ALL THAT RACKET
“Oh, my achin’ back Garcia! You swing like a rusty gate!” Morty emphatically flipped off the TV, stuck the remote in his shirt pocket, and slowly pushed himself out of the old Lazy Boy, careful not to spill his beer. After his knee stopped popping and cracking, he walked out through the screen door and onto the porch, still sputtering about how his great-grandson could hit better than Garcia. The porch was hot and sticky. He leaned on the railing and grimaced out at the neighborhood. That’s when it started.
“Cut out that racket, Gyllen!” he yelled at the top of his lungs. Melodic guitars reverberated through the walls of the grey-sided house next door, and then the drums kicked in and soaring, heart-thumping rock music filled the air and rumbled through the ground, rattling Morty’s dentures.
PUNKS. HIPPIES. WIZARDS.
Morty knew them all. That damn Gyllen kid next door was some kind of computer programmer, or some such nonsense which was at least quiet, but he insisted on playing ruckus music all the time with those four other hooligans who were always over. It started with those no good hippie kids, Westberg and Hanson. Westberg worked at the hospital with those research quacks who’d put in the hip replacement that still stung him like the dickens whenever it got cold, and Hanson was some kind of fruity “hand out” humanitarian. When those two started coming over that’s when that infernal rock music started, and the worst of it was that people loved it! People came from miles around to hear them play that racket. “The whole damn world’s got no sense these days,” he said to himself. They recruited some architect engineer guy, one of the Farrell kids who should have known better, to bang on the drums like an idiot, and this punk Ford kid who’s supposed to be some kind of “master guitar wizard” or whatever degree they give to kids who waste a good education learning guitar, of all things, from hippies at Berklee College of Music. And now, going on four years, those “good-for-nothins” have been muddlin’ up fool-headed young people with lyrics about fairy tails and fighting for a better world, or some such rot, and teeth-chattering rock and roll filth that more and more mushy cabbage heads kept lining up to hear.
NO GOOD KIDS
Today it was too hot, and Morty had had enough. He marched, gingerly, down the porch steps, remote still in his pocket and beer still in hand, and up to the Gyllen kid’s door. He pounded on the door shouting, “Hey! Quiet down in there! You hear me?! I said, pipe down with that racket!” The walls around him rumbled and his hearing aid screeched. “Don’t make me break down this door!” he threatened. He put his hand on the knob and it turned. It was open. He muttered to himself a second, mulling over what would happen if he flung the door open and marched inside all a fury. It took just a moment, standing there on the doorstep, to angry up his ancient blood enough to make up his mind. “No good kids,” he said softly to himself. “No good kids,” louder now. “No good kids. No good kids. NO GOOD KIDS.” He flung open the door. A wall of magnificent sound hit him like a hurricane wind. He staggered back. The seven hairs neatly combed over his piebald head flung back out toward the street like fleeing specters. The beer can flung out of his hands. His hearing aids jettisoned out of his ears and crashed against the door frame. Inside he saw Jeff Gyllen and Adam Hanson belting out wild harmonies. He saw J.R. Westberg and Nick Ford manhandling wailing guitars. He saw the whirling arms of Jesse Farrell pounding out a daunting rhythm. The five kids reveled in it, like parched and dying travelers arriving at an oasis.
Morty braced himself in the doorway. The sound pounded over him, a thundering waterfall. His crooked wire fingers dug into the door post. Clenching his false teeth, with all his strength he pressed himself forward. One inch. Two inches. Struggling. Three. Bang!
He felt the wall of powerful sound blast him off his feet, careening like rag-doll back out the door and into the air. He felt his body float and tumble high over the pavement. Screaming and clutching at the air he flew in a great vaulting arc across the neighborhood. Plummeting backwards, he craned his neck around and saw the ground rising up to him crush him like massive piston. The wind pulled the spotted flapping skin on his face back to his ears as the gravel roared up to meet him. With one last push of strength, he flung his hands around his body to brace for impact. He cringed and shut his eyes. And then, the music stopped.
PLAY ME ANOTHER
He found himself standing back in the Gyllen boy’s doorway, bent forward and wailing piteously. The five hooligans stared at him with wide-eyed faces. With his hands, he felt his face and chest. He turned around and saw no speeding ground coming for him. Everything was ok, the same, except… except he felt different. He felt almost … lighter. He smiled. He did not know why. His fingers, his jaw, his heart, all felt a great release as if they had been clenched in a death lock for decades and now no longer needed to hold tight. Something had been blasted out of him; something like a great weight or galling pain had been flung out the door behind him. And Morty laughed. He laughed! – not the coughing, wheezing laugh of an old man but a laugh that marks the triumph of joy and knows no passage of time. The look of shock melted off the young musicians’ faces and the band, the hooligans who called themselves Semeron, took up the laughter until they all roared. Then Morty, catching his breath, quietly said, “Could you boys play me another.”
Adam Hanson – Vocals
Jesse Farrell – Drums
A band out of Minneapolis that will change you.