TV Eye

by Oliver Hunt

See that cat- yeah I do mean you

Boris Pike's gut jumped as Jack's VW Rabbit crunched and rumbled over the dirt road off of K-10. This was Boris' first trip to the Outhouse and Trent, who sat shotgun, had been taunting him the whole time, saying Here, let me crack the window so I can breathe a bit. I don't wanna end up absorbing all this poser stink. Not looking to get my ass kicked tonight. Benny, who sat beside Boris in the back seat, looked over at him and laughed.

   A couple of months ago, Boris had watched Another State of Mind- the Social Distortion/Youth Brigade tour documentary- on Night Flight. He'd laugh about it later- it was pretty cheesy, with the kids giving moshing lessons and practicing stagedives in swimming pools- but he was transfixed watching it then. Who did these people think they were, and who were these people? He began haunting PennyBeat, his neighborhood strip mall record store. Intoxicated by the record smell wafting between the shop's poster and flyer-clad baby-blue walls, he started buying DOA, Minor Threat and Flipper records. He'd also started buying Maximum Rock N Roll, FlipSide, Forced Exposure, and scratchy local fanzines like Psychedelic Disease or Ear Addiction. He'd found out about more bands and bought more records with money he'd made washing cars and mowing lawns. He'd caught the attention of Benny, a stocky skater kid in his English class and Jack, who'd worked at PennyBeat. Jack would loan him live videos of the Dead Kennedys, Crime, Toxic Reasons and Tales of Terror, videos he'd watch with Benny, who had his own backlog of records and fanzines. They'd listen to records and watch videos at either Benny or Boris' house, and Benny would try to teach Boris basic skating maneuvers in his driveway. Boris, lanky and clumsy, could hardly keep his balance and knew he'd never catch on. He knew that was one thing that would always make him a bit of an outsider, and that some- like Trent, an older kid at their high school- would always label him a poser.

   Benny and Boris would troll PennyBeat records together. When they saw a flyer for MDC at The Outhouse they said Jack, dude, you have to take us. Jack said I don't have to do anything, but a second later a grin crossed his face. Benny rolled his eyes and dragged Boris outside, where the two had to sing, in the pouring rain, Air Supply's The One that You Love. Jack watched through PennyBeat's window, shaking his head and laughing, especially when Trent walked up and said You two are like the world's biggest poser fags.

  They pulled up to a baby-blue cinder block garage surrounded by a sea of corn taller that any of them. The sun was setting and, in the dirt parking lot, packs of kids sat on the trunks of sticker-covered cars, roughhoused, trash-talked or pulled corn off the stalks.

   The sound of snares being hit and a guitar being tuned rang from inside, and kids started filing in, some bouncing off the balls of their feet, laughing, or, like Trent, smirking and looking too cool for it all. Inside, people gathered at the front of the stage or stood on the benches aligning the hot, muggy room's graffiti covered walls.

   Boris had seen videos and fanzine action photos of kinetic bands and ragged kids: jumping on the stage, jumping off, pogoing in circles, shoving into each other and back. Being there felt like the difference between seeing a tornado on TV and being in the middle of one. MDC burned through John Wayne Was a Nazi, Chicken Squawk, and S.K.I.N.H.E.A.D. The audience sang or chanted along onstage and off. Everything ran together and blended in. The air was pushed by rhythm, music and noise, and it felt raw, good and alive to be in that room among it all. He found his way to one of the benches and stood on it awhile, watching the whirlpool of people below him.

   He looked towards the back corner and saw Trent looking down at Benny. Benny looked towards a girl with dyed black hair- going light at the roots and pulled into pigtails- and nodded. She had a broad, freckled face and gracefully waded into the thrashing, sweaty sea of people, eventually making her way to Boris. Without saying anything, she grabbed his forearm and pulled him down then outside, into the corn. She told him to stick out his tongue. He had no idea what it was. She adhered it with her own tongue and told him to let it sit. Later, terrified, he wouldn't know what was going on in his head. It would have to be Trent who'd talk him through it all, because it was Trent's dumb idea. As he got older, however, he'd reminisce: A strange girl took his virginity in the middle of cornfields as the blotter took effect. He'd describe it as watching and feeling wall after wall dissolve before him.