It was three o’clock on a summer afternoon and he needed to breathe fresh air, so Taylor poured himself a heady a beer and sat on his deck. He had barely taken a sip when Tasha appeared on the sidewalk below and waved.
He waited at the door and let her in. She had pink earphones clamped around her neck. She put one end of the earphones up to her ear, aimed the other one at Taylor, and sang along: I’m saving it, saving it, saving it for you.
Taylor wasn’t in the mood for a sing along.
Tasha said: “You hate WartHogg, don’t you, Mister Jazz? Which genius do you pretend to like? Miles or Monk?”
“Both,” he said. “And I’m not pretending.”
“They’re playing Toronto.”
“I doubt it. Miles and Monk are both dead.”
“WartHogg. I’ve got backstage passes.”
“You’re going all the way up there to a concert?”
“Last chance. They’re off to Europe for the summer. They’ll be sharing a basement apartment in Prague. Joey’s tired of American audiences. He says they won’t shut up and listen.”
“Isn’t that one of his songs? Shut up and listen?”
“Shut up and Sing,” she said. “He doesn’t give a damn about my love life.”
“Joey. When you’re with me, he says, you’re my woman. When you’re not, you do as you please. That’s why I love him.”
“No, you love him because he’s a rock star. Over the whole course of your romance, how much time have you spent with Joey Wart?”
“Warkowski. Wart is a stage name.” She counted her fingers. “Four nights. Five if you count Burning Man.”
“He took you to Burning Man?”
“Not exactly. I had to share him. Look, Taylor, I know you think it’s weird … “
“I think it keeps you from real commitment.”
“Look who’s talking! Mister Bed-hopper himself.”
She plopped into a leather chair and swiveled like she was in a showroom, thinking of purchasing it.
“When Joey gets into those black moods, I’ll fly across the world to support him. He’s creative, Taylor, he’s an artist, he gets, you know, like Vincent Van Gogh. Despair. It’s a disease, and Joey’s got it, he brings the world joy but he gets so down sometimes …”
“So you’re going to move to Prague?”
“Nope. They’re not going to turn me into a roadie.”
“You didn’t come over just to play WartHogg for me.”
“I’ve got bad news,” she said. “Restraining order.”
“What are you talking about?”
“On Daniel Burns.”
“A restraining order on my father? By who?”
“Elizabeth Burns. Honolulu family court, 2006. Paperwork filed for a 90-day TRO. But in Hawaii, you have to appear before a judge and justify the request, and Elizabeth Burns never showed up.”
“How the hell do you know this?”
“It’s pretty obscure, yeah, since it was never executed but I’m doing more research in the court system over there.”
“2006, you said?”
“You were what, fourteen?”
“You’re researching in Hawaii, why?”
“I’ve got a geek over there doing it.”
“I have my reasons, Taylor. I wasn’t looking for this. My geek just came up with it.”
“So my mom filled out the paperwork but…”
“Oh, that required court appearance? It’s meant to humiliate the victim. You stand in front of a judge and detail your … no. A lot of women aren’t going to do that. It’s a betrayal, Taylor, a public betrayal of the family.”
“That’s it? One restraining order and …”
“That’s all I’ve come up with so far. Were you living on base or off?”
“Your father was in the Air Force police, right?”
“So she turned to the civilian system, of course. Taylor, I hate to bring you this news, but with your mom’s case open and all, I felt I had to.”
She put an arm around his waist.
“Let’s go get loaded,” she said.