oh btw i have no idea how to do a LJ cut. Sorry.
Title: Somewhere inbetween now then and what was.
Pairing: JC(Josh)Chasez/Cliff Burton
Disclaimer: If this will upset any fans...don't read it. Please take note that this fiction in
no way is meant to put forth any disrespect for the Members of a certain band. It is purely
fictional and is based only on the imagination of the writers and perceived 'stage'
personas only. It is not supposed to represent their real lifestyles in any way. And is not taken from any first hand information whatsoever. So don't even go there
Summary: This is a story that plagued me for some time. Some my call it AU but it’s not really, just give it a chance and pay attention in the beginning and you’ll do fine.
Notes: Please take note to all of those who get pissy with “JC is his name no one calls him Josh” DEAL WITH IT. Read the Fic. and you’ll understand why it would be Stupid to call him JC in it. Thank you.
For those of you reading this on a Nsync or JC sight if you don’t know who Cliff is go read about him he was a blissfully intriguing individual who graced/blessed/enriched all our lives he was something to behold. Take time to get to know him.
Thank you to peaces Alli for being my Beta and putting up with me through this long ass thing :P Love ya.
Archiving Permission: Tallific and Metaslash defiantly! Anywhere else ask me first please
I don’t understand but every time I pull out this jacket I feel …something odd: it’s a dropping sensation as if the floor came out from under me for just an instant and I can still smell him, feel him, I could swear I see him … I remember everything like it was yesterday but it wasn’t; it was a long time ago and not entirely possible because I would never have been old enough to have been there but I was, this coat is the proof, but how I still can’t fathom. What am I talking about you ask? I’m referring to my most prized possession I have. I keep it with me at all times it never leaves my sight, ok it does but it’s under lock and key when that happens. It’s a jean jacket given to me by my first love… lover. The person I’ll probably never get over, and I can’t explain to any one, including myself how it all came about, because it’s physically impossible to have happened. Still I look at this coat and know it did. You’re frustrated aren’t you? I’ll explain it to you; and maybe to myself as well. Grab a seat and a drink it going to be a long story, but not too long, I have to be some where in a bit, with my coat. So I’ll get started. My name is Joshua Scott Chasez aka. JC of ‘Nsync: age 26. Possessor of Cliff Burton’s well known jean jacket. You say “So what, he gave you his coat.” No he gave his Lover his coat, one night in some town we’ll never remember the name of; his lover’s name was Joshua….. me. (I’ll give you a minute to do the math…..ready). Yup, that means that either I’m really in my thirties or I can time travel or I don’t know what, but I tell you now I was there on tour with Cliff. In summer of ’86 shortly before he died, I was 19. I said, its not that hard to explain and yet it is.
You see I had this job at ‘The Occult Book Store’ in Chicago ……………………….
It was my first job with a real paycheck. I mean yeah, I’ve worked for my uncle before but never got a check. A check has meaning it’s like you made it you’re a man you’re supporting your self even if it just means you can buy lunch or go out on a date and not bum cash from mom. You know? Mike was my manager, I managed to do what he told me to, he was great I respected and liked him right off. Then there was Cal. The English langue and several others do not have enough words to describe my disdain for that man. He was one of those that never came to work on time’ never covered a shift when needed and heaven forbid he was there for inventory. He’d leave early, not show or worse. He was an overbearing, obnoxious, oversexed jock; need I say more?
“Josh take out the trash and call it a night, Ok?”
“Sure Mike. See you later.” Heading to the back with said trash in hand. Slipping through the tightly packed shelves and rows of books to the back where a door spilled out into the alleyway. It was a Thursday night in mid Sept. 1985, school...well junior collage had just started and I just bought my new car. Well it was new to me, a ’73 fire red Chevy Nova, 350 small block, bowtie heads and all the other really fast shit a teenage boy should NOT have on his first vehicle. One more ticket, no license for Josh. I was happy as hell to get out early. I was gonna go home grab dinner and then out to the arcade for a bit. I never got that far.
“Hey! You know where there’s a titty bar around here?” This voice boomed out to me as I came out the backdoor into the ally.
“A Tit-ty Bar, what are ya deaf or somethin'?” Slurred a semi drunken voice. I heard some laughter and other voices followed by “James lay off man, you want him to send us to a dive or somethin?”
“No, Dick; but if you don’t shut your mouth I’ll shut it for ya, Putz. Bar? Boobs? You heard of these things dude?” The voice came into view. There before me stood this tall, Very tall man with a mop of blonde hair, demented smile in ripped tight jeans with a leather jacket and t-shirt. Dead that’s me, dead just plain dead. This man was going to… before I could finish.
“Yeah bud. Go down to Clark, cross over Ashton hang a left, then on 4th a make a right. It’s called the Blue Room. Ok? Got it? ” I jumped half out of my skin and looked over my shoulder. Where the hell did Cal come from, I didn’t hear him come out the back.
“Yeah got it . Thanks man.” I heard a zipper and saw a little guy with long curly hair and olive skin pushing an equally short guy with a look of a pixie in front of him.
“Come on Lars time to go. The Mighty Het must not be kept form his Titty Quest.”
“Hi cutie.” The pixie giggled drunkenly as he and the other one went past.
“Bye dude. Thanks” The blonde mentioned as he too walked on down the ally. When out of the shadows came one more a tall bell-bottom wearin’ guy who just waved and smiled in passing.
Spinning around and shoving Cal, “Shithead, you sent them to a freakin’ gay bar! What da’ fuck, dude?”, Oh my God how could he do that? What the hell was he thinking?
Cal just snorted and biffed me upside the head. “Are you clueless? That was Me-tal-li-ca, ya dumbass.”
“Yeah………. and?” I said giving a look of disbelief.
“You know I can’t stand those fuckers ever since they kicked Dave out of the band for some bogus ass reason, so fuck them. Let’em go, they’re fags anyway. Haven’t you seen Lars and Kirk in pictures, I swear they’ve got there hands all over each other and shit, tongue in each others mouth .Yuck, that’s no way a metal band should act.”
“Go fuck yourself Cal.” I said with all irony that it implied. God that fucker pissed me off, who the fuck was he to say shit like that? And off I was after them. Besides my car was that way too, at least that’s what I said to myself at the time.
Runnin’ down the alley I thought I’d never catch up, that they’d be long gone by the time I got to the end and they’d show up at the ’Room’ and all hell would break loose. Then they would find their way back and beat the crap out of Cal, which would be fine with me, but I’d probably get trounced too. No, I was not about to get fucked up over that pencil dick. I came to a skidding stop at the end, looked around and spotted them not a half a block away; not as far as I thought they’d get, Thank God.
“HEY! YO!” I shouted, jumping up and waving my arms, I jogged up to them dodging in and out of the semi-crowded sidewalk “Cal gave you bogus directions guys. He sent you to “The Gay Bar” in Chicago. If y’all want I’ll give you a lift to someplace else.” I found it odd they where walking but hey, famous people got legs too. They where in shock I think or just a little too drunk because it looked like the blond, James I think, kept opening and closing his mouth like a fish. Lars, the pixie like guy, was giggling again and the one who had been pushing him earlier had his arm around him half to hold Lars up but mostly suggestively. I mean his hand was really, really close to his crotch.
“What? You think I do this to every band I meet? I promise no funny stuff. Just a ride to a real bar and that’s it. Ok?” I asked catching the tall calm ones eye. He made a funny quark to his smile and raised an eyebrow to the little guy, as if there was a silent joke amongst them. Why do I feel like “Open mouth insert foot up to thigh.”?
“You’d do this…Why?” the quiet one finally spoke and all turned to listen to my answer. Kinda like that tax commercial, E.F. Hutton. Damn got to watch him, mom always said “Look out for those quiet ones you just never know.” Know what exactly? I haven’t a clue but hell I’ll keep looking.
We had to have stood there for at least five minutes, traffic going by was loud and it was actually cold out for this time of year. It felt like it might rain or even snow. Passers-by were eyeing us and it was sort of surreal feeling, like I was caught in a music video, the camera man was panning in and out and at weird angles. I tried to focus on the ground or my shoes but got dizzy. I tried for something else an eyed a pair of legs, patches on the knees, slim waist, long arms….. Before I could get further he came back with.
“Sure why not? I’m not sure James can handle anymore detours tonight” laughing the humor reaching his eyes that I couldn’t make the color. “I’m Cliff , curly there is Kirk, the giggle box is Lars and this fish is James. Please to meet you.” He introduced his friends and thrust out his hand.
“Josh” I told him taking his hand. It was a nice hand, like a piano players. I made myself let go before a simple hand shake would get taken the wrong way. Defiantly did not want that to happen four to one is never good odds. I heard Han Solo in my head going “Never tell me the odds, kid” from Star Wars and almost giggled, oh shit! Try and explain that one, no that was fine I can live without that.
“This way, my car’s over; down here.” Tipping my head in the direction I wanted them to follow and walked off. I never looked back to see if they were following I just wanted to get to my car.
The wind was picking up and was cold like I’d said and let’s face it I’m scrawny. Do you know how a cold wind will go through someone my size? It’s not pleasant let me tell you. Besides, I was trying to figure out which one of the guys was going to bend up like a pretzel to fit in my back seat. Well I guess we could ride three up front I did have bench seats but hell that could get interesting on levels I was not about to entertain now. I mean it was Metallica for fucks sake, you want to piss them off? I figure, I’ll let them choose. I walked to the passenger side and unlocked the door then walked to my side and waited for the bickering to start. To my amazement nothing happened the two little ones climbed in back as I expected and James and Cliff exchanged a couple of odd looks before Cliff climbed in back inbetween Kirk and Lars, I soon found out why.
The ride was unusual to say the least. James was all quiet while Lars would not shut up no matter how much Kirk bitched, which just made Lars more indignant to being told shut up in the first place. That is, until Cliff asked him to “Please Lars, quiet down.” and silence. YES, then the argument for the radio started, stupid me turned it on to fill the silence. I’d left it on one of my stations, “The LOOP”. It plays 70’s stuff and Lynyrd Skynyrd was on and James was a about to change it when Cliff, from the back seat mind you, reach forward and stopped James saying to “leave it” to a chorus of “not again”
“Motherfucker, how is it you’re in the back and STILL have control over the radio. Dick” James all but growled.
“Because you let me, Dick” Cliff said in an easygoing tone, laughing quietly. While small snorts of “I’m not gonna laugh” and “shh” came with it.
“Are we almost there yet? I want a glass of water. How much further? I have to pee.” Rang from Frick and Frack.
“Don’t make me pull this car over young man” I said in my best Dad voice.
“No seriously I have to go man, really.” Kirk piped up.
“You just went!” I said
“I drank a lot of beer man”
“I’m surrounded by children. Yes, four more blocks”
“Cool” and all was quiet again as Free Bird played on.
We pulled up near the front of the club and everyone got out saying thanks, but Cliff got back in up front saying “I’ll go with ya to park”
Shaking my head and trying not to use my hands when I spoke. “Naw, man I’m not going in, need to get home and all. You know?” Why did he make me so nervous?
“Oh? Gotta get ready for a hot date?” he gave me a comical grin.
I couldn’t look at him “No need a date first.” I was so embarrassed I started to memorize my steering wheel “I got school in the morning and then work. So no ..um .. partying for me.” Oh my God I’m stuttering.
Taking me completely of guard, “Hey Good for you. School is important, glad you take it seriously man.” he opened the door getting ready to leave.
“I’ll see you around though, right?” still facing me.
Hun? Was he asking me? No he’s just being polite. But still my mouth spoke before my brain. “Maybe. You in town for long?”
“Yeah a few days.” He gave me another smile.
Catching James out my windshield “Then I guess so, but I got to go and James looks like he’s tired of waiting. It was ….. Nice… that sounds .. lame, meeting you.” Did I just blush?
“Don’t sweat it, Okay?” and with that got out and went to leave, at least I thought so. Then stuck his head back in the window “Thanks for… well not letting that ass send us out to get in a fight… or worse. I admire that … people with convictions, I mean, like you. See you later Josh” and with that he was gone. I didn’t even get to see him leave with the traffic and other people it was like he was there then Poof.
The ride home took a little longer than I expected. When I got in my mom was asleep on the sofa in front of the TV. I sat in the chair by the couch and just watched her for a minute. My mom is a slight woman with dark wavy hair and green eyes, she says I have my grandpa’s eyes. My mom was young when she had me maybe too young there’s only 15 years separating us and sometimes that is a scary thought to know when she was my age now I was three. She never finished high school and has made a lot of sacrifices to keep us with house and home we inherited the house and we don’t live in the best neighborhood but were safe and all is good now. See mom has no taste in men, the past four have been disasters, not counting the last one, Jake. I still don’t know if he’s out of her life totally. Just when I think he’s gone he pops up for a few days then boom gone and with the stereo, the TV, bill money and things like that. I can’t figure out whether he’s on drugs, gambles or what, but I wish to high heaven he’d leave for good.
As for my father, I have not one clue as to where or what happened to him, hell I don’t even have his name. What I do know is not pleasant nor do I want to relive it. Suffices to say “good riddance to bad rubbish”. I mean the guy was a drug dealer, stupid just plain stupid. Now I like my weed same as the next guy, but nothing harder than ‘shrooms or acid once in a blue moon is cool. As long as you’re in good company and in the right mood, but anything worse and_No_Thank_You.
I decide to leave my mom on the sofa, it’s comfortable as her bed and if I wake her to move her she might not be able to go back to sleep. I ate the plate mom left in the oven for me and went to my room.
It was small my room but I didn’t care it held all my stuff plus a bed so who cared? I’d put a lock on it after boyfriend number two came in and stole some of my things. My desk is overflowing with books for school and I love to read. I rather read and play music than anything else. My friend Bobby use to ask me why I wasn’t trying to get into a band, that I was very talented and could make it big, but I just said that I not up for that I rather work in studio producing or writing for others.
I toed out of my shoes and stepped out of my jeans and climbed into bed and was asleep before my head hit the pillow. I dreamt that night but to say I dreamt of Cliff or the guys would be a lie.
The next morning was normal rushing to class cause I forgot to set the alarm then the same rush to work, traffic is NOT my friend, the fact I got there on time was amazing to say the least. I was happily plodding along at work, told my adventure from last night to Mike, who chose to laugh his butt off at me. Saying introverted little me went and gave Metallica a ride to the Esquire was just too funny for him but never said it was unfeasible. I guess he was right it did not sound like something I would do, at least right off, but hell I surprised myself so surprising Mike was nothing.
Later that afternoon I was calling people to let them know their orders were in, Mrs. Copperstone would be oh so happy her book was in. Now she could quit bugging the hell out of us, this woman called four times a day for two weeks, like it would make it get here faster. I was half bent over half kneeling on the floor; when I heard someone ring the bell on the desk, I shot my hand up to indicate I would be right with them and stood but not facing the person, as I was trying to leave a message for the last person I called.
“Can I help y…” I turned and came face to face with Cliff. Smiling like a fool, “Hey. How you know I worked here?”
“I didn’t. I’m looking for some books and was told this was ‘The Place’ to find what I was looking for. Their Old by standard; so here I am” He said in a tone I could not describe, it was somewhere inbetween blasé and provoked, flipping his hair over his shoulder and looking about the store. The Occult was a bit overwhelming at first to a new comer, it’s overcrowded to say the least with several shelves of books and glass cases holding trinkets, talismans, parchment, quills, ink, jewelry, and what not. It looks severely disorganized but it’s not. It was typical for the time and still is.
“Oh. Well how may I be of service” I said in a British accent so I wouldn’t sound as disappointed as I was. He looked at me and smiled a little, pulling out a list. I thought maybe it wasn’t so bad, then I caught his eyes, nope it was as bad as I thought.
“I’m looking for ‘E.E. Cummings: I Thank You God~’ It’s poems form 1954 and ‘Marie Leach ~ Funk and Wagnall’s standard dictionary on Folklore, Mythology and Legend~’ from 1972 and ….well… here” tossing the list to me, as he drummed his fingers on the counter. There were about twelve I recognized and four I didn’t. Noting most of it was poetry, mythology and OLD, some VERY old, like he said. This was most likely the only store that you could find anything close to these.
“This is going to take me a few minutes to round up. I’m not entirely positive we have everything you’re looking for but we should be able to order what we don’t, but well you won’t be in town … never mind. I’ll be a minute if you’d like to look around.” I sounded like a school girl I swear, babbling like a fool. I went straight to the stacks without waiting for a conformation from Cliff, now he must think I’m rude on top of everything else.
“Foolish, foolish little boy,” I berated myself over and over. I was kicking myself with every step I took. What the hell was I thinking? That he would come looking for me? Like I made that big of an impression on the man. NOT.
I looked back from time to time, Cliff was either browsing the cases of jewelry or talking to Mike. Cal tried to speak to him once but, left looking like a scolded two year old, wonder if Cliff let him have it for his directions or if Cal had added to his misdeeds by going on a tirade about the injustice to Dave, maybe something new. You never knew with Cal?
Mike and Cliff seemed to be going on about something funny so I took my time. Lord knows if the guy ever got to sit and talk to someone with out them being an over zealous fan or not. I thought, maybe this way I could make up for being an abrupt grinning idiot earlier. Eventually my stalling would be noticed, before that happened I returned to the counter with ten of the sixteen he wanted. I placed them on the case in front of him, I didn’t want to look like an over anxious child, therefore went to help at the register. Before long Cliff came over with four of the books.
“No problem, just doing my job.”
“No not for that, well yes for that but what I meant was thanks for last night and not getting pissy with me earlier. I let some jackass get to me at the hotel and shouldn’t have been a jerk to you. People like that don’t normally faze me but he just hit a nerve or something and well…. thanks”
“Like I said No problem and I won’t ask. Cool?”
“Groovy. Only these?”
“Yeah I didn’t expect you to have all most the whole list, anyway theirs only so many hours I have to read now a days” he was chuckling like the night before when James made the comment about the radio.
“Being truthful…… I only brought enough cash for these” He said in an over exaggerated hushed tone.
“We take plastic”
“Naw, credit cards are evil.” Shaking his head making his mane fall in his face again. I was noticing all sorts of little things about him being this close, like his eyes. I could finally see their color, they were hazel, the green brown mix. They were so expressive, his whole face was; and that smile oh my, it could melt you. With him doing the hair flipping thing and it getting in his face so much I could smell it’s sent, it was that shampoo, I can’t remember its name but it had that commercial that went ‘and she told two friend and she told two friends’ while the faces one the screen got smaller and smaller as more were added, it didn’t matter either, it mixed with him and something sweet; Pot? And well it was just him and it smelled good I mean really Good.
Again I noticed what he was wearing, bellbottoms, t-shirt, and jean jacket. Oh so not the fashion, but it was part of him. It wore him not the other way round, I mean I could not picture him wearing the latest trend, he looked comfortable in his own skin, like it didn’t matter to him if he was ten years out of style. The bells’ hugged his slender waits and thighs to perfection, his t-shirt was well fit and worn, a base ball jersey with a logo I couldn’t make out. Most of all I noticed his jacket; it was worn, old, faded, comfy and an extension of him it made his long, lean arms look in proportion to him, it accented his slight build, it hugged his waits, broadened his shoulders, the collar accentuated his long graceful neck and caught his hair. To me, in that moment I could picture Cliff on a ninety degree day and still in his coat, rolling up the sleeves or adding a flannel if it was too cold.
Men have the biggest affect on me, women are ok but men are more my thing and this one here, this one I want to know and know well. Not just talking sex here either I mean I want to get to know him there is something about him, his presence maybe, or his voice, I’d be happy if he read the phone book aloud to me just speak. Oh shit his is speaking.
“Sorry spaced out there. What was that again?” hope I wasn’t out of it for too long.
“I said ‘Are you free later?’” leaning on the counter sounding highly amused, smiling at me, looking for all the world like he had a secret.
“I could make that joke about charging but I won’t, and yes I am. What’d you have in mind?” trying not to sound too eager.
Rubbing his chin “Hmm food,” Pulling out some money from his pants pocket, paying for his books. “but first, I need to drop these off, maybe ask if the others are hungry, then laundry.” With a crooked grin then a sneer.
“Oh that sounds like such fun.” I said rolling my eyes.
“Trust me it is, laundry with Metallica is always an adventure, especially when sober, drunk it just useless. I’ve lost more clothes that way than groupies, hotel staff, rushing to pack and James borrowing combined; not to mention Dave”
“What is it with that guy anyway?”
“I’ll ‘splain later.” His hair had done it again shaking his head tucking it behind his ears, Cliff started to walk away, glancing back at me turning himself to walk backwards, their was a look of mischief on his face. “You commin’? I already asked Mike; he said you could leave as soon as you get me rung up” I must’ve looked abashed
“Come on, hurry up. It’s not like I do this to every stranger I meet that gives me a ride to a club” I think he tried not to laugh but failed miserably as I joined in.
Soon we were out the door heading to the hotel in my car, it took a bit like I said before ‘traffic is Not my friend’. He explained about the Dave issue and told me some of what he and Mike had been laughing about, seems it was about me and how I got the job there, it’s a very coveted job that and ‘The Ally’ it’s the vintage/new wave clothing store around the corner, basically I was working at ‘the Occult’ before I even had the job I would be helping out with customers or helping to stock shelves, sometimes it was the only way to find what I was looking for, ‘till one day Mike grabbed me and showed me the register, slapped a W-4 form in front of me and put me on the schedule.
We also had a good laugh over my license plate, PCP 111 he said it looked like a course in collage “on advanced uses for drugs and other paraphernalia”, said he couldn’t wait ‘till Lars saw it he’d go on and on and on, you get the picture.
Once we got to the room I was amazed, again, it was cheap, only one room but two beds. You always picture famous people or at least well known to, well be staying at the Drake or Holliday Inn or the like, but no they were in a Motel 6! I guess that explains the walking thing last night, huh? The most amusing part was watching Cliff wake them up, by the looks on everybody’s faces he was Not known for an early rising. James threw a pillow at him Lars was mumbling in something that was not English but still managed to sound unpleasant and rude, Kirk looked up flipped us off and wrapped himself back around Lars and started to snore, rather exaggeratedly I might add.
I didn’t know what to do with myself, I mean I just met them last night and here I am in their hotel room, standing here feeling kinda foolish. Cliff caught my attention and smiled as if to ease my anxiety, as he pointed to the chairs and table across the room, while he continued to rummage thru a suitcase. Kirk and Lars had vanished under the blankets and, I think, were making out, I could have sworn I heard faint giggles from THAT direction. James sat up in bed looking like death warmed over, rubbing his face and eyes with both hands. Shaking his head to clear the cob webs, from a night out being "the Mighty Het" I supposed. When the world righted its self to James he gave me the strangest look then looked at Cliff and back again.
“Fuck what time is it?” he croaked to no one in particular. Running his hands thru his hair and reaching for some sweats on the floor.
“Three thirty in the afternoon sunshine.” I smirked. He glared, he tossed remaining pillow. I ducked, being awake AND aware with my faculties was a really good thing. He glared again. He shook his head once more and pulled himself from the bed with sweats half on, all I saw was a quick peek of boxers. I think that was his plan.
“Dick” James stated calmly and flipped me off as he shuffled towards the bathroom, grumbling the whole way. “I’m hungry man we gonna get somethin’?” James poked his head out of the bathroom to see I guess who would answer.
“That was the plan James. You wanna come with?” Cliff looked over his shoulder, still scrounging through the aforementioned suitcase, grinning at an irritable James.
“Yea” he groaned “Give me a minute. We got beer left?” turning to me “hey you whatsyourface… there any beer over there? never mind I need aspirin.” And retreated into the bathroom.
I hadn't a clue what Cliff was searching for but he was looking rather hard for what ever it was. There was more giggling from the blankets on the other side of the room and cussing from the bathroom. Eventually Cliff stood up and put something I didn't see in his front pocket, guess he found what ever it was. He turned to me and smiled I don't know what he was thinking but the look on his face --------.
He picked up a couple of bags from the floor and started to gather laundry from the floor chairs and other suitcases. I offered to help but he said I could help by staying where I was and carting the bags later.
James wasn't long and before I knew it we were on our way out the hotel and around the block to a coin opp. Then to a diner around from there we squeezed into a booth and waited and waited 'till some, nervous teenage girl for a waitress came to take our order. James asked how Cliff found a laundry so close and got back "Early morning adventures of Cliff Burton, show at eleven".
James all but ignored me in favor of writing something I could assume to be lyrics on his napkin. Cliff and I talked and talked and ..well you get the idea . He and I had a love for the piano, Bach, jazz, and contemporary music that astonished me. He was the one in the group who did most of the melody and taught the others things like theory timing rime meteor how to peace together Lars and James stuff with kirks riffs and leads.
When the food came the conversation slowed but took a new twist to the PMRC and their Bullshit; about how the censorship would do no good except to help narrow minded blameful individuals to squash creativity and blame others for their own faults for not taking responsibility for their kids and themselves.
James said very little and kept shrugging off Cliffs attempts to get him to join the conversation either by stuffing his face, writing or by playing up the waitress 'till he found out her age then was pissed and left. Guess he wasn't interested in Jailbait.
"Ill be down the street hurry up assholes" James stomped off
"Is he always like that?" I queried
"Yes and no. He doesn't know you and doesn't want to 'cause to him he'll never see you again so why bother to" Cliff replied stoically
"But he might then what?" I returned, I really wanted to know.
"Oh really you gonna come looking for me?" Cliff elbowed me lightly in the ribs as he teased me.
"Well ya maybe I would you never know. I ran after you didn't I?" I replied with a light tone and a vicious smirk
"Yeah you did, didn't you? And why was that again? " Cliff looked at me out of the comer of his eye
"I told you Cal pissed me off and I thought it was wrong" I said with what sounded like a lot of conviction, even to Me, in My voice.
"No other reason?" Cliff pondered, still looking at me in that odd fashion.
"Nope just couldn't see it as funny to have y'all walk in a gay bar that's all" I replied.
"Would it surprise you to know we've been in one before" He said with a grin.
"Really?!?" I uttered out, shocked
"Yup. How you think Kirk and Lars get to go out ever and be unnoticed or at least be left alone?" He said looking rather sad and serious
"Never would have thought of that" Still rather shocked but it made sense.
"UM HMM. Hide in the obvious places they never look there." He stated with a nod of his head.
We put some money on the table and left. Finding James at the laundry mat throwing clothes in the dryer. He still looked pissed and I didn't think it was about some jailbait waitress either. Cliff mentioned for me to stay back as we got further in, I could only hear bits of what they were saying but James was defiantly agitated and Cliff was trying to clam him down before he took the dryer door off its hinges. James was going on about 'just go fucker' and 'have fun with your new friend' and more but I stopped listing. I decided to sit in the chairs by the front windows.
Eventually Cliff came back quietly sat next to me watched James for a bit. I'm not sure but I think he wanted to say more to James but was letting it drop, for now as if this was an on going argument or something. I glance at James as well as Cliff looked on, James Looked small, well like a little kid he was sitting on the high tables that you fold your cloths on; his legs swung back and forth kicking his feet out looking at the floor or the dryer just watching it like it was a TV set. I don't know he just looked tiny for him to look like that was disturbing to me, last night he scared the be-Jesus out of me, now he looks like a kicked puppy. I don't get it.
We sat there for awhile none of us feeling the need to fill the silence, eventually the dryers stopped and I helped them fold and lug it all back to the hotel. When we got there and the room was empty James dropped his stuff by the door and grabbed his guitar Cliff took the bag I had and put it on Kirk and Lars' bed. He walked over to James trying to speak to him, and was met with James pouting and ignoring him.
Cliff sighed heavily walking away from James shaking his head and looked up at me "You wanna get out of here? Got to a bar or somethin'?", looking back a few times. James looked small again I almost said no 'till he gazed at me and shot me a look that burned out my stomach, you'd think I took away his best toy or well something just as bad.
"Yea we can leave if you want, but I can't get in a bar though." I explained. I heard James snickering and shrugged it off. If he wanted to be that way let him, I wasn't gonna let him tell me how to act, weather he was being direct about it or not.
"Anywhere you want Josh its been a while since I've seen the sights" Cliff stated and smiled as he started walking towards the door taking me by the arm and pulling "Let's just go before … come on" he cut himself off quietly so James wouldn't hear.
"Sure no prob. He's pissed about me ain't he?" I mused, as Cliff led me out of the room by my arm.
"No he's pissed at me" Cliff came back with looking weary.
"Why? What'd you do?" curiosity getting the better of me.
"Its just James he's… lets just say, he has issues. Okay? We'll leave it at that it's not my place and he's like my brother so brothers fight over dumb shit all the time. Right?" Cliff summed up.
"Wouldn't know, I'm an only".
"Ah. Well trust me they fight over the stupidest shit and every thing will be fine before you know it and they don't remember what the hell they where fighting over in the first place." Cliff smiled at me as he confirmed.
We walked down the hall passed Lars and some others I assumed to be crew and their manager cause this big guy stopped Cliff and questioned him about where we were off to and to “for once Cliff be back on fucking time. We leave at two A.M. with or without you’re ass. Got it?”
“Yeah man I’ll be here don’t bust a gut dude.”
“Where you going Cliff. Damn it you know I need to know these things”
Cliff turned to me nodding in his managers direction “Stalin needs to know our destination for my movement papers” in a bad Russian accent. Lars lost it and sprayed some poor guy with his drink instead of chocking on it. Kirk popped out of the room hearing Lars and began pounding him on the back, the guy who got sprayed, John I found out later, looked disgusted and walked off to his room and soon everyone was in hysterics.
“Sears tower?” I posed once things quieted down.
“Well fuck me! Asshole you better be back on time or so help me fucker” The larger man demanded of Cliff pointing his finger to emphasize the point. He pointed with his chin down the hall “let’s go”
“What was that about?”
“Nothin’,” shaking his head. “you Smoke?”
“Nope” I said.
“No I mean smoke?” mischief written on his face as he pulled a joint out of his cigarette pack, guess I know what he was looking for earlier. Odd though he hadn’t smoked all day, Hmph?
We got to the Nova and took off, I noticed Cliff patting his pockets then opening my ashtray, all that was in there was change and half a blunt, which he found of course.
“You got a light man?” he asked with the joint in his mouth still patting himself down.
“No, some one walked off with my last one”
“How ‘bout the car lighter”
“It died a horrid death there’s a dime stuck in there and when you pushed it in my dash-lights would go out along with the brake lights and fuel pump, so it got thrown out the window somewhere on LSD.” He had a good laugh over that and took over my stereo again this time he stopped at a station playing REM of all things.
“Oh mother of God! My kingdom for a lighter! Okay here’s what we do; next stop light I hang my head out and ask for a light you do the same on your side. Got it ?”
“Are you nuts! I not getting my head ripped off for a light, I’ll stop a gas station first.”
“Man that’s like stopping for directions, I’ll do it wuss”
“I’m not a wuss”
“Fine but if I loose my head over this make sure my best friend Bobby gets my car. Asshole” growling at Cliff.
“Hey watch it piss infected cum bubble”
“Where the hell did that come from? Fuck, watch the road Josh” laughing wildly, grabbing for the wheel. Pulling us back in the proper lane.
“Shit and people say I scare them when I drive. Bitch.”
“Let’s not start this again”
Coming to a stop light eventually, Cliff did exactly what he threatened earlier, he rolled down his window hung out waving to the car next to us asking for a light. IT was a cop too.
“Dude you got fire” Cliff asked said cop.
The officer looked perplexed for a minute then said, “You’re Cliff Burton!”
“I am? OH yeah I am. You got a light man?”
“Yeah here take it. Hey sing this for me would ya?”
“Sure pass it over” Cliff singed whatever it was and passed it back, the cop said he could keep the lighter. Thank God. I was half scared Cliff would light up if front of him just to be crazy but I think I should give him more credit than that. The man was wild not stupid.
Passing the joint back and forth, I noticed it was good weed not to harsh that would make you cough up your right lung or had a bad after taste, it was some quality creeper shit that smacked me up side the head about two blocks before we parked. Walking to the tower it was weird it felt like I was being let into his head like this was not a normal occurrence that anyone else would have not been dragged to do laundry or go to eat, maybe but not taken to do personal shit. I also got the feeling that Cliff NEVER talked this much to anyone, not ever James, they had years to get to know one another and I was getting cliff notes on Cliff was strange, but I loved it, it made me feel special and it has/had been a long time sense someone made me feel that way.
Cliff talked, I listened to everything, from where he grew up to his best friends Jim and Dave, not the same Dave that was in the band. His favorite place in the world Maxwell Ranch where he uses to jam. He spoke about his mom and dad asked me about mine I told him the same as you I didn’t know my dad it was just me and my mom and grandma left us the house when she died. I changed the subject by asking about earlier at the hotel before we left.
“Why was that big guy so adamant about you getting back on time when I said we were going to the Tower?”
“Who? OH Lou, he’s just doing his job. I’m notorious for being late and taking forever to get going in the mornin. Takes me two hours to get my ass in gear” laughing softly. “He’s worried that I’ll get here and never leave. I do this, find the tallest place in the city or some where that has a look out point and just be. I think, I write, I remember my brother Scott, he always wanted to be an architect and I just can’t stop visiting buildings that he’d get a kick out of. You know Randy Rhoads had train stations, I got Buildings.”
“You said wanted and remember, all pass tense. Why?”
“Yeah he died when I was 13. I became a bass player for he both of us, we both loved music but never could play so when he died I said fuck it, what will I be doing in a couple of years that will be any different if I start to take lessons.” He smiled sadly I think.. “But its all good now right?”
“Yeah all good. Here we are. Doesn’t look like much from here does it? When I first came here for a field trip in third grade I was so pissed I thought it would be something else grander or something but it’s just the front of a building like all the others I was bummed.”
“’Till you looked up right? Wish we did this earlier could see better” He looked over at me I felt bad if I’d known this was important I would have mentioned it sooner then he poked me and made me look up at him. “Hey you didn’t know did ya? NO, so don’t feel bad okay? It’s not like I tell every one this. Lets get inside before it closes. Smile.” And pulled me along while walking half backwards again he let go and got ahead of me grinning like a kid bouncing as he walked.
He waited for me by the doors looking at himself in the reflection in the glass running his hands thru his hair pulling some knots, you should carry a brush deer, I thought, Deer where did that come from? Looking back at him slowing my steps, yeah deer, I wish he was, my deer. Damn here I go again but he was captivating just to watch him the way he moved like in the car passing the joint thru all the bantering I was watching his hands his eyes his mouth he had a nice mouth.
“HEY! Ground control to Major Josh, are you floating in a most peculiar way?”
“Hun? Oh sorry, spacemen Chasez reporting.”
“My name silly C-h-a-s-e-z SHA-zay, it’s French” entering the building waiting for the elevator to go down, yes down 4 floors to the ticket thing then up in special elevators that make your ears pop. To go to the ‘Sky deck’. “come on we only have an hour.”
“Where were you?”
“What? Right here.”
“No when you spaced out. Where were you? I called you twice before the ‘Major Tom ‘bit, you do this often?”
“Yea my mom asks the same thing I tell her I’m only visiting other worlds not moving in.” we both laughed at that.
We stood in line and got some looks from others for the first time today, I mean Bob Seger summed it up in ‘Turn the Page’ “is it woman is it man and you always feel out numbered” that was us right there standing amongst tourists, families on an outing, security guards, collage kids in full prep gear Dockers and agile sock. You’d of thought we would feel uncomfortable but naw I was use to this and so was he we shrugged off the looks and whispers ‘till we came to the ticket counter. The kid behind it recognized Cliff, and had a spaz.
“OH fuck oh fuck me oh shit your your; your in Metallica oh shit your Cliff Burton oh shit shit dude your fucking show rocked man ya’ll are the shit man fuck dude sign this please I mean man you’re a god dude.”
As people around us Really began to stare and the guards were moving in for what I don’t know either to kick us out or protect Cliff form the Kid I don’t know but Cliff reached behind and grabbed me and pulled me closer I stumbled not expecting it and bumped into him, looking over his shoulder giving me a look that said it was ok and to stay close nodding to the guards I supposed he wanted them to know I was with him in case. Cliff asked the kid to calm down so he could get his name and signed the (thingies you get from those places) and chatted for a minute before saying we’re holding the line and he’d really like to get up there before closing. You know what the kid let up for free.
Now let me let you in on something every one knows I’m afraid of needles what they don’t know is I HATE elevators I mean loath them, so getting on this contraption that takes you up 100 or so floors at next to warp speed made me almost want to walk.
We had gotten the lift to ourselves , I suppose from the kid throwing such the seen, I tried not to watch Cliff much my stomach was on the ground floor and I did not want to space out yet again. As we got to the ‘Sky Deck’ people were being ushered out saying it was close to closing. I don’t mean to say that it was because we or “the famous Cliff” was up there people were just leavening on their own but having to be told where the other set of evil elevators were located.
The “Sky Deck’ is a floor or two below the roof. You can see for miles, there’s wroth iron railings surrounding the room giving you an illusion of danger if you get too close, you can’t fall any where but it helps if your short to see the ground you stand on the bottom most part of the railing and lean to the window and place your forehead on the glass and you look straight down. The room is Dim at night to make it easier to see out, there are plaques and displays all over, there’s even a spy glass collection in a case on the inner west wall. Benches line some parts of the inner walls also.
Cliff grabbed my hand and pulled me along with him to the far north side where you could see the lake once there he let go and plastered him self to the glass. Standing on his toes Looking down. I’d been here several time, school and such, but Cliff’s joy rubbed off on me we went around to the plaques and other displays reading and commenting on each one. It struck me in that moment just how intelligent Cliff was I mean I knew it form the list of books at work but right then I realized Cliff was Not your ordinary pot head rock star, it made me want to know him all the more. Although his energy was contagious I soon had to sit and parked myself on a bench Cliff ambled along for a while longer then sat next to me. He just smiled as if saying thanks and we watched the lights of the city. Chicago is a beautiful city but at night the lights are the best.
Sitting there with him my mind started to question why? Why was I here with him why did he take me with him earlier what was going on was this some thing he did find someone in each town on a free day to hang with or no and if yes why was James so pissed and saying “to have fun with your new friend” my mind kept in this circle for a bit ‘till I realized I spaced again and Cliff was waving his hand in front of my face.
“I did it again eh?” he nodded “sorry tired I guess I was up early and all getting late. What time is it and where did everyone go?”
“It’s midnight, Cinderella, time to go. The security talked to someone the kid downstairs I think and let us stay for a bit but they want us out now so let’s move out, you hungry? I’m hungry we need food”
“Okay. You like Mexican I know a good place that’s still open?”
“Are you a fan of mine? Do you read anything on us? Of course I like Mexican food goof, I could live off the shit.”
“Okay in that case will go to a Chinese place instead.”
“Hey dick” he tried to hit me but I ducked an ran to the elevator with him chasseing me the whole way saying we better not go to no Chinese place or else.
We did pick up Mexican AND Chinese. Cliff also wanted to stop and get beer and “a new deck” apparently Lars must have marked the old ones, because Cliff said “with his baby face he can’t bluff for shit so the little fucker is cheating”. I decided to stay in the car when we pulled in at the ‘7 eleven’ didn’t want Cliff having problems buying beer cause I’m with him and they would card me too, plus I thought he would be able to get out faster but NO he ran into yet more fans. Cliff was great about it he put down one bag and sing whatever some one handed him, bullshitted for a bit ‘till I got out and took the bags from him, putting them in the back seat next to the food. Cliff still had a case of beer by his feet talking and singing away for some time, I looked at the clock on my radio and called out to Cliff that we better get a move on or he’d be late. He made his apologies for having to leave and said” I’ll see you at the next gig” and got in. This time I took control of the Radio and left it on 106.7 the Blaze it played hard rock and stuff he made a comment that it was strange still to hear himself on the radio. I told him one day he’d hear my music too.
The parking lot of the hotel was a swarming mess when we arrived two busses and one semi , several cars, people in every direction and to cops. What a mess and there amongst it all was James standing in the parking lot watching everybody go by.
He must’ve recognized my car from the other night cause he walked straight to us whipping open Cliffs door saying “Where the Flying fuck have you been asshole, I was worried. Oh cool you brought beer gimme that I’ll get it . what else you bring me?”
“It’s all in the back Dick head. Food boos and I got new cards so the little fucker can’t cheat anymore” laughing
“Not Mexican again is it?”
“Yup ass and Chinese. You can thank josh for that James”
“Oh so he does have redeeming qualities after all” looking at me “thanks kid” and walked off to one of the busses with the food and beer. Kirk appeared out of tin air to grab what was left and thanked me without Cliff saying a word just shaking his head and rolling his eyes.
“Hey Quirk, where’s Lou or Ed?” shouting after him.
“I don’t know, with Lars? Try the truck.. Someone loaded some shit wrong and he had a fit, something about the stage gear.”
“Who had a fit”
“LOU dick head”
Flipping off Kirk, coming around to my side, “come on,”
“come with me I want you there when I find Lou okay? No on second thought stay here, don’t go anywhere”
What if they want me to move the car?”
“Tell them to fuck off and you’re with me?
“Ok” sighing he ran off in to the mealy of bodies.
Cliff was gone forever I actually thought he forgot about me he was gone so long, just as I was going to give up and go home, he came out of the crowd with another big older looking man in tow. It was not Lou but could have been Lou’s dad. Cliff waved to me to come to them and they slowed.
Joining them Cliff introduced the man as Ed in charge if security and back stage area. In other words the man the groupies had to make nice with to get back stage and “Meet” the band.
I shook his hand said hi and listened to him and Cliff bickered for a minute something to do with the color of pass Cliff wanted me to have. I didn’t understand and wasn’t really listening ‘till Ed broke out with “YOU want me to what?!”
“What? They’re a problem? Just put Josh on my VIP list up by Connie, where’s the dilemma? And give me the fucking pass I want asshole.”
“Fine Cliff what ever you want, I’ll go get it give me a minute dick, what’s his Name again?” Ed exasperated
“Josh. Josh Sha-zay got it?” Ed nodded “Hey dick get a good look at him I want you to remember him next time.”
“Cliff believe me I’ll remember you want a guy to get a blue pass trust me I’ll remember”
“Tell Lou too, okay?”
“Sure Cliff let me go get the fuckin thing would ya we got to pullout in 20 man.” Cliff smiled as he left.
“We’ll be sitting on his Nova over there ed okay?” Cliff shouted after Ed.
Turning to me “Com on let’s go grab some bumper”
Walking back to the car I felt weird again all the why’s from the day came back and what was with the ‘Blue’ pass thing and who the hell was Connie, his girlfriend? Oh great yes put me on the VIPs list next to his girlfriend Please I want the guy in the worst way held it in all day very well I might add thank you very much and yes lets put me by her why don’t we. Fuck me I did it AGAIN.
“Swindon to Josh come in, Huston we have a problem the pilot has been caught spaced again. What’s up Josh, and don’t tell me you’re just tired.”
“what’s with Ed and the ‘Blue pass thing”
“Oh those” chuckling “Blue ones are very special. They mean you didn’t have to do anything and I mean anything to get back stage we, the band gave you one, no favors no acting like a groupie and all that. That’s why he freaked I never have never given out one before”
“Then who’s Connie?”
“My sister” grinning sheepishly, nudging me in the side “who’d you think it was, my girlfriend?”
“Remember last night ‘need one first’ I don’t have one, girlfriends and the road do not mix. What else? You trying to figure out why I spent all day with you?”
I nodded, looked at the ground I felt his hand under my chin lifting my head to meet his eyes. “Cause I wanted too.” I smiled and looked around us things had clamed considerably, looked like it was time for Cliff to leave, Lou was walking up to us and handed over a blue pass, blue background with ‘Metallica” written in red across one side and “All access priority one” in white on the other, it was on a Yellow strap like cord.
“Cliff man 10 more minutes that’s all I can give, then we got to go. See you later Josh, Nice car.” Lou said as he walked off. The parking lot was empty except of the cars and one bus.
Cliff put the pass round my neck gently lifting my hair over the cord. I felt like a shy school boy having him do that I wished I could kiss him but that might not go over too well. He was standing in front of me when he put his hands on my waist and pulled me in, wrapping his arms around me. My face could rest easily on his shoulder where I buried it inhaling him hugging him tight as he held me I really did not want to let go but I had to. It hit me that he was not giving me the typical guy hug right before I pulled away and I was reluctant to let go fully and rested my hands on his waist.
Taking my chin in his hand “I’ll see you soon. Plan on it.”
“I got to go. I had a blast with you Josh Chasez, did I say it right?” I nodded. “Cool. Remember bring this with you it will get you right in and right to me okay?”
“Yeah I won’t forget”
“I know you won’t.” hugging me again so tight this time I lost me breathe. “See you soon. Bye josh take care of yourself” and he ran off to the bus waving as ha left.
I watched the bus with him leave and felt like just maybe, maybe he liked me for something more.