Hello, Sam. Rolf tells her as he gets into the passenger seat of her car. Hello, gifted one. I heard that you completely psyched out the guys. She smiles widely, and he gives her a high five. I still don’t know how you did it. The devil is wise because he’s old, not because he’s the devil, Rolf replies.
You gave an amazing performance at the concert, Sam tells him. Thanks. Did you really trade off going on tour with the band for not being in any music videos? Yes.
Why? I think we’ve picked up a tail, Sam. That Caddy with the gangsta rims has been on us since we left my drive. One of yours? She shakes her head no. Signal and pull over. Rolf demands. A thug comes up on Rolf’s side of the car. Yew dat drummah? Rolf nods. Gots sometin fo ya. He reaches in his jacket and Sam points her gun at him. He slowly hands Rolf a CD. Cell numba izonit. Be waitin fo yo call. Hold up, Rolf tells him. If I like it, and pass it on to someone, I get twenty percent of the first album. Fo rizzeal? Word. Rolf says, and offers his hand. They call me a gansta? Ten percent. The thug counters. Fifteen, for my agent to call you. And he’s going to take ten on top of that. The man looks at Rolf with his mouth wide open. Don’t waste my time, Rolf tells the man, and goes to hand him back the CD. The gangster frowns. And then shakes Rolf’s hand. You screw me and you won’t live to regret it, Rolf tells him. Sam motions with her gun, and the man hurriedly leaves.
Who are you? Sam asks Rolf. Kingmaker. Does that happen often? Rolf shrugs. Let’s see how he rhymes….
When they get to Jax’s they walk through the house to the backyard, where everyone is gathered around the fire pit, drinking kale smoothies. I changed it up, Bettina tells Rolf, as she brings him a glass. What’s in it? Taste it and tell us. I have food allergies, Bettina. It’s tropical: pineapple, kiwi, mango, coconut. He takes a sip and nods his approval. Delicious. She smiles brightly.
I’d like to hear your experiences of the concert, Jax tells everyone as they sit around the fire. I’ll start, because I framed the topic and have had time to think about it. Nickelback tribute song went well, it was a good warmup. That was a great selection, Toni agrees. Mike, you sang that really well. Uncle’s hands are lined with guilt for tearing us apart, really? Sam says. Mike grins. I wondered if you’d caught that. I like that you played the guitar, Lana tells Simon, and rubs his shoulder. How was it in the street? He asks her. Secret Service lost control of their protectee. It was an absolute free for all. What did you do? I let Kostamo’s men loose. They just waded in and started punching guys. I shouldn’t say this, but it was fun to watch. Ringside seats, Lana. Mike tells her. No thank you. Ringside is for people who want to be seen seeing the fight. Lana explains. So what happened? The girls used the space to gravitate over to me. What’s going on, they yelled. Someone bumped me and almost knocked me down, I told them. I love Jax; he is so amazing. Lana tells Jax with a big grin. “I know, right” is what his granddaughter told me. Everyone but Bettina chuckles.
You’re wicked. Bettina tells Simon. Art should build up; you use it to tear down. I wrote that song; not Simon, Rolf tells her. Shame on you, Bettina tells him. It was meant to be cathartic, to provoke an emotional response, Jon tells Bettina. Do you want me to slap you? Bettina replies angrily, and Jon lowers his head. She glares at Rolf. You sit there on your drum set like a king on his throne. How dare you pick on Lana, after all she’s been through?
Music is the universal language, Bettina. Each song is meant to be a subjective island experience for the listener. Jax tells her. Raul and Toni thought the same thing. Because they were on your island. Mike replies.
Lana? Simon asks. “Though I sing with the tongue of men and angels, and have not love, I am nothing”. Everyone stares at her. Can you be any more cryptic? Jax finally asks her. It was the performance of a lifetime, Simon. Thank you. That means a lot to me. Simon tells her. Bettina glares at him. Bettina, we talked about this. Lana tells her. Bettina frowns and stares into the fire. I heard U2 in your chording on that song, Lana tells Mike. He nods and grins. And Rolf, I love watching you play drums.
Your keyboard accents were spot on, Jon. Sam tells him, and Simon, I don’t think anyone could bring the depth of emotion to the song that you did. You had me on edge when you took off your glasses and crushed them underfoot. Toni nods. When you picked up the tempo in the middle of the song, I was hooked. And then you backed off at the ending. It was amazing.
Everyone is silent and Jax adds more wood to the fire. You gorilla. Bettina says to Simon, trying to keep her frown. Beating your chest and then just squatting there for the rest of the concert. Everyone laughs. It was all I could do not to fall off the stage, Simon admits. I wanted to move around, but I couldn’t without my glasses. Could you see all the people coming up on stage and jumping off to crowd surf? Toni asks. I’m near sighted as hell, Simon replies. Your restraint worked, Sam says. Do you remember the first fan who jumped up on set and started headbanging and thrashing around like crazy? He had it going on. Mike says. I liked how he fell backwards and crowd surfed. The ones that came up after him weren’t nearly as good. Most of them just climbed up on the stage and then dove off right away. Sam, Bettina, and Lana start giggling hysterically. That was Raul’s brother, Bettina tells them, Ramon Ortega. It was a good thing you didn’t take him out with your drumstick, she tells Rolf. And everyone laughs.
I heard that you sing and play guitar, Lana. Mike tells her as the fire dies down. She nods. Bettina and I will have you over sometime. Have you seen Jax’s guitar collection? Tonight’s the first time I’ve been over here. Come on, Jax says, and everyone gets up. Pick whichever you like, and it’s yours. Jax tells Lana she examines them. I have my own, thank you, Lana responds. Play Wonderwall, Jon says. Lana nods. Set me up please, she tells Jax. What do you want? Just an amp and two stools; I don’t like to play standing. Lana plays it through, but doesn’t sing. It’s quiet, Simon says, your version. Sing it. Toni tells her. Lana shakes her head no, and looks over at Bettina. Let’s do “Come to the River” for them, unplugged. Bettina nods and snaps her fingers at Simon. Glasses. He takes them off and hands them to her, as Jax gets Lana a different guitar. Bettina gets up off the floor and sits next to Lana, then puts them on.
When they’re finished, Lana sets her guitar down and reaches over and wraps Bettina up in a side hug. I love you, she tells her. Bettina closes her eyes, and grips Lana’s arm, and they touch heads. Bettina gets up and gives Simon his glasses back. That harmony was on point, he tells her. She smiles at him. We better get going, she tells Lana. You never know who we’re going to meet at church. Lana laughs as she goes over to Jax and gives him a hug and a kiss. Goodnight.