have turned to red,
I am what has been bled
We are the children of the bowels
I have seen Mountains
And watched them all fall
We look back,
To what we have lost,
And I don’t see what I ever had.
Adam gets straight A’s. He does his homework; and he colored inside the lines in kindergarten. He wears Old Navy clothing and has just turned fifteen. Adam’s hair is of a shorter length, suggesting reliability, structure, and safety. There’s not much to say about Adam, because Adam is himself and no one else; but Adam is himself by being everyone else.
Adam’s parents do find their way of showing love, when convenient. Normally they sit in front of the poison gas clouds of television. And Adam reads in his room. Tonight the mother of our subject fell asleep watching a Home and Garden program called “Fixing Your Lawn – How to kill groundhogs.”
It is on this particular night of the thousands been and thousands to come, that Adam receives a text message from his friend -though the word friend may be a stretch-. The text message on his Samsung Slate phone appears to be a mass message, to all listed numbers in the cell phone. The message reads thus: Concert at Froid Burroughs’ Fire Hall! Two dollars admission, manginas be warned! Saturday! In the typical disorganized, and destructured, manner of a text message.
When a thought occurred to Adam... he had never been to a music event. Never in Adam’s life did he gather around several other individuals with a center factor of music, not even a folk festival. Though the text message had been embedded with a warning to those of frail physical nature, the experience of a concert will always be something that everyone should see – or feel. Adam came to be old enough now to understand this.
He closed his book that night, ending on a chapter of a monkey breaking away from a laboratory technician and causing a revolution of bananas, shit, broken glasses, and ruined lab coats. The last words of the chapter were: and it all broke loose, from out of the insanity, a pure and white force – perhaps directly from a phantasmagoric heaven – aspired to BE them; to be apart of energy so uncontrolled, chaotic, and primal… it was beautiful.
Adam woke up the next morning, Saturday morning, feeling wonderfully nervous. A pre-determined fact, Adam knew there would be no fitting in. He slid on a cotton baseball quarter-sleeve shirt, base color gray, arm color red, some dark blue jeans, and white Adidas sneakers. Looking at himself in the mirror, the clothes did no justice to what would soon be his struggle for intermingling at the concert.
Adam got a ride with the friend that sent out the mass text, because of proximity. They rode in an awkward silence; one being two years older than the other. “I forgot my auxiliary cord to play music, sorry,” the stone-faced and so grown up, as teenagers are, driver said. The driver of the four year old burgundy car was wearing a white shirt with a big mythical hydralisk monster vomiting knives and baby heads with x’s over the eyes and the band name, Among Tombs, across the top, and tight dark-blue jeans. His thin hair hung in a brown asymmetric swoop across his face; he played with it every fifteen seconds. “What kind of music do you listen to?” Another blank statement floated around in the car. Adam looked away from the window, thinking about all the things he’d never done; and brought his gaze in a slow horizontal sweep to the driver, getting lost in the shirt. “Huh?” The driver broke his gazed from the windshield, looked at him. Adam retorted “huh” back. “I asked you a question. Usually that would be followed by an answer. Considering where we are going, this is relevant... What kind of music do you listen to?” He fixes his pretentious hair.
Adam, naturally, didn’t know what kind of music he listened to. In an honest way, he never really listened to any music.
“Well, I like the band on the shirt you’re wearing.” Though he thought they seemed a little edgy for him. The driver knew he was lying, and couldn’t just dump him on the road. So, the two travel in a customarily family silence, collective, encompassing, and sad. Adam still wears Old Navy. The driver still fixes his hair. And they arrive.
The Froid Fire Hall consists of three floors. The upper most floor used for storage. The middle floor: a bar with wood flooring and old juke box that holds every Hank Williams song ever made, a sign next to it says so. The middle-aged men go there, because in that generation it’s okay to be seen in your home town, and kill their brain cells together, laughing. The bar room oscillates with pennants hung up of the towns high school sports teams achievements and a shotgun under the bar, just in case. Downstairs, the basement, drew in adolescents. All of them looked like the driver, smoking, spitting on the ground aimlessly to show lack of giving a shit, and laughing together. Inside a bass drum boomed; a guitarist practiced shrieking riffs. The four year old burgundy car took a turn into the gravel parking lot quickly, and stopped quickly. Adam got out of the car; and the driver immediately walked away from him, after locking his door; and abandoned him in the selfish manner that is custom to social events. If one were to watch from the sky, Adam would look like the ostracized member of a cattle herd because he became infected with some sort of disease that animals can just tell. He stood there listening to conversation generally flowing around a medium of music and watching cigarettes burn hard and red with each inhale, thinking about asking for one. Instead, he sits against the gray concrete wall, feeling small rocks with his fingers. The basement’s entrance lies on the lower left corner of the Fire Hall, if looking at it as though it were a portrait painting, with the gravel parking lot connecting directly to it. The Basement’s a small room used for having rotary meetings, or a place to regroup and strategize during emergencies, and not cosmetic.
Finally, the door opened and someone signaled for all lingerers to come inside. So it begins.
Adam hands his two dollars to a big bald guy with a shirt that had fat men eating frail Asian women’s guts for dinner on it. The Asian women had a forced and uncomfortable smile, like schoolgirls, as the fat men dug into their stomachs, gorging. He’s pushed along to the right down the small hallway while continuing to study the shirt, and thrust into a whole new world. The Basement: A small, 100 square foot space with white concrete walls and nothing hanging on them; to Adam’s left a band is set up, amplifiers, guitar peddles, a strobe light; and the band themselves consist of one short-haired tall man with two piercings on his lower lip and a very angst-driven hopeless look, a guitarist of medium height in a tan tight t-shirt saying in large black text “ANOTHER DEPARTED,” a bassist standing shirtless in black, white, and red basketball shorts, bald and a hairless chest, lastly Adam sees the drummer in a grey tank top and black jeans with hair longer in the same style as the driver. The four men/boys certainly look bonded, and like they have some sort of mission not understood by anyone else in the room. A single hanging light with a dome cover sat exactly in the middle of the now crowded Basement and sways in rhythm of new footsteps.
The vocalist comes up to the mic and he says very calmly, “We are Seven Chronicles - Fear and Loathing.” The small room vibrates to his voice, and a few people clap. Adam hears scattered conversation, “Are you gonna dance?” and answers “If you do I do.” There are no smoke machines, no seats, no lines, no stands, there are just the angry, ugly, stupid, too smart for their own good, or drug-addicted adolescents of “the greatest country in the world” standing in a small room, about to gain a new member.
Adam becomes aware of a surreal kind of smoke hanging around the room. Almost like Adam saw energy.
Another boy, maybe slightly older than Adam, clearly drunk and smelling so, pushes him to the side and screams “LET’S GO! PLAY A BREAKDOWN!” The vocalist looks to his guitarist, and to his bassist. Everyone bounces up and down, except Adam, and lightly pushes one other. The energy in the room rises. The light above begins to sway; and this is what Adam sees: Teenagers pushing into each other and all looking in the same direction. -Sway- The guitarist jumping up and down, the bassist doing a last-minute stretch, and the vocalist bobbing his head slightly, memorizing a tempo. –Sway- An even more excited crowd bouncing higher, pushing harder. First, the bass drum booms two notes like a heartbeat. A few teenagers scream throaty screams, begging for it. –Sway- Then, the symbols come in, loud and unsettling, ts ts ts ts ts.
Adam’s a rag doll right now. Like a microbe in a filling glass of water, or wisp of a plant’s seeds in the wind, he is completely controlled by what’s going on around him, punched here, thrown there, grabbed there. But still his eyes never leave the swaying of the light: The crowd pushing and punching and kicking and sweating, then –sway- to the vocalist, opening, opening, and opening. Finally out of his mouth came a non-human screech so many have perfected. A gut-wrenching scream, and the room convulses to its energy.
The endearment of a slaughter
My youth, a lamb
How the blood
Mingles with your false tears
The desisting of my bright eyes
Drown and dulled in your excess
They are love to you,
Even in this empty echo of a
This last word holds out. The crowd goes insane as the strobe light turns on. Waves after wave of energy came up through the concrete floor into Adam’s legs and his body. Each one seemed to affect him in a different way. Adam does not feel human. He fights his way through a cesspool of a constrained societies’ excess, what gets thrown away, the trash, the unfavorable children, God’s children. Adam grabs the vocalist by the back of his sweaty head and screams with him. Both of their faces turn into monsters. In the strobe light, the room turns into a moving mass. Everyone screams, kicks, and hurts each other but they do it together. Everyone is pissed off; that’s why they are here. They all hit each other and pushed, but they loved each other through the anger. Through this complete disorganization, and screaming rejected teenagers, a beautiful hum could be heard. Adam gets lifted up by the crowd after being pulled off the vocalist. They hold him to the ceiling. The strobe light beats faster and faster as drop-D notes climb concrete walls. Tiny Froid Fire Hall shakes of adolescent rage. With each of Adam’s hits unto the ceiling the alcohol at the Oak bar shook, just a little bit. And the gray-haired John Wayne drunkards looked at each other. And the children screamed. And they are the reflection of a ‘nothing’ generation, nihilistic, angry, violent, the spawns of a generation preceding them that had everything material and more but could not have been less fulfilled.
After all, this is the intention of all that noise. To shake things up, just a little bit. Drip, drip. Somewhere in the United States, a tiny Fire Hall shakes with the sound of about thirty teenagers fighting each other to fight their demons, to fight themselves. Adam pounds, pounds on the ceiling, and the crowd grows bloody and sweaty. But the show continues on, and not a single soul stops thrashing at whatever makes them do so.
A few hours after, and his ears stopped ringing long ago, Adam lay under the slightly swaying single light. His cheek puffed out blue and his shirt tore down the middle, some blood on his chest. Lying against the cool concrete floor - blood stains miscellaneously dotting the floor - staring at the light, with red teeth, Adam smiles.