End Of The Century

Below you will find the results of my having challenged myself for a number of days to write a short story with a beginning and middle and an end inside of 30 minutes.  Here is what I came up with.  I hope you like it.

My neighbors needed a place to store their son Martin’s stuff until he got out of jail.  When it became plain that he would never be getting out of jail, they up and left.  Moved under cover of night to Oregon.  We never heard from them again, but I wound up with a bitchin’ MC-2120 receiver, some cool speakers and a Star Trek-looking Technics SL-10 turntable.  Martin wouldn’t be needing them.

Martin was a short, arch-Republican who wore the male equivalent of a Dorothy Hamill haircut.  He liked suede vests and Sperry topsiders.  He was also a rapist, and, at least once, a murderer.  Fuck him and his pray-so-loudly-in-church brothers and sisters.

His record collection, which I inherited like a family curse, was exactly what you’d expect from an audiophile control freak.  He had doubles of every Steely Dan record, three copies of Rumours, three copies of Abbey Road, multiple specimens of Wish You Were Here and Dark Side Of The Moon, and whole lot of Zappa and Supertramp.

Each record came with a hand-written set of instructions as to how it should be played.  This was extra weird, as I could never, in a million years, imagine Martin letting anyone else play his records.  He wouldn’t hand off his copy of Aja to his brother, Ralph, with a quick briefing;  at best, he’d probably let Ralph sit outside the door while he was blasting the thing, but that’d be about it.

Later, the newspapers reported that Martin and Ethan used to play a ‘game’ during which they’d punch in each other in the arm so hard that their bones would sometimes fracture.  Fuck you, Ralph, you stoner freak.  You were always a shitty umpire at farm league baseball.

I eventually piled Martin’s weird angry erection music in the basement.  Get it out of the way.  It bugged me that Martin was listening to The Beatles while knocking women around.  Listening to ‘Something’ on the headphones while he stewed and grinded his teeth. 

I hooked up the cassette decks and started making copies of my favorite records for kids at school:  Fresh Fruit For Rotting Vegetables, Fun House, Meat Is Murder, Rocket to Russia, More Fun In The New World.  The square old bastards at school would talk about how angry the music was.  Fuck you, hippies.  The vice-president of the FBLA was a Doobie Brothers fan who bludgeoned his cousin in a drug deal.  I don’t wanna fucking hear about No Nukes.  Not from you.

Kids would bring in tapes and I’d either give ‘em a cool mix or a copy of a record they’d requested.  All the girls loved the first Violent Femmes record.  All the boys wanted ‘Institutionalized,’ by Suicidal Tendencies.  That one turned out to be the unofficial warmup song for the football team.  These goofy kids who breakdanced and listened to Whodini and Kurtis would start chanting “I’m Not Crazy” in the locker room before the games.

I’m not a very nice guy.  I’m kind of a dick, but I’m not a criminal.  Sometimes, when I was making tapes of The Smiths or The Cure for some dorks in the theater club, it felt good.  It felt like Martin was using his stereo to make himself angrier.  He succeeded.  I wasn’t.  I was using it to clear the air.  Remove a hex.  Salt the earth.  Hell, I dunno.

I have to say, hearing it on a good system, Never Mind The Bollocks, Here’s The Sex Pistols is an unexpectedly well-recorded album.       

    

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