It’s funny how quickly things unfold. I went to a premiere party and met Simon, the charming producer. I asked him to lunch and found out he owned a music venue in Lower East Side. He had a headliner in two weeks without an opener. I had a new—no, re-newed— performer in need of an audience. He had three glasses of wine at just after noon. He agreed to let Saturant play, without even hearing a beat of her music. And then he paid for lunch. “I can tell you’ve got it in you,” he said. “I trust she’ll be great.”
“Are you sure we’re ready for a show just yet?” Joanie asked at rehearsal. “I’m not so certain I can do a gig unless I recycle some of my old music.” I replied: “Reusing music wouldn’t be the worst thing. It’s good material and…pardon the honesty but I’m not so convinced that people will remember it.” She flipped me off lovingly: “Pardon THIS, dick head. Besides—what about the drummer?” She was referring to the fact that we had recruited two of her former classmates as keyboardist and bassist, but nobody yet on drums. “I’ve got someone in mind,” I lied, trying to keep her calm. “We’ll be just fine.” Note to self: find a drummer—fast.
I got dinner with my friend Mads the next night, and things unfolded quickly again. I told her about Joanie’s new project and how I was helping out. “My colleague’s boyfriend is a freelance drummer,” she said as she beckoned for more cabernet. “I don’t think musicians refer to themselves as freelancers,” I remarked. “But I’d love to call him in.” The next day, he joined rehearsal, looking and sounding perfect for the part. It was obvious that Joanie felt confident with her three teammates. Her posture had this prowess to it; I couldn’t wait for the crowd to see her in this new light, but was mostly just proud of her measurable progress. I wish I could have said the same for myself, because after rehearsal, Jack spent the night. My getting over him wasn’t unfolding very quickly.
When Jack wanted to fool around the next morning, I was in no such mood. My mind kept thinking of Simon, and each time Jack would kiss me, I just imagined how Simon’s were better. More sincere. It was relieving, knowing I was capable of detaching from Jack when he was not 100% attached to me. Over breakfast we prepared him for a job interview, and I conducted it in my underwear to make him feel better, but also to flaunt myself without giving him any reward. He made a dumb joke about it being a “blow job interview” and grabbed at my butt. It was kind of cute, so I gave in.
Joanie and I were walking through SoHo the day of her show, elbowing our way past every idiot ever. “Look at all these jackasses,” Joanie remarked. “It’s like they’re in character, trying to be discovered or something. Taking themselves so seriously. How does anyone else take them seriously?” I gave Joanie a real disapproving stare, pointing out her skintight, acid wash overalls, saying “I take you seriously, don’t I?” “Please,” Joanie replied. “I’m the biggest offender here. That’s why I’m 29 and virtually starting over. Who wants to start anything over at 29? I want to warn these jackasses not to turn out like me.”
Saturant’s first show was better than all of Joanie George’s shows combined. Simon had strategically not announced her as an opener, and so the crowd filled up thinking they would see the headliner at 9, which is when Saturant took the stage. She sold 22 CDs that night—we made 25 wondering who would possibly buy a CD these days—but since her stuff wasn’t online yet, people paid in person. Joanie was bewildered: “Eric, half of these songs are the ones I performed before. This is outrageous!” It was good to see her finally feeling validated. “I’ll bet she sells out the venue next time,” Simon predicted. “As a headliner. These people talk.”
“I’ve got you a car out front,” Simon told me after the show. “Except it’s going to my house, and I’ll be in it.” His eyes begged for the company as he looked at me intently, adding: “You don’t need to sleep with me to get what you want, since it seems I’ve given you that already.” I was a bit put off that he would say anything like that. “I’m coming over because I want to come over,” I said, pinning him against a wall. “And tonight is when you’re going to give me what I want.” We had terrific sex, made terrific because I thought of Jack the entire time.