The desire–the need!–to exit a show in the manner befitting a true rock star, a brother in tight trousers of the coolest and most selectest fraternity there was, inflamed Bobby’s mind. Robes and limos and police escorts: was this so much to ask? After all, had the Grateful Dead not journeyed to your city, which I have not mentioned smells like prostitute’s scalp under her wig, and rocked it the fuck out? Had they not sampled your drugs, had sex with your pretty ladies (or whatever was available,) befouled your Holiday Inns?
Bobby wanted what was coming to him.
He lobbied hard for his idea, and quickly named it Operation: Threatened Moose. Then he went with Operation: Rumble Python. Then he thought up Operation: Falcon Tiger and was about to really commit when he came up with Operation: Blue Ivy. (It should be noted in Bobby’s favor that he kept all these names to himself. And Otis, obviously.)
Bobby put together a presentation, complete with a life-size mockup of a typical backstage, and a Powerpoint show which Bobby couldn’t work. (“I need a cord that I don’t have.) Since neither Justin nor Taro were present to work the technology, Bobby abandoned the Powerpoint, which was for the best since it was at least half porn and the other half was porn, too.
The whole band, though, loved the mockup: it was the run offstage as an obstacle course and everyone clamored to have a go. Garcia even swore not to accidentally but inevitably burn it down until everyone had his turn.
Bobby had enlisted Bear and the Alembic tecno-elves and Candace was doing the lights so everyone looked good. They had replaced the dangerous metal stairs with a zip-line. (Bear had to be physically persuaded not to attach rockets to the pulley, not even “really small ones, you babies.”)
A valet would be assigned to each Grateful Dead, bringing a robe, towels, a bottle of water with the cap loosened but not off, and the final score of the evening’s sporting events.
The robes had been monogrammed and were individually tailored. (Billy’s monogram read ASS because he thinks that kind of thing is funny.) The terrycloth was the finest: the terry had been raised in a cruelty-free, sustainable manner and each robe is made from the cloth of just one terry.
They were singular, these robes of rock and roll state: each was crafted for its wearer. Garcia’s had a layer of Nomex and was adjustable to survive his weight fluctuations. Mickey’s was nothing but Stealies and the belt was unattached to the robe proper, so Mickey could use it to choke people if he needed to. (Mickey always needed to.)
Billy wanted his robe to be clear, so “everyone can see my everything,” but despite weeks of research by Healy and Kidd, terrycloth remained translucent at best, and you had to hold it up to the sun to get that. Learning this, Billy lost interest, declaring that “as long as it flaps open ‘by accident’ all the time, it’s fine by me.”
Phil had that New Age Pyramid bullshit all over his robe.
The limo and driver Bobby had hired for the presentation were of the highest of classes, as well. The stretched Cadillac was big but not ostentatious and it shined: the driver had clearly asked for the hot wax. Perhaps he had even slipped the guy a fiver to make sure the wax was really hot.
And what a driver! He slid the limo through the big open doors of Front Street. You could hear the brakes nearly give way, he turns right, left, a 360! in the building with people in there and then the massive car snAPs into its assigned spot in the day’s proceedings. Impossibly fast–how did he even get the thing in park?–a compact man in an unremarkable suit stepped out of the thing.
“Avi Avraham. I drive.” His hair was so short and thick, it looked like a tattoo.
All of the Grateful Deads were impressed. “Mossad,” they whispered to each other.
Everyone took turns practicing their Rock Star Exit: from the stage to the floor via the zip-line, to the limo while donning a magnificent robe, to the hotel courtesy of some sort of Israeli super-driver Bobby found. It was a good day.
Everybody piled into the limo, more than a dozen, and Avi threw the car around parking lots and whipped the Dead around in the back.
“Of course, when it’s for real, everyone will have their own limo. And they’re going to close down the freeway for us. And the best idea is a secret, but it’s awesome. It’s a freak-out, man.”
Hoorah, the Dead cried.
And the date was set.