It’s been years and years, but tonight he finally fucks up. Tonight, fucking tonight, live on stage, Deron ‘lead singer’ Miller flips the fuck out.
“Deron,” I say with a hand over my mic, “Dude, chill. Hanna didn’t…”
“Hanna doesn’t know shit about my fucking equipment,” he spits, and his voice is twisted like I never heard it before, his eyes are flashing red in the club lights.
“That’s no reason to…”
“Fuck you, Chad! Just fuck you, shut the fuck up, you don’t know shit!” he screams, and for a second it scares the shit out of me. Then the anger flares up and I’m reaching for the mic, calmly announcing to the crowd that Deron fucking Miller has an issue and he’d like to share it.
The look on his face right then I never want to see again. Then he’s grabbed his own mic and my blood runs cold.
“You know what? Fuck this shit, that’s it, I’m done. Fuck CKY. Hey everyone, say ‘fuck CKY’!”
With a snarl he tears off his guitar and hurls it as far as he can, clattering off the side of the stage. He follows it with long, steady strides and you can almost feel the sparks crackling off of him.
The front row is a line of open mouths and disbelieving eyes. Oh no he didn’t.
But yeah, yeah he fucking did. And I’m helpless now.
We play ‘Bite It’ but the crowd is fucking dead if they’re not mouthing off about Deron, and that makes me mad because they have no idea. They haven’t fucking been there the last seven years. Through the anxiety attacks and the insomnia and the steadily growing addictions. They only think they’ve been there. They haven’t had to live with it eight months a year.
Right now though, it isn’t about that. Fuck, it couldn’t be less about that, maybe Deron was right, fuck the fans. This is once again all about Deron. And here I am charging to the fucking scene like some kind of fucked up random hero, like Ryan Dunn but fuelled by Jim Beam instead of Budweiser.
He’s locked himself in the tourbus like some kind of faggot crybaby. I can’t help but hate the fucker for doing this, even though I know the reasons, or at least some of them. I pound on the door and hear something break inside, like a glass being thrown at the wall. I pound again and hear the sound of my fists mirrored by his. Deron Miller, master of melodrama. Fucking drama queen.
“Deron, let me the fuck in now.”
“Fuck you!” he screams and I’m torn between wanting to help him and wanting to punch his teeth down his throat. I hear a jingling to my left and whip around to see Mike the driver holding out a heavy bunch of keys.
“This one’s to the front door,” he says before ducking out of sight, eyes averted.
I glance around for Jess and Deis but they’re being mobbed by fans, some angry but most just excited to have gotten something out of this. The guilt will keep them both out there for a while. Jess catches my eye and holds it, nods firmly once. He’s volunteering me to handle this one. Fuckin’ A.
I open the door quickly, no pretence of stealth, and lock it behind me. Deron’s eyes shoot upwards like a rat in a cage; he’s crouched on the floor with his fingers twisted into his hair, breathing hard, back soaked with sweat.
“Next time you do this, you might wanna hide the fucking keys,” I growl, tossing them at him and flopping down on the sofa behind him. He looks like he wants to bolt for the door but I stop him. “Ready to face a thousand angry fans out for your blood? I wouldn’t go out there ya fucking moron.”
“Fuck you,” he says and his voice shakes. I can see that all of his muscles are tensed and he is literally covered in sweat, dripping with the stuff, every inch of him twitching and wet. There’s blood beneath his nails, on his teeth, and his lip is chewed raw. Even in the shitty dim light, which I don’t know why the fuck he turned on, I can tell that much.
This is classic Deron, broken down and on the floor, locked inside his own mind. Ever since I first met him it’s been this way; he’s too fucking high maintenance. I’d almost think he was a tortured genius or something if he wasn’t so fucking idiotic about it. Deron has a problem, Deron ignores it until there ain’t enough booze in the world can blot out the pain. It’s taken years to get to this point, but it's happening and it’s all of our problem now. Mostly mine.
Then I get why the light is on; I see the empty pill packets and I know. “Christ, you’re such a fucking addict,” I swear, and he snarls.
“Leave me. The fuck. Alone.”
“No fucking deal.”
So it’s me and Deron locked on the tourbus, him like some rockstar junkie version of the Incredible fucking Hulk, and just like every time, I have no sweet fucking clue how to deal with him. Placate him. Fix him. I don’t know why I want to because he brings this on himself, but I hate seeing him like this. It tears at my insides, somehow.
“So what the fuck was that about?” I ask him, because the demanding part of me wins out every time. I try to be nice but ya know what, it doesn’t come easy. Not with Deron. He sparks something off in me, always has done. We bring out the worst in each other.
“Shut the fuck up and get away from me,” he snaps; really it’s almost a shriek. I wince.
“Well, that’s constructive.”
He lets out a strangled groan of frustration and bounces to his feet, flying down the corridor. I stand up and follow him, catching every door that he tries to slam in my face.
“You’re gonna have to talk some time Mr. fuckin’ Attitude Problem. So suck it up. Deal with this. Quit fucking running.”
He stops. “You have no idea, Chad. No fucking idea.”
“Yeah, I do,” I state. His shoulders tense even more than they were before.
“How’d you work that one out, Chad? Fuck you. This is…”
“Oh shut the fuck up Deron, for once in your fucking life shut your damn mouth. I know. Where the fuck d’ya think I’ve been on all these tours? Listening to your bullshit right fucking here, that’s where. I know about the booze, the prescription drugs, I can hear your fucking phone calls through the flimsy fucking bunk curtains, I know how you can’t get it up for Felissa any more, I know about the insomnia and how you cry sometimes at 5am when you think we’re asleep, I know about the smoking and the bitten fingernails, yeah Deron, I fucking know.”
This is my anger, my own reaction to all of this and knowing that I’m tied up in all of his issues, implicated. I’m angry and he’s still in denial.
Deron turns around fast to scream at me but the words never make it out of his mouth. For once I managed to make him speechless. He just stares with these eerie, dead eyes. This red, gaping mouth. These stained clothes. These shaking hands.
Then I’m on him and he’s on me, all over me, smothering me with his lips, and he tastes like blood and his spit gets wiped all over my skin.
This seems random but it isn’t, this seems like a bolt from the Goddamn blue but that’s so far from the truth it makes me want to laugh around his fucking tongue, Jesus Christ. If you think this was uncalled for, you just haven’t been paying attention.
There’s so much whiskey in us you could tap our guts and set up a fucking bar. His hot mouth presses against mine and his fingers hurt clutching at my arm, fisting in my hair, he steps on my toes, whimpering, trying to push closer, trying to be inside me. He stumbles, he’s fucking out of it but this is happening, all of this shit has been building and building and through everything else this has been there, always, hanging between us like a bad smell.
This is happening.
I pull away for air and he pulls me straight back, blind, eyes screwed tight shut, he bites at my lips until I kiss him again and fuck, I want this as much as he does, always have done. He’s tearing at my clothes until I unzip myself and yank his jeans down to his ankles and bend him over. Fuck foreplay, this isn’t about that. Not at all.
I use spit as lube and we’re in the dark, cramped, stinking bunk section, him bent almost double with his front half leaning into a bunk, holding onto the sheets so tight they rip, the curtain cutting his face off from my sight, fucking him hard like this, hearing him howl. Making him scream. Feeling him shake like there’s a fucking earthquake.
He comes for me and I come for him, breathing his name, panting frantically, it sounds like he is trying to smother himself with a pillow and I’m probably not wrong. I pull him towards me and we stumble backwards, cocks still out, the smell of blood and spunk adding to the filth in the air, and I laugh desperately and try to find my cigarettes and he’s crying; animalistic, sloppy sobs with snot running down to his mouth, his face contorted.
Holding him up with my nails I kiss his hair and he twitches in my arms; I can’t fix him, I should never have fucking tried. But fuck it if I didn’t want this all along, and so did he. He won’t look at me because he is weak, he is Deron fucking Miller, he will always be tortured, he will always be so fucking self-centred like this. He is Deron Miller and I am Chad Ginsburg and this could never, ever work.
I light my cigarette with steady fingers, I see the bruises on his hips as he yanks his jeans up, coming undone at the now broken zipper and crumbling to his knees, and I finally ask him.
“You gonna be alright?”
It’s hard to tell through the tears but he could be laughing, and I could swear I hear a strangled ‘fuck no’ before I zip up my jeans and walk off of the bus, promising myself that this was the last time, my last fucked up attempt to help him.
The last fucking time after the first fifteen, I swear it.