And the rooster tucked under her arm like a little Chairman Mao. I noticed the rooster because I grew up around farms and I know for sure that chickens are always looking around as if someone called their name and it scares the shit out of them. They don’t watch, attentive and still, as if they’re listening.

Most rooms, it would be the rooster you’d notice first. But not this tour, not this band. Two weeks in and we’d had two baby alligators loose, a gift from the Night Tripper, I don’t know where they got to although the guitarist has some fine new boots. In Tuscon some dipshit from the crew released a dozen bats into the changing room and three of us had to get the desperate little biting things cut out of our hair. Don’t know what happened to him, either. Like I say the guitarist has some fine new boots.

She watched for a while and I was close in to the singer and to talk to her I’d have to give up my place to the three or four moustachioed would-be-desperadoes huddling behind me. Every room I walk into since we hit the road has been full of these blue-skinned, sick-looking reptilian-smiling blue-denim creeps and I never know who they are or what they’re doing but man there sure has been a lot of skag and pussy around so maybe that’s just what the purveyors look like, narcotic psychopomps.

By the time the singer had bored of us – or his wife arrived, I forget – the woman was gone. For a moment, the room seemed empty of life. Then I grabbed a bottle from the trumpet player, a second-tier lucked-in rube like myself, and allowed the night to swallow me like a mouthful of spit and bourbon.

The next few nights we were kept out of the way because that squeaky-voiced dwarf who wrote the book about those kids that murdered those other kids was hanging out on some assignment for Catfish Magazine and the band wanted the way clear for him and the retinue of people he carries with him to laugh at his jokes and untangle his scarves once he’s drunk. Not that he’s written shit for ten years.

I could tell the singer was being an asshole because the guitarist was out of the inner sanctum after the first day, scowling and muttering. He hates that Manhattan-boho Warhol scene anyhow.