A personal thank you to all who have taken the time to read this book. It will be available in hard cover and paperback later this year. Of course if you've just finished it why bother right? Either way enjoy the last chapter of the Limits of Respectability.
the limits of respectability
chapter thirty-five - of respectability
The phone rang and Wires answered it. After a few acknowledgments he returned the receiver to its cradle. “The limo’s here Sparky, time to go.” I got up and grabbed my jacket. Wires put on a hip-length, leather coat and the two of us started for the elevator. Closing the door, we left the lavish suite and the last days of Bitter Romance behind us.
“We’ve been here all morning and I never asked you what happened to the others,” Wires said. He pushed the button for the elevator, lighting it up.
“I don’t know? I haven’t seen them in some time. I wouldn’t know where to start looking, if I wanted to find them, especially Wally. Last I heard Doc and Skunk got married.”
“To each other?”
“No but Lorraine and Magic did.”
“Yeah. They’re probably all enjoying domestic bliss.”
“You still working at that place?”
“Ultimate Produce? No, I got out.”
“You were there a long time weren’t you?"
“That’s a whole other story Wires. We don’t really have time now. Let’s just say,
currently, I’m between gigs. — Waiting for Walden to call if-you-will.”
Wires popped an unlit cigarette into his mouth in anticipation for the match he would ignite it with, a step-or-two outside the hotel. “I still think your true calling is in music Sparky. You guys had real talent. You should have gone places.”
“Timing Wires. You know that. It was never right for us. We always seemed to miss it by just a little bit.”
“You know it’s still there, all it takes is one song and you guys wrote some really good ones.”
“Spike didn’t think so.”
“Hey what did he know? After he and Casey divorced, he went postal.”
“And as far as I know he still works for the post office.”
The doors opened and in we stepped. Wires pushed lobby. The doors closed and I felt my stomach lighten as we descended. “Just because you were the one to become successful, Wires, doesn’t mean it’s in the cards for me.”
“You told me you were never satisfied with how it ended. You said things were left unfinished. Don’t you want to know one way or the other if it would have happened for you, Sparky?”
“I don’t know. It seems like a lot of work now.”
“What did you say, ‘Right now you’re between gigs?’ What do you have to lose? I’m just trying to return the favor, Sparky. You told me I was responsible for keeping Bitter Romance going all those years ago. How you could have never done it without me there. Now I’m telling you, I am where I am today, because I took your advice, and to a lesser extent Doc’s. I followed my desires. Do yourself a favor, go after yours.”
“Doc? What did he tell you?”
“Diversify and invest in anything to do with computers.”
“I don’t know Wires. I’m getting a little long in the tooth, I don’t see it happening. It’s a younger man’s game now. Besides, I don’t want to be one of those cash-grab rock-stars who is drunk on his own success and squeezing every last dime out of the adoring public in an auto biographical tale of how I got to where I am. I’d be appalled having my face on everything from tampons to pillowcase nighties for six-year-olds. The endless interviewers asking me, ‘What’s it like being the real you?’”
“You tell them, you’re the real you most of the time. That’s what I say.”
“It would just make me be what I despised about Space all those years ago.”
“You’re just making excuses not to try it again, Sparky. Space sells used cars for a living. I’m sure it’s far from the life he wanted to carve out for himself?”
“Success changes everyone, it’s inevitable. Our manager told us. I guess I’ve bought into the concept a little too much.”
Wires chuckled. “I know what you mean. I’m so self absorbed now.”
“Good point. Stop being such an A-hole,” I said with a laugh.
We were now in the lobby. I could see the black stretch limousine and the chauffeur standing by its side, waiting for Wires. The once timid Neville Whitmire had made it to the level the rest of the old band still dreamt about between snores on a drool covered pillow. We stepped out into the brilliant sunshine. Wires reached into his coat pocket and adorned some sunglasses. The driver open the door to allow him access to the back seat.
“You learn to adapt. Look at me, Sparky. We’ve been sitting in the hotel room all morning. Do I really seem all that different from what you remember?”
“You’re cleaner . . .”
“Other than personal hygiene? My personality, my demeanor, are they different?”
“Do you feel in awe to be around me? Have I been condescending in anyway? Have I treated you like an inferior?”
“Well then . . .” Wires laughed softly. “Listen to me. All these questions, I sound like Doc. I miss them. Doc, Skunk, and especially Wally. Say, hi, for me if you ever run into them again.”
“I will, Wires. You take care.”
Wires got into the back of the limo and its enveloping comfort of black leather. He paused to light up his cigarette and shake out the match. “Are you sure you don’t want to come? There’s a fully stocked bar in here. It’ll be fun and I can smoke, thank god.” He blew out a big cloud. I thought he was going to have an orgasm.
“Naw . . .I appreciate the offer but on second thought, I’d only get in the way.”
“Oh shit! I almost forgot! I want you to have this Sparky.” He reached into a black briefcase he’d brought with him and handed me a book. It was colorful and covered in high-gloss images. The art work was much more refined and sharper than I’d remembered.
“There’ll be more at the signing, but I wanted you to have the first copy of my new book.”
“Thanks, Wires. I always told you those drawings were excellent.” I looked at the title. “The Limits of Respectability, I like that. I’m sure it’s going to do well. Just like your others. You’re already regarded as the next Berkeley Breathed, or was it the next Charles M. Shultz? Personally I compare you to that Calvin and Hobbes guy?”
“That’s the one . . . I think?”
“It means more coming from you Sparky. Thanks for coming to see me. It was great to reminisce about the old days. Remember...all it takes is one song.”
The Chauffeur closed the door and returned to the front. Wires lowered the window and held his hand out in parting. I watched as the limo pulled away from the curb with our Wires in the back. I raised my own hand in farewell. I stood unmoving until the vehicle turned a corner and was lost from sight. I sighed and plucked Wires’ book from my tucked arm. I opened the cover. Inside, Wires had written:
To my friend John ‘Sparky’ Malveen, Good luck and success. All it takes is one song!
Your friend always,