Mick Jagger lifts his cigarette to his mouth and sucks from his bike tube lips. He flippantly puts his knee up to his chest and then puts it back under the table before he takes a drink of coffee. I don’t want to start the interview until he finishes his cigarette, he doesn’t look ready to talk about music and I thought he’d rather be 6 inches up a girl than sitting with me. Fortune gave me this interview with him, getting the interview while he was still in New York only happened because I promised him good coke if he ate eggs with me. I don’t have any coke but I’m waiting to tell him this until the end. This diner won’t hold his pompous blow up when he finds out. It’s raining out and he still has sunglasses on. This kid doesn’t know left from the bottom of a bottle and he is the swinging sex symbol of America, the accented punk that makes the girls like spring morning grass? I can’t tell if he’s looking at me but he looks like he wants to tell me something and I doubt it is his opinion of the eggs.
“I was in the fuckin’ basement when I came to, man,” he said. I turned on the recorder and tried to look at him like it didn’t matter that I could finally get the check from my editor.
“Which city were you in?” I asked.
“I didn’t know at the time, man, but I know now it was Detroit. It was after a show. The basement was pitch black except for some light from a lamp. I was sweating so much I thought it was raining in the basement. I was, like, where the fuck am I? You know? No one was there and I was in some basement that had a dirt floor. I was caked in it. All I had on were pants, man.”
“That must have been pretty startling,” I said.
“It was, man. There was nothing in this basement but a shovel and a box the size of a freezerbox full of photos. I was shakin’ and I needed somethin’ to drink, I had dirt all in my mouth. There weren’t any steps up from the basement. There was a metal ladder up through a hole in the floor. I climbed up into the kitchen and still no body was there. All the windows were boarded up but I looked through a crack in one and saw I was in a neighborhood that scared the shit out of me. Just empty lots, junk in the yards, and the sky greyer than I had ever seen it. Listen, man, I’ve done a lot of shit, seen a lot of shit, but never had I been so fuckin’ scared for my life. I just had a feeling I was a dead man. I had no idea where anybody was, man, I had no idea where I was or what the fuck had happened to me the night before,” he said. He lit another cigarette and leaned forward on his elbows. The white t-shirt he had on had a hole in the chest pocket from the corner of his cigarettes. His fingers nails were long and he had a habit of picking his teeth with his pinky when he wasn’t smoking.
“So I went to the front door. There was nothing in this house, man. The furniture had been burnt and trash was everywhere. A piano missing the two front legs was in front of the front door but that didn’t even matter because the door was boarded up from the outside. Every window was boarded up. All I wanted to do was get out. Then I heard someone smash a lot of glass up stairs. I mean it was violent. Crash! And then they started pounding on the walls or something but it scared the shit out of me. I was so high…”
“I thought the Rolling Stones made a public statement that they don’t do drugs?” I said.
“Who the fuck are you? Smart question. We don’t use drugs,” he said. “Anyway, you want to hear the story or not?”
“Yes, please continue,” I said.
“I was freakin’ out, man. I had never been so scared. I had no out and I wasn’t about to die in some fuckin’ dump for nobody to find me.”
“Why were you so afraid your life was at risk?” I asked.
“Because I was still so high I get, you know, all paranoid like, and you think the worst, man. So I ran back down the ladder to the basement. I didn’t know what to do. I thought I’d dig my way out so I took the shovel and started digging as fast as I fucking could. I got tired really quick and because I thought someone was coming after me I sat in the half dug foxhole and buried myself as much as I could, man. I only got my legs buried but I thought that was good and I sat holding the shovel, watching the hole in the floor. I went into a trance staring at that hole, man. I thought to myself, I’m a fucking savant. I’m so far gone that I have brilliance that only one in a million have. Then my mind just goes, you know? I start thinking I have a soul unfit for the body and I am everything. I knew at that point I was an angel and all I wanted to do was paint. You know you get that urge just to do something? I just wanted to paint. I thought I was the only one who could’ve created myself, I knew that I had painted myself alive. I was going like that until Keith stepped down onto the ladder. He was naked and holding a shotgun. He goes, ‘Mick, you down there? Let’s get the fuck out, we need to get to the plane man!’ Can you believe that?”
“No, that’s pretty remarkable,” I said and took a sip of my coffee. This kid thought he just told me the greatest story there ever was.
“Alright, man, I’m leaving. Don’t fuck yourself up, Matty,” he said.
“It’s Malakai,” I said.
“Right.” He assaulted the waitress with his gaze and walked out. I was supposed to make an interview out of that. I was going to tell my editor I quit and go back to teaching Marx at the community college.