“There, see? Just my stash and I’m done.” Joe announced after bouncing his second case into submission. “Oh. When I’m dressed,” he amended. Then realised exactly where his trousers were. “On second thoughts…I might as well just don my dressing gown, I’ll be more comfy. No one will see me in the car, anyhoo. Sorted.”
“They sure as hell will when you arrive at the posh hotel. Particularly if you intend on keeping that…” Mac declared, darting a glance at Joe’s head. “You must be six-eight in that bloody hat.”
“I will be spiffy, is what I’ll be. Very Gent at my Leisure…and most appropriately attired in silk paisley.”
“Don’t forget your cravat,” the scoundrel snorted.
“Oh, fuck no…”
“It was your suggestion. So put that in your pipe…”
“No. Pipe. You cannot walk into the foyer of Poshpants Hotel, Knightsbridge, puffing on an opium pipe. No way. Are you planning to sport shoes with this get-up, or going barefoot?” Mr Snarky enquired.
“Now you’re just being daft. That would be an affront to sartorial flair. I can’t wear shoes with a smoking jacket, I’d look ridiculous, my feet are like flippers.”
“I’m losing the will to live…” Mac buried his face in his palm.
“D’you want a blow job before we go, that might perk you up a bit?” Joe pinned on a cheesy grin. Almost as big as his feet, which were not. Cheesy, that is. His arm pits could possibly do with a swipe of Sure, but he’d never suffered from niffy feet.
“Tempting…but no.” Mac’s sigh did sound regretful, unless that was a result of agreeing to go. Or, arriving in the first place. “I’ve just got washed and dressed so I’d best go and start loading the boot…before I find myself forgetting that fact.”
The bad-ass was taking the abrupt change of plans with astonishing good grace. Joe had expected him to start muttering about ‘terms’ and timetables…but Mac hadn’t even grumbled about his toppled-over towers of tidiness. P’raps obliterated in a bit of a mishap because someone had buried Divinidylle at the bottom. A double entendre par excellence, Joe could not help but note. Nor the divine (comedy) retribution that was Dante’s banishment to the pits of the book pile. Or, while he was on a roll…that Mac’s amenable disposition was most oddsome.
Unless, o’course, he was just relieved that brute force wouldnae prove necessary to prise Joe from his hideyhole. Drat. A spot of tardy-arsery could’ve reaped rich rewards. Ah well, he’d have opportunities aplenty to bear the brunt of said brutery. In truth (tralala) Joe hadn’t intended to kick up a fuss about going—despite his former disinclination—because that burden now fell to the bad-ass. Whose contract no doubt depended on it, but more to the point…? Proving that Mac’s superlative powers of persuasion could pull off what no other bugger had managed (despite their job title) was irresistible. Begrudging anyone their failure in comparative terms was a wee bit harsh, Joe had to admit. They could’ve turned up in tanks and never outgunned those hips.
Now he’d lost the plot. Where was he? Packing. That was it. For London. How long would he be away for? Joe had no idea, that was just the first stop. Rehearsals had been booked to prepare for the five date mini-tour that followed straight afterwards. He was looking forward to those, Joe loved playing gigs…it was the in-between parts that drove him doolally. That said…the tour bus entertainment was sure looking up. There would, at least, be a plentiful supply of crunchy-nutters to sustain him on his travels. Hmm…
Speaking of, Joe scrounged up a bag for his cereal of the scoffing sort, tossed in a few odds ‘n’ sods, then pronounced himself done. “Once I’ve slipped into my robe and slippers, we can sally forth into the night….”
“Right…I’ll go and get started on cramming this lot in the car,” Mac told him, slinging the strap of his holdover over one shoulder and seizing the handle of a suitcase to slink off downstairs.
Joe pulled on a pair of pants and slipped into aforementioned silk paisley, secured the belt in a knot and slid his feet into his fancy slippers. Velvet—as sported on many a red carpet—by la crème of Hollywood no less. So, plenty fine for a swanky hotel by Joe’s reckoning. Hat on head, cigs in pocket, sorted.
“Y’done?” Mac grinned from the doorway, the green aglint with devilry.
“I am, indeed.”
“And splendid you look too, sir. C’mon then, let’s go, it’s just this case and your bag now. Do you want anything from the fridge?” Mac asked, scooping the second hat off the chair and cramming it on with a wink. Dashing he looked, too. “Nooo…we cannae delay our departure, so don’t even—”.
“I didn’t say anything!” Joe spluttered.
“Those.” Mac pronged a two fingered jab at Joe’s eyeballs. “Did.” Dratted traitors.
“Rumbled. Okaaaay… Lager then, there should be some chilled ones left…”
“Okay. I’ll collect that, along with the bag I left in the kitchen. London, here he comes…” Mac proclaimed, tipping his topper.
“Suits you, sir,” Joe beamed, before adding: “Crikey, I hope so, or I’m staying here.”
“She’s a beauty,” Joe grinned, sliding into the leather passenger seat of the silver Jag. “Thank you for driving us now. I thought you might be miffed.”
“Why?” Mac asked, as the car purred to life.
“Well, it wasn’t on your schedule…following your ‘terms’,” Joe shrugged, cracking open a can o’lager. “D’you want one of these?”
“Maybe later, I’m good…” Mac answered, a mite distractedly. P’raps for the best while negotiating the dead o’night driveway.
“That’s the understatement of the century.” Joe noted. “Just sayin’.” It was too dark to see for sure, but he could’ve sworn that the bad-ass blushed a bit.
The brusqueness of his response p’raps suggested that Joe had been spot on. “The only schedule I care about is the one I’m contracted to ensure you carry out. As long as I get you to the studio by four tomorrow, I’m not fussed about the minutiae.” Another shrug, then Mac sighed, “Joe, I’m not out to make you miserable—or shove a spoke in your wheels—if they have a hope in hell of taking us in the right direction. That said, I have no intention of co-starring in a remake of ‘Get him to the bloody Greek’ either,” he declared, shooting Joe a shifty side-eye.
“You may rest assured, I’ve no wish to secrete my stash up your arse…” Joe, um, reassured him.
“Thank fuck for that,” Mac snorted.
“That sounds a lot closer to the truth, that’s for sure. Smoke?”
“Thought it might.” A response too droll to sound disgruntled. “Please…” Mac nodded.
“Please..? Blimey, that’s a result, I was willing to beg,” Joe pinned on a big ol’ beam.
“Pft. Just a tip. If that’s supposed to sound scary, you might want to have a word with the wisest parts of my person. Okay…here you go.” Joe lit a cigarette and held the filter to smirky lips.
“Thanks,” Mac muttered around it, dragging in a lungful while winding down the window.
“I’ll play your song in a mo, while mine’s still open…” Joe told him, following suit. “…if you still want me to.”
“Very much. Is the tour part of a new album launch?” Mac’s question was so artless, it was clear he had no clue whether Joe had released two, or twenty, of them. A gift in itself.
How Joe loved that there’d been no crash course on his back catalogue. Mac didn’t seem to care a toss, which made him feel…safer for some daft reason. Comfy. Whatever the bad-ass thought; it would be his truth. Not gleaned from a record review or opinion piece. Or worse, tainted by the tittle-tattle of the tabloids.
“Don’t pretend to like it—if you don’t—I’ll be able to tell. I won’t be miffy or have a mishap, if you hate it.”
“A mishap? Are you assuring me that your adherence to the terms is not dependent upon my appreciation of your musicianship?” Mac intoned with grandiloquent aplomb.
“Yup,” Joe chuckled. “You’re an incalculable conundrum, Mr McBadass.”
“’Ow d’ya work that aht?” Mac parried, breaking into a broad cockney Burt wanted back.
“I doubt I ever will…even if you’re still driving me doolally in twenty years,” Joe admitted.
“Fuck. I’d get less for manslaughter,” Mac snorted.
“Was that a promise or a threat…? ”
“Let’s just call it multitasking,” the scoundrel winked.