Another Day, Another Hotel

Light My Lucky

“Christ Almighty,” I say rubbing my eyes. “I need a cigarette.”
“It’s been what, twenty four hours?” Gerard says. “Forty at the most?”
“You don’t even know,” I say peering between my fingers.

Thirty-seven hours and twelve minutes ago, Gerard bet me two hundred bucks I couldn’t go three consecutive days without smoking when I made fun of Jason W. for being cranky because he couldn’t find his particular brand of cigarettes anywhere.
“Oh, poor baby Jason,” I’d teased. “Can’t buy Lucky Strikes at the Shell Station.”
One of the roadies had ventured into the greater Denver Airport area and bought him a duty free carton during a layover, and now we were all crammed into a round booth at a Denny’s outside St. Louis.
Jason pulls out a pack and does his damnedest to lay it casually on the table in my view. Rude. The waitress drops off a couple platters of cheese fries along with some plates and Iero manhandles himself a portion, saying,
“It is bad for you, you know.”
“No!” I snap. “You don’t say? Thanks for that stunning revelation.”
“Well, I’m just saying…” he mumbles and stares down at the table. Next to me, Mike leans back from the table and chuckles into his drink.
“What?” I glare sideways at him.
“So bitchy,” he says, shaking his head.
“I don’t even want-“ I start. He just looks back at me with a damn smug smirk on his face.
“If you hadn’t felt the need to be an asshole, you wouldn’t be in this,” Gerard says, stirring his coke with his straw.
“I don’t even know what you’re talking about,” I sigh in mock exasperation.
“You’re always so mean to him,” Mikey offers, thumbing across the table at Jason W.
“What? He’s just a sad looking kid with curly red hair that no one likes.”
When the MCR half of the table awws sympathetically in Jason W’s defense, I throw my hands up. “Tell them it’s true!”
“What a horrible thing to say,” Jason F says, tossing an arm around Jason W’s shoulders. “We love him very much.”
“Yeah,” Mike says. “You know, for a sad looking kid with curly red hair.”
Ronnie, Jason F and Tre nod in agreement. Jason W gives me a particularly sad look and pushes the cigarettes even closer. I clunk my head down on the table
“Looks like it’s your turn to be the sad looking kid with curly hair that no one likes,” Adrienne says, patting my hair.
“I hate you all,” I mumble.
Tonight we’ve got a gig in St. Louis, then head our asses back over to California for the last few shows in the states. We’ve just finished up soundcheck and I’m wandering around backstage trying to figure out how the hell to get to the back area where the busses are. We usually stick to a buddy system in venues we don’t know, but I just had to go and nose around on my own. When I pass a hallway I’m pretty sure I’ve passed about six times already, I’m this close to actually calling Mike for help when I stumble upon an exit door that opens onto a covered back lot area. Apparently this parking lot is a designated smoking area because when I push open the door to sweet freedom, I’m hit with the smell of cigarette smoke like a two ton brick Not exactly the thing I needed to smell forty-six hours and twenty-nine minutes into this goddamn bet with Gerard. There’s a little alleyway that looks like it could lead to the bus parking lot, so I decide to mosey on over and see where it goes. Reaching inside the pocket of my jacket to switch songs on my ipod, I realize I’ve got a pack of cigarettes in there. No one’s back here to see if I take , you know, like three seconds or whatever to smoke one. No one I can lose two hundred bucks to anyway. I sneak into the alley, looking both ways like I’m 15 again and smoking pot in mom’s bathroom, and light a cigarette and take a drag. It’s the most amazing thing… ever. I’m going to say ever. Slouching back onto the wall on one side of the alley, I’m definitely enjoying that cigarette way more than I should when I hear shuffly footsteps, followed by Jason W turning down into the alley way.
“Hey, Billie-“ he starts, but then realizes what he’s caught me doing, stops short with an “I caught you” look on his face.
“Oh, no,” I say, holding my free hand up to stop whatever might be coming out of his mouth next. He starts to sidle back out the way he came, no doubt to go tattle and collect his portion of the bet winnings, but I move first, stubbing the cigarette out on the wall and dropping it on the ground (what would Adie say?), chasing after him to block his exit. Damn these short legs, he’s out of the alley and down the corridor that leads the to the bus parking lot faster than I would have expected from a sad looking kid that no one likes. I tear down the sidewalk as fast as I can go and am seriously like a foot and a half away from grabbing the edge of his jacket when he turns into the parking lot, hollering the whole time for anyone who will listen and throws himself against MCR’s bus, pounding on the door. I didn’t expect the busses to actually be that close the sidewalk turn and there’s no way in hell I can slow myself down in time. Given my lack of slow down time (I’m pretty sure there’s a term for that, but hell if I know. I was probably high as shit that day in science class), I slam into Jason banging on the bus door, knocking myself backwards and taking him out with me. As we clamor to our feet, the bus door pops open and Gerard sticks his head out to see what the fuck is going on. Jason and I both try to start talking all at once, but we can’t since, you know, we’re doubled over trying to catch our breaths. We are both smokers after all.