In The Van On Comeback Road Part 19

date: 08/12/2006 category: features
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Gina and I walk back through the city to her apartment, maybe twenty minutes from Matt's place. I'm excited, thinking about what might happen when we arrive but I play it cool. I don't want her to think I'm some punk who can't keep it together. As we walk we munch the pot cookies and drink the beers from the case I'm carrying and we talk about what else? Music: the only thing that both of us really know and are interested in. She tells me about the plans her band has. Machine Within A Machine has recorded an independent album, and they are ready to tour to promote it. The record sounds raw but professional, and in a couple months, when all of the shows are lined up and everything is arranged, they are going across Canada to sell the disc. It will be the biggest musical endeavor any of them have undertaken. Plus, they have the opportunity to be the first opener for El Grande Floyd Ciccone, an old time drug rocker, when he plays Toronto in the fall. By the time we arrive at the front door of her place we're both smashed senseless, drunk and high. We manage to stumble up the stairs of the old building to her apartment. Once inside she puts on a Velvet Underground record and we relax on her couch. It's a fair sized apartment which she shares with two students from the university. There are books stacked up on the coffee tables and the place is in the general disarray that seems to follow busy young people around. "You seem like a good guy," she tells me when we're relaxing on the couch. "Kind of clueless, but in a funny way." "Thanks, I guess." I want to tell her what I've been thinking since I met her, that she's the kind of girl I dream about, beautiful, talented and not the goofy kind of shallow flake I usually tend to meet, but I decide it's much to soon to say anything of the sort. I just say something banal in response. Nothing much happens until I ask to take a closer look at her tattoos. She says sure and to my surprise, pulls her t-shirt off. In a black bra she beckons me closer and shows me what she has inked on each of her upper arms. On her right arm is a Decepticon symbol, from the Transformers toys. I ask her why, and she shrugs. "I was an eighties kid, and pretty much a tomboy, so I thought Transformers were cool. If you're a Decepticon you're a deceiver, and you hide your true form from people, unless you want to let them see the real you. That's what I try and do. I don't let people see what I'm really like unless I want them to." On her left shoulder was a butterfly, outlined with a heart. "I was in love with someone who had a butterfly tattoo. After they were gone I got a butterfly inside a heart, so I would always remember them." At that moment I choose to kiss her, and from there we proceed to the bedroom. I'm not a writer by trade, and I would not like to make a fool of myself by trying to describe the inner workings of a sex act between two people. But I am a musician, and I can tell you that lying down to make love with Gina is very much like jamming with another musician for the first time. Both people are tentative, unwilling to go straight ahead. They move slowly, gradually revealing what they are capable of and what they want to play, while trying hard to pay attention to the other person's playing, and trying to guess what they want to play. Each player does his or her best to play along with the style the other person seems to like. If your partner wants to play slowly and softly, you start out that way too, and if they want to fool around with jazzy improvisations you go along with it until you are comfortable playing together, and you can slowly move forward to playing music you both like together. Soon you find a style that suits you both and you fall into a rhythm, letting the sound grow more complex, or maybe just faster, harder, more emphatic, and soon you have a song that's just flying forward on its own, and you and your partner are just trying to keep up with the spontaneous magic of the moment. You finally let the song built to a grand crescendo, a mind-blowing culmination of the talent of two individual players who have spend their adolescence playing alone in their bedrooms, coming together to make a stunning piece of music that once completed could never be played again in just the same way. Of course, sometimes when you try to jam with a stranger, the styles of the two musicians don't mesh and the whole thing sounds like shit. Thankfully making love to Gina was like the former kind of jamming, not the latter. In the morning I wake up alone and hung over in a bed so narrow I can't believe two people managed to sleep in it. In the morning light I see clothes on the floor, some of which are mine, a dresser with books stacked on top, and in the corner, Gina's guitar. I fork through the clothes until I find all I brought with me and get dressed. Venturing from the room I meet one of Gina's roommates. She's a small, very young-looking girl who, were it not for her large breasts, I might have mistaken for a fourteen year old. She's sitting in the living room eating a bowl of cereal wearing a black tank top and pajama bottoms. She has red hair in shoulder length dreads and a silver stud in her bottom lip. The look she gives me is unwelcoming and suspicious. "Hi there," I say to her. "Um, have you seen Gina?" "She's in the shower," the girl says. "Oh. Okay. Do you mind if I grab at drink of water or something?" "The kitchen's in there," the girl says, making a barely perceptible nod of her head toward a door. "Thanks," I say, and leave the girl to her breakfast. Inside the messy kitchen I have to wash a glass to get a drink, and I decide I might as well stay in Gina's room until she gets out of the shower. Not much point in trying to hang out with the roommate, I figure. She looks as mean as a snake. I lie back down on Gina's bed and after about twenty minutes she comes in, a towel wrapped around her. "Oh, hey Terry," she says. "You're still here." She doesn't really pause to let me respond before she continues, saying "Look, it was cool you came around last night and everything. I really needed to get laid. I just hope you don't think it's a big thing or anything. I don't want to get all involved or anything like that, you know? I'm just trying to focus on music right now. I hope that's cool with you, because you do seem like a cool guy and all." I nod. "Yeah, that's all right. Um, I hope I see you again sometime, but I understand what you mean. I'm focused on my band right now too." "That's good," she says, still holding the towel tightly to her, apparently not wanting to give me another view of her naked body. "You know, we might need someone to come with us on the road to split some costs. If you guys are ready, it might work out." "Okay. Should I call you about that?" I ask, getting up off her bed. I've already been brushed off, so there's no point in sticking around much longer. "No," she says. "Call Wayne instead. He does more of the organizing and stuff. Um, you guys don't have anything recorded, do you?" "Not yet," I say, even though everybody knows the words 'not yet' really mean 'no, not at all.' "Well, even so, give him a call sometime. Um, I've got to get dressed and get ready to go, so if you wouldn't mind?" She trails off, but the message is clear. "Sure," I say. "Hey, I had a great time last night. I'll see you around, okay?" She nods, and I slip out the door, get my boots on, and with a friendly word to the cereal eating devil in the living room, I get my ass out of there. When I get home I go straight to the phone and call up Jason and then Mark. With both of them I lay down the law. We need to get road ready with a full set of tight, quality shit, and we need to get it recorded, printed and ready to sell. We need to be fully, one hundred percent road-worthy in one month if we have any hope of hell of going on the road with Gina and Machine Within A Machine. 2006 Nolan Whyte
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