John, I’m Only Dancing!

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.

They’d go over to Elizabeth’s house to watch Monty Python & The Holy Grail – about twelve of them in all. They’d drink lots of Dr. Pepper and Pepsi and Mountain Dew and eat lots of cupcakes.

Elizabeth’s asshole brother and his asshole friends would cackle in the upstairs bedroom, acting like they were smoking pot. They were Dungeons & Dragons dorks trying to reinvent themselves as hardasses. They were tough enough for a bunch of 13 year olds watching The Knights Who Say ‘Ni,’ but they weren’t quite tough enough for Elizabeth’s neighbor, the sweet-tempered, if rugged, cop who certainly didn’t dig weed smokers.

After Monty Python & The Holy Grail had wrapped up, they’d head downstairs into the rec room. Elizabeth’s older brother had a bunch of records. Unlistenable, joyless shit like RUSH, Supertramp and Yes. He was territorial about his stuff, which meant no touching the turntable. Instead, they’d have to listen to Dr Demento radio broadcasts and tell jokes.

Elizabeth’s friend, an hilarious, chunky kid named Gordon who dug show tunes, snuck in a mix tape he and his older sister, Margaret, had made. Fuck Elizabeth’s older brother.

The guys from the AV club hooked up the tape deck in seconds flat.

The first song… a strange swell of trebly noise followed by a man shouting…

“White Light!”

It was different from Asshole Brother’s music. It pulsated and the voices seemed to drift in and out, in a battle with the bass and drums. The guitars didn’t sound like guitars. They sounded like a movie.

They formed a circle, the dozen of them, and they swung their hips and danced with angular movements – wrists and elbows – to these new sounds.

The tapes were thirty minutes to a side.

When Side A ended, they all looked at each other; the shirts and blouses damp with sweat; the red faces. Something had changed.

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