After silence, that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music.
------Aldous Huxley, "Music at Night", 1931
Thump, thump, thump!
The loud rapping sound was buried, unheard, in the cacophonous symphony to which Lost Obsidian was listening at full blast on his stereo. He was playing back the studio masters of his latest song, "Ya Oughta Slaughta," and singing at the top of his nicotine and resin-scarred lungs:
Gather all you kiddies,
And bring yer old biddies.
I got a coroner's smart,
And a gravedigger's heart.
I got no reason to die,
Tell ya the question why.
I got no desire to live,
You'll bleed when I cry.
Nailbone clippers on the shelf,
Megaphone ghost talkin to myself.
Entrails, guts, visceral glee,
Bring it on for our misery.
Phump, bump, clunk!
Now the boy could feel the knocking on the wall and floor even through his black jackboots, custom decorated with the obligatory skulls. After all he was the lead singer and other guitarist for the Skull Scrapers. That was his tombstone-granite-heavy-mega-goth band. Of course, Lost Obsidian was his stage name, and he did not want anyone to know his real name, Percival Harrison. Though he used to like telling people he was a distant relative of the one from whose name honors the Harrison Narcotics Tax Act of 1914. Heck, self-prescriptions gotcha higher. His old man's drug of choice was booze. Killed him when Percy was only 8. His mother lasted about three years past that, but found freedom like the birds flying off the Franklin Street Bridge, only she did not survive the landing. She tried to raise a troubled kid while working nights waiting the tables at GoJoes Bar and Grill. Meanwhile she was always reminded of her late husband amongst the grappling drunks. It was just too much. Then he was kicked around between foster parents, until just two years ago he was 18, and found his own place. His last "Dad" had an uncle that rented a couple of rooms built over his 3 car garage.
Kabang! Slam! Boom!
"Shut the f--k up!" Lost yelled. The small quiet break in the song allowed Mrs. Crandall and her broom to be heard. Her offbeat accompaniment on her wall could now resound without competition. "Man, his neighbor was getting on the sore side of some burned synapse." He looked at the clock, and it was a quarter past nine.
"Crap!" It was time to get out front to wait for Honk's van. Honk Ferguson was his bass player and ride to the airport. They had a gig tonight and tomorrow at Sassafras State College. They had been playing at a couple of small clubs, one in town, and the other over in Crossdale; now they were going to have a larger audience. The few faithful were always turning out at the Slimy Basement, the hometown club. Dressed in black torn tees and matching jeans, enormous silver or pewter or something-or-other metal chains, and big ugly boots, they came and cheered his screeching rowdy band to heights of frenzy, and they provided impetus in return. At first glance, you could tell the chicks from the guys only from what was showing from the low-cut tees. Unless, up close you saw one of those mustaches and beards that only the villains in period pieces had. The hair was all jagged and streaked with any hues that stood out the brightest. They had more tattooes and rings and every other assortment of body decoration permanently attached than Wagner and Tolkien could ever imagine in their productions. But, they would be going to play two nights in front of strangers. He would even have to leave his main squeeze behind, Maricia. Contrary to the abusive words to their songs, he really loved the girl, and his real soft side came out with her, and he treated her very kind. But, even now, he could only see the young Ms. Keifmann on the sly, as she was just 17, and her parents did not grok.
He heard the horn and saw the old extended Dodge van with the amalgams hulk of his partner-in-sound bobbing to music like a Sea World show as he stepped out. "Ready to rock and roll and par-tayyyy?!" Honk roared as Lost opened the creaking door, while lighting up a long-desired cigarette, verboten in his room.
"Git 'er done!" Obsidian emitted, borrowing the phrase from an unlikely source. He then asked, "Did you crank up the wattage on the amps?" Honk was the bands' resident electronics wizard, too.
"Yeah, buddy!" He proudly replied. "And, it's easily adaptable to take the decibels past 150."
The drummer and sometimes manager, Karl Halfbad was next to be picked up, and then they would round up the lead guitarist, Blood Nickel. They played their other big song, "Blood Letting" on the hopped-up car audio system:
I'm screamin', screamin', screamin'!
Full of hate, very irate, it's too late!
Ya, ya, ya!
Ha, ha, ha.
Wanna see brains runnin' out yer ears.
Wanna see blood mixed with all yer tears.
Sinews, cartilage, pain,
I wanna see ya all again.
Shove yer nose up in yer face,
Make ya see the wonders of space.
My love's hate, love's hate, love's hate!
Full of fate, never berate, man, it's great!
Fa, fa, fa!
Blah, blah, blah.
Gotta go lay me upon the tracks,
Gotta find what's in between the cracks.
They finally arrived at Karl's house in a boring, but affluent middle-class neighborhood. He still lived at home. Man, free rent, what the hey. They saw him running out with his hand alternating the index finger on his mouth shushing them, and both hands facing down wishing-full wagging down the raucous
-laden noise spiraling out of the van. The old primer-gray Ram truck looked out of place in the 'hood, especially with his aging parents looking out.
"Guys, I told ya to be cool when pulling in here at night. How much time we got?"
"Aw, man, we got to catch that one o'clock flight. How long until we get to Blood's?" Lost answered and queried in one breath.
"Dude, take a chill pill, I'm the one who drives, while you're the ones who are always nodding out: he's just up I-62 in Morganville. Too bad we couldn't practice on his old man's farm, but 'the cows get scared'" Honk grunted, the last was sarcastically emitted in falsetto.
The paved roads eventually turned to dirt, and then they saw the athletic Blood running toward them. They picked him up and went barreling back the way they came, then headed the other direction on I-62 to the airport. Then their most infamous song "So ya wanna fly?" came on through James B. Lansing's finest:
Keepin' you like a pigeon on the roof,
Ya gotcha mouth all over my hoof.
Your lookin' mottled like a birdy should,
I hope you like maggots for yer food.
Yer not like an eagle when you scream,
Yer little skull fits into my meme.
Come on, come on, let's see ya fly,
Feel free as the hawk before ya die.
On the other side of town, unbeknown to the band, Maricia was sneaking out of her window to meet up with Blood's girlfriend, Donya. They were going to drive all night and surprise Lost and Blood, even if they wound up only for the second night's show. They loved the "real them" beneath the supposed darkened exteriors. Let the chips fall where they may when back home to face the old man's wrath. "Heh," she thought, "That sounds like a title of another good song."
Naturally, the airport was a swamped madhouse. A cross between Bedlam and the Sushi Bushido Burger Palace in Tokyo. The security guards made each of the scroungy lads pass through the metal detector several times, until finally they gave up as much of the metal could only be surgical removed. They had to run to catch their flight, and it was a good thing they packed light, well if you count MP3 players baggage. Their band equipment was taken care of by Honk yesterday.
On the plane they kicked back after grabbing as many bourbon samplers they could and listened to music (not anything Family Airlines provided.) The tone of the seat-belt warning woke them, and in about a half hour they were at the entrance to meet their ride. Sondra Frye was the Student Affairs liaison, and she took them to an extra room in the dorms. She said nothing to them the whole way, and her stuffy presence was reciprocated by sullen masks of boredom.
Wishing they could gawk at the co-eds, they only had enough time to grab some food at the cafeteria and get to the stage to set up. (Good thing they had sent a truck for the amps, guitars, drums and mikes*.) The time-zone difference helped them make their 10 pm performance.
At half-past nine, Shamblesburg time, they got to the stage at the aging field-house. Only a few spots were on, and it was an eerie setting, which suited the guys' mood fine. They had Sun, Marshall and Peavey amps, with both Lansing brands for additional speakers: they were ready.
"These 'lil gilded caged chickadees are gonna like our ruffling their feathers, huh, Blood?" Honk asked.
Lost quickly answered, "When we open with 'Chicks Are Made For Squeezin' ('Til They're Sneezin')' they're gonna flip like bloody-rare hamburgers, yep-pir!"
The doors opened then, and the seats filled up, maybe only about half-way, but still their biggest venue. The purple spots flashed on them and they broke right into the boisterous tune:
I'm like a vise-grip baby,
Squeeze you awfully hard.
I'm like a fork-lift honey,
Carry your ton of lard.
Squashing, squishing ya like a bug,
Come here little pubie for a hug.
Why you acting shy? I love yer Ma.
Don't worry darlin', I took care 'a Pa.
You're like my sponge-mop lady,
Wringin' you out to dry.
Who's your janitor, woman,
Lickin' up all yo gravy?
It was about that time that the boos and hisses emanated. The band members just looked at each other, and gave the signal to play on through it. They'd talk about it later.
When the last undergrad and guests left the auditorium, and as they were unplugging Karl volunteered, "Those prissy pricks! We busted our ass for them, muthafuggin ingrates!"
Lost then told of his plan that had been hatching in his seared skull since halfway through their set. Karl would go into town tomorrow and buy a timer. When the stage was darkened between songs three quarters through their repertoire, they would leave and put a CD of one of their songs. It would be playing programmed at full power. The sound level over 170 decibels range was louder than a shotgun's, way louder than even a jackhammer's 130. Anything over 85 was supposed to cause permanent damage, and most did not know a telephone rings at 80. Rock concerts like theirs was in the 110 to 120. Music through earphones was close to that. Funnier than that was the fact that a baby's squeeze toy at 135 was only 45 decibels behind a rocket launch! Pop the kiddies' birthday balloon and you are as loud as artillery fire. What kind of havoc would they unleash with a possible 200 dBa's?
In an extremely manic-depressed mood, now mostly in the downside, they went straight to their rooms to mope and plan their sonic revenge.
Riding somewhere midway to their destination, Maricia popped in that other CD that Lost had made special for her:
Out of all the faces smiling,
They were only passing a'whiling.
You tattooed my heart with desire,
I put my name in your ankle with a wire.
We're bonded closer than with superglue,
If something happens to you, what would I do?
I can't die, cuz I'd go to Hell,
All I could do is live real old and yell.
You would have to have been there, hearing the sonorous guitar work, to know his poetry was wrought (iron?) with genuine feelings.
The groggy musicians woke up sometime in the afternoon. They had self-medicated themselves in and out of their despondency the night before with their occult pharmacy, thanks to the PA's hidden compartment. Whether it was the hops in the Bud, or the Seconal's with the bud, they crashed hard at about 4 AM. However, they slept not until they finished their definitive song for all time, "How Zis Sound, Sis?" They walked into the nearby business district for something to eat and drink, as they had no desire to face the college pukes. They also started early on getting a frantic frenetic buzz off of Karl's crystal powder. They didn't even care if they were late for the gig this time, but they would be there to set up and play the crowd. Albeit with a song that made their others look like the kindergarten rumpus room tunes.
About the time the boys were back, Maricia and Donya were only hours away. The out of place guys had been drinking (and whatever), terrorizing the townies --- who were used to snotty academic types patronizing their Parisian-style cafes, boutiques, and Ye Olde Gift Shoppes.
With nothing else to do, the boys went to their stage and began setting things up. The time passed quickly as they were absorbed in their vindictive artistry. Finally, the big moment happened, the place filled up with even more than the night before! Word of mouth to watch the freak show strangely promoted them. The band members thought almost as one mind, "We'll see who gets phreaked!"
Finally the time came when the fog lamp spewed out, and the lights dimmed after they played their blasphemous Christmas carol, "Jungle Bells in Hell." After setting the timer and adjustments, they all bolted for the exit, but just then, Honk tripped and his nose ring got caught in the mike-stand. It took precious moments of their getaway to extricate the now-blubbering elephantine impediment. Fortunately, they had written that finale with a progressive build-up, and they rounded the building from the exit to their rental car they wisely picked up that afternoon. One could hear the refrains softly begin and heighten in intensity and volume:
Oooh, honey, I'm so sorry I was so crude;
But, ya didn't have to be so friggin' rude.
Now, I don't even wanna see ya nude,
I'm not even gonna try to be yer dude.
There won't be time for anyone to brood.
Your gonna find out what's really in my mood.
I want you to join my chorus and holler,
Can't buy your life back with yer silver dollar!
Aghhhhhh, aghhhhhh, AGHHHHHHH! AGHHHHHHHHH!!
We hate you, yeah, yeah! YEAH!!
We'll never mate you, hey, hey, Hey! POW!!
Can you feel it? CAN YOU FEEL IT NOW?!
"Hey, isn't that Maricia and Donya over there about to open the doors to go in?" Halfbad asked the group as Honk put the Corolla in gear.
Too late to warn Donya, Nickel was stunned while Lost ran up to the door --- the noise was like a thousand angry suns in nova. Obsidian got a piece of her sleeve to pull her back out. As he dragged her back out, his ears began to feel hot and wet, and he saw what was left of his beautiful little angel-doll's face. Mouth wide open in what must have been a gurgling cry. Her pretty azure eyes had literally popped out of their bloody sockets, and a substance ran profusely out of her ears that looked not unlike strawberry yogurt. She had disgorged herself of other bodily fluids and solids as well, but he was not concerned with that. All the piercings had vibrated deep within her skin, and as he reached down for the wire with his name engraved painfully put through her Achilles' tendon, it fell off like a chicken bone cooked too long.
In the hospital, all they could do was put the strait-jacket Mr. Harrison in a padded cell, and sedate him. They had to feed him intravenously, and adjust his blood PH as his mouth and lungs were in the state of constant bellowing.
"His friends that came by said the last thing they remembered him muttering was, 'If I'd only knew I was a prophet, I wouldn't have written anything, anything, anything...' and then he began his vocal hysteria that not even modern science can seem to stop," These words the doctor passed on to the new nurse whose job it was to monitor this patient.
For the I Will Show You Fear in a Handful of Text: The 2005 Halloween Horrorquest
Oh, and microphone can be abbreviated either mic or mike!