Day Two

5:03 am – T.S. stares at the blinking green light on her phone. It sits on the nightstand and she can almost hear the L.E.D. light warming up and cooling off as it blinks. A red light is a general notification that could be anything. Facebook messages, direct messages on twitter, her Kim Kardashian game wondering why she hasn’t played in almost six hours. Blue means missed call, which she would immediately check. Not many people actually call her phone, but those who do usually require a time sensitive response. Green is a text message. That could be a number of people. Friends, ex-friends, ex-boyfriends, ex-girlfriends, ex-nobodies. It could also be a small number of her “people” like J. or R. or one of the bodyguards, who share a suite next door. It could be her agent or manager, though they normally would have to get through J. first. It was probably a friend, or one of her many peers who she is friendly with for professional reasons. L. or L.D. or D.L. An insatiable curiosity is a common trait in most successful, creative people, and T.S. is certainly no exception. She picks up the phone and unlocks it.

5:09 am – T.S. sits up in bed, her phone to her ear, she is almost screaming. “What the fuck is going on?! I know! Get your ass over here! Now! Okay! Yes! I’m sorry. Okay.”

5:13 am – T.S. stands in the middle of her hotel room, naked, frantically deleting photos from her phone. A knock comes and she stomps over and opens the door to let J. in. “Did you call anyone?! What did you find out?” she says without looking up from her phone. “First of all, what is on your phone that you’re so upset about?” J. asks. T.S. is still deleting photos and doesn’t respond. “Give it!” J. says and tries to take the phone from her. “No!” T.S. holds the phone to her bare chest. “Tell me everything you know.” J. sighs. “Not much. It was an iCloud hack. Supposedly at least twenty or thirty different people. Jennifer Lawrence seems to have taken the brunt of it.” she says, letting her hand fall to her side as T.S. takes it in. J. continues. “Listen, your name isn’t in the mix. You don’t even have an iPhone, and I disconnected the media on your phone from all cloud services.” T.S. cuts J. a horrified look. “I have an iPad. I use the cloud constantly. They could have any of my shit. Demos, voice memos, lyrics-” her eyes dart back and forth as she tries to think of what’s on her iPad. “Is there anything on it that will get you in trouble? Not label trouble but real trouble?” T.S. looks at J. and shakes her head. “No. I don’t think so.” J. smiles “Good. Now what’s on your phone?” T.S. looks at her phone and goes back to deleting pictures. “What are you deleting? Naked pictures? Is it naked pictures?” “Some.” “Okay. Is your face in any of them?” T.S. looks at her for half a second, nods, then goes back to deleting. “Jesus Christ, fucking sentimental bitch…” T.S. winces as she looks at a particularly graphic photo then deletes it. J. tries to take the phone from her but T.S. pushes her away, hard. J. nearly falls to the floor. T.S. glances at her then goes back to deleting photos, looking like she’s going to cry. “It’s worse than that,” she says. J. frowns. “Worse than full-face naked? Other peoples faces? Are you fucking people? Is that it?” T.S. shakes her head “No, I mean,yes, but that’s not what I’m talking about. There’s… I can’t… it’s bad. It’s really bad.” J. nods and closes her eyes. She holds her hand out. “Give me the phone or I’m going to have to make some calls. Do you understand?” T.S. holds out the phone, her hand shaking. J. takes it and looks for a moment and shakes her head. “You are smarter than this. Jesus… how many?” T.S. shrugs and smiles, tears spilling down her face. “I don’t know. Thirty maybe. A lot. “J. holds down the volume and power buttons and the phone lets out a long beep.She uses the volume rocker to scroll through menus. “What are you doing?” T.S.asks. “Factory resetting your phone.” T.S. lets out a low whine “No! I’ve got photos I want to keep on there! All my music! Tons of stuff!” J. shakes her head. “Sorry. You lost that privilege.” T.S. sits down on the bed and puts her face in her hands.

I never hit so hard in love
All I wanted was to break your walls
All you ever did was wreck me.
– Floor Candy

5:28 am – T.S. kneels on the floor between J.’s legs, sucking on the plastic tube. Her eyes roll under her closed lids. J. watches the timer on her phone as it counts down to zero. When it chirps, she reaches down and flips the clamp that closes the tube. T.S. blinks and lets the dribbling piece of plastic fall from her mouth. Bright red drops spatter onto her pale neck and breasts. After a moment of collecting herself, she looks up at J. who is re-taping the tube to her thigh. “Feel better?” T.S. nods. “A bit.” J. picks up her tablet. “Go shower and get ready for the day. I’ll see if I can find out more. I’ll make some calls. It’s going to be fine.” T.S. tries to smile and gets to her feet.

5:59 am – T.S. stands in the shower, a manual toothbrush shoved in her mouth, her head leaned against the wall. The water beats against her back. She leans her head back and lets the water hit her face, then starts brushing her teeth more. She turns and spits blood onto the white floor. She brushes her teeth. She spits blood. Brush. Spit.

6:13 am – T.S. steps out of the bathroom, a towel around her middle and one wrapped around her hair. J. talks on her phone and holds up a finger as if to say ‘one minute’ and nods as she listens. After a couple of false starts, she says “I know, and I’m taking it from her. No. I am. I am. I said I am. She will. No. She won’t. It’s fine. That’s not necessary. I will. Bye.” J. hangs up the phone.

A.F.P. = cinnamon salt water taffy.

7:10 am – T.S. sits in the back of the SUV staring through the window at the rain, her face locked in an expression somewhere between bored and annoyed. She outwardly ignores J. who is on the phone again.

9:33 am – T.S. stares through the scratched plastic of the jet window at an undulating sea of white mist. J. sits down next to her. T.S. lets out a puff of air through her nose. That dismissive noise was as close as she could get to acknowledging J’s presence. “Do you even realize how lucky you are?” J. asks, leaning in for discretion. T.S. begins to turn then catches herself. She goes back to ignoring J. “Do you know why you’re so lucky?” J. asks. T.S. remains silent. “Because we fucking look out for you!” J. says, poking T.S. in the arm with her finger. T.S. whips around and cuts her a look. “Don’t poke me!” she hisses. “The only reason you aren’t hanging out in the wind with JLaw right now is because I know you well enough to take precautions. We TOLD you to keep your phone clean, but I knew you wouldn’t, and that’s why you aren’t the top story on CNN right now, she is. And I am absolutely certain that whatever they found in her phone is nothing compared to the shit in yours. She’s just embarrassed. You would be ruined.” After a long, pregnant pause, J. continues. “You wanted an iPhone and I said no. I gave you a phone that I could manage, and that’s why you’re flying to Seattle to play a show for a bunch of happy, oblivious fans right now instead of curled up on the floor crying because some fedora wearing dickhead on 4chan decided to share your most private, personal moments with the world.” They sit silently for a long moment, T.S. staring at her hands, then she looks up and nods.

H.D. – vanilla milkshake.

9:54 am – J. reads her tablet. T.S. stares at the window. She speaks without looking away from the window. “So who got hacked? Was it really like, forty people?” J. sighs. “Yeah. It was a lot. The list keeps growing.” “Anyone I should call?” J. types for a moment and opens up a list, then hands the tablet to T.S. who starts reading. “Jesus…” she reads off a few names of well known people she’s friends with. J. shrugs. “Call S.G. maybe?” T.S. grimaces “No.” “Then otherwise I think you should just ignore it.””When can I have my phone back?” T.S. asks, not bothering to hide her attitude. “Probably never,” J. says, not looking up from her tablet.

C.U. – the drippy part of a chocolate covered cherry that is not the chocolate or the cherry.

11:26 am – T.S. walks through the terminal, faster than normal. J. and her body guards have to hustle to keep up with her. T.S. wears white Tom Ford cat-eye sunglasses and a long, dark grey hooded shawl over cream colored linen capris and black and white polka-dot button up blouse and black Keds. Abruptly, T.S. turns and enters an airport gift shop. People stare, but very few approach her. When they do, she nods politely and smiles, but does not engage. When they meet her eyes, they leave her alone.

11:38 am – T.S. stands at the counter with a pile of items. At least ten different magazines, a Kindle, five or six hardback books, a Nintendo 3DS with a stack of games, an iPod Touch, Beats by Dre headphones, a mug with a picture of Jimi Hendrix on it, two Oral B electric toothbrushes, a stack of shirts and sweaters, an army of knickknacks, toys and souvenirs. J. stands next to her. “You have half of this stuff already.” “Not on me. I need something for the ride to the hotel,” T.S. says without looking at her assistant. J. picks up one of the sweaters. “Really? An airport sweater?” T.S. looks at her and gives her best talk show smile and holds up her fists in sarcastic excitement. “Go Seahawks!”

11:58 am – T.S. struts through the airport, grinning. Her sunglasses are off and she smiles at people who gawk at her. She stops to talk to a mother carrying an infant boy. She is kind. She is empathetic and funny. She touches arms and makes eye contact. She poses for photos. She signs autographs. She asks people about their lives. It takes her nearly forty minutes to walk from the terminal to the exit. Behind her, J. carries five plastic bags full of books, electronics, clothes and toys.

J. would do well to remember that, according to legend, Stevie Nicks used to make her assistant blow cocaine up her ass with a straw.

12:28 pm – The partition between the driver and the back seat slides down. T.S. pokes her face through the opening. “Excuse me, does this car have Wifi?” “Yes ma’am. There should be a card in the leather folder with the information printed on it.” T.S. disappears for a moment then pops back up into the window. “Got it, thank you.””No problem ma’am,” the driver says as he merges onto I-5. After a moment,a delicate, pale hand emerges from the darkness holding a fifty dollar bill. Her nails are short and have silver stickers with little black cartoon skulls on them.

12:45 pm – J. chuckles as she looks at her tablet. T.S. looks up from her magazine and almost says something but stops herself. After another moment J. snorts back more laughter. “You should probably see this.” T.S. rolls her eyes. “I would have already if I had my fucking phone. What is it?” “J.B. was talking about you on Instagram. He deleted it but there’s screen-caps.” J. turns her tablet to show T.S. the grinning, smug face of a familiar young man standing next to a cardboard cutout of T.S. with a caption that reads ‘been there done that.’ T.S. snatches the tablet and reads the post on a gossip site. The tablet shakes in her hands as she mutters “You little cunt” over and over to herself.

J.G. is kind and a good listener. he likes to have his face pissed on. if you meet him and he smells vaguely of urine, it’s because it lingers in his beard for days.

12:49 pm – “Where is he?!” Her voice is raised. T.S. is working hard not to scream at J. “How the hell do I know? He lives in Florida, doesn’t he? L.A.? I don’t know!” “He lives in fucking Atlanta but where is he right now? Find out!” T.S. falls back into her seat. After a minute of exaggerated huffing and puffing while J. frantically navigates her tablet and phone, T.S. rips her magazine in half. “That’s really productive,” J. says. “Shut up. I might actually be productive if I had my goddamned phone instead of sitting here with my thumb up my ass,” T.S. spits. J. dials her phone. “Hi, yeah. We’re on the ground. We’re on the freeway into Seattle. Look, I need you to track down J—–. Yes. B—–, not T———. Yes she saw it. Yes, she’s fucking angry! Of course she is. Oh. I see. No. She’s going to-” J. glances at T.S. who gives frustrated ‘what the fuck?’ shrug. “She’s going to find out eventually. I’m going to tell her. Yes. I don’t care. Yes. I will do my best. Thank you. I know. Thank you. Bye.” J. hangs up and sighs. T.S. takes J.’s hands into her own and forces her to make eye contact. She says, very calmly “Tell me where he is.” J. doesn’t break eye contact. Refuses to. “He’s in Vancouver.” “That’s good. That’s really good,” T.S. says, a smile twitching at the corner of her mouth.

F. – the watery juice at the bottom of a slupree after you’ve sucked out the good parts.

12:55 pm – The partition slides down and T.S. pokes her face through. “How long would it take us to get to Vancouver from here?” The driver looks at her, confused, then thinks on it for a moment. “It’s hard to say. Depending on the border, two and half, three hours maybe, but I’m on a schedule. I can’t go-” T.S. hands three one-hundred dollar bills through the window. “Sure you can.” The driver takes the money and stuffs it into his shirt pocket. “Alright, well, do you have your passport?” T.S. smiles. “I do. Do you?” “I have a Nexus pass ma’am.” “Good! Let’s go to Canada!” The driver nods and looks at her in the rear-view mirror. “What’s your name?” T.S. asks him. “Leroy,” he says. She reaches through the window and puts her hand on his shoulder in a friendly gesture of reassurance. “Hello Leroy, I’m T—–. Let’s keep this detour between us friends, okay?” “Yes ma’am.” T.S. disappears back through the window. The partition slides back up as Leroy merges into the carpool lane.

adam yauch was the last pure soul in the music industry. salvation died with him.

everyone loves dolphins. dolphins are also the only animal i can think of that have a reputation for raping people.

T.A. – pixie sticks

1:04 pm – “We do not have time for this! What are you even going to do? There’s nothing you can do that won’t make things worse.” J. says, sitting next to T.S. instead of across from her. T.S. shakes her head. “I’m going to talk to him. Let him know he can’t do that sort of thing.” “HOW though? He’s not going to listen to you. He doesn’t listen to anyone.” T.S. smiles. “Yes he will.” She stares through the tinted window at freeway traffic. “I need you to call his people and let them know I’m coming and to find a way into his hotel discretely.” J. dials her phone. While it’s ringing, she says “He’s going to think you’re there to sleep with him.” T.S. nods. “I know.”

A.G. – room temperature turkey potpie.

knowledge is good, but doesn’t go very far on its own. intuition is important, especially when it comes to reading other people. confidence can take you a good distance, but can be easily seen through by anyone with half a brain. ultimately knowledge, intuition and confidence combined are what bring it home. this is true in most things, but especially true when eating pussy.

1:20 pm – T.S. sits in the back of the limo playing her 3DS. The tinny, repetitive music and cartoon engine noises of Mario Kart fill the black leather compartment. J. is gone.

1:36 pm – T.S. plays her game. The car door opens and J. climbs in carrying two bags from CVS. “Here,” she says, digging a glittery blue box out of the first bag and handing it to T.S. It’s Crest 3D White toothpaste. T.S. tears the box open and pulls out the tube. One of the electric toothbrushes she bought at the airport gift shop sits on the seat next to her. She loads the brush up and begins enthusiastically brushing her teeth, her eyes closed. T.S. lets out a deep, muffled moan. “Thank you,” she says around the buzzing plastic in her mouth.

they say that human beings taste like pig. long pig they call it. it makes sense given the insane amount of garbage people eat. raccoons eat a lot of garbage as well. i wonder if we taste like them too. i wouldn’t know. I’ve never tasted raccoon.

1:40 pm – J. holds out one of the highball glasses from the limo bar. T.S. spits toothpaste into it and then takes swig from a plastic bottle of water. “Don’t swallow it.” J. says, firm but not unkind. T.S. spits the water into the glass, takes another swig, then spits again. J. pushes the button that slides the tinted window down and dumps the water into the wind. T.S. sucks on her teeth as though she’s not sure if they’re clean enough yet.

1:50 pm – “Seriously though, did you fuck J—- F—– in Portland?” J. asks, looking over her tablet. T.S. smiles at her. “I’m just really curious,” J. says. “You’re the one who sent him up to my room,” T.S. says, pausing her game. “I know, but that doesn’t mean anything. You have guy friends you don’t fuck.” T.S. narrows her eyes. “Why? Do you like him?” J. laughs. “No! I mean, he seems like a nice guy, but no! Not my type. He just doesn’t seem like your type either.” T.S. thinks about it for a moment, deliberately taking her time, letting the tension build. Finally she says “I let him eat me out. I jerked him off and he came in my mouth. Then I gave him fifty dollars and sent him on his way.” J. bursts out laughing. “What?! Why?!” T.S. shrugs and smiles. “I don’t know. I just really felt like using someone. Someone famous. Someone with something to lose.” J. looks out the window at passing cars for a moment before speaking. “So, he got a hand-job and fifty bucks, and that’s him getting used? Sounds like a good deal to me.” T.S. laughs and resumes her game. “I got what I needed.” J. nods and goes back to her tablet. “Fair enough,” she says.

i wonder sometimes what it is that K.P. does that’s so amazing. sexually i mean. i know what she does professionally that’s amazing and that’s work with producers and writers who package her mediocre music right. but i can’t imagine it was her sparkling intellect that kept R.B. interested enough to marry her. he seems like a guy who would require a certain level of sexual intensity to keep his attention. those tits are a good start, but where does it end? does it?

2:13 pm – J. hikes her skirt up and un-tapes the plastic IV tube from her thigh. Laid out on the leather seat to her left is a collection of medical bric-a-brac. Plastic covered packages of needles and tubing, gauze, bandaging tape, alcohol wipes and a bottle of hydrogen-peroxide. She holds a wad of gauze, wet with the peroxide, against the place where the needle protrudes from her skin. With a grimace, she slips the catheter out of her femoral artery. The gauze soaks red and J. holds it in place as she deposits the used catheter into a plastic bag. “I need to switch to my arm. My thighs are getting raw,” J. says as she peals the plastic off of a clean needle and catheter. T.S. doesn’t look up from her game. “Okay. Whatever you need.”

M.L. – Flintstones vitamins.

2:45 pm – “I need to get some food. I have low blood sugar,” J. says, looking at her test kit. The little black box with it’s white tail of a test strip poking out of the bottom, red with a drop of blood, shakes in her hand. T.S. looks up at her. “Didn’t you buy a bunch of food at the drug store?” J. shakes her head. “No, just your toothpaste and supplies. I need to drive through somewhere or stop at a gas station.”T.S. looks somewhat bothered and somewhat concerned. She pushes the button the slides the partition down so she can talk to Leroy. “Can you pull over at the next gas station or fast food place?” “There’s a sign for an Arby’s and a Jack in the Box on the next exit.” “That’s perfect, thank you.” T.S. slides the partition back up. J. is on her knees in front of the bar, digging through the fridge. “There’s no Coke or juice or anything in here,” she says, pulling out bottles of beer and a bowl full of limes and lemons.

2:55 pm – The partition slides down and Leroy hands a bag of food through and a drink. T.S. takes it and gives it to J. who immediately unwraps the straw with shaking hands and pokes it through the lid of the drink. She drinks in long, desperate pulls, her eyes closed, sweat breaking out on her forehead. T.S. looks through the window into the front cab. “Did you get yourself something Leroy?” He turns to look at her and smiles “Yes ma’am. I got a chicken sandwich and a vanilla milkshake.” T.S. smiles at him and touches his shoulder. “Thank you. Let’s get back on the road.” “Yes ma’am.”

S. – red lifesavers.

3:03 pm – J. lays sprawled out on the long seat of the limo, her hand covering her eyes. T.S. stares at her. “Are you okay?” J. nods. “You don’t look okay,” T.S. says, her hands folded in her lap. “I feel like hell.” J. says. A pile of paper fast food wrappers sit on the floor next to her, along with her drink. “I forget that you have to eat sometimes,” T.S. says with a laugh. J. nods. “I forget too. That’s especially not good when you’re diabetic.” T.S. nods. “And the blood.” J. laughs. “Yeah, that doesn’t help.” “Are you going to be alright?” J. sits up and straightens her skirt and blouse out. Her hair is stuck to her face in sweaty clumps. “Yeah. I’m okay.”

3:15 pm – J. sighs and takes out her phone. She’s fixed her hair and makeup and looks presentable again. Her hands still shake just a little as she pulls up a contact and dials. “Hey, did you talk to J—–‘s people? Yes. Oh! Good! I will. Do we need to do anything special? Okay, good. Thank you. Yes. I promise. We will. Certainly. Without a doubt. I will not let her be late. I promise, okay? Have I ever let you down before? When it was important I mean? That’s what I thought,” J. laughs a fake laugh.” Okay, great. Oh, have you heard anything new about the hacking incident? Oh. Oh wow. Okay, yeah, forward that to my email. Thank you so much. Love. Bye!” J. hangs up and looks at T.S. “Well?” T.S. asks. “We know where he’s staying. We can go from the parking lot elevator right up to his floor. You’ve got like, fifteen minutes before we have to turn around and go back. So this had better be worth it.” T.S. smiles “It’s all I need. And it will be.”

3:20 pm – J. scrolls through an email. “Wow. The list keeps getting longer.” T.S. hops up and sits down next to her. “Yeah? Who else?” J. shakes her head. “Fucking everyone. Aubry Plaza, Krysten Ritter, Kaley Cuoco, Hillary Duff-” T.S. interrupts. “Aww! No!” J. keeps reading. “Kirsten Dunst, Kate Upton, Ariana, Maisie Williams, McKayla Maroney-” “Wait, who’s Maisie Williams?” “She’s on Games of Thrones,” J. says, pulling up the search results and showing T.S. a photo. “What? Isn’t she a kid?” J. nods. “Yeah, I think she’s sixteen or seventeen.” T.S. shakes her head and goes back to her seat by the window. “This is so fucked up. It’s really disturbing.” J. reads more of the email. “Yeah. It’s pretty gross. It’s rapey.” After a long moment, J. looks up from her tablet. “I have the Jennifer Lawrence pictures if you want to see. There’s a bunch.” T.S. shakes her head and looks out the window. “No. I don’t want to see. It’s awful, and I’m going to have to talk to Jen at some point and I don’t need that in my head.” J. scrolls through pictures on her tablet. T.S. stares through the window for another moment before going back to sit next to J. “Okay, yeah, show me.” They look at Jennifer Lawrence’s private photos together. “She’s so weird,” T.S. says. J. shakes her head. “You are so fucking lucky not to be in her place, because this is normal. YOU are fucking weird.” T.S. thinks for a moment then nods in agreement. “Do you have the Aubrey Plaza pictures?”

3:45 pm – T.S. stares through the window at the lines of cars on either side of them. They are slowly but surely making their way through border. She glances over and sees J. holding her phone. She knows it’s her phone because it has her cover on it. White with little red checkerboard design fading up from the bottom. “What are you doing?” T.S. asks. “I’m setting your phone up. You can have it back when we’re back in the states and on the way to the venue.” T.S. grins and claps her hands like a child. “Yay!” J. gives her a stern look. “Did we learn out lesson about taking pictures?” T.S. rolls her eyes. “Yes.” J. keeps her stern look. “Don’t roll your eyes. This is serious. Did you learn your lesson?” T.S. looks at her, serious. “Yes I did. I’m not taking any pictures I wouldn’t want public. Okay?” J. nods. “Okay. Good. That goes for when you’re back home too. Understand?” T.S. nods. J. continues setting up her phone.

4:11 pm – T.S. stares at her phone. “Did you delete some of my contacts?” J. doesn’t look up from her tablet. “Yes.” “Why?” T.S. asks without hiding her anger. “Why do you think?” T.S. looks at her phone for another moment. “H—- is gone. And N—-. And L—” J. looks at her. “Yes. You know why.” T.S. scrunches her face up in an angry scowl. It would almost be cute if she weren’t so genuinely furious. “This is fucking bullshit. You work for me!” J. goes back to her tablet. “Do we really need to have this conversation again.” “Maybe, yeah.” J. sighs. “I don’t work for you. We work for the same people. My job is to take care of you, and one of my duties is keeping you out of trouble. I’d say that most of my duties are keeping you out of trouble.” T.S. shakes her head and looks out the window.

4:13 pm – T.S. bangs on the partition with her fist. It slides down. “Yes ma’am?” Leroy says from the cab. “Why the fuck are we going so slow?” T.S. barks from the darkness. Leroy looks at the window through the mirror and doesn’t see her. “Because we’re in Canada now ma’am.They got different speed limits from us. 90 kilometers per hour is only about 55 miles per hour.” “Well can you go faster please? I have to be back in Seattle by seven.” “I could, yes, but I kind of got the feeling we were being sneaky and didn’t want to get pulled over, so I’ve been flying low. Would you like for me to drive faster?” There’s a long, pregnant pause. “No. You’re right. Thank you.” The partition slides back up. Leroy clicks the cruise control back on. After thirty seconds, the partition slides down again and her porcelain hand pokes through holding a fifty-dollar bill. Leroy looks at it for a moment,then stuffs the bill in his shirt pocket.

A.M. – too bitter chocolate

4:21 pm – The limo is pulled over and the trunk is raised. J. digs through bags. Leroy stands next to her, smoking a cigarette. “Do you want one?” Leroy asks J., holding out his pack of Kools. J. shakes her head. “No, I quit. Thank you.” She pulls one of the hooded sweaters T.S. bought at the airport out and drapes it over her arm along with a skirt, the long hooded grey shawl and a pair of white and pink pajama bottoms. She looks at Leroy. “Give me a hit off that.” He looks at her, arms full, and holds the cigarette in front of her face. She leans in and takes it between her lips and inhales. Her eyes close and she lets out a low moan. “Thank you,” she says, leaning forward, a halo of smoke drifting into the sky. He plucks the cigarette from between her lips. The white filter is now smeared with pink. “No problem, ma’am. Are we ready to go?” “Yes’um,” J. says as she opens the door and climbs in. Leroy drops the cigarette and steps on it before getting back into the car.

A. – butterfinger

4:23 pm – T.S. folds her capris and lays them across the leather seat. She is naked down to her bra and panties and Keds. “What do you think? Skirt or PJ bottoms?” T.S. holds them both up. The skirt is a long, flowing blue wrap made from light cotton. “To what end?” “I just want to look normal.” J. thinks about it for a moment. “Normal for you or normal for a normal person?” “Normal person,” T.S. says. “The PJ bottoms and the hoodie.” T.S. nods and slips into the pajama bottoms. When she pulls the sweater over her head, she looks down at the Seattle Seahawks logo and smiles. “I told you I’d need it for the ride.” J. cuts her a look that says she isn’t impressed. “Do you have a scrunchie or a hair-tie?” J. opens her purse. “Maybe. Let me look,” she says, digging through her bag. She comes up with a rubber band. T.S. looks at it suspiciously. “How long are you going to have to wear it? Ten minutes? Fifteen? We can’t stay longer than that.” J. says, holding it out. T.S. takes it and pulls her hair back into a pony tail. “I want you to start carrying hair-ties.” “Okay, sure. In case what, this comes up again?” T.S. nods. “Yes.”

i met neil young the other night. he looked at me like i was a five-foot-ten praying mantis in heels that just sat down next to him. i don’t think he’s going to be my stepping stone to eddie vedder.

4:45 pm – The limo pulls into the parking garage of the Wedgewood hotel. Leroy parks the car next to the elevator and T.S. steps out, wearing her sunglasses, the hood of her sweater pulled down low. She opens her purse, takes something out and drops it into the pocket of her hoodie, tosses her purse into the back of the car and walks to the elevator. J. tries to catch up to her, closing the car door behind her. A tall black man stands at the elevator. He smiles conspiratorially at them. “You got here in a hurry.” She smiles at him. He steps aside as the elevator door opens. “He’s waiting for you.” “Can you call up and tell them to clear the room? I want to be alone with him.” He takes out his phone and gives her an uncomfortable look. “I’ll tell them that you asked for that.” “Thank you,” T.S. says as the gold doors slide shut.

4:46 pm – “I still don’t understand what you think you’re going to accomplish. He’s not going to take you seriously.” T.S. looks at her phone. “I’m just going to tell him how I feel,” she says. “You’re not going to… do anything with him… are you?” T.S. looks at her. “Like… sexual?” J. asks. She starts to laugh as a horrified expression crawls across T.S.’s face. “I should fucking fire you.”

ironically, i don’t really believe in love. not in the love we’re told we should be obsessed with. i believe it’s largely a construct of marketing. i don’t say that in a nihilistic, teenage angst sort of way. and i’m not even philosophizing, but just speaking to my own experience. i’ve had tons of relationships, and with many of those people, i truly did believe i was in love. but the more i think about it, the more i come to realize that love is just attachment and fear of being hurt.

i think about a puppy. a cute, little, helpless puppy. i feel a natural, even maternal, love for that puppy. then i think about someone hitting that puppy with their fists, making it cry out, and i feel inspired to hurt or even kill that person. i can’t recall a human being that i would ever feel compelled to protect in that way. i can’t think of a person that’s ever inspired that intensity of feeling toward.

sex makes a difference, but it’s more of a sense of ownership than anything like the love i feel for that imaginary puppy. it’s an animalistic need to snarl at competition and keep my property on my side of the field. marking my belongings with my scent.

another thing to consider about love, at least when it comes to my own needs, is that i tend to think of people in terms of how much they can hurt me. if i’ve opened myself up, made myself vulnerable to someone, then they have the capacity to hurt me in ways that a stranger cannot. that makes it easier for me to get rid of them. they become dangerous to me. so i’m in a perpetual state of letting myself love people and then pushing them away because i’ve given them the weapons to hurt me.

i sing about “true love” and i can’t even take myself seriously. even i know that’s bullshit. it’s fan service, i’ll gladly admit that. a large segment of my audience grew up watching disney princesses and believe there’s “one true love” out there for them. it’s something to focus on i guess. i don’t begrudge them that fantasy. i had it myself for many years. probably a few too many. hell, in some ways, i practically AM a disney princess. at least publicly.

what i’ve come to learn though is that love is another itch to scratch. sometimes you leave bloody, open wounds where you’ve picked and rubbed too much, but in the end, it’s really nothing at all. it’s in your head.

but it gives you something to write about.

4:48 pm – T.S. and J. walk down the short hallway to the door to the penthouse suite. Seven or eight people pass them in the hall. T.S. keeps her head down, her sunglasses on and her hood low. When they reach the door to the suite, J. turns and looks at the group of people who linger in the hall near the elevator. She waves them off. “Keep moving, Jesus!” They reluctantly pile into the elevator. T.S. knocks on the door.T.S. looks at herself in the reflection of one of the framed prints on the hallway wall. The glass shakes with the heavy thud of music coming from the suite. Rave music from some shitty DJ, probably a friend of his. The burnt stink of weed and cigarettes spills out from under the door. After another twenty seconds or so, the sound of the locks disengaging finally comes.

4:49 pm – the door opens and there he is. Shirtless, of course. A gaudy gold crucifix on a gold chain lays against his hairless chest. One hand against the wall, blocking her from entering, the other stuffed in the waistband of his sagging pants. Eyebrows scrunched together, a cigarette burns between his lips like some idiot kid who once saw a poster of James Dean “I was wondering when you’d turn up,” he says, the cigarette bouncing in his mouth. It’s clear he’s drunk. At the very least drunk. “Are you going to invite me in?” T.S. asks. He looks at her for a beat, his eyes narrow, then steps aside. When J. tries to follow he puts his hand up against her chest, blocking her entry. “No suits, sorry.” J. looks both furious and utterly bewildered. “Bullshit, I’m coming in.” J.B. looks at T.S. “If my people can’t be here, then your people can’t be here. You want it just us, then it’s gonna be just us.” T.S. looks at J. and shrugs, giving a crooked ‘oh well’ smile. J.’s mouth hangs open as J.B. shuts the door in her face, leaving her in the hallway alone.

i don’t like the term “slept with” as in “i slept with him” or “they’re sleeping together.” sleep is sacred to me. i don’t need it diluted by something as boring as fucking.

4:50 pm – “So you came,” J.B. says, sipping at an over-sized styrofoam cup. “I knew you would, if i put the call out.” He smiles at her, taking a drag on his cigarette. T.S.stands there, her fists buried in the pocket of her hoodie. “Yep. I came. You’re a real puppet master.” J.B. grins and steps toward her. “Call me Master again. I like that.” “Put your cigarette out,” T.S.says, pulling her hood down and taking her sunglasses off. The sunglasses go into her hoodie pocket. J.B. drops his cigarette on the floor and steps on it. He takes another sip of his drink. “Are you drinking cough-syrup?” T.S. asks. J.B. takes another drink and nods. “Yep. It’s my purple drank.” T.S. looks at him, disgusted. “Jesus Christ, J—–, put it down. Be a fucking adult.” He laughs and sets the drink on the table, which is cluttered with garbage. “I told you,” J.B. puts his hand on T.S.’s cheek, “to call me Master.” T.S. looks at him for a long moment before bringing her own hand up to his cheek.

4:51 pm – J.B. grins a stoned grin as T.S.touches his lips with her fingers. Even in her Keds, she’s taller than he is.They both laugh as she guides him against the wall, her fingers poking into his mouth. He looks confused by what’s happening, but goes along with it, sucking on her fingers. She pulls her fingers out and covers his mouth and nose with her palm. His eyes begin to register concern just as she pulls her other handout of her hoodie pocket and hits him in the shoulder. Startled pain shoots up his arm and she presses her body against his, holding him in place. He tries to scream, but can’t breathe. She turns his head with her hand and he sees what she’s done to his arm. The blade of a box-cutter is buried in his bicep, poked through the eye of the tiger tattooed on his arm. Blood trickles from the wound, running down his arm in thin rivulets. She grins at him, her teeth big and white like bathroom tiles. “Shhhhhhh… do I have your attention?” He nods, terrified. She smiles again. “Good.”

4:52 pm – “What you have right now is a superficial flesh wound. It will heal up no problem. Might need a stitch or three. That hideous tattoo may need some love. But if you make a single fucking noise, I will drag this down your arm and it will become a mortal wound. Do you hear me?” He nods “Okay, good.” She takes her hand away from his mouth.”You’re fucking crazy!” he hisses at her. She raises an eyebrow and pushes the blade deeper. He starts to scream but she covers his mouth again. “You listen to me, you little shit. You may have poisoned my friend against me. I’ll let that go. That’s her choice. But if you ever,” she twists the blade. More blood spills down his arm and over her hand. “If you EVER talk about me online again, I will kill you. Do you hear me? I will literally murder you.” She turns his head to face her. “Look at me. Do you believe me?” He nods emphatically, eyes wide. “You don’t talk about me. You don’t think about me. At an award show you don’t so much as glance in my direction. If you even taste my name in your mouth, I will cut your fucking idiot throat open.” She pulls the blade out of his arm. The wound weeps blood. He immediately covers it with his hand. She steps back and looks at his blood on her hand. She licks it. “Huh. Jolly Ranchers. Go figure.”J.B. stares at her, trying to figure out what he’s supposed to do. “This is going to come out. You’re fucking crazy. This is crazy. You’re ruined. You’re done,” he starts to laugh. “Everyone is going to know about this. You are a fucking crazy bitch!” She shoves him back against the wall and brings the knife up to his face, and screams “NO ONE WILL BELIEVE YOU!” She presses the blade against his cheek. It leaves a bloody smear.” I am America’s Sweetheart. You are disgusting maggot crawling through your own filth. You have NO credibility. Tell whoever you want! No one will believe you!” She steps back, laughing, and slides the blade back into the handle of the box-cutter and drops it into her pocket. She leaves him standing there, stunned, holding his bloody arm.

J.B. – jolly ranchers and cough syrup.

4:55 pm – T.S. enters the hallway. J. quickly hangs up her phone and scrambles to keep up as she power walks to the elevator, grinning.”What the fuck did you do?!” T.S. pulls her hood up and puts her sunglasses back on. She pushes the button for the elevator and looks at J. and smiles “Nothing. Just told him how I feel.” J. looks at her, eyes narrow. “I’m pretty sure I heard screaming in there.” T.S. shrugs.”Did you hurt him?” T.S. holds up her finger and thumb an inch apart.”Just a little.” There’s blood on her hand. J. stares at it until T.S. shoves it back in her pocket. “Did you kill him?” T.S. looks up and squints, as though she’s thinking hard. “No. I did not. Not yet. But I reserve the right to.” J. shakes her head. “No. You can not kill J—– B—–.” T.S. twists her mouth up into a cute, cartoonish, contemplative expression. “Never say never!”

4:56 pm – T.S. and J. ride in the elevator. J. talks on her phone. “We’re on our way down. We have to haul ass back to Seattle. We have to be there by seven. I know. Just do your best. Thank you so much. We’re almost there.” T.S. stares at her phone.

4:57 pm – The elevator door opens onto the garage. The limo idles with the backdoor open. T.S. and J. jump in and slam the door. The limo pulls out of the garage and onto the street.

5:16 pm – The limo flies through traffic, passing cars on the highway. In the back, T.S. lays back on the long seat, her thumb in her mouth, chewing on the nail. Her foot taps maniacally on the floor. “Are you okay?” J. asks, looking up from her tablet.”Yes. I’m just keyed up. I’m agitated and excited and fucking horny and ugh…” she trails off before pulling off the hoodie and PJ pants. She reclines on across the leather seat, wearing only her bra, thong and Keds, rubbing her thighs together. J. stares at her, eyebrows scrunched together.”You’re not going to start masturbating are you?” T.S. laughs, an awkward blurt. “No.” She rolls over so that her head hangs upside off of the seat, looking at J. “I need some milk,” she says, smiling. J.looks exacerbated. “No… I can’t right now. You already had some this morning and I don’t have the IV in and I already had low blood sugar today. I really can’t right now.” T.S. slides off the seat and crawls to J.’s knees and looks up at her, giving her best puppy-dog eyes. “Please. I won’t take much! I just need a little. We can do it right from your arm or your thigh. I won’t spill any!” J. sighs. “Fine. But only 30 seconds, okay?” T.S. claps and starts rolling up J.’s sleeve.

5:17 pm – The partition slides down and T.S. pokes her head through. Leroy looks at her in the mirror. If he notices that she’s in her bra, it doesn’t show on his face. “Yes ma’am?” She smiles and touches his shoulder. “I just wanted you to know that you’re doing a fucking amazing job. I’m out of cash but when we get to Seattle, I’m going to see that you’re taken care of, okay?” Leroy smiles. “That’s not necessary ma’am.” “I know it’s not, but I take care of people who take care of me, understand?” “Yes ma’am.” There’s pause as T.S. stares through the windshield. It’s raining. “Can I ask you something Leroy?” T.S. says, still staring through the window. “Yes ma’am.” She looks at him. “What’s your favorite song? Ever? The most beautiful song you know?” Leroy seems to think about it for a moment. “I’m quite fond of the song called Taxi from a singer named Harry Chapin. Do you know that one?” T.S. shakes her head. “I don’t think so.” He smiles. “Maybe give it a listen. I think you might like it.” T.S. smiles.

5:18 pm – J. sits with her sleeve rolled up and a rubber strap wrapped around her arm. She holds a silver hobby knife with a pointed end. T.S. types in her phone. “What are you doing?” J. asks. “I’m buying a song,” T.S. says before putting her phone on the seat next to J. and plugging earbuds into her ears. “Ready?” J. asks. T.S. nods, staring at the bulging vein in J.’s arm and the place where the blade pushes against her skin. In a quick motion, J. cuts the vein and blood bubbles up. T.S. covers the wound with her mouth, catching the blood before it spills. J. looks at her phone and presses the timer. A 30 second clock starts rolling. T.S. pulls at J.’s arm, eager, shaking the woman. J. closes her eyes and seems to drift. They are both silent, except for the gentle sucking sounds coming from T.S.’s throat.

5:23 pm – T.S. sits back on the seat, still in her underwear, an electric toothbrush buzzing in her mouth. J. reads her tablet. A speaker crackles on and Leroy’s voice comes through. “Ma’am, we’re almost to the border. If there’s anything that needs to be, um… made presentable, now would be the time to do it.” J. looks at T.S. and they both laugh. “I should probably put my clothes back on.” T.S. says around her toothbrush. J. nods.

Listen: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c5dwksSbD34

R. – trail mix. the kind with notenough m&ms

5:25 pm – The tinted window of the limo slides down halfway. T.S. throws the box-cutter into the ditch on the side of the highway.

5:26 pm – “What the hell was that?” J. asks. T.S. shrugs, pushing the button to slide the window back up. “You frustrate the hell out of me. Did you bring that on the plane with you?” T.S. looks at her phone. “It was in my checked bag. I’m not completely stupid.” J. looks confused. “When did you get it out of your checked bag? I’ve been with you all day.” “When you were in the drug store.” J. lets out a sigh. “Seriously though, what did you do to him?” T.S. looks up at J., her eyes cold and distant. “I need you to stop asking me. He’s fine. There was a problem and I dealt with it. Give me some fucking space.” They stare at each other for a moment, then both look at their phones. “You need to get dressed.” J. says without looking up.

5:55 pm – The partition slides down and T.S.pokes her face through. “How are we doing for time, Leroy?” He taps the in-dash GPS and a computerized woman’s voice tells them that they are one hour and twenty-six minutes from their destination. “I’ll get you there by seven.” Leroy says. T.S. smiles at him in the mirror. “I know you will. You’re amazing.”

6:20 pm – T.S. stares through the window at passing trees. She’s has on the headphones she bought at the airport. She’s wearing the capris and blouse she wore on the plane. J. talks on the phone in a hushed voice.

6:46 pm – T.S. stares at her phone. J. types on her laptop. The speaker crackles on. “Ma’am, we’re about five minutes out from Centurylink.” J. presses the button on the console. “That’s great, thank you.” She looks at T.S. and makes a nervous face. “Are you ready?” T.S. nods and waves her hand. “I don’t even care.”

6:58 pm – The limo drives through the underground garage and up to the loading bay where a crowd of people wearing lanyards and black CREW shirts mill about. The limo parks and R. steps up to open the back door. Leroy climbs out of the driver’s seat and gives him a look. R. stops and waits, his hands on his hips like a frustrated elementary school teacher. Leroy opens the back door. J. steps out, her bag slung over her shoulder. R. leans in and half whispers, half barks in her ear. “What the fuck is wrong with you?” J. leans back, to look him in the face. “Excuse me?” “You don’t talk to her like that.” T.S. says, stepping out of the limo. R. shakes his head, as though he can’t believe what he’s hearing. He looks from Leroy to J. to T.S. “Where the fuck have you been?!”

7:00 pm – T.S. walks down the hall as though she knows exactly where she’s going. J. follows, smiling, behind her. R. walks beside her. “You have been MISSING for seven fucking hours! You can’t do that!” “Sure I can.” T.S. says, taking out her phone and pretending to look at it. “No you fucking can’t.” T.S. ignores him and turns down a corridor. “I told you where we were.” J. says. “Yeah, and it was bullshite and you know it.” J. shrugs.

7:03 pm – T.S. walks down another hallway. They’ve collected a group of people. Crew and publicists and suits and wardrobe. R. tries desperately to stay at the front of the group, next to T.S. “Is this where-” T.S. begins to ask an older guy with a clipboard standing next to a row of doors. He smiles at her and points at the last door. “This one is you.” T.S. smiles at him and touches his shoulder. “Thank you.” He scuttles ahead and unlocks the door, holding it open. J. enters and T.S. follows. When R. tries to come in as well, T.S. puts her hand up. “I need to shower. I’ll be fifteen minutes. Go change your tampon and your attitude and rethink how you want to talk to me.” R. stands there gawking as T.S. closes the door in his face.

K.K. – warm caramel cappuccino

one of the interesting things about being powerful (and i am undeniably powerful. i’m not modest about that) is that i can “collect” people.

i suppose anyone can, but i have advantages that others don’t.

when i started, i just wanted to write songs. i wanted to meet dolly parton and garth brooks. i didn’t even need them to like me. i just wanted to be able to say that they’d heard one of my songs and didn’t hate it. i’ve met dolly parton a number of times (wonderful, with unexpected dark and profane sense of humor) and garth brooks (surprisingly empty, devoid of any spark, like a wooden doll with painted on eyes in a ten gallon hat) and many of the people i hoped to meet as a teenager. the more idols i met, the less enthusiastic i became about coming across the next one. some exceed expectation (dwight yoakam was delightfully peculiar in the best way) but most are abysmally boring. desperate, sad people hungry for affection. most with a distorted idea of how to get that affection, believing that the sycophantic hangers-on that surround them love them for who they are rather than where they are. spotlights have a way of blinding you, so that any touch feels like intimacy, regardless of who is pulling at your sleeve and why.

i feel like i’ve managed to sidestep that problem, perhaps because i started behind the scenes. i could watch how these people succeeded (and, more often, failed) to retain their sense of self. i looked at poor leann rimes, who is a splintered, taped together vanity-mirror of a person. i couldn’t have written a more terrifying cautionary tale. i learned early on who not to be. i’m still learning, but i feel like i had a solid head start.

it helps that i’m smart. smarter than a lot of my peers in this industry. i’ve made my mistakes, certainly. many of them public mistakes. but at the same time, i also learned how to manipulate the system. make friends with the right people. pay the right people. my private business stays private, unless i choose to share it. that’s something i’m criticized for, over-sharing. what people don’t understand is that by over-sharing, i’m actually under-sharing. i share a lot, but only specific things at specific times.

if you give the wolf raw meat, feed it every day, make it trust you, make it need you, then it becomes your dog. then it becomes your protector. it loves you.

by collecting people, either with my music, with my pussy, with my money, with my blade, i can define them and understand them. i can control them and move comfortably among them. i can keep them at arms length or i can keep them in my bed. i can feed off of them, if need be. or i can destroy them.

7:17 pm – T.S. leans against the shower wall, half in a squat, her head bent down, her hand working furiously between her legs, her jaw clenched and teeth bared. Mascara runs down her face in grey streaks. She hits the wall with the meat of her free hand as she nears orgasm. The tile cracks.

7:29 pm – T.S. walks out of the bathroom, wrapped in a fluffy white robe, running an electric toothbrush in and out of her mouth. J. sits at a table, working on her laptop. She looks up at T.S. and smiles. “Feel better?” T.S. lets out a relieved sigh. “Infinitely better.” “Good. You want me to let them in?” T.S. nods, then spits toothpaste into the sink. “No swallowing until after the show, okay?” J. says. T.S. nods and takes a swig of bottled water and spits it out.

7:45 pm – The usual people are packed into the room. Crew, wardrobe, suits, publicists, lackeys. R. stews in the corner.J. taps away at her laptop, oblivious to the crowd. T.S. sits on a stool while P. applies makeup. The song Blood and Tears by Danzig fills the room, drowning out the chatter. “Honey, what is this we’re listening to?” P. says as he leans in and fills in her eyebrows. “It’s a mix Floor Candy sent me. It’s different. I like it.” P. nods. “This boy sounds like he wants to be Jim Morrison.” T.S. listens for a moment. “I think he and Jim Morrison both wanted to be Elvis.” P. thinks about it and nods in agreement. “Do you mind me askin’ if you and M—-close?” T.S. shakes her head. “No, not particularly. We’re friendly but she’s a very different place than I am.” P. nods. “That’s good. You stay away from that Molly, you hear? You don’t need that drama in your life.” T.S. laughs. “Okay daddy.” Blood and Tears fades into Debaser by The Pixies.

10:46 pm – T.S. walks down the hall, J. close behind. She looks tired, but upbeat. Her hair is pulled back into a ponytail and she wears light, linen pants, red Chuck Taylor shoes and a white fitted t-shirt with the RAMONES presidential seal in red across the front. Casual, but still stylish. J. looks exhausted, her hair hanging around her face in stringy, sweaty clumps. She speaks softly into a her phone, nodding in agreement with whatever is being said. They turn a corner and a publicist greets them and takes them into a room full of contest winners, Make-A-Wish kids and charity auction winners.

10:52 pm – T.S. is making her way through the group, spending a little time with each person, making eye contact, smiling, listening, laughing. When she meets an eight year old girl wearing a plastic prosthetic mask that covers the left half of her face, T.S. leans down and asks what her name is. “Caitlyn” the girl says, her voice muffled through the plastic. “Well Caitlyn, I am very glad to have met you. Do you know why?” The girl shakes her head. “Because for someone like me, who makes music, I need to find beauty to inspire me. It’s the most important thing in the world for an artist – and Caitlyn, you are so beautiful.” The girl smiles and T.S. hugs her.

11:10 pm – T.S. sits in the back of an SUV. She stares through the window at the lights of passing cars. J. sits next to her, the glow of her tablet illuminating her face. “It’s been a really long day.” T.S. says. J. sighs and nods. “Yep. I’m anxious to get to sleep.” T.S. nods. After a long pause, T.S. looks at J. “I’ve been really stupid. Really, really stupid.” J. looks at her, an eyebrow raised. “Oh yeah?” T.S. nods. “Yes. With my phone. I honestly can’t believe that whole thing passed me by. It’s a miracle -” she stops herself. “No. It wasn’t actually. You did that. That was all you.” J. shrugs. “It’s my job.” “Well, I’m going to talk to someone about getting you a promotion. A real promotion I mean.” J. stares at her, holding her breath. “Do you think they’ll go for it?” “If I tell them to they will. Is that what you want?” J. nods, the tablet shaking in her hands. T.S. smiles and goes back to looking through the window. “When the tour’s over I’ll fly to L.A. and talk to them.” “Thank you,” J. whispers.

12:16 am – J. and T.S. stand in the doorway to T.S.’s hotel room. “Are you sure you don’t need anything else?” T.S. smiles and shakes her head. “No. You go sleep. Day off tomorrow, okay?” J. lets out a sigh of relief and nods, then heads toward her own room. T.S. watches her go for a minute then closes the door.

12:37 am – T.S. sits on the edge of her bed wearing white silk PJs. She picks up the phone and presses 0 for the front desk. “Hi, I’m in room 1903. Yes, that’s me.” T.S. waits for a minute and listens. “That’s very sweet, yes. Thank you. I was wondering if there was a piano anywhere in this hotel. Oh yeah? Oh. I see. Can someone open it for me? Certainly. I won’t need it for long. I’ll be down in ten minutes. Thank you.”

12:49 am – A night clerk unlocks the door to a lounge. He steps in and turns on the lights. It’s an old-fashioned looking bar with lots of wood and brass. The chairs are all upside down on the tables. He holds the door and T.S. enters. “It’s in the corner. Take your time.” T.S. nods and smiles. She puts a fifty-dollar bill in his hand. He looks at it and grins, closing the door behind her.

1:10 am – T.S. sits at the piano, her iPad propped up in front of her. Sheet music for the song Taxi by Harry Chapin is displayed on the screen. She plays the song and sings. Her phone sits on top of the piano, recording.

1:36 am – T.S. sits in her hotel room. She calls J. “Hey, I’m sorry to wake you. I’m going to email you a song. Can you burn it onto a CD and have it sent to Leroy? The limo driver. Yeah. No, tomorrow’s fine. I just… I just wanted to… I don’t know. I wanted to make sure you knew it was coming and what to do with it. See you tomorrow. Go back to sleep. Night.” She hangs up and stares at her phone.

2:20 am – T.S. stands in front of the window, staring out at the Seattle skyline. The only sound comes from the electric toothbrush buzzing in her mouth.

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