There’s Gibbous, as in waxing and waning, who is lanky with perfect timing and teeth; Donna with the penchant for sticky cocaine, and her roommate Angela who is like me in that she tried to leave here to go sing in NYC and came back tail between her legs when her father told her he needed money because he didn’t have any more. I see Gerry, short and stringy-haired, who teaches film classes at the college that looks like a forgotten summer camp, speaking with some straight-faced strangers.
The band stops playing in a huge decrescendo that’s like a wave that looks huge from the sand, but when it breaks against the beach it’s just a paltry little thing. They look around at each other, and I realize that the whole thing sounded just as bizarre to them. There’s some scattered clapping, and I’m wondering just who the joke is on. Banks goes up to them to shake their hands and thank them for playing despite the turnout.
The singer brushes his hanging hair from his face and says ‘Right on, man’ and shoots a spit onto the stage. ‘I dig the pictures,’ he says. I am standing by myself feeling coated in a hard wax, and I just start to listen to around me.
“Take a belt, man. It’s the good stuff,” Gib says to a guy with matted hair that I don’t recognize, and the guy obliges and gives Gib a grimace like he just took a slug of castor oil.
“It’s like a Belgian dinner, you know? Not too much, but very rich. A little side-flanker steak or a rich braat lying there all lonely on the dish, but you don’t need nothin’ more. It’s Flemish, you know? Look, you just don’t appreciate it, what could be contained in such a small space.” And while he is saying each word, his hands fold together and twist and rub over themselves in strokes to paint out the plate before them.
“I don’t know, it’s sour,” the guy says, and he walks out the back fire door that I helped Banks cut the outline for before I left.
I start to weave through the people, and I see Gerry talking to his students.
“I was driving through the tunnel, you know the one that cuts through Chickaree Mountain, and I was staring up at the sides, at the orange lights that they have plastered on the sides in big boxes, you know? It reflects off of that really white tile in there and it feels like you are being launched into space if you drive through there fast enough.” He pushes a strand of brown hair off of his nose. The kids nod ‘yes’. “Well, you know how they have those little enclaves periodically through the tunnel?” They nod ‘yes’ again. “Like the little doors for the workers to go in and out of” They don’t nod this time so he waits for them to and even nods a bit himself to get them to do it. Then he continues, “Well, I saw a man hunched over in one of those when I was speeding through, and I saw him so clearly; I saw him covered in these dark, dirty, black blankets, and he was rocking back and forth in the low light of the passageway. I saw all of this while I was speeding by and it, like, got right inside of me. Should I help? I guess so. I didn’t know what to do. So, I get through the tunnel and I stop my car, right? And I ‘m like I’m going to go back and help him, I just can’t keep going. So I scale the sides of the tunnel on the walkway, against the walls, like a cat burglar, and I get back to the passageway, and I say, ‘Sir! Can I help you?’, and the man doesn’t move or say anything back, but he starts to moan like stuck boar or something, and I say, ‘Do you need any help?’ and he doesn’t say anything right off, but he turns to me slowly, and I can see his grey eyes jut out at me, and he says, ‘Help me kill these leaping beasts.’ And that was it, he goes to sleep, just like that; at least I hope it was sleep, because after I yell at him to tell me what he means, he just makes that low rumbling noise, and I know it’s the tumult inside of him. So I left, and I went home and it stuck with me. So I wrote a movie, and it’s called ‘Leaping Beasts’. I’m showing it next week, and I’d like you all to come.”
The kids release their breath as he shoots a showbiz smile. He takes a bow but it looks like his ankle just gave way.