What I asked Fran Connie was restraint—did her songs have any. I wasn’t even supposed to. But she didn’t turn off, only over.
What I’m saying is I’m not a journalist or a critic or a biographer of any kind.
What I’m saying is Fran Connie stood up.
“They’re slight, but it’s not for any restraint.” Fran Connie walked to the minibar and poured herself a drink. I was too shy to ask for more. But had there been a third party around to smooth the scene over?
Jon Jon had just left. But if he wasn’t even out of college, can you really say he counted? Jon Jon of the nervous lot, the kind who received high-fives as if advice.
“Can I come up to sober up?” Jon Jon had asked. “I don’t want to walk home this-a-way.” He danced like Calvin Johnson spacewalking on sedatives.
And is it hard to let the responsible down?
Jon Jon had stared at Fran Connie the whole night. When she lit a smoke. When she wasn’t playing. But he did like he had promised and sobered up a smidge and left. Not like I wouldn’t have pushed him. Fran Connie even. Wasn’t she the caliber of musician who needed her space?
The time to be polite had long passed both me and Fran Connie over. The future no need except our own. And what you feel, right?
Jon Jon only sobered up to make sure he would remember the real her. Fran Connie, I mean.
Let’s get down to the reason I was even here. I won’t even start with the lie. Even the one underneath that, as if I was a Fran Connie fan since day one. If I had another drink the beans would famously spill. It wasn’t even a gimmick—only myself that I’d spent a lifetime to know.
What I’m saying is my ex was in love with Fran Connie.
And not just for her music or her lyrics or the way she looked at the camera like she was forlorn and transient all at once. Like she was more decidedly human than you knew humans knew to be.
What I’m saying is there was an actual time that they’d met. A film premiere in New Brunswick, then weeks later at a bar in L.A. The circumstances made it subtle. Whoever decides when its fate?
Fran Connie let my ex buy her dinner, told him he was “strangely made.” The last story I got was that it wasn’t all night. She had an early plane. But next I knew he’d bought a ticket and a bottle of champagne and made his way to her place in Chicago. So what else to do but eject? Escape!
It wasn’t like I was mad at her. All Fran Connie did or didn’t do. It’s not like she even took him in. And does it matter if they fucked a few times or kissed?
Now Fran Connie’s made a record of new songs, ones that make her sound exposed or maybe empowered in an omniscient kind of way.
Now Fran Connie was in a hotel room with me.
She set her whiskey near the sofa and started singing that Dr. John song about how if you don’t do it somebody else will.
Maybe she knew something about me too?
What I have known from day one is that dumb jokes are always funny. Take this one: years later I break water in a carport. Double-over and run my wet hands through my pixie cut. Pregnant with my literature professor’s twins.
What I’m saying is I’ve read a lot. And still don’t know how we predict all these dumb clichés.
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