No. 7 - A Broadsheet for the Soul
WEDNESDAY. 5:58 A.M.
Dawn's inexorable rosy fingers stretch out over the sleepy grid of east Portland, greeted by dew-laden blades of grass. The soldiers of morn: joggers, dog walkers, the coffee-seekers, make their way into the brave new day. A couple, thermoses in hand, wave across the street to a woman walking her golden retriever. The wave is returned, the walk resumed, the dog's lease tugged when he pauses for too long to sniff at one lawn. An uneasy look of mild disgust from the canine's owner at the dwelling.
The old Portland craftsman's lawn is unkempt. Its porch, littered in empty and almost-empty beer cans and bottles. Ashtrays bristle with cigarette butts. A bottle which had been conscripted as an ashtray lays on its side, its ashy, butty, beery sludge-liquid pooled on the porch. A fart toots. El Humidor stirs. Mudman and Aecca Decca exchange snickering glances as Humidor continues his drunken slumber on what may be the world's most disgusting porch couch.
Aecca stretches, yawns, "so, we're in agreement, then?"
Mudman looks absently at his beer can, then looks determinedly up at Decca. A curt affirmative nod, "yes." He swigs the last of his beverage.
"It's decided. I'm gonna sleep, then," Aecca gets up, goes in the house. Morning programming drones on as Jerry Rig snores on the sofa. Aecca heads up the stairs. Mudman continues to sit on the porch, slumped in exhaustion.
WEDNESDAY, 2:10 P.M.
El Humidor pads down the stairs, grunts in the direction the sprawled figures of Rig and Mudman and heads out the front door immediately to light a cigarette. He stands in front of the big picture-paned window, staring into the living room vacantly at the teevee on which an afternoon cable matinee flickers.
Butting out in a nearby beer can, he comes back inside, gets his own coffee (he doesn't warm it up, however) and perches on the edge of a chair.
"What," he asks, "the fuck are we watching?"
"Robot Holocaust," answers Jerry Rig.
El Humidor arches his eyebrows in disbelief, "robot... holocaust..?"
"Yeah," says Rig, "Y'know. Last city still stood? The remaining home of what was left of civilization? Society all but destroyed by the Robot Rebellion of '33? Blah blah blah?"
"What is that?" says El Humidor, "What is that you just said? Is that from the back of an ACE book? Del Rey? Something?"
"Robot Holocaust. 1987. U.S.-Italian co-production," recites Mudman, "brainchild of Tim Kincaid, who wrote and directed. Starring Norris Culf."
"Exactly," nods Rig.
"Is this the one with the monkey in a diving helmet?" asks El Humidor, peering at the screen.
"That's Robot Monster," snorts Jerry Rig, "moron!"
"1953. Directed by Phil Tucker. George Barrows as Ro-Man," says Mudman, not looking away from the t.v.
"I liked that movie," says El Humidor, with a fond smile, "how did the monkey say?..., 'Ro-Man want be Hu-Man! Something?" looking to the others for assistance.
"To be like the hu-man! To laugh! Feel! Want! Why are these things not in the plan?" recites Mudman.
"How do you do that?" asks Jerry Rig.
"Like, it's like you're a crappy movie idiot savant," agrees El Humidor.
Humidor and Rig fall silent, and all three continue watching Robot Holocaust.
About an hour passes. Aecca sloths his way down the stairs, yawning. He sluffs into the living room, stands glassy-eyed staring at the t.v. for 30 seconds.
"Robot Holocaust?" he asks.
"Yep," says Rig.
"Can you believe Spielberg's doing a remake?" asks El Humidor. Aecca gives Humidor with a wry look. El Humidor smiles mischievously.
Aecca heads to the kitchen. He pours a mug of coffee, tests its temp with his index finger. Rattles the cup into the microwave. As the 'wave hums away, he makes some toast. A minute or two later he returns to the living room, takes a seat. He finishes a sip of his coffee, his eyes shift around, "you're probably wondering why I've called you all here."
A pattering of guffaws at an old standby line. However, the invocation is also met with the steeling of eyes and the tightening of jaws.
"Last night, words were spoken, and those words were transformed by will into action, my housemates," continues Decca, "and so we must now venture down this path of action which we have determined. We are throwing... a party."
"We're getting a keg," adds Jerry Rig.
"Off the hook, it's going to be, yes," says El Humidor.
"Rager," finishes Mudman.
A few seconds of silence, grim, determined expressions.
"When?" ask Mudman.
"Saturday," offers Rig.
"No, Friday," says Aecca.
Rig scoffs, "crazy. That's in two days."
"Yes, it must be Friday night.," interjects El Humidor, "Friday night is like our Holy Day, no? That is our bar night, our porch session night, our catapult into the weekend."
The others nod in righteous agreement.
"Okay, fine, Friday, then," says Rig, "less competition than a Saturday night. Our venture is more likely to succeed!"
"Yes. Let us not repeat the last party we threw, yes," says Humidor, shaking his head, as if to cut off a flow of bad memories.
"Like, give it a theme?" asks Mudman,
"No," scolds Aecca, "he means let's throw a party where people actually show up."
"Yes that is what I mean, Mudman," affirms Humidor, "there were, what? Eight guests at the last shindiggy?"
"Including or not including when Jukebox Hermit left and then came back?" asks Rig.
El Humidor, repeating in a childish, mocking tone, "including or not including when Jukebox Hermit left and then came back?"
"ENOUGH!" commands Aecca/Decca, "what is done is done! We have to move forward! Forward, I say!"
The other housemates quiet down, El Humidor sneaking a final sneer in at Rig.
"Now," continues Aecca, "how, my companions are we going to prevent such failure this time around."
Silence. Deep concentration.
"More beer?" asks Rig, eyebrows arched.
"Didn't work for our New Years Bash," says Aecca, pouting his lips.
"A full cocktail bar, perhaps?" suggests El Humidor, "a saucy lounge act or two?"
"We can't afford liquor," Rig says with a sigh.
"And unless you are referring to yourself, we don't know anyone who does 'saucy lounge acts,'" adds Aecca. An air of defeatism begins to swirl about the dingy living room.
"We need flyers," says Mudman.
"Heroes whose powers include flying aren't trying to figure out how to get people to attend their kegger, Mudman," says Aecca.
"No. Flyers. We should put up some flyers," repeats Mudman.
"Humph!" grunts Rig, scratching his chin.
"The moodman might be on to sometheeng, I theenk," says El Humidor, fishing a cigarette out of a front pocket.
"Where do we put these flyers?" asks Aecca.
"Coffee shop?" suggests Rig.
"Plaid, perhaps?" adds Humidor.
"Yeah, yeah," says Aecca, "and, like, the library and some telephone poles and stuff."
"The bar," says Mudman.
The other three 'mates stare at Mudman in abject awe, jaws slack.
"Brilliant," says Humidor, phoneticizing it out, bril-eee-ant.
"Guys," grins Aecca, "I think this party is gonna be a hit."
WEDNESDAY. 11:17 P.M.
All is quiet in front a neighborhood convenience store. Not a plaid or a sev, but one of those independent ones in an older building. The relative silence is slowly broken by the approach ball-bearing roll of small hard-plastic wheels. Off an adjunct side street rolls a young Bengali woman in roller blades. Cargo pants, plain red t-shirt, pixie haircut. She pulls into an inertia-killing tight turn which ends with her tugging on the mart's door.
Closed. Like, at ten. She pouts her lower lip. Skates in a lazy circle. Something on the nearby telephone pole catches her eye. She skates closer, takes a gander.
It's the flyer for a house party on Friday.
Words & drawings by D.D. Tinzeroes