Dec 26 2009
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The woman in his bed looked nothing like any groupie he’d seen before. He found that kind of intriguing. After twenty-five years in the business, he didn’t get a lot of surprises anymore.
He liked surprises.
The girl didn’t stir as he fished in his pockets for his wallet, change, hotel keys and phone. He dumped them on the massive desk next to the window. Next he pulled out all the business cards and scraps of paper people had stuck in there tonight, stuff he’d never look at. He took off his suit jacket and black mesh t-shirt and tossed them on a chair, still watching the sleeping girl.
When he’d returned to the Marquis tonight, he hadn’t had to fight his way through as large a crowd of crew, friends, press and assorted hangers-on as usually thronged a hotel on a tour stop. Redneck Metal were veterans like him, guys in their forties who’d first made it twenty years ago. They’d done the Sodom and Gomorrah On A Bus dozens of times already. Recovering alcoholics and former junkies committed to sobriety didn’t need the same level of debauchery they once had, especially not with their guitarist back in rehab after a spectacular fall off the wagon. They all knew how easily it could’ve been one of them.
Hell, Marsh Galloway had brought his wife along, and it wasn’t one of those send-the-wife-shopping-while-I-bang-the-groupies setups, either. A couple of the other guys had their wives and kids joining them at different spots on the road. It was as close to family friendly as this kind of music got.
So far he’d enjoyed his last minute stint as Guest Guitar God. The whole "living legends together at last" PR had worked. Every venue had sold out weeks in advance. He’d told Marsh he thought forty-three was kind of early for legend status. The forty-six-year-old bassist had just laughed
He glanced in the mirror and then took a second look. Not too bad for an old dude, by rock n roll standards. Not nearly as many lines on the face as there should’ve been. Clean for ten years, he worked out a lot, and it showed. He slapped his flat belly, smiling with grim satisfaction, and flexed his biceps. Sooner or later, no matter how much iron he pumped, the skin would start to sag. God only knew what the tats would look like then.
He tried to imagine what Keith Richards would’ve looked like now if his arms and torso were covered in ink, and he shuddered.
Sighing, he went to sit on the edge of the bed to pull off his boots. The girl didn’t stir, but began to snore very softly. He smothered a laugh. How long had she been waiting for him? Who’d let her in here? And what the hell was up with those clothes? Tight, worn blue jeans showed off a sweet ass, but they were too long, rolled up at the ankles. And the Houston Astros jersey nearly swallowed her.
Fuck. What if she weren’t a groupie? What if she were homeless and had somehow gotten in here?