With bloodshot eyes and a persistent itch on my left arm, I slumped in the backseat of the van taxi hoping no one would notice. It was two hours til my flight left Los Angeles for Atlanta. I needed sleep. A tall, expensive-suited men dumped his suitcases behind me and climbed in the vehicle. He stared then recognized me.
“Lance! I’m been hearing about you all week. Glad we’re sharing the ride to LAX. So, I hear you got a tattoo out here? You’re not putting that on your expenses are you?”
His laughter was deep and intimidating. He was my boss’ boss. A wrong word, a misunderstood facial expression, or just about anything and I could be out of work, three thousand miles from home. Whatever color was left in my face after four days of work conferences and almost no rest during the nights, disappeared. I forced my face to form an awkward grin.
“Yes I went to the Sunset Strip and picked up a souvenir.”
He laughed again. I winced. The sting from the artwork done to my left bicep was new.
“I’ve got some Tylenol in my briefcase. So, can I see it? Heard you went to Kat Von D’s place on La Brea.”
I mouthed “yes”, removed my sports coat, pulled up my shirt sleeve, and released the bandage. There was no way showing your boss’ boss your new tattoo was grounds for dismissal, I thought.
“Lance, that’s great! It is something you planned? I never saw you drinking.”
I’d been sober when I walked into High Voltage Tattoo and asked for a circular Phoenix, representing my rise from the ashes of divorce.
“Yes, it means a lot to me so I took my time making the decision.”
The powerful man took out his phone. The van pulled out of the hotel lot, heading to LAX. He spoke to my boss.
“I’m with Lance. You’re right, I like him. Let’s get him on the Southern California project, soon.”
This is a true story of last last hour of a trip to Los Angeles for work in october, 2007. While there, I got this tattoo at Kat Von D’s place, and a promotion to work on a project in Southern California in November and December 2007. I eventually turned down a chance to move to San Diego in January of 2008. Four months late, I met my wife and two of my three kids.
I hate Creed, but three of the guys broke away from Scott Stapp in 2004. They made two okay albums then got back together with Creed and I disowned them forever. The song Rise Today was something in head while this episode was happening.