theorem #1:if will, then way.
17:45—yesterday, may 4, 2001—the rendezvousin the foodhole i eat mandarin oranges from cans
and pizza that isn't very good
with nic and emily and josh.
"what are we gonna do?" we muse, we read all about it.
< toolshed.down.net-->i love you, kabir >
how the atlanta show sold out in 8 seconds,
how first-in-line kids got denied,
how ticketmaster's level of corruption is untold astronomical.
though we're buying tickets in minneapolis for a show in chicago, we're terrified. the venue is small and tickets for the four-date US tour following the release of lateralus are five-hundred-dollar hot on ebay.
"did you hear it?" nic asks me.
"naw, they pulled it." -->schism, which was being streamed from toolband.com, is no more because it's being played on the radio.
like i would want to listen to the radio.
"so you haven't heard it?" nic.
"i hear it." josh. tall thin all limb shaggy-haired emo-looking hippie kid who likes TOOL.
"naw, dude, I haven't." me.
"well, i'll send you the mp3." nic.
"YOU HAVE THE MP3?" and you haven't sent it to me yet???
"no, i mean i hear it." josh.
"i'll send it to you when i get back to my room." nic.
"it's playing right now. softly." josh.
silence. the foodhole plays FM at a barely audible level.
"ah yeah, i hear it, too." nic.
a speaker is directly above josh, little circular PA piece of junk soft soft i climb half on his chair, half on a stranger's at the next table, and stand taller closer just barely comes the melody, the midway breakdown breaking me down precarious with my head cocked to the ceiling as kids get their food and drink and stare at my dancing slow, like they never saw someone hear a tool song for the first time standing on chairs in a dorm hall cafeteria, like i could shatter/start/confuse/destroy a reputation, kill/create an impression this late in the year.
i fight tears and win. i am weird enough.
8-9ish this morning, may 5:nic, josh, em and i get on separate city buses. nic and josh go downtown. emily heads to lake and minnehaha. i go to saint paul, a rainbow foods grocery store. the woman's name is laura. laura knows her shit. laura is on top of things. laura has me sign my name on a sheet and come back at 2 o'clock. in that time only one other kid signs up after me. people are milling, buying lottery tickets stamps gum cigarettes with the onsale time approaching, eh eh eh the time the time the time! "i know, i know, i'm here we go!" and laura sends, sends, reloads "stand back!" i stand back in the crowd of people waiting but not for tool, just me and this kid cutting teeth through our lips, staring at laura for any sign of success, indication that she's through, "you're totally psyching me out," she says, and i look away. pray please please. after six years of being. sicks years of feeling really fucking strange, you start thinking //you want//you need// you start believing you deserve to receive what you've been bleeding for.
she gets through, and i will get through. i get two tickets, the limit. she tries again, and it's too late, and i look at that kid, that boy who also has a friend at another ticketmaster, and i hope like hell he makes it. could've been him. could've been him. and nobody knows, as i numbwalk to the midway bus stop, nobody knows i am solid energy.
back at base:emily?-->first in line. successful.
nic?-->second in line. successful.
josh?-->first in line. "...my lady didn't know what was going on..."
we have 6 tickets between us, screams and laughs and high-five hugs. we are going to see tool. we are going to fucking see tool. the tickets cite, "An Evening With TOOL."
i will fight tears and fail.
theorem #2:when there is no light, time does not exist.
everyone's where they came from, now, and everyone must start for where they are going. i am in fargo with my dad for the summer, for as long as it takes to full circle these shudders, finish my novel at cost not counting i've lost too much to stop this now.
but first. this.
nic picks me up in fargo, driving his mom's fiancée's uncle's car. also along is jake, one of the chosen to receive an extra ticket. the sixth is sold at the show to a texan with a thick wallet and rubbery smile. he blesses us and shakes. as we drive to minneapolis we listen to the new depeche mode, which sounds like depeche mode, and of course the that-morning-released lateralus. on jake's boombox. nic had driven from thief river falls without a stereo, poor kid. we listen to the cure and nine inch nails and probably something else as i sew on feathers. i hear faithless on the way back, just before the waves of heat and steam.
i print out the lyrics. read them in the car from madison to chicago. just sit there kinda crying. i need more than anything TIME i'm taking time and when it slows down, nic sits on the couch. we are staying with friends in minneapolis. i am on a chair across from the couch, i don't remember the song. nic leans back, head hitting the cord of a strobe light in a window sill above, i see it fall down s l o w m o t i o n buttoofasttoscream warn watch out! it smashes him on the face. cuts his nose. my friend becomes six-year-old insensible letting me lead him into the bathroom, clean him up there there ha ha it was funny strange. how everything just… stopped, and all i could do was watch.
four days later in a town i hate eating french toast at a 6am i should be sleeping in, i find a tick, "suck and suck. suckin up all you can, suckin up all you can suck."
we pick up josh outside of rochester, minnesota. he lives on a buffalo ranch. i wonder what the weather is like where you are and kinda believe, maybe, i will see you.
emily helps me with my lack of wings. i wear the shirt with the holes over the scapulas and do that thing i do. if ever we meet i will show you and you will freak out. it's unnatural. unheimlich. you will touch the stumps and pull away appalled. i put new feathers on the shirt, do you know i collect feathers? i don't know why, i just do—if i see a feather on the ground, real or artificial, i pick it up. they bring me magic, and i don't believe in luck, but with feathers in my pockets i've seen concerts without tickets i am gold you should see me, i've done amazing things with instruments of flight, with faking it, with taking it pseudosure sinseriously, with saying i can fly until i sort of believe it, conviction-crammed literally? creating lies literary, i fall awake and break for broke with tongue so far in cheek i choke, i know—i know—words words words and the things they < cannot > do, but hey. it's fun. feels good, feels right. i keep the feathers in a small metal box that says "WPA FIRST AID KIT," salvaged from an abandoned house. it's where i put important things. savings bonds and scraps with scrawls. when i pull out the key to An Evening With Tool, i see the feathers and know it is right.
i have a crescent-shaped bruise on my calf. and i swear i feel teeny legs all over.
waiting for them to go on, we notice david draiman, the singer of disturbed, standing in the balcony. he smiles and waves at smiling and waving kids. he's here to see a great show, just like us.
emily lives with her dad in madison, wisconsin. they still have their christmas tree up. i go to the basement where i am to sleep and see the father's books. he has a very thick, very white ponytail. books about god and sex and social theory. hundreds of books. thousands.
there is no light in the basement. without light, there is no time.
you are so strong you are fucking incredible, i've never seen a girl in the pit like that, i mean the whole time, are you okay? < i can't stop crying > i have never felt so right in my life, passing this breath sweat strength off as my own, taking it all in, pushing it all home, touching tasting hurting helping countless times a thousand bodies filling with their energy a needful place inside of me, deep. complete. i'm whole.
in sauk centre, 7 a.m., we stare at the choking engine of nic's mom's fiancée's uncle's car dripping antifreeze type-o negative green and laugh fatigued hysterical till the tears stain our eyes.
a very strange insect is in the basement, alien strange. jake and i sleep on the rollaway, too weirded to allow the other to sleep on the floor. there are no windows, no clocks, no lights we can reach from where we lie, waking up several times what time is it? do you know? could be 6 in the morning, could be 2 in the day. we finally get up, it is noon fifteen, time to go to chicago.
fargo to minneapolis on the side of the highway screaming at the dawn:
"hope this is what you wanted!
hope this is what you had in mind!
'cause this is what you're getting!!!"
and "i want my mom!!!"
slapping the ticks off our legs, delirious.
the riveria is a beautiful venue, beautiful. they play in front of video that tears my guts. lots of disfigured beings tortured changing naked women underwater flailing and biting each other. i don't watch much, can't see much but what is right in front of me, and what lies before me is really what's inside of me, and you don't need eyes for that kind of seeing. so many i fall into think i'm fucked gone what are you on? do you really want to know? i thrash thrive live die five years and ticking on the teaching emotion and i swear i'm clean, but what's the use of trying? i am on dream, on memory and magic, can't you see the feathers flying from my pockets, from my back?
the smoke and steam start flooding at maybe 3 a.m., nic pulling over his mom's fiancee's uncle's car as a wave of haze crashes over the windshield then starts shooting through the vents. i watch my friends from the backseat
n o m o t i o n as it ripples over them coughing and cupping their faces as i scream get out of the car! get out of the car! falling out choking, we tumble through the grass where the ticks live and are hard to kill.
a man in a pickup stops and jake goes with him to call a wrecker in the next town while all i can think of is Deliverance listening to tool soft soft on the boombox with the hazard lights going wild in the darkness. i look at the scab on nic's face from when time suspended so i don't see the unease in our eyes reflecting time falls when a trucker stops to help us. gives us water for the radiator, finds our damaged hose, and duct tapes it up. we manage to make it over a hill where there's light! and maybe jake. in sinclair lewis' Main Street sauk centre, drunk teens hang out at a gas station at four in the morning. did you see a kid? did you see a kid? hawhawhaw, was he HIGH? hawhaw. somehow we make it to a truckstop. we miss jake and the tow truck by two minutes. the man still charges us $20. we eat breakfast and play ms. pacman and get a new hose an hour and a half later. at 7 a.m., we hate this town, its drunk kid hicks no help at all and ninja ticks we pick from our flesh with shaking fingers.
i remember my first leech. i sat on the backseat of i suppose my mom's boyfriend's car before she was remarried i think maybe, don't remember those memories, we had gone swimming. i had gone swimming. the leech was on my leg. blood was running down my ankle, i screamed, tried to slap it off. the driving man reached back and puuuuuuuuuuulllllled, stretching that sliver of black thinner thinner while the red ran red and i howled.
i don't like things sucking my blood. seriously.
disposition // reflection
i think that's it. the grudge was first. lateralus was last. what happened in between... really happened, i think, but what occurred when i don't remember. tool was on stage. i was in the crowd. we gave and gave and gave.
i never did see you though i's convinced i would.
maybe you were in back.
way in back.
compiled from letters to jeff g. and restructured in a well-lit room january 2003.
words in red from ticks and leeches by maynard james keenan.