Ray Van Horn, Jr. is a veteran entertainment journalist whose writing and live photography has been featured in Blabbermouth.net, Dee Snider’s House of Hair Online, Fangoria.com, Horror News.net, About.com Heavy Metal, MetalManiacs, New Noise, Music Dish, AMP, Hails & Horns, Unrestrained,Noisecreep, Impose, Pit, The Big Takeover.com, Rough Edge.com, Pitriff and others. His blog The Metal Minute won a “Best Personal Blog” award in 2009 from Metal Hammer magazine and he wrote and produced his own hard rock e-zine, Retaliate.

He has contributed essays to UK author Neil Daniels’ Iron Maiden and ZZ Top biographies. Ray’s fiction has been published in various periodicals and anthologies, including his flash fiction piece “Off the Record” for Akashic Books’ “Mondays Are Murder” noir series. His recent short stories “Before the Ball” and “Widow” were featured in subsequent editions of Alex S. Johnson’s Axes of Evil anthologies. Ray wrote serialized original superhero fiction for Cyber Age Adventures and five of those stories appear in the anthology Playing Solitaire. He was the winner of Quantum Muse’s fiction contest in 1999.

Ray is a former NHL game analyst for The Hockey Nut and one-time host of the forum “Comic Books” at ReadWave. He has done beat reporting, photography and lifestyle articles for Metromix, an affiliate of The Baltimore Sun, Carroll Magazine, The Northern News and The Emmitsburg Dispatch.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

"Supporting Act" by Ray Van Horn, Jr.

"Supporting Act"
2011 Ray Van Horn, Jr.

during sound check
a cluster of fast lane drunks are whoo-hoooing
over and over and over
along with the Stones careening out of the club’s loudspeakers
four decades later, the devil still gets his due
the drunks are in on the guest list
they’re college roommates and frat brothers
of the local openers calling themselves Hippie Hijackers
they catcall their virgin buddies onstage
who are drenched in sweat
and not yet having played a note that counts tonight
Powerman 5000 is the headlining band
and aren’t on the premises
why should they be?
Hippie Hijackers is the first of a four-band set

the steel partition holds up underagers
with black “X’s” smeared in marker upon their right hands
docile little anarchists who preach straight edge to each other
yet eye the bubbling hops with silent aspiration
they got in line at the door right after school
and you can see the grease of McDonald’s still glazed upon their fingertips
they have their coveted spots right at the front
and will soon lose them when they have to pee
and the club fills up with bigger, stronger crowd surfers
who will use their heads to vault onstage
and dump them into the mosh pits, gobbled like no-no sacrifices

but that’s too far in the future
and Hippie Hijackers may have less than fifty people in the place
including their friends,
still whoo-hoooing the longer the Stones drag it out
and the bar staff
and the bouncers
and the merch handlers for the upper tier bands
all looking elsewhere
fiddling with their iPhone 4s
and circumventing the curvy female bartender
who smiles to each passerby and floater
indicating she’s easy
but only long enough to draw a tip on the bar

the Stones abruptly fall silent
and Hippie Hijackers show they’re green
by the sudden fear in their pupils
it’s 7:55 pm and they were due to play at 8:00
a token round of applause splits the still
sounding more like echoed hiccups
the lead singer has enough presence of mind
to straddle the mike stand
and twirl his forefinger in the air,
the call-to-arms for his band
in olden days, that was the punk and thrash sign
to whip up a slam dance

goes the drumsticks
the band stumbles off the four count
but gets it together
after the lead singer dips his mike over the stage
like a robot’s phallus
and waggles his tongue like the hairball horndogs
weekly ripping Sunset Strip with a baker’s dozen “My Michelle’s”

the drummer has his tongue out too
erect from the corner of his mouth,
his knees pumping flawlessly
he is the picture of mondo-serious 4/4 stamp-a-bamp
the guitarist stares up into the lights
transfixed, as if a revelation hovers there
he refuses to engage the quasi crowd
even with the fratboys hollering his name
the hairy bassist has heard the word “passenger” too many times
he sidles up to the singer and hollers out the lyrics
in some other language
very likely Chewbacca with a bass would present the same image
the vocalist tries to shirk the four-stringed ape off his leather jacket,
handed down from his older brother, now a corporate accountant
he has the face and he’s destined for the cover of AP
he sees no one, save a blurry image of the bartender he wants to fuck later

the straight edgers bob their nubile heads
and throw their X’s up to the din
this isn’t a hardcore band, but they like ‘em anyway
they’re the only ones

Photo (c) 2010-11 Ray Van Horn, Jr. (no disrespect intended to the featured band here, who will remain anonymous at this time and are actually quite good, but someone needed to be a patsy, sorry fellas)

No comments:

Post a Comment