Thursday, October 6, 2011

"Is That You John Wayne? Is This Me?": A story based on "It's a Long Road" by Dan Hill, as suggested by musician Topon Das of Fuck the Facts (42/100)

Is That You John Wayne? Is This Me?

The tall girl with roses on her dress rubs a hand up the inside of Deacon’s thigh and grabs him firm in the crotch. She’s spilled peach schnapps down her chin and neck and breasts, where it’s dried in a narrow stream and soaked into the top hem of the mostly white dress. Instead of that, Deacon thinks about Vietnam and how he got drafted, how he didn’t pass the physical and isn’t actually going.

“The way having no arches works is that there’s a minor-but-ignorable discomfort when spending long stretches of time standing or walking,” the doctor told Deacon, “and the arrival of the overall pain is not unlike a hand grenade with a two decade waiting period.”

He’ll need a cane within five years, a wheelchair within ten. So, Deacon’s not going to Nam. The girl with roses on her dress has two friends, one tall and one short, who are drinking whiskey out of champagne flutes and trying to get Deacon to go take pictures of them playing dress-up back at the short one’s house. He’s going there.

The girls are college freshmen with undeclared majors. Deacon follows them outside and hails a cab. The women pile in first, followed by Deacon crunching in next to the tall one with the lilies on her dress. He wants to change out of his tux first but the girls tell him not to. When he goes to loosen his tie, Lilies takes his hand and puts his middle finger in her mouth, removing it slowly around the circle of her lips.

The girls are talking amongst themselves. Roses pulls out a joint and passes it to Shorty, who lights it up and drags deeply. Lilies is waiting for the joint, and in the meantime she massages the sides of her thighs with her thumbs and palms and manages to wiggle out of her panties. The other girls laugh and do the same.

The cab pulls up in front of Shorty’s house, a mile outside of downtown, a place where the protests have tapered to one woman with an acoustic guitar sitting on the curb and strumming the chords to “One Tin Soldier” and “Waist Deep In the Big Muddy.” Deacon pays the cab driver while the girls stumble to the house, lifting up each other’s skirts and laughing obnoxiously. As soon as they get in the door, Lilies kisses Roses on the cheek clumsily and then licks the side of her face. Roses takes two steps forward and shoves her hand up Shorty’s dress in slow motion and then shoves her entire hand in her mouth.

They throw Deacon a camera and take turns running in and out of Shorty’s room with different outfits on, none of which fit the two taller girls. Deacon snaps picture after picture and the girls mostly ignore him except for the few seconds they stop to strike a pose in front of him. They’ve given up on undergarments and come out of the room with a breast hanging out or their pubic hair puffing up from the top of unfastened polyester pants. After about twenty minutes of the girls rotating outfits and revolving around the camera like a cyclone, Deacon doesn’t even bother aiming his shots anymore. He holds the camera to his side with both hands and clicks the button as if he’s in the war.

“Let’s go kill someone,” Deacon says.

The girls have started drinking again, relentlessly and without purpose. Shorty is the first to say something, which is “Let’s fucking do it.” Everyone’s quiet for a second until Lilies pushes Roses and then laughs. They all start laughing and shoving one another, throwing fake punches and then real ones. Shorty takes a right hook to the eye and throws haymakers out like hummingbird wings until, within seconds, everyone but Deacon has a bloody nose. They won’t stop laughing.

They don’t call a cab this time, they just take off toward downtown, blood and booze staining their faces and clothes. Deacon’s left his cummerbund and tie and jacket back at the place, but he’s still wearing everything else, the long shirt with cufflinks and the suspenders. The cheap plastic shoes begin to hurt his feet halfway to the protests. The girls have formed a messy v-shape, Shorty flanked by Lilies and Roses, and they’re following Deacon toward the noise and light.

The first guy they see is a wannabe hippy whose aggression is real and far less rheumy than the actual passive hippies. The girls call him over and he walks right by Deacon. They walk fifty feet to get to a parking ramp and then start walking to the top level. Deacon’s far behind the girls and the fake hippy. Lilies is in front now, turning it into a game, telling the fake hippy to come get them if he thinks he can catch them. Deacon stops for a second to take off his shoes. He starts to rub his feet and by the time he meets back up with the group at the top of the parking ramp, Roses is already down on her knees in front of the fake hippy, unbuttoning his pants.

“Get the fuck out of here,” the fake hippy says to Deacon, loud enough to travel across the top level of the ramp and not much further. Lilies punches the fake hippy in the back of the head, which doesn’t do much of anything. When he turns around, Roses stands up and shoves the pointed heel of her shoe into the side of the man’s neck. The three women begin to pummel him. The shoe won’t fall out, but as the seal of skin around the leather begins to loosen, spurts of blood shoot out in two-foot arcs every second, keeping time.

Deacon turns and runs. The girls have forgotten about Deacon and would have forgotten about the war if they had ever considered it. Deacon runs and doesn’t stop, not when he begins to cry and not when he begins to vomit, letting loose with hot bile and wedding food all over his stomach and legs. He runs until his steps begin to falter, his non-existent arches burning up his heels and shins. He runs with no destination, with no possible end of the road.



Dan Hill is a Canadian musician who has a bunch of albums, but who gives a shit because he wrote the theme song for the first Rambo movie, so nothing's going to be as badass as that. Also, he's not the Dan Hill who married Faith Hill before she got famous--that was some Nashville guy who people somehow manage to give less of a fuck about than the Rambo Dan Hill.

Topon Das
is a Canadian musician who has a bunch of albums, and you should give a shit because grind is awesome. He plays guitar in the band Fuck the Facts, my personal favorite album of theirs being Disgorge Mexico, in which they keep a lot of the same baby-punching elements of grind/death and add some space to breathe. Then you get hammered in the balls again. Everyone wins. Also, he likes Secret Chiefs, so he's cool as hell in my book.

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Next week: a story based on "If You Love Someone, Set Them On Fire" by Dead Milkmen, as suggested by writer Danger_Slater.

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