Colin used to like summer vacation unequivocally when he was little. At 17, his world had grown less new and he was more aware of all the moments of boredom. That was one of the drawbacks of being psychic—awareness of shit he’d rather ignore. And unemployment gave him free time to fill up with even more boredom. So that muggy late morning in June, he hung out at Derrick’s house, much of the time spent just vegging out in front of the TV in his buddy’s room.
About thirty-two hours later he would be thinking about how boredom could get some people into trouble…and how his ‘third eye’ didn’t warn him about everything.
Currently, however, he was thinking about the clean-cut young man being interviewed on a public access TV show. His name was Jesse Oglethorpe, a. k. a. JO, lead singer of Key of Thorns. The band had just finished two songs, neither of which he liked. Maybe that was why listening to JO speak made Colin’s flesh want to crawl off his bones and lock itself in the bathroom for a good long shit.
“It’s not about the stringy hair or clothes that make you look like you slept in one of the bins down at the thrift store,” JO said. “It’s not about the image; it’s about the music.”
“Like Helmet, for example,” said the perky reporter. Her rack was the only thing keeping Colin from changing the channel already.
“Yeah, like those guys.”
“Except that Helmet kicks ass while you suck it,” Colin said to the TV screen.
“Well, it may be about rock and roll for you,” continued the reporter, “but you seem to skimp on the sex and drugs.”
“Well, I don’t do drugs or alcohol; should be obvious why that is. And with all the STDs out there, I think sex is really overplayed in the media.”
“They got these things called ‘condoms,’ dumbass,” Derrick said. He sat on an exercise bench in his room and did curls with ten-pound weights. His Black Sabbath T-shirt made it clear he preferred his music darker and heavier.
“There’s been some debate about the rings your band sells,” the reporter went on, oblivious to Colin and Derrick’s heckling.
“Yeah, our Rings of Spirit Fire.”
“Yes, those. It seems that some of your fans have taken inspiration from your ‘meditative abstinence’ and started using them like chastity rings.”
“Well, I see where you’re going with this, but let me say this again: our music is spiritual, not religious.”
Colin pointed his finger to his mouth and pantomimed gagging. “Hey, Derrick, let’s have a contest,” he said. “See which one of us can listen to this shit the longest without puking.”
“Let’s just say you win and change the fucking channel.”
“Bet some record company’ll sign them.”
“Those assholes? You shitting me?”
“I’m telling you, that’s how they’re trying to get us. They’re going after our music to get to our souls. Look at how the mainstreamers sucked the life out of grunge.”
“Mm-hmm,” Derrick grunted without even asking what ‘they’ Colin referred to.
“And look what they’re trying to replace it with: pop bullshit with no balls. I’m telling you, Dude; they’re trying to set music back to the days before Nirvana and turn our brains to mush. Next thing you know, people’ll wearing those stupid ‘spirit fire’ rings. Shit, the only thing chaste about me is how I’ve chased girls since the eighth grade.”
Derrick snorted and grinned. “Dude, you might’ve chased pussy, but did you catch any?”
“Man, fuck you,” Colin said with a grin and a middle finger; he knew his scrawny ass couldn’t take his buddy in a fight. “What makes you think I haven’t gotten any yet?”
“Oh, your dick gets plenty of action; I’m just not talking about the do-it-yourself kind.”
“Dude,” Colin responded as he tapped his forehead, “third eye and shit, remember? I can pick up on what the ladies want.”
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