i was sitting on the porch of the house of blues when a man came to sit next to me. he was carrying a guitar and a briefcase. the sun was hot, it beat down on my hair and shoulders and face. i didn’t have anywhere to be. i was waiting for joel.
was this man with the band? i wondered. no. if he were, he wouldn’t be sitting on the empty porch with me. he’d be in some green room with beth orton and the rest of the band. was he the opening act? i snuck a glance at his olive-colored complexion and puzzled expression. no, he didn’t look like he belonged anywhere near here.
two men in suits and one man in yellow security garb leapt out the front door and landed in front of us.
“can we help you?” they asked the man.
“i’m here for the show.”
“what’s that you got there?” one asked, pointing to a fluorescent orange bracelet hugging his wrist.
“oh, that’s a press pass,” the man mumbled.
“oh?” smirked the security guard. “for what?”
“the l.a. times.”
“i’m sorry, but we’re going to have to ask you to leave.”
“but i have a ticket…”
they told him they had the right to refuse service to anyone, that the musicians do not want him there and that he could not come back tonight for the show. “you’re going to walk over that bridge and you’re not going to come back,” the man in the gray suit said, hypnotically.
the man didn’t put up a fight. he shuffled his way off the premises and they watched until he disappeared down the street. i sat there perfectly still, pretending like i hadn’t seen or heard a thing. but in my head, i had already created this man’s life story: he was stalking beth orton and brought his guitar to play a song he wrote for her. in the briefcase, the tabs scribbled on college ruled paper, a snickers and a flask of cheap vodka. he is from arizona but speaks with a fake british accent. he has never been to england in his life. he has never been east of the mississippi.
my daydream was interrupted by the guard’s boisterous chuckle: “oh, that wasn’t your boyfriend, was it?” he asked me, playfully.