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The previous day and night had exhausted both of them, so when Russell woke, knowing he needed to see the guys about the gig, he slipped out of bed, leaving Beregond sleeping. He left him a note to tell him he'd be back later and to get something to eat at the diner, then headed there himself.

Mid morning was Russell's favourite time to visit the diner. Martha would be on her break and always joined him when she could for a coffee. He enjoyed her company, and they always ended up having long discussions about the strangest things.

Martha smiled at him as she brought over his breakfast.

"One Russell Special!" She laid down his favourite breakfast, and a large mug of black coffee.

Martha brought over her coffee, and a couple of pastries, and they chatted for a while, before Martha asked, "So, Russell, what's your favourite day dream?"

She watched, as a huge grin spread over his face, and his eyes began to glaze over. She reached across, and squeezed his hand.

"How about we go with one that doesn't need an adult rating, honey?"

Russell blushed.

"Yeah, okay! Sorry Martha!"

Daydream

"I guess that changes, depending on how I'm feeling, what's going on in my life at any given moment. But one of my favourite daydreams takes me back a few years.

We had just finished the Cleveland gig on our first, and what turned out to be only headlining tour. It had been a total blast, we were on our second encore, and we were all on a high that had nothing to do with drugs. I look over at Jeff, and he's staring speechless towards the side of the stage. When I turn round, Jimmy Page is walking towards us, guitar at the ready! Oh man, that was an amazing sight! I can remember every note we played that night. The crowd went wild, and another 3 encores later, we managed to leave the stage, Jimmy grinning madly at me. When we got back stage, there's Robert Plant waiting for us. We all jammed until the small hours, and I tell you, there aren't many experiences that can come close to sitting with your all time hero playing one of your songs, and listening to Robert Plant belting out your lyrics. It's quite a trip!

If ever I want to cheer myself up, I just think about that night, and it's guaranteed to put a smile on my face."

They sat and talked for a while about his time on the road, and he made her laugh with a couple of wild stories before she asked him another question.

"So which of your senses would you most hate to lose?"

Senses

"Without hesitation – hearing.

Music is life to me, and not to be able to hear the stuff I write, or the music of others would be unbearable. I know Beethoven composed even though he couldn't hear. He gave up playing for an audience, but continued to write. And I know I'm no Beethoven, but I can imagine how hard that must have been. To create music, but never be able to hear it? For me, it's always been about the music. Not the fame or the life or the money. Don't even want to try and imagine what life would be like without it.

Touch, now that would be a hard one to lose. It has been said that I'm quite a tactile person, and truth be told, I have a thing about skin. I love the feel of warm skin, and would hate to think I could never experience that again.

I could adjust to losing my sight. I know because I did, sorta, for a couple of months when I was a kid. It's a short story involving me, a Christmas tree and my mother's Chihuahua and you really don't wanna know. Taste and smell, suppose I could get used to not having them around, would miss the smell of good coffee and the taste of chocolate, but could live without them if I had to."

He looked across the table at Martha, who was grinning at him.

"Skin?"

He grinned back her.

"Personally, I think it's quite a healthy obsession! Okay, what next, cause you've still got that look on your face. One more question, then I'm outta here!"

"Well, I wondered what three things you would need to have with you if you were stranded on a desert island?"

Desert Island

"Okay, I'll take it this is a deserted island that has good supplies of food and water? So, three things that would stop me from going crazy?

My guitar! And would it be cheating to include a crate full of strings with that?

Paper and something to write with. I love to read, but I need to write, lyrics mostly, but occasionally other stuff too. So given the choice between something to read, and being able to write stuff down, writing wins every time. Ever since I was a kid, I've been putting feelings down on paper, messing around with music, wrapping the two together and seeing what comes out. It's so much a part of me now that I don't know if I could survive without it.

Company. Guess I would hate to be alone for too long. I love life, and to have no one to share that with, what's the point? Friend or lover, I would need someone. Someone to talk to, laugh with, cry with, even argue with. Someone to touch, even if it's only a hug. To live without ever seeing another person? That would drive me nuts.

And I really don't think talking to a baseball for years would cut it for me – no offence, man!"

"Ah, so we're back to skin again, I see!"

"Martha, I'm outta here before you can embarrass me any more! Got a gig to get ready for tonight."

He stood up and put his jacket on. On his way past her, he bent down and kissed her cheek.

"Smooth!" He wiggled his eyebrows at her. "I'll see you tomorrow. Oh, and if Beregond comes in, just put whatever he has on my tab. Thanks Martha!" And he was out the door.

She grinned at him as he waved on his way past the window. That was one nice guy, she thought to herself, touching her cheek. Now if only she had been a few years younger!
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almost_russell

September 2004

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