Songs The Lord Taught Us

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.

Johnny died in his gorilla suit.

He drowned.

Gorillas can’t swim. That is, real gorillas can’t swim. From this, I might extrapolate that Johnny was a method actor.

We became friends through our shared love of freaky bands like Love and Frank Zappa and our incredible hatred of hippie culture. I was 4F at the draft board, and Johnny was 4A, having already served in The Marines. He was older than I was.

I couldn’t stay in my parents’ house, anymore, but my mom guilted my pop into letting me live in the tool shed. I read a lot of Dianetics stuff and Ayn Rand and Alan Watts essays and listened to a shitload of The Small Faces and Ornette Coleman.

For a couple of draft dodgers, we were pretty hostile. We rode around in Johnny’s hearse, which had a turntable set up in back. We blared bad trip music by Stravinsky and threw tomatoes at hippies. We wore long black coats to match our long black hair.

I was a horror film freak. Hammer. AIP. The artier stuff from Europe. I’d hitch up to Boston for campy Mummy movie festivals. Sit among the drag queens who were dressed up like Elsa Lanchester.

I used to read Castle Of Frankenstein and Famous Monsters. Those old mags always had suggestions on how to edit Super 8 film or how to apply monster make-up.

The super 8 was a gift from my sister, who was working for an airline. Johnny and I would head off into the woods, the swamps, and reenact murders we’d read about in the tabloids. I’d have the films developed by this Satanist chick who worked at Ann & Hope. She really dug the stuff, so she’d invite her creepy pals over to the tool shed for screenings. We’d smoke pot and drink Schlitz and ball all night.

Johnny and I were inspired to make a horror flick about a swamp monster who molests women. He tracked down a mangy gorilla suit by way of some guerilla (sorry) theater people in Providence. They let us use it with the promise that we’d give it back to them before the McGovern rally. We never did.

The Satanist girl was walking around the edge of the pond in her jean shorts and blood red shirt. It would have looked great. Johnny, in the gorilla suit, was supposed to jump out at her from behind some ferns.

He just vanished. He sank into the water like a bowling ball. No arm waving. No screaming. Just gone.

The cops found him the next day. The gorilla suit had absorbed so much water that Johnny weighed nearly two hundred pounds.

That was in 1972. The Satan girl eventually had the film developed, but moved to San Francisco, soon thereafter, to hook up with The Mitchell Brothers.

I never watched the movie. Although, these weird fucking kids have been asking about it, lately.

How the hell did they find me, and how do they know about it?

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