By Jeff Moses
By Serene Dominic
By Benjamin Leatherman
By Glenn BurnSilver
By Glenn BurnSilver
By Troy Farah
By Roger Calamaio
By Mark Deming
A gunshot blast is as predictable as nightfall now, and twice as evil as anything the night could otherwise offer. That metallic discharge that conquers all sound and grace in these slow, dark nights is the most obvious sign of hate--the ugliest sort of hate--the kind that comes paired with things like swastikas, Right to Life, too much religion, or whatever.
It's a sound that also serves as a kind of warning, a swift and pure indication that one is, without a doubt, in the presence of retards.
Because only retards carry guns.
One night last week I was sitting on a barstool drinking a beer and trading horseshit with the bartender named Maverick. Next thing we knew, this huge RAT-A-TAT-TAT-TAT-TAT-TAT seared through the smoky peace, sending shards of the bar's rear wall into the room like speeding confetti.
The bullets traveled just over my head, and at the precise moment of passing, I sensed the squishy insides of my brain, as if a bullet had passed through there.
Tatters of women's anatomy from bullet-decimated beer ads floated down on a mountain of dust thick enough to parch a lush. Cue sticks were cut in half, as was the big, mustached Marlboro guy in the corner. The light hanging above the pool table was blown out, leaving its fixture to swing gently.
The others in the bar--the three fine-boned, genteel queens at the far end and the bartender in front of me--were all wide-eyed, silent, but not dead.
When the dust settled, the rear wall showed a dozen or so imploded holes that splintered the wood paneling out in every direction. The holes allowed the fluorescent light for the outside parking to angle in.
The room took on an eerie silence as if Keith Richards had finally expired.
"Jesus H. Christ, Blake, it's either some rap-metal-punk shit who don't like yer writin', or it's some homieophobie wantin' them ladies dead," yelped Maverick into the silence, looking over in the gentlemen's direction. "And I don't know which, 'cause everybody in this town is all about hatin'."
The hushed, well-dressed gents bade a hasty retreat through the back door without saying a word. Their faces were frozen in shocked expressions as if they were accustomed to this type of treatment. I sat there and renewed a focus on my beer, wondering: Who would want me dead?
"Maybe you oughta think about carryin' a gun, Blake. I do," Maverick burped self-righteously, his oversize head moving back and forth. "Ya never know, even in this little burp of a town. Might as well be old Tombstone."
What kind of place is this? Even the free-standing old-man bar where I thought life's defeated could at least relax upon entering wasn't safe.
Standing, I dropped a few wadded bills on the bar, nodded to Maverick and went out the back just as the cops arrived. The walk home that night was in the shadows, away from the horrible cars, street lights and fast-food signs. The moon, at least, sustained, and was this big, comforting, all-knowing eye reminding me that right now there is not a retard in sight.
The following is a roundup of highlights/lowlights from the Billboard 200 for the week ending February 27:
#1. Britney Spears, . . . Baby One More Time (Jive): The vid for the single ". . . Baby One More Time" does more with the old "schoolgirl" theme to trump up sexual tension for boys than any of the latest Cherry Popper pornos, a fact no doubt helped along by a director with both a keen eye for sexual subtext and a skill to slip it into a "G"-rated affair. No one would argue, however, that teeny Spears' ability to out-pout anyone in a high school hallway doesn't hurt.
#2. The Offspring, Americana (Columbia): Three million and counting! Never mind punk rock, here's chords for dollars. I am still convinced The Offspring is just a publicity sham perpetrated by some clever PR flack of a fading shopping mall in Missouri to bring in more shoppers. Americana? You bet!
#10. Foxy Brown, Chyna Doll (Violator/Def Jam): Talk about yer porn. The Polynesian garb, tats, the smooth, ebony-hued skin and vox with song titles like "Bomb Ass," "Baller Bitch," "Tramp," "It's Hard Being Wifee" and "Hot Spot" maxes her materialistic slut-goddess persona for full-on objectification. In the '70s and '80s, porn stars attempted to look like mainstream pop and TV stars. Now the opposite is true.
#17. Mariah Carey, #1's (Columbia): Oh, Lord, let our chins recede, teeth part and our eyes get closer together! The kid from Deliverance, Cops, WWF, Springer, WCW, Daisy Duke, Alex Karras, Mariah, etc. America's preoccupation with white trash as a supreme pop being finds Miss Carey in darn good company. Yee haw!
#25. Limp Bizkit, Three Dollar Bill, Y'all (Flip): Doughy, overmothered white boys with bong slouches and a career-launching song courtesy of a cocksure English queen is what spells the American Top 40 these days, Casey.
#34. Goo Goo Dolls, Dizzy Up the Girl (Warner Bros.): Just because they were deficient enough to stick the word "Dolls" in their name, they think they can start actin' out the namesake, as if they think that eyeliner will look okay on a 200-pound porker.