|Lost Hairbo Tapes|
|Merry Christmas Bhtch|
|Captain Flywheel and the Produce Section|
|Bhtch Thanksgiving Fiesta|
|Captain Flywheel and the Produce Section (live)|
|Marry Me Bhtch|
|Gyrating Bhtch The Movie Soundtrack|
|Merry Christmas Bhtch! Live!|
|It's Raining Ben|
|Bhtch Comes Alive!|
|Drinks That Sound Like Food|
|Fuck This & Fuck You|
|GBP: TSY: GBFT|
|Epic And Stupid|
|Suddenly, and Without Warning|
|Suddenly, and Without Warning (Part Two)|
|Captain Flywheel Stageplay|
|Merry Christmas, Bhtch|
|Unstoppable Hose Truck|
The front door to Ben's house slammed shut, heralding the entrance of the last of the equipment."Jeez, Ben! This speaker cabinet weighs a ton!" Brud exhaled hoarsely as he let it fall to the floor.
"Dowp!" Ben screamed, his arms flailing in the air. "Don't DO that!"
Brud huffed and puffed. "Sorry."
"Where are the goddamn endtables?" Mike questioned.
"Very funny." Ben surveyed the empty living room. The bare wood floor showed silhouettes of dust where sofas and easy chairs had been. All that remained in the the Mueller's former living room was the rug. "The rug and the drapes should dampen the sound enough. Now all we have to do is set up, and then we're ready to go." He turned to face the mounds of equipment cluttering the foyer.
"I 'ain't movin' any of it." Brud had seated himself on the PA and seemed ready to nestle in for a long winter's rest.
"Would you get up off your sorry ass and move some of this shit?" said Ben heatedly. "We ain't gonna set up any of your Goddamn drums, you bloated sack of protoplasm."
"I know, I know," said Brud, rising slowly. "I was gonna do all the drum stuff myself. I just don't want to do any of the PA shit."
"What a Magillacuddy," said Mike candidly.
Just then, before things could get too ugly, Russell boomed up the front steps and threw open the screen door. Around his neck, on an elaborate lanyard, were several brand new chicken shakes. They shook pleasantly in the autumn breeze. "Hairbo," Russell exclaimed joyously as his heavy bulk maneuvered deftly into the empty space that was the living room.
"Russ Chicken Shake Russ," Ben said through clenched teeth.
"Russ," said Brud, "don't you remember our deal?"
"Oh yeah, right. Sorry Hairbo." Brud and Mike broke into peals of laughter as Russ realized his second blunder in less than ten seconds. Ben blushed with an angry smile. He had to admit, the obnoxiously endearing nickname had become obnoxiously endearing. Ben unclenched his teeth.
"Well, Brud, now you won't have to move the PA again." He pointed to the equipment. "Russell, if you don't mind?"
Ben breathed a sigh of relief. "Thank you."
Three-thirty in the afternoon, October 23, 1992. The Mueller family living room had been transformed into an Evanstonian Abbey Road, an Ashland Ave. Power Station, a virtual Electric Ladyland for these four young, inexperienced, and almost laughably nerr-do-well amateur musicians. The hardwood floor was criss-crossed with a spaghetti highway of XLR cables, instrument cords, and power strips. Amps and speaker cabinets towered over them like imposing black skyscrapers. The room reeked of naive professionalism. Yes, this was to be an eventful, tuneful weekend for these four musicians. Their sole problem, however, was this: where was the fifth?
"Where's Markbo?" Mike was perched on the makeshift desk that held his Macintosh, a chicken shake in one hand, a Big Burrito cup full of Hawaiian Punch in the other--not to mention the snazzy black drummer's gloves he had swiped from Brud.
"Didn't he leave for Boston already?" asked Russ.
"If he did, then I'll personally rip out his anus and turn it into an ashtray," said Ben with an angry sneer. "Anyway, he left his acoustic upstairs. He's just late, as usual."
"He'd better get here, because I paid good money for these drums." Brud was hard at work trying to figure out how to set up his double bass pedal. "Hairb...I mean Ben, have you ever set up a double bass pedal before?"
"No, you're the drum expert. You figure it out."
"I'll help you Brud," said Mike as he sprung from his chair with a childish glee. He certainly enjoyed fouling up everybody's plans, but there was no legal way of getting rid of him, so they had to stick with him.
"Oh, God," said Brud.
"So, Ben, where are your parents?" asked Russ. "I don't see them, and there isn't a large quantity of meat in your freezer."
"Oh. Yeah. They're out of town," Ben shouted. He had busied himself with setting up his rig in the kitchen. "I'll be in in a few hours. I've got to dial in my sound. I've got this new bass head and..."
"We've all heard it a million times," said Brud. "It's 2600 list price and you got it for a thousand. You know what? Nobody cares. You were too damn loud before, and you're gonna be too loud now." Brud was becoming more upset as he fiddled with the pedal. Sweat began to bead on his snow-white brow, and roll gently down his little pug nose.
"I care," said Mike.
"Shut up, jerk," said Ben.
"Whoa, Ben, I sense some hostility," said Russ, trying to keep the peace.
"Well, I still can't dial in my fucking sound on this no good piece of shit, and Mark still hasn't shown up."
As the afternoon dragged on until evening, the four intrepid musicians sat and waited. Brud had long since figured out how to set up his double bass pedal, and sat behind his drum kit, practicing his rolls. Russ assumed a self-induced catatonia that the others had seen on occasion when he was bored. Not even a huge pile of flying shit, they thought, could bring him out of that. Russell was just Russell, and they just assumed to leave well enough alone. Mike had busied himself with the task of readying his samples, attempting to make them more ample than they had been in the past.
The combination of Russell's labored, wheezing breath, and the entrancing rhythm of the uneven bass rolls interspersed with gospel according to Screaming Jay Hawkins was just too much for Ben's fragile patience to handle.
"I'm calling Mark," he declared defiantly. He always enjoyed taking control of the situation.
"We told you to do that an hour ago," said Brud.
"Oh." Ben shook himself, realizing that he had been in a state of catatonia almost as much as Russell had. "What time is it?"
"Almost five-thirty," said Brud. The beads of sweat that had been on his brow were replaced with a thin sheen which covered his face, much like the glazing on a doughnut. "And tell him to get his sorry ass over here," he called to Ben, who had walked to the phone in the foyer.
Picking up the receiver, Ben dialed the numbers without thinking. A sultry voice answered at the other end.
"Hi, my name's Candy. And I'm very lonely. Won't you come over and play with me? I've got long blonde hair, and all I'm wearing is a peek-a-boo nightie, so you can see my..." Ben hung up the phone with pale embarrassment. Wrong number. Well, more like right number, wrong time. He dialed more carefully this time. The phone rang again as he ran his thumbnail at the dirt under the nail of his middle finger. The line clicked on the other end.
"Hello, you have reached the offices of Mark Boyens and Associates. We are not in the office at this time. If you would please leave your name, your phone number and the time you called, we will get back to you promptly. Thank you." The answering machine beeped. It was a slap in the face to Ben. Where could Mark be? He had been in on the planning of this for months now.
"Mark," Ben tried to keep his voice even. "You had better pick up the Goddamn phone right now you lying sack of shit." His voice had risen and cracked, and he paused a moment to regain his composure. "Sorry, Mrs. Delsing. Anyway, you cunt-waffling little ball of yak shit. If you don't haul your tiny little zit covered ass over here right now, I will personally tie you down and have mice gnaw your microscopic, permanently flaccid penis off at the base. Sorry Mrs. Delsing. So, give me a call when you get in. Okay? Bye." Ben slammed the phone down so hard that it brought Russell out of his catatonia. He blinked himself back to this dimension.
"Huh?" he said. "Where am I? Mother, it's okay. I'm back from the war. It's okay Mother. Don't cry. No, stop. Please don't cry. They'll grow back. No, they will. I've seen it happen."
"Um, Russ?" said Mike.
Russell fixed his eyes on Mike. "Oh. Just a dream I was having."
"I can recommend a good psychiatrist. I've been to him myself many times," said Mike. "And just look at the progress." Mike put his arms out to his sides and smiled broadly.
"I think I'll pass," said Russell with a wave of his hand. And with that, he farted.
"So," said Brud, addressing Ben. "Did you talk to Mark?"
Ben's temperature was on the rise again. He was preparing himself to launch into a bitch-parade to all present about the low opinion of Mark that he had at that present time when a knock came at the door.
The four fell silent. Effluvial tension filled the air, hovering like a sweaty mist over the young men's heads.
"Who farted?" asked Russell.
The others hissed at him in unison. "Shhhh!"
The knocking came again, louder this time, and with a noticeably ominous echo. A thought crossed Ben's shriveled, troubled brain: is that an Alesis? Did Mark buy a MIDIverb? In a nanosecond, the sheer, ponderous stupidity of the notion drove it into the black obscurity of all those wasted thoughts and forgotten dreams, finally to pour out his left ear like so much psychic sewage.
Brud waved his hand before Ben's glassy stare.
"Ben? Snap out of it."
"Oh, sorry. This thought was leaking out of my ear like so much psych..."
The knocking came again. A muffled shout could be heard behind the thick, red door.
"It's Markbo," Mike said.
"Finally!" Ben's face faded from a heated crimson to a merely perturbed pink. He walked past the other petrified members of the erstwhile band and opened the door.
The door slid slowly on is decade-old hinges. It creaked slightly.
Mark, cutting a dashing figure in his L.L.Bean overcoat and neatly moussed hair, stood on the sky-blue porch, a guitar case in each hand.
"Yo, Ben, sorry it took me so long, but I had to take a shower, and I had to eat..." Ben didn't hear another word. Mark started to walk in from the cold, but the red-headed bassist refused to move. The guitarist was puzzled. He looked into Ben's eyes, but they gazed off into the space behind him. "What?"
Brud managed to speak.
"Who is that?"
"What? Who is wh..." Mark turned to look behind him.
The gorilla was about half a head taller than Mark. Or at least the gorilla suit was about half a head taller than Mark. He held six balloons on strings in one hand and a not-really-but-almost-frighteningly-large-sized ceramic phallus in the other.
"Aagghh!!" They screamed. Mark bolted past Ben and hid, guitars and all, behind a chair.
The gorilla suit inhaled, its ponderous bulk swelling in a pale metaphor to the engorged white plaster phallus in its polyester-furred hand. The five re-united nerr-do-wells watched in frozen horror as the suit opened its terrifying, plastic molded jaws, the halitosis buffeting even the stout Russell with its magnitude. They shuddered in primal fear as...it began to sing. To the melody of 'Purple Haze':"Hendrix' penis, is in my hand,
Supposed to give it to your sorry band.
Was told to do this, but I don't know why,
Could you sign this, one of you guys?"
The gorilla suit placed the calcified phallus on the table in the foyer and then whipped out, seemingly from his ass, a clipboard and pen. It pointed with its balloon hand.
Without taking his eyes off the gorilla suit, Ben took up the pen in zombie-like fashion and signed a name. He didn't remember what name, but it was a name. The gorilla turned to leave. "Have fun, guys." It stopped. "Oh, here are your balloons." The suit released the strings and the pretty, multi-colored balloons, wafted up to the ceiling. The door seemed to shut behind it of its own volition.
"What was that?!" Brud yelled. "And what is that?!" He pointed to the ceramic penis on the table. "That's supposed to be Jimi Hendrix's dingus?! What the fuck, man?!"
Mike's blank stare turned into jubilation. "What a great gorilla suit! A Rugabonillagorilla suit! Yes! Aga-laga-laga!"
Russell shook his head, the chicken-shakes rattling as he did so. "That clipboard really smelled."
"The Plaster Casters!" Mark leaped up from his prone position behind the chair.
"The Plastawhatdawhozzitz?" Brud queried.
"The Plaster Casters! They were groupies; a group of groupies."
"They hung out with Frank Zappa, I think."
"They would have sex with rock stars, and then make casts of their erect members."
"Members of what?" Russell asked. "You mean a club?"
"No," Ben said. His stupor had waned and he had, for the most part, re-entered conscious reality. "Not...member. Johnson. His...Johnson." He stared at the object. "Why would anyone send us Jimi Hendrix's...Johnson?'
"I don't know," said Mark. "Maybe this is a symbol. Maybe it'll give us power. Make our band as big as the Experience. I mean, it's not just a Johnson. It's Hendrix's Johnson!" Mark began to stare at the phallus as if it were some saintly relic.
"Not good enough!" Brud shouted. "Dammit! Not good enough!"
"We have to find out what's going on."
Mike leaped up, raising a fist in the air. "Follow that gorilla suit!"
"We're leaving?" asked Ben, who didn't want to go. But it was too late. Mike ran for the door with all the abandon of a junkyard. He hit it with such a force that his balls resonated painfully. A wine glass sitting on the foyer table shattered with a reverberating crash.
"Um, Michael? Are you okay?" Russell prudently had followed Mike, but at a slower pace. He picked Mike off the floor with a strong paw. Mike shook himself, then cupped his hands over his crotch to stop the shuddering.
"Ow," said Mike. Russell opened the door and the two of them went outside. Brud, never one to avoid an adventure, followed them in silence.
"Coming, Hairbo?" said Brud. Ben shot Brud a look that could cut diamond. "Well, it's a natural reaction. I'm sorry. Are you coming?"
"I don't really have a choice here, do I?" said Ben. A pain began to seep into his head, filling the space left by the psychic watershed. He blinked in thought, and followed the exodus.
"Mark," said Brud without looking back. "Let's go." They took a few more steps, but the fifth set of footsteps could not be heard. "Mark?" Brud turned around. "Oh my GOD!!!"
It was bad. It was as serious as a Wagnerian opera. Mark was standing above the Hendrix monument in frozen awe. Not a single muscle on his body twitched, and his eyes remained wide open, as though the sky were a jet-black. His mouth hung open, and his tongue was hanging comfortably over his lower lip. Saliva was falling off his tongue in large, soupy drops and falling to the floor. Brud estimated that North Atlantic Salmon could have survived in the lake of drool that gathered at Mark's feet. Little did Brud know that the salt content of drool is not high enough to support salt water fish.
"Holy shit," said Mike. "He's not gonna do anything disgusting, is he?"
"No," said Ben. "Mark is a man of integrity and intelligence. Even if he were a homosexual, he would know better than to attempt fellatio on a ceramic penis. But you never know." With that, Ben picked up a baseball bat that was leaning up against the wall in the entryway. He walked calmly up to Mark, and smacked him a good one over the head.
For a moment, nothing happened. Mark's gaze was not broken, the river did not stop flowing, his eyes continued their almost incomprehensible dilation. Then, all of a sudden, Mark stood up. His mouth snapped closed, and his eyes snapped shut. "I am the greatest," he exclaimed. "I can play arpeggios, chords, scales, blinding licks. Blues, rock, country, calypso, disco, classical, punk, funk, junk...everything. I've got to get to a guitar."
Mark took a step towards the living room, and promptly slipped the small lake at this feet. He feel backwards and smashed his head on the floor. Darkness clouded over his eyes, and he felt consciousness slipping from his grasp like a scared frog...
...When Mark awoke, he found himself in the exact same place he was when he fell. He heard the voices of his fellow bandmates in the next room. They were laughing and chatting. He raised his head slightly as his vision came back to him. He saw Mike holding the phallus in one hand, and a paintbrush in the other. Mike was painting the ornament! Mark leapt to his feet. "No," he shouted.
As he stood, he realized why it was that the human body loses consciousness when extreme pain smashes into it. The throbbing in the back of his head felt like the backbeat in a dance club that had been going all night long. He fell to his knees as the blood rushed from his head. "Don't paint that," he said weakly. His strength had not come back, and his consciousness was fading again. "Don't paint that," he said again, but he was unsure if the words even left his lips. He heard Brud's voice from the other room as he drifted off: "Did somebody hear a voice?"
When Mark came to for the second time, he found once again that his friends had not moved him from his spot. The saliva had creeped halfway up around his shirt, and began to reek of a child's unwashed bed pillow. He loved his friends for taking such good care of him.
A foot caught him painfully under his ribcage, and a large body fell over him, crashing down to the floor across his body. Mark grimaced in pain.
"Oh shit," said Russell. "Sorry, Mark. I didn't see you there." Russell pulled his feet across Mark's body as he rose up from the floor. The left shoe crossed Mark's face, catching him painfully in the nose. The pain of the blow was overshadowed by the stench left by the shoe. Mark struggled to keep his stomach down, and his fragile consciousness intact. Russell rose to his feet.
"How long have you been lying on the floor?" said Russell. "And what's that smell?"
"I don't know, and I don't know. I guess I slipped on something. Weren't you guys going to leave?" The volume in Mark's head had turned down somewhat, but the beat was still going on.
"We almost did, but we saw the gorilla truck leave, and we decided not to go. We can follow him if we want to, his phone number is on the balloons, along with a message about the dangers of jockey briefs." Russell had risen to his feet, and a hand loomed in Mark's face, offering to bring him to his feet. Mark accepted, and steadied himself on Russell's powerful shoulder.
"Where's the Horgon? I mean, the Hendrix dick?"
"It's in the living room. Mike put it on the pedestal."
"He didn't paint it, did he?" Mark feared for the worst, knowing Mike penchant for mischief.
"No, that wasn't a paintbrush. He was just dusting it off. How come?"
"Because that penis has all the playing secrets that any guitar or bass player could ever need." Mark's head cleared slowly as the events of the last hour or so flooded back to him. It was clear to him now, the Hendrix penis was the key to life.
"How did you find that out?" Russell inquired. What Mark was saying didn't make the slightest bit of sense to him.
"I...I just know." Mark walked over to one of his guitar cases and removed his maple Strat. He plugged into his amp and hit its ON switch. While waiting for the old head to warm up, he practiced some fast runs up an down the guitar neck. Mike, Russell, and Brud seemed somewhat impressed, and Ben mildly skeptical. Of course, they couldn't actually hear him or anything. A moment later mark turned on the standby switch, and began to wail.
Waves of sound flooded the room. Notes cascaded and collided with each other. Marks body convulsed and contorted with each riff, his fingers slipping and sliding in divine precision across the fretboard. Whales cried, angels sang, chords formed in the air around the guitarist like vaguely-cherubic-shaped spirits of harmony. Music swirled about Mark in a blistering typhoon, almost sweeping him into the air by the sheer power of their emotive expression. Bhudda began to manifest his smiling visage above the haloed head of the young musician. The world seemed to spring and bounce on its axis with newfound life. All was well in the cosmos.
Or, at least, that's what Mark thought.
"Hmph," said Ben. "That didn't totally suck. You should've tuned up first, though."
"Well, you sure looked impressive," said Brud. "But I guess it's hard to play guitar and flail around like that, huh?"
Mike gave a slight frown. "I thought it was pretty good. I mean, for what it was."
"Who farted?" asked Russell.
Mark stuck one last, annoyed chord, but no one heard it because his amp fuzzed out and crackled quietly to itself. Disgusted, Mark put his guitar away. As he plopped himself down on the floor like so much psychic sewage to sit cross-legged as his Indian blood often forced him to do, he mumbled something about how it would have sounded great if he had had... and then rattled off a list of expensive and, in reality, useless guitar equipment.
"So, is somebody (fuckin' mumble mumble) gonna call the Gorilla about Jimi Hendrix's penis or what? (fuckin' mumble mumble)."
"You know," interjected Russell, "I have a guitar with a Gorilla on it."
"Why yes!" Mike leaped up once more, but only to stand somewhat stooped because of his tender gonads. "Ow. There must be some sort of connection! Why didn't I think of it before?"
"Maybe because you were running into doors," Brud quipped.
"Why, yes! But, still, this could be the clue we've been looking for!"
"Clue! (fuckin' mumble mumble) We have the Gorilla's number (fuckin' mumble mumble). Why doesn't someone just (fuckin' mumble mumble) call him?!" In his mind, Mark began plotting revenge against everyone he had ever known in junior high school.
In Russell's mind, thoughts of that first day months ago when he had bought his Gorilla guitar bounced from one padded side to the other. Who had I bought it from? he wondered. What could this mean? Is there really a connection to what transpired here today? Or could it have to do with the war? I told mother they would grow back, but: No, that's not it. Think, old man. I must think. At this point, his concentration was of such a magnitude that even the narrative point of view had no place in his psyche.
In Ben's mind, a lone figure drew itself up from the mire of the psychic sewage, and began to walk through the narrow corridors of his cerebral cortex. It was a figure more black than the blackest thoughts of the blackest men with the blackest feelings. It was so black that it was almost invisible. So black, that, if it would perchance want to go trick or treating on Halloween night, it would doubtless be hit by even the most alert nighttime driver. Yes, it was black, and it was fuzzy, and its intentions were as black as its black self and its black fur. What it had in mind, or what it had in Ben's mind, not even your humble narrator could guess at. In fact, it was so black and so scary that we will leave it, humble readers, and move on in great fear.
In Brud's mind was doubt. Was this really a cast of Hendrix's penis? How could we even be sure? How could it have made Mark act so funny? I wonder how many women Mr. Hendrix had had intercourse with? I wonder what they looked like? Were they tall, or did he, in general, prefer women shorter than he? How tall was Mr. Hendrix? Doubt began to rise in Brud's brain. The thought that this wasn't Mr. Hendrix's penis, or rather, wasn't a cast of Mr. Hendrix's penis, but just a cast of a penis unknown to him, began to raise its black body out of the psychic sewage of Brud's mind. Brud's mind held so little psychic sewage, however, that the little black thing was nowhere near as big as the very very black thing in Ben's mind, and, out of envy of Ben's black thing, it sunk back into the sewage, never to be seen again. This, of course, was just as well.
In Mike's mind was the thought that this Gorilla stuff had to have some incredible significance. Alongside this thought was: 1) a fond memory of the carefree days of his early childhood and the experiences therein and their greater significance in his psychological makeup, 2) a particularly wet scene from Robofox, with Angela Barron, 3) page 212 from Tolstoi's Ressurection, 4) Pee Wee Herman, and 5) various baseball statistics skrunched together with a Rugabonilla or two in one big, angular, yet sickly sweet, crumpled ball.
"So, is anyone gonna get on the horn or not?" Mark was still upset at Ben for assessing his playing as he did. But, he couldn't help but feel somewhat thankful...no, he was just pissed.
Nobody moved at Mark's question. Most of them were still deep in thought. In Ben's mind, the large, black, and terribly frightening object had turned into a rather buxom brunette with a mind for games. Unfortunately, to describe any further would render this story unreadable by even the most sexually adventurous minds. So, as before, we'll just move on, however reluctantly this time.
Mark, deciding that life may be passing him by at that very moment, decided to pick up the phone and call the Gorilla. Looking at the number, he dialed carefully. The phone began its entrancing ring until--
"Hi, my name's Candy. And I'm very lonely. Won't you come over and play with me? I've got long blonde hair, and all I'm wearing is a peek-a-boo nightie, so you can see my..."
Mark hung up the phone.
"Who was there?" Mike demanded. He had, without Mark's knowing, snuck right up behind Mark's left ear. The wave of halitosis that washed over Mark as Mike spoke was so horrifying that he would rather have eaten breakfast out of Russell's shoes than to get that close to Mike again.
"It was some kind of phone sex service," said Mark, perturbed by the recording on the other end, in spite of the nauseating stench.
"That figures, since he did give up Hendrix's penis," said Mike. He was, of course, correct. It did make some kind of sick, perverted sense; a kind of sense that was in keeping with the rest of the afternoon's events.
"Uh, Mike? Could you brush your teeth or something? I think you might start killing people."
Mark's recantation of the recording on the phone had piqued Ben's curiosity.
"Mark, just what exactly did the recording say?"
"Something about Candy, a peekaboo nightie, I'm not really sure. I wasn't paying attention," Mark replied.
"Not paying attention?!" exclaimed Brud. "Call them back. For God sake's man, call them back." He rose from behind his drum kit and effectively sprang to the phone. "What's the number?" Brud grabbed a balloon frantically, and it popped in his hand. He grabbed another one, and spun it until he saw the number. He wrenched the phone from its cradle, and began dialing the number.
"Whoa, there, young Ranger." Russ' voice had attained a certain stately composure and wisdom that could only come with years of experience, but Russell was only 21. Truly remarkable. With the gentleness of a mother lion when carrying her cubs, Russell laid a hand on Brud's and coaxed the receiver back to its resting place.
Russell seemed to grow before their eyes. Not so much in physical size (for heaven sakes, he was already big enough), but more in respect. They marvelled at how calmly he could handle the situation. Brud was on the verge of a sexual crisis, not an easy thing to control for anybody. Russell closed his eyes and took in a deep breath. The breath itself seemed to suck the air out of the room and into his massive lungs, effectively drawing them closer to him. At last he spoke.
"Don't you think that if we called them again, they might be onto us, and might send somebody after us?"
His words froze his compatriots in their tracks and thoughts.
It was several minutes before Brud finally spoke, "Dude, you're full of shit."
"I know. I just wanted to call first," Russ grinned broadly, knowing he had won. He picked up the phone and called the hotline. Sweat began to drip from his forehead, and he began to masticate his lower lip between his teeth. The receiver became slick with sweat as he ringed it with his white-knuckled hand. His eyebrows quivered, and his pupils went from dilated to constricted to dilated to constricted in a matter of seconds. The color drained from his face, and the hair on his neck stood straight up.
At last, after what seemed like years, Russell hung up. He stared vacantly from person to person, observing each one with a blank, peaked stare.
"Oh my God," he said weakly. "Did you know it's going to be 45 degrees in Moscow today?" With that, Russell's tremendous form slumped to the ground, and moved no more.
"Holy shit," said Brud. "He called the weather channel again." Brud dropped down and supported Russell on his knees. "Ben, quick, get some ice water and garlic out of the kitchen. Mike, I need the dirtiest pair of underwear you can find. Mark, get me some nightshade. And hurry, we haven't got much time."
Mike and Ben ran off to their respective tasks, hurrying for fear of losing their big, fuzzy friend. Mark stood perplexed. "Where the hell am I supposed to find some nightshade. That stuff doesn't really exist."
"Well I don't know that," said Brud, his voice tinged with annoyance. "Just find me some. Look around outside or something."
"But the stuff doesn't even exist."
"The get me something that looks like it," Brud said hotly.
"But I don't know what it looks like," said Mark. He was becoming scared. He had never seen Brud like this before. Russell moaned and shifted his weight in Brud's arm. To an ignorant spectator (as these four certainly were) he might be said to have seen sleeping peacefully.
"I don't want to hear any more excuses, you fucking mollusk, just get me something."
Mark ran off, his mind not eased in the slightest.
"You'll be all right, big fella," cooed Brud into Russell's ear. "You'll be just fine."
A moment later, Ben returned. He had a glass of ice water in one hand and two cloves of garlic in the other. He set the items down next to Brud and sat down in front of Russell, massaging Russell's hand. Mike was the next to return. He was holding a pair of jockey shorts with a pair of fire tongs, and he had a gas mask on.
"Ben," said Mike, "I think this definitely breaks the record." As Mike came into the foyer, the air seemed to turn a brownish color, and the air was again filled with a stench worthy of...worthy of...let's just say it was REALLY bad.
"It's a long story," said Ben, holding his nose. "I'll tell you later."
Mike set the soiled undergarment down next to the garlic and sat next to Ben.
"Good. Now we're just waiting on Mark," said Brud.
Just then, Mark came bursting through the front door. He had a handful of dead leaves in his hand. "This..." Mark puffed, "was the...best I could...Oh Jesus, what's that stench?"
"Ben is gonna tell us later," said Mike, still wearing the gas mask.
Mark dropped the leaves down next to the underwear and backed off.
"Boy, that sure looks like nightshade to me, ya' moron," said Brud sardonically. "But, they'll just have to do. Now, we can begin."
With that, Brud picked up the ice water, and, holding it above his head, he hummed a note, and then brought the glass to his lips and downed the beverage. The other three looked at him angrily.
Brud met their stares. "I was thirsty." They were not convinced. "Would you have brought it to me if I told you I was just thirsty?"
They pondered this a moment. "Well, I suppose not," said Ben.
"There, see? Now, can we get on with the ritual?" The others nodded as Brud picked up the two cloves of garlic. He rubbed them together and then crammed them up Russell's nose. Quickly, he picked up the leaves and, placing them under Russell's shirt, he smeared them over Russell's chest. Finally, he picked up the underwear with the tongs and said: "Mike, would you please remove Russell's pants so that we can put these on him."
Before anybody could make another move, a loud bloodcurdling scream assaulted their ears. It was coming from the lips of Russell. He was revived! He sprang to his feet, ripped the garlic from his nose, and ran from the room, brushing the leaves off of him.
Brud rocked back on his haunches and smiled contentedly. "Works every time," he said happily.
And then, suddenly and without warning, Ben farted. Other than the sound, there was nothing noticeable about the young man's flatulence. The fart, combined with the garlic, the lingering halitosis from both the Gorilla suit and Mike, came into invisible, silent, conflict with both the smell of Russell's shoes and the visible brown putrescence of the smouldering underwear. Immovable object met unstoppable force, and the odors (oh-dears, rather) cancelled each other out.
Mike removed his gas mask. "Why, is it Spring again?" He lifted his nose into the air and inhaled deeply. "Ah, it reminds me of my youth!"
Brud burped. "The room does seem cleaner."
Suddenly, and without warning, Mark screamed.
"LOOK!" He pointed to the phallus on the table.
Suddenly, and without warning, Russell poked his head in through the window, shattering the glass. He was still trying to rub the leaves from his chest.
Suddenly, and without warning, Mark screamed. Again.
The band turned to face the table in the foyer. The ceramic penis had been shattered into a million pieces.
"Actually," said Mike, "it looks like four or five and some dust."
"Fuck!" Brud exclaimed. "Russell must have hit it when he ran outside! Ya' moron!"
Russell ran into the house. "But I was nowhere near it! I swear!"
"Well, somebody must have knocked it over!"
"Maybe the invisible, silent conflict did it," said Mark. "Or all the wafting odors that existed before the invisible, silent conflict. Or maybe the gale force of the cheese Ben cut. Or, maybe..."
"Will you all shut the fuck up!" Ben was furious. "We just smashed Jimi Hendrix's penis!"
"We don't know that it was really his penis!" Brud let his doubt surface. "I mean, we don't know if it was a cast of Mr. Hendrix's..."
"Of course it was! Just look at it!"
Mark walked over to the phallic remnants and studied them closely. He even touched a few of them.
"Holy shit!" exclaimed Mike. "He's not gonna start drooling again, is he?" Ben began to scan the room for his baseball bat.
"No, wait!" Mark held up a piece in a slightly embarrassed fashion. "Look. This testicle has a letter 'J' on it. That must stand for 'Jimi.'"
"Not necessarily!" Brud's doubt was still in full view. It was sort of fuzzy, but not nearly as black and big as the very very black thing that was in Ben's mind but had now, or then, turned, nonetheless, into a buxom brunette. "What does the other testicle have on it? Huh?!"
Mark gave him a perturbed look. "I don't know. Where is it?" He lowered himself to the ground, testicle in hand, and began examining the pieces on the floor. "I don't see it."
Soon the others, in order to feed either Brud's ego or Mark's self-righteousness, were kneeling on the floor and looking for the missing testicle.
"I can't believe I'm crouched on the floor, looking for Jimi Hendrix's other testicle," said Ben disgustedly.
"Wait!" Russell was staring intently at a pile of powder on the floor. "This has to have been it."
"How do you know?" Mike gave him a questioning grin.
Russell returned Mike's grin (he had remembered his receipt) with an icy stare. Mike cowered next to Brud.
"Now we'll never know!" Brud was upset.
"I have faith," said Mark. "It was his."
"So Jimi here has only one testicle, huh?" Ben pondered. Just like... but Ben, out of common decency, refused to pursue the thought any further. "Now what the fuck do we do?"
"We could PLAY!" Brud had obviously had enough. So had his fuzzy little doubt, for it was nowhere to be seen.
"But Jimi... His testicle..." Mark cradled the golf-ball sized object in his hands. "We should bury him. Give him a proper funeral, or..."
"Fuck the plaster penis!" Brud turned around and zeroed in on his double bass pedal. Not a single muscle on his body twitched, and his eyes remained wide open, as though the sky were a jet-black. His mouth hung open, and his tongue was hanging comfortably over his lower lip.
"Ah," said Mark. "I think that's just the key that fits this whole incomprehensible lock of an afternoon worth of events, the clue that unlocks the mystery of our astounding ride through time's arbitrary manhandling of our lives, the glue that will hold..." And then Mark stopped. The other four members of Gyrating Bhtch had gathered around him in close proximity. Ben sported the bat the Mark had seen before, Russell had a pair of brass knuckles, Mike had a blackjack, and Brud had a pair of handcuffs and a jar of vaseline.
"You wanna shutup," said Ben, "or are we gonna haf ta beat those Alistar Cooke tendencies out a ya'?"
Mark grinned nervously and pulled at his collar. "All I meant, really, was that we should, um...ah...play. I mean, if that's okay with you guys."
Brud was the first to relinquish his stare. He set the cuffs and grease back in his backpack. "That's what I said in the first place. I'm pretty much out of vaseline anyway." That brought the other three out of their locks on Mark, and promptly turned them to Brud. Mark, too, stared at Brud curiously. "I mean," laughed Brud, a bit embarrassed, "that my lips have been really chapped lately."
"Uh huh," said Ben. He returned the bat to the entryway and walked back into the living room. "I'm game for playing. That's what we all came here to do anyway, isn't it?"
"Well, yes," said Mike excitedly. "I just can't wait for another fun-filled, historic Bhtch weekend-o-horrors." He assumed the position behind his computer and keyboard, and adjusted the microphone to his mouth. "Russell?" asked Mike. "Chicken shake you?"
"Yeah, sure, whatever." With that, Russell removed the elaborate lanyard from around his neck, and selected one of his many chicken shakes. He placed himself alongside Ben, next to the backing vocal mike. Both Ben and Mark fired up their respective amplifiers, strummed a few chords and played a few notes to ensure that they were in proper tune. When all was ready, and once Brud had gotten all the stupid drum fills he could play out of his system, Ben looked to Mike.
"Okay, Mike. Let's do it up."
Mike closed his eyes reverently, and grabbed the microphone with his left hand, his right on the keyboard of his computer. He took a deep breath as Ben hit the record button on the tape player.
"Ooooooooh, let's bite it one time!" he screamed.
And the Boston Sessions had begun.
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