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LITERATURE» Full Dark, No Stars - Stephen King's new novella questions mankind's ability to trust others.
MUSIC» The Top 30 Albums of 2010 - Fashionably, fabulously late, our favorite music (and believe me, there was a LOT) of 2010, the year that some have called the best year for music ever. And only some of those fools work here. Plenty of usual suspects, lots of ties and a few surprises that I won't spoil, including our unexpected #1.
MUSIC» Live: Surfer Blood/The Drums at Lincoln Hall, Chicago, IL - Remember when Weezer used to put together records that you could sing along to and rock out to? That's what Surfer Blood's show was like!
"My wine tastes funny. Like, really funny," she said.
"Yeah, like there's something wrong with it."
"Lemme see." I took took a sip from her cup and swallowed. "Yeah, that's fucking awful. Like, there's something wrong with it."
"I call not drinking any more of that."
"Tell the bartender, it tastes like shit."
"It's not her fault, butů"
"Still, obviously, but she'll give you something else, unless she sucks. It looks like she's wearing my hat."
"Yeah. What is she doing over there?"
"Ruining our night." She took another sip of the wine, pursing her lips and squinting. "I can't do this. I have to pour it in my water or something."
"I seriously don't think I can drink this." She dumped her wine into the water and I farted again. My stomach felt funny. I put my hand above my belt and exhaled loudly. She asked if I was okay, and I said I didn't know, that something wasn't sitting right. I took another drink and apologized in advance for the smell.
The bartender came over, and as she ordered a vodka soda I told her I'd be back. I pushed back on the chair, and it tipped on its two legs once more. I switched my hips and pivoted out. My stomach was churning and I had goose bumps. I couldn't get to the bathroom fast enough.
I opened the door to the stall and lowered the seat with my foot, surveying the battlefield. Clean. My lucky night. Upstairs the kick drum boomed and shoes kicked in time. It was Cancer Bats or This is Hell or some other band. Gallows wouldn't be on for another half hour.
I sat down and my insides came out. There was already sweat on my forehead, and the persperation spread as I wrestled with my sweatshirt, unable to get it unzipped and free it from my arms fast enough. I couldn't reach the hook on the back of the door, so I made a pillow of it in my lap and buried my head. A makeshift gas mask.
The rest of the bathroom was empty and I was grateful for that. Mostly, I just wanted to relax for a minute. It felt good to sit. I felt like I could lose track of time, but knew that I wouldn't be alone for long. Even worse than taking a shit in a public bathroom was having voices and shadows and shoes swirling about while unloading. It came out in spurts and I wanted to go home and shower. I thought that maybe such convulsions were a good ab workout, but then realized that if it actually was, more people would know by now. Some catalog from Pueblo, Colorado, would be advertising some new product to use while sitting on the toilet and pushing and flexing and feeling the burn. At least it wasn't a spicy shit. Just a sweaty one.
The door opened and in came a flood of voices and shadows and shoes. The sound of keys jingling and the smell of sweat and beer and dudes filled the place. Someone was shouting that Misfits song, the one that Metallica covered, the one I always thought was awful. Shut the fuck up, I wanted to shout. Shut the fuck up. If I wasn't sitting on the toilet with my pants around my ankles, flexing and sweating and feeling vulnerable... Shut. The fuck. Up. That bullshit singing, no doubt just a cover for some sort of self-esteem or mommy or peanut penis issue or something.
The bathroom door opened and closed. Voices asked about "the line, Bro, are you in line, dude?" Fuck. "I got somethin' to say!" Shut the fuck up... So what should I do with this girl? I raped your mother today! Toilets flushed, sinks spat on and off. "Get me another beer... I'll get your next... Doesn't matter much to me..." Stall doors slammed. "I been waitin' for this shit all night man, let's go... Who did you get it from..." Shoes, shadows, voices. I tied my gas mask around my face. The most vulnerable terrorist ever. Bio-chemical weapons or whatever.
Keys jingled. I wiped. A lot. I was starting to feel better. I wish the Misfits kid was back so I could tell him to shut the fuck up. I stood up and buckled my belt and kicked at the flusher with my shoe. I undid the lock on the door, made a fist, and knocked it open with my knuckles. I washed my hands and looked in the mirror and felt better about myself than I thought I would, seeing as how there was no shower. Fine, I'll just roll with it. I dried my hands and picked my nose a little.
|[Gallows, possibly in a bathroom, certainly ready to explode.]|
I walked up to our seats at the bar and sat down with a loud clang.
"That bad, huh?"
"Seven to ten business days."
"Stop stealing my jokes," she said. "I'm funny sometimes."
"I know it."
"You wanna go up?"
Heading up the stairs, the music started before we got to the door. Frank Carter, Gallows' vocalist, was bent forward, skinny and spider-like and spitting all over everyone. He tilted his head back and whipped it forward, sending a well-lit spray over the heads in front of him. He was wearing a flat-brimmed hat. They finished their opener as we found our spot. Just as I noticed the bandage on his arm and hand he growled at the crowd and said he'd gotten tattooed twice that afternoon. "Fuck me," he said, hanging on the "f" with his British accent. He made fun of a kid in a Batman shirt and the kid shot back with an "I've got somethin' to say!" That fucking moron. He took off his shirt as Gallows started up again and a weirdly big pit opened. Batman strode in and took to the standard kick-running gait. I fucking hated him.
The crowd was only half into it. You couldn't say they were indifferent, just half into it. We shouted loud after every song and they were fucking on point, too, all of them. Frank insulted some others in the crowd, and laughed with them. Someone called him Fire Crotch and he laughed and covered his eyes and said he wanted to see some real fucking action, wanted to see them do something. On cue the band exploded and he flew off the stage.
He shoved the microphone into any sweaty face nearby, then somehow wiggled out of the fray and roped them all up with the cord like cattle. He jumped over all of them again, back into the middle - and then a huge rush away from the stage. The music stopped and someone was dragging some guy out, as eight or nine arms from the crowd were trying to contain Frank. All red hair and freckles and tattoos, he burst from the small sea of people.
He was back on stage, shouting and pointing without the mic. Someone handed it up to him in the middle of a string of slurred English 'fachk's and 'shit's. Everything was quiet and the rest of the band just stood, bewildered. Frank shouted 'til he strained, told the kid, wherever he was, that if he tried a cheap fucking shot like that again he'd fucking murder him. Everyone booed uncomfortably. Frank shook his bandaged hand.
"Fuck! 'Go back to fahckin' England' he says? Well, fuck me, I'd love to. We've been in your fahcking country for six weeks an' I can't fahckin' wait to get ou' uv 'eah. Fuck." He opened his left palm to reveal what looked like a roll of quarters. He threw whatever it was on the stage and then rubbed his jaw. He turned his back to the crowd. His hat was gone.
The band started up again, maybe dejected. I just then noticed Frank's shirt, a Sailor Jerry t-shirt; brass knuckles, a billy club, a scroll that read "Love thy neighbor." The band settled into "Orchestra of Wolves," and the crowd was back. Frank stood tall and sneered and made lewd gestures, thank God, and the band seemed recovered.
One or two more songs charged forth and then they ended with "In the Belly of a Shark." We got to the front, separately, arms in the air, not shouting nearly loud enough for Gallows, loud enough for what they deserved. The crowd surged, they were all crawling up on stage, using a shoulder or back for leverage, all sweaty, all teenagers, clamoring for the mic.
And then it was over. My back was slick and wet, and there was no encore. The tall door guys on their walkies slowly shooed people toward the exits. Go outside or down to the bar, you can't stay here. So we started to head back down to the bar. She bought the t-shirt with the wolf and told me she'd buy me the shark one. "Nah. I'll just get the tattoo next Monday," I said. I grabbed her butt and she grabbed my face and we made out for a minute. SEE ALSO: www.gallows.co.uk
SEE ALSO: www.epitaph.com
Wearing plain black t-shirts, LAS contributing writer Pat Sullivan thinks a lot about a lot of different things. He likes thermoses but rarely has occasion to use them. He lives in Brooklyn.
See other articles by Patrick Sullivan.
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