Wednesday, November 28, 2007

A little guy named John follows me around crowded hallways. At first, he's just kind of weird, but a slow hostility builds in him as he continues to pursue me. No one takes any notice of the fact that when I step into the air it takes a few seconds longer than usual for me to hit the ground. Slowly, the kids filter out of the halls and I'm alone with John, in a short section of hallway that ends in two big heavy double-doors that lead into a stairwell. Without saying anything, I deliver a vicious kick that sends John face-first to the floor. After hitting the ground, he's motionless. I duck behind the double doors just as a vice-principal turns the corner and rushes to inspect John's body. I watch for a second through the doors, which are still slightly ajar, but when I turn to go down the stairs, the doors close with a loud bang and the vice principal becomes aware of my presence. I jump into the air and start swimming.

Monday, November 26, 2007

As I feel the katana blade enter my right shoulder, I think, "Oh-- this is how my dad wants to teach me, by making me think it's a real life-or-death situation. If Hemingway knows what he's talking about, I shouldn't feel this wound for a few more minutes."

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Playing in a one-off cover band with a bunch of much older dudes at a bar in who-knows-where Pennsylvania. My parents are there, and Roby. A girl I had a crush on senior year of high school shows up and I greet her. The drummer of this band I'm in is really tall and really serious about this show. He has long, meticulously-styled hair that's dyed dark black and he spends a lot of time setting up his drums and a mic for his vocals. I'm the lead vocalist of this band, but besides the first song (The power of love) I don't know what else we're supposed to be playing, and I don't know hardly any of the words to The power of love as it is. Of course, I don't consider the ramifications of these facts until the set has started and I'm mumbling into a microphone. The song begins and I feel that sickening feeling in my stomach that I've missed an obvious vocal cue and the audience knows it. Luckily, the front of the stage is covered in stacks of huge speakers and monitors. I waste some time trying to climb them, but they're too wobbly and seem like they might want to come down. Also luckily, we're playing first so hardly anyone is committed to watching us anyway, the audience are mostly either outside or sitting down on couches against the far wall of the room. The room is dirty, too. I can sort-of hear the drummer singing in the monitors, and he sounds pretty into it, which is fine with me. I do some silly flourishes on what I hear him say, then make my way to the front left corner of the stage and try and do Noel Fielding's Mick Jagger impersonation. The crowd seems more confused than amused, but they're not getting burly or anything. Four old punks (2 male, 2 female) walk in and stand right in front of the doorway-- deciding what they think of this band, I think. I tell one of the guys who is holding 2 home-made purses that he's got two purses made out of the same material my wife made a purse with.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Somehow I flew into Portland and arrived at a gas station. I wanted to go to a shop on _______ Street, but I had no idea how to get there, and the map drawn in blue Bic on a torn-up piece of loose-leaf didn't extend but a block or two past _______ Street. I took it out and looked at it again, just in case one of the streets I could see from the gas station parking lot happened to be one of the 3-4 streets on this little map.

"_______ Street?" asked a high-pitched voice from behind me. I turned to see a boy of maybe ten years lounging confidently near one of the gas pumps. He had a little red bubble goose on and a toothpick in his mouth. "You don't want to go there."

"Oh, is it bad?" I asked.

"Yep. You'll get jacked," the boy replied.

"Well," I said, smiling, "Keep in mind that I'm from Baltimore-- is _______ Street really all that bad?"

The boy laughed and introduced himself, then told me he had something we wanted to give me. We walked to one of the cars that was getting fueled-- an SUV. He popped the back and I saw a short stack of large canvases individually wrapped in big billowy plastic bags. He pulled a canvas from the middle of the stack and handed it to me-- it was a portrait of the little boy.

"You paint?" I asked. It was a pretty good portrait.. for a ten year-old painter. Just then, a woman approached. She looked like the young mother of a precocious prodigy-- stylish glasses and styled hair, but with a certain 6-8-year lag in the clothing department. I introduced myself to her and she asked me a lot of friendly questions, then offered to drive me to their house instead of the shop on the sketchy street that I was trying to get to. I took them up on it and got in the car.

So we get to the kid's house and I meet his dad, who reminds me a lot of Cosby-- not only in his build and his mannerisms, but because when we get there he's comically trying to wrestle a snake that's wrapped itself around his two best friends, a diminutive Korean doctor or scientist and a lanky off-duty policeman. We laugh and I find out that my Uncle Bear is coincidentally visiting this place, too.

Uncle Bear takes me to a Weird Al show in a small tent, where Weird Al is DJing hard-ass drum and bass tracks with his posse (which includes the same Korean doctor or scientist in a different outfit) and doing a pretty bang-up job of it. Every once in a while he cuts the volume to half and picks up a mic to introduce somebody who's won a contest. This time, it's a Weird Al impersonator who, at first glance, looks exactly like "classic" Weird Al, but upon closer inspection appears to be actually a quite-different looking man with a really good costume on. The real Al passes the mic to the looky-likey who begins to tell jokes. It's easy to tell that audience didn't think they were going to be any good, and so the hearty laughs that follow his first joke have a satisfyingly genuine sound: "What do you say to a Spangeless? Save it, Spange-Less."

Thursday, November 8, 2007

So we jump out of the plane and hover a long way above the bay. It's not noisy or destabilizing at all, it's like treading water but a little less strenuous-- you do it with your chest instead of your legs. There's five or six other people I just met (we're staying with them, we're on tour) with me-- they do this all the time but it's my first time. I start to sink a little and it suddenly occurs to me that this might be harder than they're making it seem. I yell up, "Hey, I'm kind of sinking, am I doing something wrong?" They're all nonchalant, "Oh just come back up here. Take smaller breaths." I start to feel like there's really no point to doing this if I'm just going to be anxious and all. I look down at some docks and some warehouses down below.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

I'm in LA, sitting at a table in a nightclub, watching a band that's compromised mostly of ex-members of Guns and Roses, incl. the almighty Slash. He looks good. The singer is this kid Josh who used to play guitar in my friend Craig's mathrock band but who moved to NYC a good many years past. He wasn't a lead-singer type, more of a mathrock-frontman type, but now he's the semi-confrontational lead singer in Slash's new band. It's not a big nightclub and the audience is all sitting at tables with drinks. Abruptly, Josh leaves the stage and jumps on a table and starts hitting the wall. I starting howling and cheering, because although it looks kind of silly, I am always excited about the effort in these sorts of things. The rest of the audience, though, starts shooting me the stinkeye and takes me for a heckler, and it appears Josh suspects something similar. He comes over to the table I'm sitting at with my girl and picks up a plastic glass that used to be full of water and chucks it right over my girl's head. Not close enough to be scary but close enough to make some kind of aggressive impression. He does it again with a handful of napkins. All the sudden, I'm surprised to find myself shoving all the cups, plates, silverware, etc. right off the table onto the floor with a loud bang-- so there's nothing else for him to throw, right? He walks back to the stage, but the audience all clearly now think I'm some aggro asshole.

Just then I notice that someone else is singing--- it's the guitarist, who has a really dated wavy longhair style pulled back to a ponytail. All their other songs have been hard, but obviously this guy is on some George Harrison shit or something and gets to play his weenie sensitive ballad. He's singing kind of off-key and very pussy. I forget about the lead singer and look at this man's face. I can see how nervous he is. I can see him thinking that it isn't going well, that the audience wants more of the hard stuff. I start to sweat, start to forget that I'm not him, even though I would never write or sing a song as wussy as this one.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

I'm in school, there's a surprise math test, it's on some type of calculus I've never seen before which has numbers in two columns that some operation has to be performed on. I don't know what the operation is, though, because I've been skipping class for a long time. I was going to skip again today but I figured my attendance might get low enough that I'd automatically fail if I didn't start going again at some point. When I realize there's no way for me to divine the necessary operation by simply staring at the numbers, I walk out of class, pull my right foot over my right shoulder from the back, and start floating around. A freckle-faced soccer player named Ryan laughs and asks what I'm doing, and I demonstrate how, if I hop with my left leg while my right is hanging over my shoulder, I can jump really high and float back to the ground gradually. If I jump at an angle, it's kind of like flying.

I fly to a weird, scrappy house in the woods where most of the kids I know who go/went t MICA are preparing for an art show that I am also a part of. The place looks like a YMCA haunted house two weeks before Halloween-- like, it's not ready at all, but nobody seems worried. In the room I am supposed to be doing something in, there's a giant hot dog painted on one wall that stretches from the floor to the ceiling. Next to it, there's a big empty space. At the bottom of the empty space someone has started to draw the outline of a crawling baby in black spray paint, but they've made it much too short. I explain to some girls that the baby should maybe be bigger because all the empty space makes it look kind of crappy. They agree. I ask if we have to paint over the bad baby, and they say yes. Someone starts painting over it with silver paint. The wall's previous coat isn't silver, though. I decide to go home. My right leg is still hanging over my right shoulder this whole time.

I hop out of the house, pull my leg off my shoulder, and start running. I run to the road and run in the road, going faster than I can really manage. I fall down onto my butt and slide down the road at a quick pace. The road gets hilly and I wonder if I'm somewhere near Dickeyville. It's going to take a long time to get home, I think. I start to wonder if it's a bad idea to slide in the road-- will cars not see me? Maybe I should stand and try to run on the side of the road. I get upright, still zooming faster than I can manage, legs flying all over the place. I see a car in my lane facing the wrong way, but luckily it's parked. There's actually 2 or 3 cars parked behind it-- it seems like someone's extended family has either just arrived or is just leaving from some kind of holiday get-together. I run past their cars but I have to touch the hoods to get around them-- I wonder if they care but I'm going to fast to see. I start listening to AM talk radio somehow as I continue flailing/falling/flying down the road.

The radio show I can hear has a guy with a stereotypical Jewish old man voice for a host. He is talking to a caller with a similar voice who is describing a thing called "Psychotron"-- apparently a term used by local Jewish conspiracy buffs to describe a secret revival of the KKK that is currently underway. The caller talks about a man named Michael Caine who is either a cop or friends with cops and whose tactless barroom boasting has revealed some of Psychotron's secrets.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

I got a ride from Max to the westside, but Roby decided not to come. The westside was mostly indoors-- something like five or six square blocks of abandoned buildings had been joined together, their roofs connected. You would walk into one building and find that all the walls inside had been torn down except for the outermost walls, which had a few different doors in them. The doors would lead right into the next building. There was a bazaar-like atmosphere because a great many people were living and working all in this giant ubersquat. There were little shops set up and offices, although there weren't many walls between them. I found my friends Steve sitting at a desk working on a computer, sporting a beard I'd never seen on him before. He was glad to see me. There were merchants selling guitars and inflatable colored dogs, among other things. Some of the buildings in the ubersquat just served as alleys in between other buildings, and it seemed like no matter how many doors I went through, I still couldn't get my bearings. I was originally walking with Max and four other people I'd never met, but I lost them somehow and ended up outside again. A street urchin guy getting off of work with a group of other dudes pulled a switchblade and grinned.