II

III

"Can I have my arm back?"

I have been a non-smoker for 43 hours, 11 minutes, and 17 seconds. Dewey wants his arm back. He'd like to finish his breakfast - one arm is already in use, scribbling out a prospective setlist for tonight. I'm severely spacing out, staring at his wristwatch (attached to the arm he wants back) to give myself yet another update on the great job I'm doing.

"Feel like singing one tonight?"

No, you bastard, I feel like smashing plates!

"Shut up."

I am already the butt of jokes; everyone's calling me "Mount St. Hell", placing bets on my pending eruption. Astrid, our waitress, well aware of my current plight, gingerly refills my coffee and scampers away.

"Do you feel like singing tonight?"

No, I want a cigarette!

"One step at a time." I'm lost in the fuckin' cosmos right now; how am I supposed to remember lyrics?

"You'll be OK in a couple of weeks. I think it takes that long for the nicotine craving to go away."

We're playing a gig in town this evening, in what otherwise would be time off - I was talked into it several weeks before, during some after-hours festivities at that club. I'm just a gal who cain't say "no". But being only the Hired Hand, I have no authority to say "yes" to anything; the rest of the band later agreed to save my bonhomie-muddled ass, after some heated discussion. Josh is coming from Richmond with his video camera, so we'll have some fun with that.

"Can I have my arm back?"

IV

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