Anticipation is the best form of defence…?
Crikey…that didn’t bode well. Unless Mac considered such anticipatory prowess a win; lulling him into a false sense of security. Its technicalities nailed down with a flinty glint and an arsenal more potent than Semtex. Said gifts aside—as if that were possible—the bad-ass already had his mitts on the only weapon that could secure his triumph. One so secret, Mac didnae even know it was his to wield, nor the unequivocal ace card it was. Fait accompli, in fact.
Joe sure as shurikens wasn’t about to fess up and surrender his last sliver of salvaged pride. Let alone hand Mac the master key that would beget him game over before it began. Why was Mac staying? For the challenge? To prove he could triumph where featherweights had failed? If that were true…the scoundrel could’ve sauntered off, job done, after binding Joe to his own bed. Before ensuring that he’d ruined Joe for every bugger else.
Ah well, that was a minor matter in the scheme of things…unless Mac found out. Unless he had done exactly that…which would explain why he’d elected to stay. Joe couldn’t rustle up another reason why Mac would risk the ruin of his peerless reputation. In spectacular style, too…with repercussions he couldnae slip beneath that radar he prized. Not when they’d be emblazoned in bold font across the front pages of the press with a penchant for the spectacularly sleazy.
If Mac took himself off now, before things went amiss; he could claim that unforeseen circumstances had called him away. A matter of far more import than a junkie scumbag. Or, simply declare the gig too tedious to be worth the claim on his time. Thus, safeguarding Mac’s rep and saving him the bother of mopping up Joe’s mishaps, in one fell swoop.
If Joe had one iota of sense, he would compel Mac to go while…what? It was a bit bloomin’ late to do a damn thing about the fact the bad-ass had—unbeknownst to him—failed. In the way that counted most to Mac; the one he’d been contracted to pull off. Rather than ensure that Joe remained a ‘functioning addict’? The scoundrel had saddled him with another addiction, instead. One just as deadly and intoxicating as smack, but far more lethal. That could only kill him. Joe would have to live with the loss of Mac. If he survived it.
Any noble intentions Joe might’ve retained went winging out of the window a wee while before his guitar. Jettisoned by three verses of poesy that paraded themselves about with much the subtlety of a Carmen Miranda hat at a Pride March. Words that tripped off his tongue with nary a care for consequence, flaunting their wares with no forethought whatsoever. Just a few phrases Joe had strung together while tuning his G string. He would have been better off strangling himself with it.
The lyrics Mac had already read had been revealing ‘nuff. The strumpets that sashayed from Joe’s lips as he sang? Were sporting fuck-me heels, collar ‘n’ cuffs, and bugger all else.
He conquered…and more? My way to paradise? Not content with those corkers? The next traitors to trip the light fantastic? A recital of the rainbow rhyme sans green. Inspiring a well-dodgy war reference with which to return it to its rightful place. Reigning supreme. Apparently. Daring Joe to dream…which was news to him. When he’d done his damnedest to keep hope on lockdown, let alone allow it to take flight in dream form.
Oh, crap. To quote himself. Possibly in a bid to obliterate the bad-ass’ memory banks, the coffers of which were heaving with far too many truths for comfort. Not least Mac’s…who must wish he’d remained as oblivious as he’d arrived about Joe’s music.
Or worse, rue the day he discovered who-the-fuck Joe Fitzgerald was. The pillock who’d pulled off that coup with unsurpassable aplomb, that’s who. Purveyor of poison dart poetry, as toxic as the blood in his veins. Every bit as untrustworthy as Mac suspected. He destroyed everything, like a clumsy puppy with a favourite toy, never satisfied till he’d loved it t’death.
Least propitious of all, said lyrics had unleashed a helluva lot of hyperbole on Mac with indecent haste. A timeframe that didn’t account for the fact Mac was opium poured into a slinky suit, oozing sex from every pore, with eyes like lusty laserbeams. Having been poleaxed the moment the bad-ass prowled through the door, Joe had, in truth (….) kept his lips buttoned far longer than the secret spilling lushes were accustomed to.
Not content with taking root in his mind, the poem he’d jotted in his journal had prospered like bindweed. In much the manner their muse was embedding himself in every fibre of Joe’s bloody being. If this kept up, he’d have the raw material for a new album in…five days? Three, if Joe didn’t go abed. He wanted to go to the studio now. After a spot of sexing. First thing tomorrow would have to do.
It was so much more than a waft of whim, or wanting something Joe knew he didn’t deserve. Infinitely more than meeting his nemesis and thriving to tell the tale. Joe feared that he wanted— needed—Mac to think he was…worth it. Worth the very real and plentiful risk to his reputation and worse; the respect his bad-ass possibly valued more than its dividends.
The most worrying part of all this was that Joe wanted Mac to Believe In Him…which was just about the most dipshit aspiration he’d ever cooked up. As deluded as it was demented.
Joe had once thought that being wanted would be paradise. An all-you-can-quaff fountain of plenty. As fortunate as he now felt—and as greedy as he knew himself to be—its spoils had neither quenched his thirst nor sated his appetite. Nothing had felt more nourishing than a needle and syringe. Proving that he’d become the (just about) living embodiment of that old adage: Quod me nutrit, me destruit. What nourishes me, destroys me.
Then, when Joe had lost all hope in the impossible? He’d been gifted a brew so potent that his smorgasbord tastes had promptly become as picky as a bloody panda’s. After one mouthful. If these metaphorical excesses progressed apace, lyrics would soon start leaking out of Joe’s ear holes. If he didn’t get some of it down on tape sharpish it would eat a hole in his hat. Where was he?
Oh, yes, about to sup from the single wellspring he cared to quaff for the foreseeable. The most spooky part of all? Joe couldn’t recall ever lusting to take via giving. The sharing of mutual pleasure, f’sure. Always. But this…was a different kettle of firecrackers. Joe ached to make Mac come apart. The passion seething beneath that steel-clad exterior was as exhilarating as the superpowers of his steel-sprung spine. Knowing that Joe could unravel that cool as fuck composure was intoxication itself.
Settling for less would be a helluva lot like tossing his stash out and deciding to subsist on Shandy. It was thirsty work, all this thinking lark. As was fretting that Mac hated the piffle his eardrums had just been assaulted by—or p’raps worse—felt indifferent. So…Joe suggested that they stop for a bit. Partly cos he couldn’t sit still in the car and fret about it for another second…or three. Not without combusting. There were only so many things he could crave at once, and stay sane. Ish.
It was the best stop for services Joe could ever recall. It sure as salty shenanigans beat Newport Pagnell. If there was a sight or soundtrack more glorious than Mac mid-orgasm, Joe had never been treated to it on his travels far ‘n’ wide. Mac might be skeptical about Joe’s adherence to his crunchy-nut diet…but there wasn’t a lot Joe could do about that. Not at present. Not until he proved the bad-ass wrong; as Joe had every intention of doing. Many many times…for as long as Mac would let him.
In the wake of Joe’s snackeroo on the hard shoulder, Mac seemed a smidge distracted. A fact so distracting that Joe quite forgot the whereabouts of his guitar…till they started trundling along the tarmac to rejoin the motorway.
“Mac!! M’guitar!” Nooo...it was his favourite acoustic too. “Stooop!”
“Fuck!” Mac slammed his foot on the brake, just as Joe’s frantic fumble with the door handle paid off. So, out he sort of…scrambled. In much the fashion of a staggering drunk after a fight with a barstool—but with added bits o’grit embedded in his palms—as Joe skidded off in hot pursuit.
“I’m sorry,” he told her, once she was safely cradled in his arms. Blimey. That was close. She’d survived far worse than a wee trip from a car window, but he hadn’t fancied her chances if a soddin’ great lorry had parked up for a tea-break. “C’mon…”
“You could’ve waited until we’d stopped, y’nutter, it wasnae likely to go for a stroll was it?” Mac sighed, when they were safely seated, back on board.
“That wouldn’t have been very gallant, would it?” Joe protested.
“Gallant? You threw it out the fucking window ten minutes ago!”
“Stop nit-picking…and do your driving thing. You might want to do up your flies first though, perchance I forget to remind you when we alight at posh pants hotel. There y’go, see? I’m on a chivalrous roll.”
“I sure as hell never expected to wind up feeling kinship with a guitar,” Mac snorted, shooting him shifty side-eye.
“Think yourself lucky, you could’ve had your fellatory skills likened to being lobbed from a car window, instead,” Joe sniffed.
“F’fucksakes…” Mac spluttered, spraying spittle across his pristine dash. Charmin’.
Blimey…behopes the bad-ass put his foot down when he was done yukking it up. Scoundrel. Joe was suff’ring on so many fronts, he could scarce tell his arse from his elbow crook…