asked.
Liam looked at his cigarette, embarrassed and confused by the situation. Yeah, just started.
I pushed a cigarette between my lips. You got a light? I asked.
You smoke? He said, while handing me his lighter.
Yeah, just started. I said.
As I sparked the lighter, the flame illuminated the sidewalk and the subtle facial features of my son. The flame died as my cigarette began to burn, and the street was once again swollen with darkness. We both inhaled deeply, watching the traffic lights materializing and disappearing down the one way street, comfortable in our own dark anonymity. So Dad, what brings you into Chinatown? He said, scanning the various neon signs that lined the sidewalk.
I eyed Liam, trying to make out his shape in the dark. Well, I was just in there promoting that band I told you about at the baseball game.
Really, how'd it go? He asked.
I watched the end of my cigarette burn. Terribly, but I got through the introductions so it's up to them now. I said. So how's your night going?
I watched a variety of emotions collide in what was the dark outline of Liam. He seemed to shake his head, swear under his breath, and ask for death all in a matter of seconds.
It's going absolutely- I mean, it's going fine. He said.
I stepped on my cigarette and turned to him. What were you going to say? I asked.
He turned away from me and muttered to himself. It's nothing, never mind. He said.
I placed my hand on his shoulder. No, Liam you can tell me, what's up?
You know. He said. This is just like a TV show, this is so over dramatic.
I turned him around. What do you mean? I asked.
Just look. He said, bringing the lighter to his face and igniting the flame. I stared at a him, which resembled a distorted reflection of me. The flame illuminated strong, prominent cheek bones like mine, but covered in tears. It casted shadows across a large forehead, covered by wisps of dark brown hair like mine, but grown much longer and frayed at the ends. And finally it accentuated the crisp, endless green eyes like my own, except swollen and ringed with a bruise.
My knees almost caved in as I realized the gravity situation.
Whend did this happen? I said, barely managing to choke out the words.
He stared at me with empty eyes, not knowing what to say.
I grabbed him by the arm and began to walk towards my car. You're staying at my house tonight.
Then what? He said.
I glanced at his bruised eye. I really don't know.
Christine's voice on the speakerphone pushed the image of my bruised son out of my mind.
Dan, Jordan Mason's client Lacey Scott is here, I'm sending her in. She said.
I stood up and watched as a small, frail, teenage girl walked into my office. Her beauty wasn't overpowering and apparent, but they way her glossy red hair hung at the side of her face brought an image that wasn't easy to look away from.
She sat down in her chair and began to type on her blackberry. I don't have any time, so let's do this quick. She said.
I leaned forward in my chair, ready to listen to anything my first legitimate client had to say.
She continued to type on her blackberry. Get your schedule out, now.
I shifted to my computer and opened my timetable. I'm ready. I said.
The fifteenth, I shoot my music video for Eternity'. She said, still not shifting her eyes from her phone.
Got it. I said.
The seventeenth, I play at The Hill. She said.
Okay. I said.
The twentieth, I play at the Orange Lounge. She said.
The twentieth, okay. I said.
The twenty-fifth I'm at Much Music, and then on the twenty-seventh I'm singing the anthem at the Argonauts game.
I recited her schedule as I made it my own. Twenty-fifth on TV, twenty-seventh at a football game. Anything else? She looked up from her phone. Yes, there is. She said. I have nothing on the thirtieth, get me a show.
I shifted over to my rolodex to look for club managers. And where do you want to play, Lacey? I said, rooting through countless names of events passed.
Upon not receiving an answer, I looked up, and stared at an empty office.
I turned to my computer and suddenly noticed that with all the events happening in my schedule, I finally had a job.
Christine, you there? I said.
Christine appeared in the doorway. I am, but Lacey left awfully fast, what did you do? She asked.
I smiled. I think...I think I just got a job again. Well, congratulations Dan. She said.
I stood up and put on my jacket, pushing the family issue to the back of my mind, knowing it would be there waiting for me later tonight.
Let's go out to dinner Christine. I said. There might be some money coming our way very soon.