Goin' Back Home AgainbyRehnquist©
Here we go, another submission in the LW category. I truly appreciate all of the thoughtful comments to my last posting here, and I decided to give it one more try. I am warning all of you now, though, that this story is woefully deficient in several categories. First, there's almost no sex here. Second, no wives are going to die in the writing of this story, so don't look for some sort of retribution. Third, there's almost nothing here about the wife's infidelity. Finally, this is another long story. (I would've broken it up into two chapters, but all I envisioned was being skewered on one chapter or another, and I'd rather suffer the humiliation of negative comments all at once, thank you.)
This story is an attempt at telling about how a famous person goes through a ton of shit at the same time, all of it beginning with learning about his wife's infidelity. The tone is neither serious nor overly analytical. Rather, while not funny, it is at least lighthearted. Some will say the husband is a wimp, but I think his reactions are honest and realistic. And unfortunately, there's going to be a happy ending here, but probably not one you'll see coming until about half way through. Even there, I think you'll still be surprised by how things play out. In short, there's something here for everyone and nothing here for everyone all at the same time. Just another attempt to stay fresh and original in this category.
Thus, HarryinVa will hate it, but I'd still appreciate his, and everyone else's, thoughts.
Swear to God, I'll never again hear "Long Cool Woman in a Black Dress" without thinking about that rocking chair. Songs do that to people: We associate certain songs with certain times in our past. You know, like how every time I hear Oasis belt out "Wonderwall" in their nasally, terribly British accents, I think about Jenny Leyden and her wonderful, perky tits. Why? Because "Wonderwall" was the theme song of our Junior Prom, Jenny was my date, and she did more for that slinky, low-cut little number than any other girl in the gym. And when the DJ played "Wonderwall," she mashed them eighth and ninth wonders of the world against my chest, and all I could think about was getting my hands and lips on them later in the evening. I didn't, but I still think about them every time I hear that song.
But back to the rocking chair. You see, it was a Maloof, made by old Sam Maloof before he died, and it set my old man back twenty grand more than twenty years ago. For a rocking chair, you say? Hell yes. But it's more than a rocking chair; it's a goddamned, full-blown work of art in claro walnut, all hand sculpted with flowing joinery and comfortable as hell to sit in. Oh, and it was about the only thing worth a shit that rotten bastard of a father left me, but I still liked it.
So anyway, I walked into my Brentwood mansion and heard the stereo blasting. The chiming, echo-laden guitar arpeggios at the beginning switched to pulsing power chords that led into the vocals. Great arrangement, which is more difficult than most people realize. Not exactly my cup of tea, mind you, but still a great arrangement. I paused and listened to the lead vocals, heavy reverb on the voice making it hard to make out the lyrics.
Saturday night I was downtown/Workin' for the FBI
I followed the music, tossing my jacket across the back of the sofa before turning into the family room at the back. It had been a long day in the agent's office trying to negotiate the terms of the new record deal, and all I wanted was to sit in my chair, drink a beer, and maybe see if Tara was in the mood for a change. She always got bitchy just before it was time to start shooting the new season, and we hadn't made the two-backed monster in almost two weeks.
I strolled into the family room and froze. Tara was in the mood, all right. And there she was, in my Maloof rocking chair. Naked. Doing the dirty. And under her was my band mate Carl, who was both in the Maloof rocker and in Tara. He was in my favorite chair and my formerly-favorite wife, and I wasn't sure which pissed me off more.
A streaming barrage of thoughts pounded my brain. Why's she fucking him? Holy shit, he's fucking her to the pulse of the song; thank God it's not gangster rap or he'd blow out his back. And he's using the low-slung, ergonomically-designed seat and lower lumbar support to brace his feet on the floor and his back against the chair to give him more leverage.
Then, I'll admit, my thoughts got a little goofy. Why had I never thought of this? I wonder if old Sam Maloof ever tested his chairs like this? Finally, if they break that fucking chair–excuse the pun–I'll break their goddamned necks.
I must've stood there for about a minute and a half, because The Hollies were in the middle of the instrumental break when Carl finally turned his glazed eyes to me. He froze and tried to scramble out of the chair. I just stood there while he tried to extricate himself from the chair and from Tara. I was frozen and had no clue what to do.
I mean really, what do you do? I suppose I could've gone after them, but that would've just landed us all on the covers of every newspaper, tabloid, and crappy magazine for the next year. Also, I couldn't afford to hurt my hands–or Carl, for that matter–or the band would be shit out of luck in the middle of our new record negotiations.
So I did nothing. Just turned and walked away toward the bedroom at the far end of the hallway.
I was buttoning a fresh shirt when I saw Tara's reflection in the mirror.
"Where you going?" she said, her eyes avoiding mine.
I tried to smile, but failed. Instead, I just stared at her for a minute.
Tara Boyd, teen idol now turned glamorous and beautiful star of one of the highest rated shows in television history. My wife, my life. Now, apparently, neither.
"We didn't mean for it to happen," she said, sitting on the bed and watching me rummage through my cavernous closet.
I finally located a big duffel bag and started stuffing it with shoes, jeans, slacks, and shirts. Once I had enough, I dragged the duffel back into the bedroom and to my dresser, where I started scooping my underwear and socks into the little remaining room left.
"That's it?" Tara said. "You're not even going to say anything?"
I ignored her. I'd never given much thought about how I would feel if something like this happened to me, but the few times I had thought about it I was sure I'd blow a gasket. Strangely, though, I didn't. To the contrary, I just felt tired, beaten down. The wind had left my sails, and I was suddenly and inexplicably adrift.
"Goddammit, Nick, say something," she said, yelling at me now.
"What the fuck do you want me to say?" I fumed, pushing the duffel bag to the floor and turning on her. "Is there a handbook somewhere on how to deal with finding out–totally out of fucking left field–that one of your oldest friends and your wife are banging each other behind your back, Tara? Huh? I mean, what should I say? What do you want me to say? Christ, you could've left some hints that this was going on, gotten me at least a little prepared to walk in on it, ya know?"
And that was it, all of my energy was gone again and I just wanted to crawl off somewhere and die. So I dragged my duffel bag past Tara and down the hall, stopping in the bathroom to gather a toothbrush and some shaving gear and other such crap. All packed, I toted the bag to the garage, threw it in my Escalade, and returned to the house.
Carl was sitting in the rocking chair lacing his shoes when I walked in.
"Look, Nick," he started, but I didn't want to hear it.
"I just want my chair," I said. He jumped from it, scrambling out of my way. I picked up the chair and nodded toward nine Grammy awards and a stack of framed platinum, multi-platinum, and diamond albums resting in a display case. "You and Tara get my stuff boxed up, okay?"
"Where you going?" he said. "Nick, you're the point man on the negotiations, man. You're not taking off, are you?"
"Have it all shipped to my mom's house," I continued, ignoring him. "I'll make the arrangements from there."
I trudged the chair to the Escalade, laid it in the back next to a couple of guitars already stacked there from a few days before, and went to get in the vehicle.
"Nick," Carl pleaded, "please man, let me explain."
I dropped my head, counting to ten.
"We didn't mean for this to happen," he plodded on. "I mean, you were supposed to be in negotiations all day, man."
I glared at this. "So what was it you didn't mean to happen? You fucking her or me catching you?"
I didn't wait for his answer, preferring to hop in my ride and get the hell out of there as quickly as possible.
I was now three hours, and more than two hundred fifty miles, west of the City of Angels. May the whole rotten shit hole fall into the ocean. Okay, not all of it, just Brentwood.
"Where we going?" he said. His voice was gruff, the product of forty years of a three-pack-a-day habit.
"Home," I said, not bothering to look at him.
"Home in Brentwood?"
"Home in home," I said. "Home in Grant City."
"But you don't live there anymore," he said.
"Yeah, well, shit happens," I said. "Things change."
"So that's it?" he chuckled. "Just gonna cut and run? Give up on her?"
I didn't say anything, and neither did he for another thirty miles or so.
"They're all like that, you know," he finally intoned.
"Not all of them," I replied.
"No," he agreed, "just the ones you pick out."
I nodded. He was right. "Why do you suppose that's so?"
He laughed. It was a deep, raspy laugh that ended in a rattling cough. "Because you're a shallow prick is why."
"Well congratulations," I said. "Looks like the apple didn't fall far from the tree."
I sighed. This was getting us nowhere, and I knew it would soon lead to another fight and he'd disappear. Strangely, I wanted his company for awhile.
We were silent for another ten miles or so before I turned to look at him. He looked the same as always. Thick gray hair with a thick beard, all of it slightly, but just slightly, in need of a trim and a comb; thick, heavy features; big chest and arms bulging the sleeves of his flannel shirt. I could almost reach over and touch him, but I knew my hand would only pass through. Still, I could always catch a faint whiff of him, a mixture of cigarette smoke and Lagerfeld cologne.
"Y'know," he finally said, "you should've kicked his ass."
"And what would that have accomplished?"
"He'd know not to do it again."
"Oh for Chrissake, Walter," I said. "He knew not to do it in the first place. And so did she. But it didn't stop either of them, did it?"
Walter shrugged. "Yeah, I guess so. But you'd feel better about it instead of just driving off with your tail between your legs."
"Yeah," I shot back. "Then I'd have hands too goddamned swollen to play, probably spend the night with a bunch of cross dressers from West Hollywood, the tabloids would be crawlin' up our ass, and they'd have still fucked each other silly in my goddamned chair."
"My chair," he said. "I bought it."
"Yeah, but you're dead now," I said. "So now it's mine."
He turned and looked out the window, watching the nighttime desert pass us by at eighty miles an hour.
"Guess you're right," he said. "Still, I'd have kicked his ass."
We were coming up on the merge from Interstate 15 onto Interstate 70 when my cell phone rang. It was almost eleven, and I'd been on the road for almost eight hours. The cell phone stirred me from the monotony, and I realized I was getting tired.
Glancing at the display, I decided to answer.
"Hello, John," I said to our lead guitarist.
"Nick, where the fuck are you?" he said. He was shouting, and I could hear the loud din of some nightclub in the background.
"Utah," I said.
"What the fuck are you doing in Utah?"
I heard John shouting to someone else, then he was back on the phone. "Nick, you need to get back here. You're our point man, dude, and we're close to a major deal here."
"Let Ethan handle it," I replied. Ethan Rose was our manager, and he sure as hell made enough–and had a big enough stake in the outcome–to take care of this without our help.
"Dude," John whined, "you know he can't do it without you. They want to know what we've got coming up, what's in the hopper. Ethan can't take care of that. Only you can, man."
"Let me think about it," I said, and flipped the phone closed before turning it off.
We'd formed LeadFoot when I was a Sophomore at Grant City Community High School. There were four of us: Teddy Cooper on lead guitar, Carl Simpson on bass, Vince Diamond on drums, and me on rhythm guitar and lead vocals. The other three harmonized, and we had kind of an Eagles sound.
Half way through our Junior year, Teddy discovered alternative country-rock. I'll never forget the day I dropped by his place and walked into his bedroom. Twin vocal harmonies were singing over a strumming acoustic guitar and twangy, country-like slide leads.
"Who's this?" I said, loving it the moment I heard it.
"Jayhawks," he said, his eyes never leaving the liner notes.
"This is awesome," I commented. He just nodded. For the next three hours we listened to Hollywood Town Hall over and over again. To this day, I think of that afternoon every time I hear "Two Angels."
The very next day, Teddy and I started writing our first song. It came surprisingly fast–at least the music did. The lyrics weren't so easy. Then Teddy decided to start reading more serious shit, poetry and Shakespeare and The Bible and all manner of crap. It inspired him, he said, and he was right. Pretty soon we were churning out lyrics left and right and the music to go with it. Then I started reading all of that stuff, too. Pretty soon, Teddy went back to concentrating on the music and only occasionally helping out with the lyrics.
The summer after high school graduation, LeadFoot won the talent contest at the Lincoln County Fair, which got us a trip to the Illinois State Fair competition. Down there, we were surrounded by ballet dancers and jugglers and magicians and a few fledgling musicians, and we jammed three songs with tight harmonies.
When it was all over, there was no doubt the crowd was on our side. Let's get something straight: When fifty year-old farmers and their wives are stomping to the tunes of a bunch of teenagers, you're onto something. There were audible boos throughout the crowd when our second-place finish was announced behind some cutesy little tap-dancing Shirley Temple wannabe.
In any event, after the show we were approached by some thirty something dude in slacks, hair mousse, and glittering jewelry. His name was Ethan Rose, and he was a talent scout for Harmony Records. They were looking for something different, he said, and wondered if we'd be interested in meeting with some people. We were, and the next three weeks before our college classes started were spent auditioning in Nashville and Memphis. A month later, well into our first semesters at our various colleges, we were contacted by Ethan with a record deal.
That's when the problems started. Teddy decided he didn't want to stay in the band. He figured we'd be whores for the record industry, sell out for the money. I told him that was bullshit, which it was. Teddy was really just afraid of failure on the road, and he didn't want to risk the good thing he had going. He was always the smartest of the lot, and he was on full academic scholarship. He didn't want to be a superstar, he wanted to be a teacher. So he quit, and Ethan set about finding us a replacement on lead guitar.
Over Christmas Break, Carl, Vince, and I flew into Memphis to start practicing and to audition a new lead guitarist. With Ethan's help–and the record company's prodding–we settled on the first choice, which was John Bouma.
John was four years older than the rest of us, but boy could he play guitar. He'd been a studio musician for the past three years, some kind of teenage prodigy looking for a good fit, and the record company thought he'd slide right into the LeadFoot sound. They were right. It helped that he also had a nice tenor voice and could help me with the songwriting chores. He sucked in the lyrics department, though, which fell completely on my shoulders. Carl and Vince were happy to just play their instruments and sing when told.
You know the rest. Our first album, Somewhere Down Highway 66, went multi-platinum. Then we beat the sophomore jinx with Plains States, our first and, to date, only diamond platinum album with more than thirteen million copies sold. A few since have come close, but we've basically been riding the wave of our first two efforts for the past six years.
So now we're in the middle of negotiating our new record deal. Harmony had long since sold our contract, and Columbia wanted a five-record deal. We were bankable, but they wanted some guarantees that we weren't going to fizzle out on them halfway through the deal. That's where I came in as point man. The band needed to prove we had a solid stockpile of songs laying around that would keep us going for awhile, and I was the logical choice to make that point.
The problem was that we didn't have much of a stockpile of good songs. Sure, we had a bunch of throwaways out there, and just putting our name on them would probably sell a few million copies for at least the first few albums. We were going stale, though, and I knew it.
The rest of the guys, Ethan included, didn't want to hear this, though. Oh no, they all chirped, just sell them on it. We cash in on this one and we're all set big time. Unfortunately, Columbia saw the stockpile for what it was, and they were driving a harder bargain than any of us had anticipated.
So there I was, trying to save the band, get them all more bags of cash, and keep them surrounded by their adoring fans who blew them before, during, and after shows. And what kind of thanks do I get for my efforts? I get them constantly harping on my ass and Carl shagging my wife.
By two o'clock Wednesday afternoon, I had been on the road for nearly twenty-two hours, and the always exciting Nebraska scenery had me nodding off behind the wheel. (Bruce Springsteen wrote a whole goddamned album named after this God forsaken sea of flatness? I always knew he was amazing, but this, my first drive through Nebraska, convinced me he should be canonized.) Not wanting to risk any more, I pulled off the interstate in Grand Island and checked into a Holiday Inn.
After checking into the hotel, I dragged my duffel to my room, plugged in my phone to recharge, cranked up the air conditioning, and crashed onto the bed. I'm sure I was asleep before my head hit the pillow, and my dreams were long and troubled. They all featured Tara in various roles, few of them good.
In the most vivid dream, Tara and I were in our honeymoon suite in Nice, the Mediterranean a glittering sea of azure outside our windows. She was on top, riding me frantically, bucking in orgasms and screaming my praises. Then she leaned into me and sucked on my earlobe. "Surprise," she said.
Then I felt the bed shift and heard her grunt, and I felt hairy legs outside of mine.
"Oh my God," she groaned. "I'm so full, Nick."
I tried to look over her shoulder and see who was behind her, but she kept my shoulders pinned to the mattress and started bucking with the new thrusting.
"Don't quit on me," she pleaded as my peter started to soften inside her.
"Over here," a voice said from the side, and she turned her head and took another cock into her mouth. I couldn't see around her head or the huge rod pistoning back and forth into her mouth, but I recognized the voice as Vince.