Anna Anastasia pt 4
I didn't get a chance to talk to Ed until the buses stopped to refuel, and to give us all a chance to get some fresh air. I'd been holed up in my bunk for most of the day's trip, so I wasn't sure where we were at first. It was bitter cold outside; so cold that Fin warned everybody that if they were getting off the bus, they'd better "get dressed" first, meaning we all better get on our cold weather attire. It wasn't easy getting dressed on a bus whose passengers were mainly men, but I'd learned a long time ago how to make do. It took ten minutes of squirming and fancy maneuvering in my bunk, but I emerged ready to battle the elements. I had thermal underwear on underneath my black cargo pants and Great Big Sea t-shirt; on top of that, I had a blue and black double-lined Columbia coat; a pair of insulated Kelty gloves with Windstopper protection; a thick, polyester scarf wrapped twice around my neck; and a furry "Mad Bomber" hat with the earflaps most definitely down. I also had on two pairs of socks and a pair of black, waterproof boots. I thought I looked like an extra from "Fargo," but then I remembered everyone else had to dress in the same cumbersome attire.
Stepping off the bus, I realized that Fin wasn't kidding. It was fucking cold. Even with all the layers of clothing I had on, I was still shivering. I saw the Ladies getting off of their bus and they didn't seem as bothered by the cold. Then again, they'd all grown up in Canada and were used to this. I was an "American-Canadian" who'd grown up in sunny Southern California and had only recently moved up to the Great White North.
Ty was the first off the bus; I recogized his black "Mad Bomber" hat right away. He gave me his typical cheesy Ty grin and said, in typical Northern fashion, "Cold enough for ya?" I gave him an "Eat shit" look and he laughed.
Jim was the next off the bus. I wondered how he survived in Canada as long as he had, since the man had practically no body fat to keep him warm. He had an enormous scarf wrapped around his neck and a pointy, knitted hat, which made him look like he was an overgrown elf recovering from whiplash. He grinned at me as he immediately started shivering.
Fin was next off the bus and he didn't stop long. He had on a "Mad Bomber" hat, too, only his made him look sinister. He headed toward the diner across the street, and Ty and Jim followed. The other Ladies seemed to be taking their time getting off the bus, so I stepped on. I let out an "Eep!" when I nearly slammed into Steve.
"Whoa, that was close!" he said. He must've noticed that I was backing away because he cocked his head to the side, stuck out his bottom lip and said, "Anna Banana, what's wrong?"
Normally, I would laugh, but I kept having flashbacks of my dream. I wasn't sure if my shaking was due to the cold, or to my dream.
"Nothing," I lied. "I, uh, was just looking for Ed."
Steve looked confused; I didn't socialize with Ed much unless Steve was around. It wasn't that I didn't like Ed. I just didn't have much in common with the guy. He was into video games and, well, I wasn't. That's why Steve was now giving me his smoldering look. He knew something was up.
"Are you mad at me?" he asked.
"No, I just want to ask Ed a question."
"I'm sorry, I thought this was the Barenaked Ladies' bus, not the Gestapo bus." I was quite aware that I was wearing a nasty scowl, because Steve started giggling. For some reason, he found my "angry face" hysterically funny. "I hate when you do that," I sighed.
"Sorry," he said. "And that ‘sorry' also goes for my little interrogation. If you're looking for Ed, he's back there somewhere. Oh, and guess what he's wearing under his coat?"
"Oh God, don't tell me..."
"Yep, the 'man-blouse.' I told him that shirt would only look good on him if he wore a rainbow wig and a red, foam nose. He hit me, of course."
I laughed and sighed. These guys had such horrible taste in clothes that it was no wonder they spent so much of their time naked.
"Where's Kevin?" I asked.
"Last time I saw him, he was still in his bunk and Ed was trying to get him out. He's still depressed about Fin's decision about you two. Ya know, I think Kev likes you a lot more than you think he does."
I was silent for a moment, then I said, "Maybe I can get him to come out."
"Good luck," Steve said as he squeezed my shoulder. I started to feel antsy again. Then, he left the bus and headed in the same direction as the others.
I walked down the aisle and saw Ed standing between the bunks. He was facing one wall of bunks, and he had his hands on his hips as he shook his head.
"C'mon, Kev, you can't stay here by yourself," he said. There was no response, or, at least, none that I heard. Ed saw me standing next to him and moved aside a few steps.
"Hi," I said, my voice coming out in a squeak. There was something about his eyes that always made my brain freeze up. "I, um, need to talk to you."
"About what?" Ed asked.
"About Steve. Well, kinda." We went into the commons area at the back of the bus for privacy. "Okay, I had this, uh, dream last night about Steve. It was, you know, one of those kinds of dreams."
"Ah, a sex dream."
"Yeah. And, well, it made me feel uncomfortable. You know, ‘cause Steve and I are just friends, and Kev and I are, well, I'm sure you kow about that."
"I see," said Ed. "You're afraid that if you tell them about it, they're going to take it the wrong way."
"Don't worry about it," he said. "It's just a dream. Sex dreams don't mean a thing, like watching porn."
"Really. You've got nothing to worry about."
"Thanks. So, what's wrong with Kevin?"
"He's been laying there all day and he won't come out," he said as we walked back to the bunks. "I--I think he's sick or something." Ed looked at the floor and I knew what he was implying.
"No, I don't think he's sick....not like that anyway," I said.
I peered into Kevin's bunk and saw my honeybunny curled in fetal postion and facing the wall. The back of his neck was moist, as was the back of the black t-shirt he was wearing.
"Kevin," I said softly as I put my hand on his shoulder. "Kevvums, it's me." There was no point in hiding my affection for Kevin anymore. When you're travelling with such a tight-knit crew, word about certain things gets around pretty fast. After the Fin incident, it was safe to say that even the guys who drove the semi-trucks knew about us.
Kevin turned his head around just enough so that I could see at least one blue eye and his pointy nose. Then, as soon as he turned his head, he turned it right back around.
"Hon, you can't stay in there forever," I said.
"That's it, Kev," said Ed. "You're coming out of there whether you like it or not!" Ed reached in with both arms and pulled Kevin out, carrying him like an infant. Kevin had a glassy look in his eyes that made me want to cry.
"Poor baby," I said as ran my fingers through his hair. I wasn't sure why, but I had a sudden urge to feed him soup. I looked up at Ed. "Well, we can't take him outside dressed like this. He'll catch a cold for sure."
"His bag is underneath the bunks. I think he's got a coat under there somewhere, too."
Like my bus, there were storage compartments underneath the bottom row of bunks for luggage. They were like the overhead compartments on airplanes, only these were slightly larger and they were on the floor instead of up near the ceiling. The compartments were big enough that Jim could fit his bass inside if he laid it down flat, and he usually did put his bass inside. I had to push a guitar case out of the way, but I located a hockey bag with Kevin's cold-weather clothing in it. There was also a garment bag with a thick, double-layered coat inside. I pulled both bags out and Ed set Kevin down on the floor so that he could help me go through the bags. Ed and I put together a winter outfit for Kevin, and then I started dressing him.
Getting Kevin's longjohns on was quite a task. I had to strip Kevin down to his shorts by myself, since Ed refused to help. Here was a guy who kissed his best friend on the mouth in front of thousands of people every night, but yet he cringed at the idea of unzipping Kevin's pants.
"Kissing a guy is one thing, especially when it's mutual," he said. "Undressing a guy against his will is different."
"Well, Kevin isn't exactly putting up a struggle, so I don't see how you could call it ‘against his will,'" I said.
"Well, if Kev were himself, he wouldn't be putting up with this. He hasn't exactly been one to willingly drop his drawers in front of an audience."
Ed was right. Kevin was always a little shy about undressing in front of others. Even when we first had sex, it took us a while to get past foreplay simply because he was nervous about taking his clothes off in front of me. I wasn't sure exactly why he was nervous; he always had a nice body, especially since he started working out as part of his post-cancer therapy. Steve said that Kev was always the last one to get nude when it was "Naked Time" on the bus. Kevin said that his reluctance to get naked was because of that Catholic part of him that he just couldn't shake. Fortunately, I found his modesty very endearing.
After I got Kevin's longjohns on, Ed helped me re-dress him in his jeans and black Rheostatics t-shirt. Then we dressed him in his black and silver coat, multicolored scarf knitted by his mum, waterproof gloves, knitted toque and black snow boots. Ed scooped him again, and this time, he seemed to have a little bit of difficulty supporting Kevin's weight.
"Damn, I think we just added twenty pounds to him," said Ed.
He grunted as he shifted Kevin's weight, and I followed him off the bus. I'd never noticed Ed was so strong before, but then again, I'd never paid much attention to him to begin with. We were silent as we walked across the icy street; he stared straight ahead, and I tried to, but my attention kept drifting back to him. I began picturing myself in his arms instead of Kevin. Then, I reminded myself that Ed was married and had two kids. Yet, I still couldn't help but imagine myself massaging those broad, muscular--
"Eep!" I screamed when I looked straight ahead and found Fin glaring back at me from the front door of the diner. I was so startled that I nearly slipped backward. "Jesus Christ, Fin. You damn near scared the shit outta me," I grumbled. He said nothing, and I felt his smoldering stare still on me as I followed Ed to the table where the other Ladies were sitting.
I normally would've sat with my fellow techs, but Ed insisted I sit with the band. I wasn't sure why, but I felt disappointed when Ed sat Kevin down between us. My Kevvy started to come out of his shell when my leg brushed against his. A grin spread across his face when Fin sat at the opposite side of the table and could do nothing but glare at us. I felt Kevin's hand on my thigh and I placed my hand on top of his. Then I took his hand and squeezed it, forgetting all about Ed. Just to spite Fin, I turned to Kevin and blew in his ear. He giggled and tried to tickle me. Kevin knew I was very ticklish, so his favorite thing to do was to tickle me until I let out a high-pitched sound that was a cross between a squeal and a giggle. I did, and Fin sighed loudly.
Having eaten nothing but bad pizza--"shit pizza," as Steve liked to call it--on the bus the past couple days, we were all glad to have a chance to sit down and enjoy a decent meal, even if it came from a greasy Mom-and-Pop diner. I already knew I wanted pancakes, but the others took their time reading the menu.
"Hey Jim, you're outta luck," said Ty. "They don't have a vegetarian platter."
"I am not a vegetarian!" the bassist yelled, causing everyone in the diner to turn their heads.
Tyler and Steve snickered while Jim stewed next to Ed. It wasn't the last time Ty tried to antagonize poor Jim that morning. When were we wolfing down our food, Ty built a tiny catapult using his fork and a sausage link, and managed to hit Jim between the eyes with a piece of scrambled eggs. I admired Jim for not immediately retaliating; if it were me, I would've had Ty's balls in my fist the second those eggs hit my forehead. Jim shot him a nasty look, which I'm sure was what the drummer was hoping for. Tyler snickered and he scanned our faces, seeking approval. All he got from me was an icy glare. He glared back at me, then he picked up the sausage link. He grinned at me, then he began licking the sausage in a suggestive manner and sucking on it. I wasn't sure what he was getting at until he gave a nod in Jim's direction while winking at me. I didn't know how, but the bastard knew.
"Son of a bitch," I muttered as I jumped up from my seat.
"Anna, don't..." said Kevin, but I ignored him.
I stomped over to Tyler's side of the table and put him in a headlock as he tried to jump out of his own seat. I wished he had hair so I could pull on it, but I grabbed the next best thing instead. With my free hand, I reached under his ass and grabbed a hold of the bulge between his legs. He shrieked and I pulled his nuts toward his ass just enough to cause a tiny amount of pain. I'm sure the others at the table wanted to stop me, but they were too busy squeezing their own legs together in sympathy for the drummer. Typical men.
"Say you're sorry," I growled.
I pulled his nuts back a little farther and he let out a girlish squeal. "Say it!"
"Say you'll never do it again."
"I'll never do it again!"
"Say you'll leave Jim alone, too."
"I'll leave Jim alone, too."
"Good." I let him go and he fell on his knees, clutching his groin. I knew everyone was watching me, but I didn't care.
"Do you always have to be so brutal?" Kevin said as I sat back down.
"I only gave him what he deserved," I replied.
Ty shot me an evil glance when he sat back down. "If we were in a hockey rink, I'd kick your ass, chick or no chick."
"Bring it on, mothafucka," I replied with a smile.
"Fin, please tell me there's a hockey rink around here," said Ty. "Where the fuck are we anyway?"
"We're in Minnesota," said Fin. "We just crossed over the North Dakota border a few miles back."
"If we're in Minnesota, that means we're almost to St. Paul, right?" said the drummer.
"Yes, but we're not stopping to play hockey, if that's what you're getting at."
"Aw c'mon, Fin! You saw what she did to me! Besides, we could use a little break."
"Yeah," said Ed. "A couple hours of hockey wouldn't hurt. We're not even playing in St. Paul till tomorrow night anyway."
"All right," said Fin. "I'll see if there's a hockey rink nearby, but only if you promise not to play too rough. The last thing I need is you guys waddling onstage with broken limbs and missing teeth."
Fin talked to some of the locals and found out that there was, indeed, a hockey rink in the tiny town. The rink manager happened to be sitting at the counter and he gave Fin the keys, telling him only to "lock up when you're done."
Those of us who were playing hockey were driven a few blocks down the
road by one of the buses. The Ladies always brought their hockey gear with
them on tour; you never knew when you'd get a chance to slap some puck
around. Being an avid fan of the sport, I brought my gear along, too. I
didn't want to go change in the visitors' dressing room by myself,
so I stayed in the home team's dressing room with the men. I kept my eyes
focused straight ahead of me and I only stripped down to to my longjohns
since I was already wearing a sport bra underneath to begin with.
The dressing room had a rustic, musty smell to it, and I could tell countless local teams had dressed and undressed in there. There were pictures of teams from the early twentieth century above each of the lockers, and I scanned each of them until an airborne towel landed on my head and diverted my attention. I sighed and wondered what it was about being naked that made men act like such idiots.
I couldn't wait get on the ice. My CCM Tacks were laced up and I was ready to go. I checked the strap on my face cage to make sure it was tight before I headed out to the ice. I was wearing a black and blue Lincoln Stars hockey sweater one of my cousins in the Midwest had given me. Ty always had a jealous look on his face every time he saw that sweater. I think it was the shiny fabric, stylish logo and one-of-a-kind lettering that made him want one. It said "Animal" on the back of my sweater because that was another one of my nicknames.
Kevin was wearing the Team Canada road sweater I gave him for his birthday one year. It said "Hearniak" on the back and the number on it was 76 because, whenever he autographed something, his name looked like "7676." He looked sexy in that red sweater and I wanted to jump him right then and there. There were other, more important things that had to be done, however. Things like kicking a certain drummer's ass.
Fin was our ref. Ed and Ty took the faceoff as Fin dropped the puck in the center faceoff dot. They stabbed frantically at the puck with their sticks and neither seemed to notice when it trickled out between Ed's feet. I sntached it up on the blade of my stick and skated toward Steve. Kevin was the one who'd taught me how to ice skate, and he taught me well as I hurtled toward the vocalist-turned-goaltender. Steve was the goalie mainly because he couldn't skate very well, plus Ed said he was afraid Steve would end up hurting himself or somebody else with the erratic way he swung his stick.
I could hear Steve muttering, "Oh God, Oh God," as I approached. I was a right-handed shot, so I fired the disc at Steve's glove side. He made a feeble attempt to catch it and it smacked the back of the twine, missing his catch glove by about a foot.
"Score!" I shouted, and did my celebratory butt-wiggle dance.
I got high-fives from Ed and Kevin and a fiery stare from Tyler.
"Hey Kev, if your girlfriend scores, does that mean you get to ‘score' tonight, too?" Ty sneered. "Or is it Jim who gets to score? I forget."
Kevin flipped him off, and I wanted to break my Victoriaville hockey stick over the drummer's head, but I knew better. It was just normal hockey rink shit-talk. We went back to center ice and Fin dropped the puck again. This time, Ty won the faceoff and he passed it to Jim. The bassist headed toward Tiny, who was the other goalie, but Kevin laid him out with a clean open-ice body check. Kev passed the puck along the boards to Ed, who was crushed by Ty as soon as he got the puck. Ty broke free and I sought my vengence. I hit Ty in the chest with my shoulder and pasted him onto the boards. I may have been only five-foot-five and a hundred and ten pounds, but I could still throw my weight around. I stole the puck and passed it to Kevin, who scored with an easy wrist shot.
Kevin took the faceoff this time. He won and slapped the puck to Ed. Ed made it up past the blueline, but he got tangled up in the corner with Ty. The drummer batted the puck out to Jim, who darted in the other direction, only to have me snatch the disc away from him. I headed back toward Steve and was on a breakaway, when I saw Ty barreling toward me. I was out in the open with no way to brace myself. Then, I saw a red blur out of the corner of my eye. Kevin nudged me out of the way just as Ty plowed straight into him. I watched in horror as Kevin flew backward, his head striking the ice sickeningly hard.
Kevin didn't move. He lay sprawled out and I thought he was dead until I rushed over to his side and found that his eyes were open. He stared upward with a vacant, dazed look on his face. Fin rushed over and, except for Ty, the others scurried over as well, but Fin yelled at them to get back.
"Oh God," I mumbled, on the brink of tears. "Kevin? Baby? Say something!"
His lips started moving, and he mumbled something barely audible. His voice grew louder and I realized he was singing.
"Winter still defends itself, but one day all this ice will melt..." he sang. "I will take your bony hand and move along..."
"What the hell is he singing?" Fin asked.
"‘Mouth of a Shadow,'" I said. "He's singing ‘Mouth of a Shadow.'"
"Hell if I know." I looked at Kevin's eyes and they were still focused on the ceiling.
"Don't give in they'll say....there's nowhere to run anyway....I have decided to stay...."
On the last note of "stay," he held it just like he did on H-Wing. He held it so long that I thought he was going to pass out.
"We'd better get a doctor," said Fin.
I stayed with Kevin while Fin went to get his cell phone. Kevin had stopped singing, but now he had a nervous look on his face.
"I'm cold," he said.
"That's because you're on the ice, Hon," I said.
"I wanna sit up."
"No, you have to lie still."
"But I don't wanna!"
"Kevin, you smacked your head pretty good."
"Yeah, it's a good thing you're wearing a helmet." I touched the locks of his hair that curled out from under the white Bauer helmet. "You took a hit for me. That's the sweetest thing anyone's ever done for me."
"Yeah, well, I wouldn't be able to live with myself if I let Ty hit you." He smiled at me and I leaned forward and kissed him on his sweaty cheek.
When the ambulance arrived, we were all upset when the paramedics took Kevin away. Ty seemed the most upset. He was crying and he looked like he needed a hug, but no one seemed to want to touch him.
"I almost killed him," he mumbled to no one in particular. "I almost killed Kevin."
We all dressed hurriedly so we could go to the hospital to find out just how badly Kev had been hurt. I was praying it wasn't serious, as was everyone else I'm sure. I was one of the last ones out of the dressing room, so I ran out toward the bus as fast as I could. I was halfway there when I realized I'd forgotten one of my gloves. I ran back inside, thinking everyone else was gone, but when I got there I realized I was wrong.
I'd walked in on Ed, who was the last one because he'd been talking to Fin. I saw Ed's naked, tattooed body and my jaw dropped. The rumors were true. Ed was huge. Porn-star huge. His dick had to be at least eight inches long. I knew I'd held my gaze for too long, but I just couldn't turn away.
"I--I--I'm sorry," I stammered. "I thought everyone else was....I should go." I forgot about my glove and left.
The ride to the hospital wasn't pleasant, at least for me. I hid in
Kevin's bunk with the slider shut so I wouldn't have to face anyone. First,
I'd had a sex dream about Steve, which I still hadn't told either Kev or
Steve about, then Kevin nearly got himself killed trying to protect me,
and now I'd seen Ed naked. How much worse could this day get?