Roman, Part 6
I open the door to the sleepy bar hangout to find Margit Christen siting alone at a booth. I recognize her short blond hair and sleepy blue eyes with unfamiliar dark rings underneath. She’s a thin woman with a slight frame cloaked in a too large leather jacket.
I walk over to her in a daze, placing my hand on her table and I sit on the bench across from her. I hardly notice Jamie sidling next to me.
“Who’s this?” she says through a heavy Swiss accent.
“This is Roman,” Gregor says, taking a seat next to her. “According to Jamie he’s our new manager.”
I nod vacantly. “Margit… I…”
Her gaze flits to Jamie. “What happened to Ty?”
Jamie leaned back on the bench, scowling. “Gone. We need to replace him. So we’ll need a new lead guitarist.”
“You have one,” I say, slamming a hand on the table. “You have one of the best. Why the hell would you waste Margit on Bass?”
Three sets of eyes stare me down. The Bartender peeks from the back room.
“S-sorry,” I say. “But, seriously you’re better than that hack from Haberdash, why the hell would you—”
Margit raised a hand and pinched my lips shut. She aims a death glare at me I swear should come with lasers. “I don’t play lead guitar, not anymore.”
“Looks like Roman is her biggest fan,” Gregor said.
Margit falls back to her seat, glaring at me. The woman I never thought I could reach, the reason I love rock is mere feet in front of me. I just pissed her off.
Jamie gives me a rough slap in the center of my chest. “Roman has a gift. He showed up Ty today and I think he could work miracles with anyone we find. First things first, we need a new lead guitarist.”
“You can throw a rock and hit one. Everyone wants to play lead.” Margit says, twirling a finger in the air. “We need a bitchin’ lead guitarist. Is your new boyfriend a talent scout too? You should have him find one before you get bored of his ass and dump him.”
Jamie narrows her eyes. “Fuck you, Margit.”
Margit shrugs. “We have played that game. It is no fun for me.”
I will never get that mental image out of my head. Ever.
The bartender comes with a pitcher of skunky beer and passes out four glasses. Margit pours the first beer and kills a quarter of the glass in one gulp. My obession with her has little to do with her looks, it is her art. I knew from interviews and tours she was a pain in the ass, after all it is her fault the band fell apart. She managed to drum up drama between every member of their band.
Jamie hands me the pitcher, I pour and push it to the table’s center. I chug half the cup, the beer is terrible. On top of the fact I don’t even like beer. I do, however, need some liquid courage.
“What about Bruce?” Jamie says, fiddling with the suds of her drink.
“Ugh. Not him,” Gregor said. “He’s mediocre in and out of the bedroom. What about Hager?”
“Same thing you just said. Times two,” Jamie says, pointing.
An uncomfortable silence fills the air and Jamie fixes her stare on me. “So how do you know Margit?”
I swallow. “Well. I found a single album in the High Ground a comic shop I used to haunt.”
“Hey I know that place,” Gregor says, smiling. “I used to go out with the owner.”
Small world. And… I had no idea Giles swung that way. “Anyway, I didn’t even listen to music then, it was tucked in an issue of—” I catch myself. Might not make the best impression with my new rocker lady friend if she knew I read cartoon smut. “The important part, her single was tucked in the pages. It changed my life. I found out she wrote it and did the lead solo.”
“So you are a fan,” Margit says, clenching her jaw.
“Yeah. A fan.”
“Cool.” Jamie elbows me. “You’re not aiming to bone her right?”
“What? No.” I say, raising my hands defensively. I glance back to her. “I’m just sayin’ I wouldn’t have given progressive a second look if it wasn’t for her.”
“You picked a bad person to like.” Margit says, pausing to finish her beer. “We could have been the best, but I fucked everything up. Worse I have to come to shit-hole America to put that behind me.”
Gregor wrapped an arm around her. “Oh, come on Margi, you love us right?”
“No. Especially not you, gay boy.” The smile on her face betrays her tone and Gregor only laughs at her.
“With all due respect, if you dislike America so much why are you here?”
“It is land of opportunity.” She poured another glass of beer. “I make amends here, perhaps then I can leave from music with head held high.”
“Leave?” I stand up, slamming my hands on the table. “No way, why would you do that?”
I get another stony glare from everyone at the table. I ignore them. “You want me to make you awesome? As your manager? You’re already awesome, just stop running away. You’re no bass guitarist. Any moron that knows the chords can handle it.”
“Yeah,” Jamie says smiling. “Any moron, like Roman here.”
I turn to Jamie to protest, but realize she’s right. I stare down Margit. “I’m not taking an excuse. You show me why you can’t play lead and I’ll let it rest.”
Margit let out a heavy sigh, staring off to the side. “Fine. You are big fan boy yes? You will realize moment I play. Then, you shut your face and manage. Assuming I don’t kill your ass cause you piss me off.”
Small victory. I sit and nod. “Trust me on this.”
“One thing.” Jamie taps her cheek. “It has to be something he knows. He’s no musician. He’s a fan.”
I offer Jamie an appreciative nod.
Margit finished her second beer. “It’s cool. I know just the song. “