by Randy Byers
The duck's ass had been chewed off. We had a six mile hike ahead of us, and I was already wondering how much more I could take.
Yes, it's spring again, and a winter's worth of pent energy has blown the gates of apathy off their hinges. Ready or not, it's time to rawwwwk.
So, on the last day of winter, Tami and I and two other
bacchantes rolled down to the Showbox to hear the Screaming Trees. It was a perfect inauguration of the new season: sloppy, loud, frenzied, and drenched in beery sweat. Dervishes whirled, drunks hurled, and hair curled. Unruly doubt got bounced by fellas with biceps the size of my thighs. I danced and pogoed, shucked the moshers, hugged my friends, smiled at strangers, and felt almost alive.
On the first day of Spring, I rested.
On the second day of Spring, the rawk siren called again, and it was off to Moe for Citizens' Utilities and Pond. But something wasn't quite right. CU soared and wavered, collapsed and rebounded, and never quite grabbed a groove. Pond didn't get off the ground until the last three songs, and by then it was too late. No release.
Come to think of it, the Screaming Trees show kinda blew, too. Rock was dead.
No, wait, that's right, I was dead. How quickly we forget!
Where else to go, then, but to the Elysian Brewpub to ask the goddess Hazel for some nectar and whither the world of the living. Hazel had only dregs to offer, but she gave them freely. It was enough. I turned to confront a ghost from the past, unseen since he departed years ago on a journey to alien lands. Stories of Nepalese heavens and transparent Laotians evolved. Time -- what time? -- time to go.
It was Saturday then. The masseur next door located a brick of winter in my lower back and pressed it to talk. It sounded staticky, my head full of snow. I wandered hatless to the temple of Master Hackney, who demonstrated the graces of Tai Chi. Would this bring the release I sought? That night, still seeking, the neighbor and I returned to the Showbox and tried the whiskey. Amidst drag queens, wanna-fly girls, frat boys, and hipless tourists, we bucked techno until the acid jazz lounge amped up. Fat beats finished the massage. Release at last!
On Sunday, I repented. Took the mower out and clogged it over and over with still soggy grass, then squared everything with an edger.
Three days later, I was hardly sore at all anymore.Which gets us to Thursday, and nearly back to the duck. Another massage was happening, at the hands of Karrie Dunning this time.
"Carrie Root and I are getting people together for a Volks March through the Aboretum on Saturday," she told me, while fingering the winter in my quadratus lumborum.
Carrie confirmed this when I showed up for the Apak mailing Friday night. So, I rendezvoused with the marchers the next morning.
Our subset of the Volk contained Karrie, Carrie, Andy, Kate Schaefer, Glenn Hackney, Glenn's daughter and daughter-in-law, and their child. I was glad I wasn't the only one wearing leather, amidst the nylon, gortex, spandex, polyethylene, styrofoam, gelignite, and other sensible accessories. The weather was perfect for a march: cool and overcast, but glowing with the clean grey light of a sun barely banished.
We set off. I aligned myself with my editor, and first thing we saw was the duck.
"This is the year," Andy said, mopping sweat from his brow. "Griffey. Fifty dingers." He began to sing a camp song from his adolescence.
Six miles later, only four of us remained standing. It was the day before Easter. Conventions raged elsewhere in Seattle, and in Minneapolis, Baltimore, and Liverpool. The sun had burnt away the veil. It was a glorious day, and I was well spent. Spring stretched out before me like a long awaited lover, wanting more.
The next day, a storm blew in. Trees crushed houses, and powerlines snapped. I pulled weeds from barren beds and cursed as cows sailed overhead.
My ass ached.
And so on.
Return to the table of contents.
Previous article: Mongolian Rock n' Roll, by Vicki Rosenzweig.
Next article: Trading Zines, by Christina Lake.