Speaking of past lives, it must be one of mine that brings Andy Lace to mind. As for “Heavy Metal Pews,” I stand willingly accused of variety. And I still have not cut my hair, even though there is time, or something that quaintly resembles it.
Heavy Metal Pews
So, John, I hear you guys just finished a new CD. Tell me, how’d it go in the studio?
Well, by the time Ancient Andy Lace found the words, the rest of us were dead. Like, nobody cared. Where’d you dig this up, man. And he’s sitting there like Shakespeare and this weird stuff is pouring out of him, coming out of his nostrils and ears and mind, and he’s a blowing leather freight train all loaded with acid and graffiti, with like ten thousand homeless people riding on his back. That’s it, man, you’re going to take us to the top, then they’ll slaughter us like sheep and boil us in the ocean, pearl waves, seaweed, and dead fish climbing up the shore, don’t think we won’t find you, man, just because we’re dead, because we will, and maybe even because we’re dead, you know what I’m saying? And like in one night this dude writes the whole album without even being there, and we all get stinking rich — this is what I’m saying. Like there are five of us walking through the wilderness and we’re starving to death, and the next day we’ve all got silk pajamas and we’re on an island somewhere with girls all around, and everybody is asking everybody deep blue questions, and the sun is a big greasy lemon just waiting to be squeezed, and mama’s onion tears are history, and there’s babies everywhere growing ripe on banana trees with long wavy arms, and you pluck them and pick them and pop them in your mouth and you swallow them whole while the sand licks your toes — everything is that different. It’s so different you can’t believe how sneaky real it is. It mixes you up and you start pulling in messages and dreams, walking perfect through a maze of destruction — this is what I’m saying. Like hungry sponges eating at your brain, soaking up your hot dog dreams and leaving you with heaven’s pure green mustard. And Ancient Lace spouting foam. There is no way you can make him stop. He doesn’t come this far just to go home and clean the bowling alley stairs. He is born and reborn for this kind of trouble. He says madness is his name like it’s the dark night news, that’s why he’s come to worship at the heavy metal pews. Nerves are raw down to his metal bone and his bridge is made of steel, tells worriers on the telephone just how they’re supposed to feel. Tells them he’s a sinner, tells them all the news, tells them he’s a winner in the heavy metal pews. That’s what I’m saying. And all night we’re sitting there like life’s a brick wall and we’re about to be executed — freedom at its finest, because we’ve pushed on, because you can die from waiting in line, it will kill you and spit you out and the government will run right over you with a tank. That’s what they do, man. That’s why they steal your money and cut you open like a can of beans, they’re after your guts, like night of the living dead taxpayers they take you out to the ball game and feed you to the lions and stamp a barcode on your head and watch your every move. Try to escape, they hit you with a jolt of electricity and say bad dog, time for you to behave, bring me my slippers and newspaper, don’t sit there slobbering on the rug or you will be deep-fried in Texas oil. It was like a hundred and nineteen hours and counting. Ancient Lace was gone. His hollow eyes were hypnotized and a nightmare was running through him. He was an exasperation inhalation undulation amalgamation situation of totally improper magnitude, a crossfire down to the wire town crier with the will to sire a multitude, and that was only the first track — you get what I’m saying?
No Time to Cut My Hair, Author’s Press Series, 2009
Story 23 of 70 written in 90 days, 661 words, September 4, 2002