It’s two o’ one a.m. when my cousin Andrew says, “Wait a sec, let’s save this shot ’til it really counts.”
He steps away to speak with Perry, World Leader Pretend’s Warner Bros. A&R rep. I wait by the bar with Katia and Liz.
“OK, let’s do it,” he says.
The Petron does not go down smoothly. Some of it dribbles down my chin. I suck on the lime, then dabble my face with a napkin.
“We’re going to Rick’s Strip Bar on 33d between Fifth and Sixth,” he says. “You comin’?”
I tell him my one story about my six minutes at Scores.
“No thanks. You’re on your own.”
It’s ten eighteen when I walk into Sin-e. The band is already performing. Andrew is pounding furiously on his keyboard. Sweat is flying, illuminated by the spotlight. His face contorts, at once angry and joyful. Matt coaxes dramatic wails from his Fender. Alex shuffles and pops in front of the bass amp. Keith pauses between lyrics, mouth agape. When not chewing on his tongue, Arthur stares intently into the audience.
Afterwards, when he is done greeting his adoring female public, I hug Andrew.
“I’m so proud of you,” I say.
It’s nearly three o’ clock when I stumble into Ray’s Famous Pizza on 84th and Columbus. For the second night in a row, I order a slice of brocolli and cheese pizza and a beer for dinner. Over The Rhine front woman Karin Bergquist tells me, “Let me be the voice inside your head / Listen to me whisper / We can sleep when we’re dead.”
It’s two o’ seven when I pour Katia, Liz, and Andrew in a cab.
“I’ll call you in two days and tell you what happens,” he says. “Two days!” Then he disappears.
I walk west on Houston listening to The Who’s “Eminence Front.” I remember the time Andrew, Christofer and I attempted to summit New York’s highest peak, Mount Marcy, with little more than a canteen of water and a twelve-pack of Strohs. Andrew was fifteen at the time. For the duration of the excrutiating two-day hike he asked, “Are we there yet?”
“We’re always almost there, Andy,” I said.
We still are.