|Tollbooth near Belvidere Oasis|
Mystery Date's attempt to spread their message of peace hits a snag. Here's Johnny:
We had been waiting in the corral for what seemed like hours, surely
it must have been at least a few hours. Sweat rolled off my forehead
and the back of my neck in the early June heat as the guards marched
by with their german shepards and assault rifles. We travelled in
disguise, just a few miners from up north coming into the Chicago area
for a few days to gamble at an off track betting parlour, our gear,
the tools of our trade, hidden underneath a tarp system in the back of
the van. The fake beard was itchy and made everything feel twice as
hot, but it helped me resemble the man in the false documents we had
procured for the mission. I took a long sip from the water jug, the
day was hot but the tension and climate of fear made a man feel cold
inside, there is so much we must put aside in order to achieve this
common set of goals we revere. Finally we made it to the checkpoint
gate, the homeland security officer in charge strolled up to the van,
shoulders rolled back into a stance of haughty arrogance.
Grady was driving.
“Sure dude, just a minute…”
“Yes, ok, here they are.”
He looked through our documents thoroughly; I noticed him mouthing the
words as he read them with just the subtlest movement of the lips, his
brows furrowed in deep concentration. All of a sudden his countenance
changed, he cocked his head to an angle and slowly pulled back his
lips over his yellowed teeth, contorting his face into a sardonic smile.
“State your business, now.”
“We’ve come to bet on the horses, there’s a great little off track
betting place just down the way…”
“On a Sunday?” He retorted sharply and suddenly.
“We were paid Friday...”
“Yet you did not arrive Friday night nor Saturday morning, did you?”
He suddenly banged the side of the van with his baton, his posture
suddenly erect as if he had been struck by lightning. “Don’t shit in my mouth
and call it a Sunday!! I know you types and there’s something you’re not telling me!!”
He suddenly relaxed and began examining the van, grinning through his
mouth and his dead, dead eyes. “And what have you got in the back… gents…”
He spat the last word out disdainfully, savoring every syllable.
We exchanged subtle and nervous glances when the peace of the day was
broken by a dog’s barking. Several cars back the officers were pulling
a man out of his car, based on the barking I’d wager he was a
smuggler, perhaps. The homeland security officer looked upon us and
then to him, back and forth, back and forth. They were pulling him
from the car, he was pleading, pleading, crying, his face alternating
between rage and desperation. They were pulling his limbs apart,
separating him limb from limb, taking shots with their billyclubs,
shouting and questioning, breaking the tension and unleashing the
flood of fear and hatred which buzzed throughout the atmosphere. It’s
obvious that we were outmanned and underequipped to help him, it’s no
question that there was nothing that we could do yet the first thing I
felt was one million tiny pangs of guilt surrounding my heart and my
cerebral cortex for not being able to come to his aid.
The officer looked at us and to the disturbance once again and
deliberated for a moment. He then waved us on angrily.
“Get the fuck out of here!”
He turned his attention to the smuggler and we passed unmolested. It
was in that moment that I loved the smuggler, someone who unluckily
and unintentionally saved us, he had saved us just the same. The
hands of fate had snatched us back from the brink and he was the one
who was going down this time, a hero with no conception of his valiant
deed, is it our choices that determine our value or the impact we
make? We made haste to leave the area, I leaned out the window and
listened to a lark singing on a nearby telephone pole, it was
beautiful, the world truly is what we make of it despite our
subjective ideas of what makes the best or worst of times.
Then we got to Chicago and had pizza and played cards against humanity
with Joe and Gretchen!!
We played at the Burlington with The Wet and The
Jollys. The Jollys are garage with a quick tempo and the fucking rule, I consider them to
be the spiritual brethren of minneapolis’ own france camp though both
bands have their own elements which keep them unique, and, in the case
of The Jollys, I’m a sucker for a twelve string guitar. And then
there’s The Wet; they were even better than the last time I’d seen
them. This sounds odd but the best description I can think of is that
they sound like the Cramps except without a trace of
rocka/psychobilly, I’d also say they fit somewhere near the Gun Club
paradigm as well. 99% of the bands that attempt their style of music
get it wrong. The Wet are a rare and shining example of
American music at its best. You swine should do yourself a favor and
gobble up the beer-soaked pearls they cast before you.
Seriously, The Wet and The Jollys fucking rule. I was excited for this
show and they held up even better than my expectations.
Over and Out,