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Chapter Eight

Chapter Nine

Chapter Ten

If you were touring America these days and you wanted to contact your manager or, indeed, anyone back in the UK, all you need to do is switch on a laptop or tablet or smart phone and use Skype. And if not Skype exactly, you’d use Viber or exchange e-mails or instant messages. But in the early 1990s, the internet was very slow and ridiculously expensive and most people weren’t online anyway. So, when Crystal wanted to contact Madeleine, our agent, to find out how things were doing she had to seek out a payphone and drop a lot of coins into the slot for a not very long and usually unsatisfactory conversation.

I don’t know how or when Crystal originally got Madeleine to represent her. She was Crystal’s agent long before I first heard her live and she’d also represented John River before the River Bank became famous and ascended well out of her league. I sometimes got the impression that Madeleine was working for Crystal as a favour, although she did also manage some other rather more successful bands that regularly toured Europe and the UK. None were fabulously rich or famous, but they made enough for it to be worth Madeleine’s while. This roster included folk groups, a jazz band and several minor league Rock and Pop groups. The most commercially successful band was called the Seven Imps. They were a Death Metal group who’d originally come from Norway but had now settled in East London and bore a remarkable resemblance to Snow White’s Seven Dwarfs as illustrated by Arthur Rackham. To be honest, she and I were never really the best of friends. I think there might have been some sexual tension between us. I considered myself to be Crystal’s primary lover after Mark and I think Madeleine might once have believed that she occupied that role. Whatever the reason, she was never especially friendly towards me. Madeleine was a rather offhand manager when we returned to England and, in the absence of anyone else, it was me who became the de facto acting band leader.

John River and Mark both told me that Madeleine was critical in the early days of Crystal’s career and it was she who persuaded Christine Giordano to adopt a stage name that was less of a mouthful and thereby become the eponymous Crystal Passion. The acoustic sound of her first album, Triad, was a much better fit with the singer-songwriters Madeleine managed—such as Mary Jane Clover, Lenny Shroud and Joanna—than it was with the direction the music took after she teamed up with me, my sister, Jane and Jacquie. And it was through Madeleine that Crystal Passion got signed to Gospel Records.

All the same, she still doesn’t get much of a mention in Polly Tarantella’s biography.

“So what’s Madeleine got to say?” asked Olivia.

“We’ve had more news coverage in the UK over the last few days than we’ve ever had,” said Crystal.

“Good or bad?” wondered the Harlot.

“Mixed,” admitted Crystal. “And none of it’s about the music. There was a short article about us in the NME that was on our side. It was about our American tour and how we’ve been maligned by the right-wing press and misrepresented on television and radio. It was more about the failures of the American media than an account of the gigs we’ve played.”

“That’s something at least,” said Tomiko.

“Well, it’s better than the articles about us in the Sun, the Daily Mail and the London Evening News where we’ve again been called Crystal and the Passions. In fact, the Daily Mail even managed to spell my name with a ‘K’, so that I’m now Kristal as in Kristallnacht. At least they don’t also accuse me of being anti-Semitic.”

“What do they say?” Philippa wondered.

“That we’ve been scandalising all of America with our shocking stage act. That we’ve been appearing on stage in the nude and having live lesbian sex in front of our fans. That we’re in the same tradition of scandalous and outrageous rock groups as the Sex Pistols, the Slits and Throbbing Gristle. And, what’s worse, the only gig any of them report is the one at the Purple Robe in Detroit. There’s a small photo of us in the Sun but it’s difficult to tell what’s going on because it’s obscured by so many black rectangles. There’s nothing about our gig at Boston. Nothing about our gig with Veronica in Newport. And there’s something in the Daily News about me once being John River’s girlfriend…”

“And is that so?” Bertha asked.

“Hardly. John is my cousin. Even I draw the line at that.”

“Don’t worry about all that shit,” said Judy Dildo. “No one pays attention to what’s printed in those rags.”

Unfortunately, Judy wasn’t quite right. Even in the 1990s and without the prevalence of the internet, news could still carry a long distance. Maybe it wasn’t as instant as it is these days, but it was fast enough.

Later that day I was hanging around our camp site with Andrea, Tomiko and Crystal while we discussed how to capitalise on the success of our first gig and what numbers we should play at our gig on the closing night. We weren’t going to be the final act. That honour was given to a local Syracuse all-woman Hard Rock band called Third Rock. We weren’t even the second-to-last. That slot was taken by the Women of Babylon, a Riot Grrrl band from Brooklyn defiantly proud to be both mixed race and lesbian. That was the perfect combination at this festival which the Crystal Passion band surpassed only by virtue of us having almost three times as many women as they had. But we were looking forward to being third from last and wondering whether we should perform some other cover songs. Andrea was keen on playing Carole King’s It’s Too Late while I was arguing the merits of Alison Limerick’s Where Love Lies.

But our discussion was interrupted by Ariel Golgotha who appeared by our tent dressed in denim shorts, hand-weave sandals and the official festival tee-shirt.

“Gee! What the fuck! Have you heard this horse-shit rumour, you guys?” she said.

“Sorry, Ariel,” asked Crystal innocently. “What horse-shit?”

Ariel looked Crystal up and down from her face to her toes, clearly uncomfortable at standing at such close proximity to a naked woman. Her freckled face visibly reddened, but she continued regardless.

“The horse-shit about you guys performing at a strip club in Detroit. I mean it’s fucking groovy that you’re like naturists and into Mother Earth and all those good things, but Gee! Strip Clubs! I mean, guys… What the fuck! Is it true?”

Crystal lowered herself onto a deck chair, partly to obscure her nudity but also to take the more submissive role appropriate for further negotiation.

“We’ve not been lucky with some of our bookings, Ariel,” she said.

“But a fucking strip club. In front of fucking… fucking… in front of men. Gee! I mean, like what the fuck! This is a woman’s festival. We’re here to celebrate our sisterhood. We’re not here to pander to male chauvinist fantasies and fucking… fucking… stuff like pornography and the oppression of women. Just tell me it’s all horse-shit, guys. Come on.”

“It’s not what we wanted to do,” said Crystal. “We had a gig arranged at the Detroit Fall, which is normally a folk-rock club. But when we got to Detroit, we discovered that we’d been booked to play at a club called the Purple Robe instead. We didn’t know what kind of place it was and we felt duty-bound to fulfil our obligations.”

“But fuck! Gee! You didn’t have to play at a fucking strip club. What will the sisters think? It’s like the opposite of everything we stand for.”

“Do you want us to cancel our gig, Ariel?”

“What? No. I don’t think so. It’s too late for that. But Gee! I don’t know. If word got round… You’re not going to start having sex on stage are you? I’m open-minded, fuck knows. But there are limits, you know. There’s only so far you can go with free expression before it becomes pornography. I mean, naturism is one thing. That’s communion with nature and being Green and aware and as one with the spirits. But sex on stage, even in front of the sisters, that’s fucking… fucking… It’s not right. Is it, Crystal?”

“Not at all, Ariel,” said Crystal. “And you can be assured that we shan’t be doing anything like that at all. We’ll just go on stage and perform our songs. That’s all we want to do and that’s all we shall do.”

“Well, that’s cool then,” said Ariel who seemed relieved but evidently not completely reassured.

This conversation visibly upset Crystal. Once Ariel was out of sight and earshot, she sank her head into her hands: her face obscured by her long hair.

“What have I done?” she wailed. “How has it all come to this?”

“None of it’s your fault, Crystal,” said Andrea, kneeling down beside her and wrapping an arm around her shoulder.

“It’s all shit anyway,” said Tomiko. “Who cares about that gig in Detroit? At least it helped pay the bills.”

“We’re still going to make a phenomenal loss on this tour,” Crystal continued. “We should have just said no about appearing at a strip club. We should have stuck to our principles.”

I wasn’t sure what to say. After all, unlike my sister, I was one of those who’d actually performed on stage at the Purple Robe and, what’s more, had done so almost totally nude. I’d hated doing it but I was also complicit.

“Shall we just continue working on the set list?” I suggested.

“That’s mostly been done,” said Andrea. “And judging from what Ariel’s just been saying I don’t think we’ll have the opportunity to play bonus cover tunes, whether by Carole King or by some House diva.”

“If we get the chance we should try Eight Days a Week or Norwegian Wood,” Crystal proposed with a shy smile. “Anything by Lennon-McCartney goes down well.”

“How about we play something decent like Lithium or Smoke on the Water?” suggested Judy Dildo who strode towards us from the direction of the food tents. She was wearing a skimpy bikini top and barely decent denim shorts and her arm was around the waist of a teenage girl with short black-dyed hair wearing a festival tee-shirt and tight black briefs. Judging from her piercings and tattoos, this was a girl who’d enjoy the music of Hole and Bikini Kill as much as Judy did. And the evidence from her simpering affection towards Judy was that there was a whole lot more about Judy that she’d been enjoying.

“Ariel’s just come over here and told us that she’d heard about our gig in Detroit,” I announced in the malicious hope of deflating Judy’s ego. I wasn’t feeling charitable towards her. I mean, how dare she? Not only was she making love with Crystal more often than I was, she’d also found the time and opportunity to pick up and fuck the local talent.

“Shit! You mean the Purple Robe.”

“Exactly,” I said.

“That Ariel’s one prudish bitch,” said Judy uncharitably. “She thinks that all it takes is to have sex with a woman for her to be the fucking spokeswoman for a whole half of humanity. She should go back to fucking church and sing hymns and shit.”

The girl accompanying Judy giggled appreciatively. Disrespect towards the Christian faith patently went down well with her. Nonetheless, Judy slipped out of the girl’s grip and slid towards Crystal so that now both she and Andrea had their arms around her. And I was just stood at one side and looked on ineffectually in the company of Tomiko and a still giggling teenage girl who was rolling up one of those single-skin joints that Americans prefer.

“We’ll show those bastards we mean business,” said Judy boldly.

“That’s not why I make music,” Crystal pleaded. “I’m not about confrontation, Judy. I’m about building bridges.”

“Like fucking Simon and Garfunkel,” Judy sniffed scornfully.

Judy’s teenage girlfriend passed me her spliff which I received gratefully, despite the dampness of the roach. “It’s the bomb,” she said. I nodded, but I’d already enjoyed somewhat stronger dope earlier that day and was now up for a whole lot more.

“Fucking traitors!” shouted a woman from behind me. “Scumbag Assholes!”

“What?” I said twisting round my neck, while Andrea, Crystal and Judy jerked up their chins. Neither Tomiko, who was now in possession of the joint, nor Judy’s girlfriend, who was waiting for it to return, paid much heed to the commotion.

“You ain’t feminists!” jeered one of three women who were emboldened by a concoction of the kind of stimulant officially banned at the festival (and whose prohibition Ariel whole-heartedly supported).

“You’re more fluffers than feminists!” agreed her companion who like here friends wore jeans, tee-shirt and a severe haircut (although not quite as radical as mine).

“Strip Clubs and Pornos!” echoed the third. “If that’s what you think feminism’s about, fuck off back to England!”

“You certainly ain’t wanted here, you Asshole Limeys!” said the first.

With that and a cackle of unsisterly laughter, the three women trailed off.

“What the fuck was that about?” Judy’s girlfriend wondered.

“That was totally uncalled for,” said Tomiko, whose cut-glass English accent startled the teenager. “It wasn’t true and it wasn’t fair. We’ve none of us done porn, have we?”

I decided not to remind her of the Harlot’s history. “I hope that’s not the opinion of all the women here,” I said.

“Of course it is,” said Judy bitterly. “These pent-up stuck-up feminazis! If you don’t follow the message word for word, you’re fucking toast.”

“They have a point,” said Crystal who, as always, could see the virtue of even the most contrary opinion. “This is a festival celebrating womanhood. And what we did in Detroit didn’t further the feminist cause at all.”

“Fuck it!” said Judy angrily. “Come on, Crystal. Come with me. Let’s get away from all this prissy feminist shit.”

She arose from her crouched position and Crystal stood up beside her, allowing Andrea to slump into the now vacant deck chair. Judy then walked off with her arm round Crystal’s waist.

“Hey, girl!” called out Judy’s new girlfriend. “Can I come along?”

“Sure thing,” said Judy who walked off with one arm around Crystal’s waist and the other around her teenage friend.

“Where do you think they’re going?” Tomiko wondered.

I almost expressed the petulant opinion that I didn’t know and I didn’t care, but my more sympathetic sister spoke before I could.

“Crystal’s distraught,” she said. “A change of scene will do her the world of good.”

“And just where is that change of scene?” I remarked. “What is it that Judy and Crystal do together?”

“You feel the need to ask,” countered Andrea accusingly. She’d never fully approved of her sister’s infatuation and this wasn’t the first time she made it apparent.

I wouldn’t be the only one to wonder where Crystal and Judy had gone when late that night neither of them had yet returned to their tent, although I might have been the only one to see a pattern in this unexplained absence and the greater amount of time they were now spending together. It wasn’t until the following day that we saw them again though it was totally uncool for anyone (especially me) to actually ask where they’d been. It was enough to know that Crystal was distressed by the hostile attention and the inward conflict with her conscience. I was the only one who’d take offence that it was with Judy rather than me that Crystal had chosen to unburden herself. Sure, I still had the intimate attention of Jane and Jacquie—not to mention the opportunity to make love with all or any of the other eight women in our entourage (with the notable exception of my sister)—but these could never be enough. I hadn’t dropped out of university and abandoned the promise of a career with the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries just to be the keyboard player in a commercially unsuccessful ten-piece band.

Even so, whatever resentment I harboured against Judy is nothing compared to that expressed by Polly Tarantella. I sometimes wonder why Polly’s so vehemently hostile. She’s never met Judy and never likely to do so. And of all those in the Crystal Passion band, no one was more like the kind of Rock Star axe hero that Polly is more often enamoured with. Rock music’s pantheon is full of men and, increasingly, women who play electric guitars, wear tight clothes and strut their stuff across the stage. And this is exactly what Judy Dildo was all about. Even her stage name was in the honourable tradition of Rock Stars like Billy Fury, Sid Vicious and Siouxsie Sioux. And yet Polly has taken against Judy and is whole-heartedly in favour of Pebbles—even though my stage name owes more to Hanna-Barbera than it does to Malcolm McLaren. I’d much rather listen to Orbital or D’Angelo than anything by Black Sabbath or Queens of the Stone Age. My guess is that ever since she became such a fervent convert to Crystal Passion, anything and everything that reminds her of what she most often used to champion is now the very thing she least wants to associate herself with.

But even with Crystal back—and no sign or mention of the teenage girl who’d accompanied her and Judy—we weren’t fully able to concentrate on preparing for our final gig as the festival’s antepenultimate act.

Word of our Detroit gig increasingly became public knowledge as the day progressed. Whereas on the first day of the festival Crystal could do no wrong, now there was no crime against feminism she wasn’t guilty of. A scrappy signboard was erected near our tents on which was painted a crude arrow pointing in our direction and the phrase This Way to the Porn Sluts! However, as many of the Riot Grrrl bands had names at least as provocative as ‘Porn Sluts’, this probably didn’t have quite the negative impact that the women who’d put the effort into painting the signboard had intended.

There were no longer any groupies following Crystal around wherever she went and only Judy, Thelma and Olivia were now sharing her tent. In fact, Crystal hardly showed her face in public at all. This was a wise policy as every time she did, she attracted the attention of an affronted woman or other who’d shout something like “Jezebel!”, “Traitor!” or “Judas!” in her direction. Or a tirade of abuse along the lines that no true feminist would be seen dead near a strip club let alone perform inside.

“Crystal Fucking ‘Linda Lovelace’ Passion!” shouted one woman scornfully.

“Suck my dildo, bitch!” shouted another.

“This abuse is as bad as any of Crystal’s supposed sins,” Andrea remarked.

“I hate to say it,” said Bertha. “I love and admire Crystal, but she kinda deserves this shit. She did agree to sing in front of a load of fucking strip club punters. And it wasn’t just the one time she agreed to flash her tits for the fuckers.”

“It’s easy for you to say that,” I said. “You weren’t even there.”

“And I fucking never would, whatever you paid me,” Bertha continued. “Fuck knows what Jenny Alpha was thinking when she agreed to roadie for you that night. It’d take a fucking fortune to persuade me to do what she did. And then I’d have to hide my face for shame for the rest of my fucking life!”

“Bertha’s right,” chimed in Philippa. “Crystal should never have agreed to appear at the Purple Robe. Whatever possessed her to be so fucking stupid?”

I thought of countering this criticism by repeating the arguments that had seemed so persuasive to me at the time. That it was a way to earn money on a tour that was haemorrhaging cash to the extent that the band’s survival had become doubtful. That after all the shit we’d already got on the tour, what difference did a little more make. That the audience might well include men who were genuinely interested in listening to our music (and we managed to sell more CDs at the Purple Robe than almost anywhere else we performed). That if Crystal had asked me I’d walk through the Valley of Death to demonstrate my love for her.

But the truth is that none of us were feeling positive about appearing on stage that evening, sandwiched as we were between the Djuna Barnes Folk Trio and the Women of Babylon. Crystal cancelled the customary dress rehearsal without comment, although we knew it was from fear of organised disruption. We could no longer wander round the festival with the self-confidence we had on the first day (and I made a point of hiding my shaved head under a woollen hat in the hope of not being recognised). The only members of the band still openly supportive of the decision to play at the Purple Robe were Judy Dildo, Jenny Alpha and the Harlot. In fact, the Harlot went so far as to say that if there had been onstage sex as so many of the festival women at the festival believed then she’d have made a point of being up there with the rest of us.

“What could be more cool than to have Judy’s fucking dildo in my twat and your fist up my arse?” the Harlot said provocatively.

“Um!” I said, feeling decidedly uncool as the image of doing this while being watched by the creepy Purple Robe clientele flashed through my mind.

The only person oblivious to the prevailing mood was Tomiko. She seemed genuinely surprised that the rehearsal was cancelled. She was put out to be told that the set would be almost exactly the same as the Mary Jane’s gig in Philadelphia and that it was unlikely that we’d play songs by the Beatles, the Kinks or the Dave Clark Five. “Fuck!” she exclaimed as if it was the most polite expletive imaginable. “What’s happening with you guys?” And then before anyone could reply, she rolled another joint and returned to the state of narcotic bliss that so became her.

As the time for our gig approached, we gathered together back-stage as a procession of all-women acts performed ahead of us. Just before the Djuna Barnes Folk Trio was the nearest to an electronic duo the Sisterhood Women’s Music Festival had to offer. Like Soft Cell and Wazoo, Black Triangle consisted of a flashy singer and an uncharismatic keyboard player. To my ears, the singing was oddly stylised and the twiddling was decidedly too high register. And worse, the beats were totally pre-programmed and flat-footed. It was a real relief for me when they at last came off-stage. Was the very land from which Techno and House owed its origins still suffering from such undanceable electronic music?

The Djuna Barnes Folk Trio was a trio of women who played bluegrass and American folk songs and were a blessed relief to me. Andrea and Crystal weren’t the only ones in the band enjoying their set, though Judy said they were total shit and Jane and Jacquie were more interested in a private joke about the fiddler in the trio whose jeans kept slipping down and revealing her not notably appealing bottom crack. At least the songs weren’t hectoring anthems on the virtues of womanhood and lesbianism. They had a yearning thoughtful quality that made me wonder how well the lyrics and tunes could be mixed by a Drum & Bass or Deep House producer.

But all too soon, it was our turn to appear on stage.

And as we all expected (with the exception of Tomiko who was a hundred yards away in the mixing tent), we were immediately greeted by boos and jeering. There were even a few banners waved up and down in the audience emblazoned with phrases like ‘Crystal Passion: No Thanks!’, ‘Go Home to England!’ and ‘Strippers Not Welcome!’.

“Uh-oh!” said Olivia as we came onto the stage.

“This doesn’t look good,” said Andrea who joined Philippa and Thelma in the scuffle to take position as far as possible from the front of the stage.

“Fucking fascists!” Judy Dildo spat out, but not otherwise appearing confrontational and, for her, dressed quite modestly.

“If they want a fight,” said the Harlot unconvincingly, “I say: Bring It On!”

“Oh shit!” I said in fear at what lay ahead.

Crystal, however, behaved no differently to how she would normally. She made no marked concession to the change in attitude expressed about her onstage nudity.

She walked toward the front of the stage with as broad a smile as she’d have had if the audience were greeting her with cheers. She picked up the microphone and ignored the barrage of jeers.

“Put your clothes back on!”

“Stick to Blue Movies!”

“Fuck off Judas!”

The jeering died down as Crystal stood her ground and made no comment. Her smile was as unforced and generous as ever.

“Can I have a word please?” she asked the audience. “You’ve heard some bad things about me and my band and I’d like to set the record straight.”

This plea simply led to even more jeering and heckling, but Crystal let it all wash over her. She maintained her beatific smile regardless while the volume of vocal dissent steadily dipped.

“Daughters of America,” she announced as if addressing not just the audience at the Sisterhood Women’s Music Festival, but all women. “Weep not for me, but weep for yourselves and for the unborn children of America. For the days are coming, in which people shall say that the women of today are fortunate indeed. Blessed are the barren and those who will never carry children and the nipples which will never give suck. Then shall the people of America say to the mountains, ‘Fall on us’ and to the hills ‘Cover us’. For if those as innocent as us are the victim of such scorn, what shall be done to those who have true cause for concern?”

This was typical of Crystal Passion’s oblique mysticism and I didn’t understand a word she was saying then and I don’t understand it any better now. Perhaps she’d learnt this way of speaking when she was travelling across India. Or maybe its origin was the music and mystical musing of George Gurdjieff that she loved so much. Wherever it came from, it mystified and bemused the audience just long enough for us to launch into the first song of our set, Bread for the Fisherman, with its equally enigmatic lyrics and its punchy guitar riff.

I can’t say the gig was a success as such, but we played for over half an hour and we deliberately didn’t pause for long between songs so there was little opportunity for the catcalls or boos to be heard. Except for Crystal’s nakedness, which in any case was mostly obscured by hair and the way she held her guitar, there was nothing in our performance that could have persuaded an uninformed observer that there was ever a whiff of scandal associated with the Crystal Passion band. Both Judy Dildo and the Harlot were remarkably restrained. We kept the songs short and let them tumble out one after the other. The only ones in the band to take solos were Andrea, Thelma and Philippa. Nobody seeing my sister could imagine her as anything other than an earnest advocate of the sisterhood. With her curly hair, checked shirt and jeans she looked more like a member of the Djuna Barnes Folk Trio than the Porn Star or stripper that many in the audience might have thought she was.

We didn’t expect an encore and we didn’t give the audience the opportunity to ask for one. As soon as Crystal had sung the last few words of a rather folky Rambling Woman she waved at the audience with a free arm while her other grabbed her guitar as if in response to an explosion of applause.

“Thank you! Thank you very much for letting us appear at the Sisterhood Women’s Music Festival. Hope to see you again!” Crystal shouted out.

And then as quickly as was possible we fled the stage, Jenny Alpha and Bertha rushed on to dismantle our equipment, and the Festival’s DJ once more took to her decks with an uninspiring mix of records by 1970s’ women Soul singers like Aretha Franklin, Roberta Flack and Gloria Gaynor. And we knew better than to walk back to our tents where we were expecting to be waylaid by those in the audience still angry at our well-documented betrayal of the feminist cause.

“Let’s see what the Women of Babylon are like,” said Judy Dildo, as if this was the one thing she’d been looking forward to all evening. I agreed to listen to the gig reluctantly, but I actually rather enjoyed it, probably more so from having survived our own set without having been spat on or hit by a thrown beer-can.

The Women of Babylon was a band much more in tune with Judy’s musical taste but were admirably fervent in their support for the lesbian and feminist cause. They were angry, very angry, at the injustices of male patriarchy and its thoughtless chauvinism and casual sexism. They were a great deal more like the kind of rock band the American media thought we ought to be (and a lot more so than any woman’s rock group I’d ever seen in London or anywhere in the UK). They even permitted themselves some gratuitous nudity, but much more in the confrontational manner of Courtney Love and Babes in Toyland.

The festival audience seemed divided amongst itself as to the virtues of the Women of Babylon. Some in the audience were insanely enthusiastic about the band (especially when the band were riffing on the theme of tampons and period pains) whereas there were other women were just sitting out the set so they’d have a good seat for the headline band. To my ears (but not Judy’s), the final act, Third Rock, was a rock group that could have performed their set at any time in the previous thirty years. The single distinguishing fact about the band was that they were all women. Dressed in a sexually ambivalent uniform of jeans and leather and long full-bodied hair, the band’s gender was quite simply the only thing that distinguished them from dreary 1970s’ Rock bands like Iron Maiden, Blue Oyster Cult and Grand Funk Railroad.

At one point in Third Rock’s set, I turned my head round to check whether Judy Dildo was enjoying the music as much as I was hating it, but instead of her being beside me, miming to the Rock theatrics and guitar licks, there was no sign of her at all.

Or for that matter of Crystal.

“You’re looking for Judy and Crystal?” guessed Jane who along with her sister understood more than most my obsession with our band leader.

I nodded.

“They left about half an hour ago,” Jane said.

“Any idea where?”

Jane shrugged her shoulders.

“Don’t worry about it,” she said. “Crystal’s her own woman. And whatever it is that Judy’s got to offer, it’s what Crystal wants most at the moment.”




Chapter Eight

Chapter Ten