Beg

Beg by C. D. Reiss Page A

Book: Beg by C. D. Reiss Read Free Book Online
Authors: C. D. Reiss
Tags: Fiction, Erótica, Romance
pants. “You were awesome.” He punched me in the arm,
oblivious to what was going on with Gabby. “My heart broke a little at ‘Split
Me.’”
    “Thanks,” I said without emotion. I did feel gratitude, but we
had other concerns at the moment. “Where’s Vinny ?”
    Our manager, Vinny Mardigian ,
appeared as if summoned, all glad-handing and smiles. Such a dick. I really
couldn’t stand him, but he’d seemed confident and competent when we met.
    “You happy?” I said. “We sold all our tickets at full price. Now
maybe next time we won’t have to pay to play?”
    “Hello, Monica Sexybitch .” That was his
pet name for me. The guy had the personality of a landfill and the drive of a
shark in bloody waters. “Nice to see you too. I got Performer’s Agency on the
line. Their guy’s right outside.”
    Great. I needed representation from the The Rinkydink Agency like I needed a hole in the head.
But I was an artist, and I was supposed to take whatever the industry handed me
with a smile and spread legs.
    Vinny , of course, couldn’t shut up
worth a damn. He was high on Performer’s Agency and the worldwide fame he
thought they would get us. He didn’t realize half a step forward was just as
good as a full step back. “You got a crowd out there asking for an encore.
Everybody here does their job, then everybody’s happy.”
    I listened, and sure enough, they were still clapping, and Gabby
was still staring into the corner.
    “Let them beg,” I said.

 
    ***

 
    Darren took Gabby home after the encore, which she played like
the crazy prodigy she was, then she blanked out again. Her depression was
ameliorated by music and brought on by just about anything, even if she was
taking her meds.
    She’d attempted suicide two years before after a few weeks of
corner-staring and complaining of not being able to feel anything about
anything. I’d been the one to find her in the kitchen, bleeding into the sink.
That had been terrific for everyone. She took my second bedroom, and Darren
moved from a roommate-infested guest house in West Hollywood to a studio a
block away. We played music together because music was what we did, and because
it kept Gabby sane, Darren close, and me from screwing up. But it didn’t even
keep us in hot dogs. We all worked, and until I got my current gig at the
rooftop bar at Hotel K, I had to give up Starbucks because I couldn’t rub two
nickels together to make heat.
    Because Spoken Not Stirred had drawn more people than the cost of
our guaranteed tickets, we’d made three hundred dollars that night. Fifteen
percent went to Vinny Landfillian .
Sixty-eight dollars paid for Harry’s parking ticket because he figured if he
was loading his bass and amp, he could park in a loading zone on the Sunset
Strip before six o’clock. We split the rest four ways.
    Hotel K was a spanking new modernist, thirty-story diamond in a
one-story stucco shitpile of a neighborhood. The
rooftop bar thing in L.A. had gotten out of hand. You couldn’t swing a dead
talent agent without hitting some new construction with a barside pool on the roof and thumping music day and night. The upside of the epidemic
was that waitress service was the norm, and tall, skinny girls who could slip
between name-dropping drunks while holding heavy trays over their heads without
clocking anyone were an absolute necessity. The downside for someone tall and
skinny like myself was my replaceability . You
couldn’t swing a tall, skinny girl in L.A. without hitting another one.
    Darren and I had taken too long discussing who would watch Gabby.
He convinced her to stay at his place for the night, though “convinced” might
not be the word to use when talking about someone who didn’t care about where
she slept, or anything, one way or the other.
    I ran from the elevator to the hotel locker room, the fifty bucks
I’d made for holding a hundred people in my palm light in my pocket. I peeled
off my jacket and stuffed it in my

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