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As the Nineties approached the halfway mark and grunge yielded to more pop-flavored fare, a legion of acts stormed the airwaves under the “alternative” flag, whipping the planet into a radio-friendly alt-frenzy. At the time, that epithet was pasted onto virtually any guitar-based rock that didn’t fall under a clearly-defined genre, gathering groups like Pavement and Sonic Youth under the same umbrella as the Cranberries and Counting Crows. Many of those acts have since faded away, and while some continue to make music, very few have done so with the consistency and vitality of Portland’s The Dandy Warhols. This month the Dandys, now in their eighteenth year, release their eight full-length studio album, This Machine–an eclectic listening party that alternates between punchy rockers, moody ballads and seratonin-inducing electronica. Yes, electronica.

Morrissey++Siouxsie

The 1994 collaboration between Morrissey and Siouxsie—a cover of the love song “Interlude” by Timi Yoru—did not lead to a second Big Bang the way it should have. The universe didn’t turn inside out and collapse in on itself in a chugging and churning seizure of morbid irony. This should have happened but it didn’t. Do you even remember that the two singers ever recorded together? Nope, you don’t.

Whiskey Thieves, Geary Street, 10 p.m.

My head swims from free drinks after reading passages of my novel at bar. Then I’m invited to another bar, the free drinks decided to go snorkeling in my head. One Jamison, two Jamison, three Jamison, more. I walk over to Whiskey Thieves to introduce one last drink to the party in my brain.

She sits next to me at the bar. She is semi-gothed out. She wears fishnet stockings. Teasing. Exposing the dark skin of her legs. I say hi. She tells me her name and I immediately forget. She is from Chile.

Do you know Hocico? she asks.

Not personally, but I’m familiar with their music.

I’m not the type of guy you would think would have his pulse on an EBM project from Mexico, but I’m full of surprises.

Come to Death Guild with me, she says. It’s a long running dance club in San Francisco that caters to a goth crowd and actually plays music I like, but for some reason I can’t stand the place.

No, I say and sip more whiskey to snorkel through my head.

Yes, you come, we’ll go back to my place first.

Her place?

Let’s go, I say and the snorkeling alcoholics in my brain come up for air and applaud and they call my libido friends in my brain and we watch as the Chilean wiggles her skinny body down the street in those excellent fishnets.

At her place she turns on the radio and brings more Jamison friends for my brain. I grab her close and she turns around and rubs her sweet butt against my pelvic area. Blood reinforcements are called in and my penis starts to expand.

There’s an Italian film called Stanno tutti bene. It has nothing to do with sex, but the title means, Everybody’s Fine. She rubs on me and everybody’s fine. Really fine.

Do you know this song, she asks and puts on a Hocico CD. I nod and go in for the kiss. The kiss is good. I never understand how a kiss can’t be good, but there’s a phenomena in San Francisco of women who can’t kiss. It’s quite shocking to a newly single man.

When I’m with a woman, I listen. Those subtle shifts of moans. Those sporadic shutters of their insides. I listen without a stethoscope.

We kiss and I pull her hair. She moans and pushes her pelvis into mine and we dry hump, me in my slacks and her in her mini-skirt and fishnets. I listen and grab her hair twisting her head to the side and plant one on her neck. She squeals and her dark eyes ask for what’s next.

I tease. I’m soft. Soft kisses on her Chilean ears. Then I pick her up and throw her onto the bed and rip her shirt off. I dive into her erect nipples and nibble and bite and finally teeth with a light stroking of the tips with my tongue. She pushes her chest as far into my mouth as those sweet little a-cups could go. I want her in ecstasy. I grab the back of her head so she can’t move and went in for more mouth kisses.

The little libidos and alcohol molecules in my brain brought out the sombreros and did some type of Ukrainian wedding dance with each other.

She gives half moans and half screams as her neighbors in that Tenderloin apartment either want to kill us, join us or be us.

She jumps out of bed to switch Hocico CDs. I’m out of breath and my body has a subtle shake, waiting for more teasing and sexual wrestling. That Mexican pig fucking industrial act, cock blocking me.

 

We’re going to be late for Death Guild, she says as she fixes her shirt and the Ukrainian wedding dance stops in my head to put their elbows on the bar. They go in wait-and-see mode.

Death Guild. Posers aching to reclaim an era long gone by. Death Guild, we’ll keep this going after Death Guild. My penis actually retracts knowing it will be released into action later.

As we walk to the club we mouth raped each other at every stop light. Every doorway was our chance to fondle each other for a few seconds and move on. I forget we’re going to Death Guild. I forget we bought another bottle of scotch that we drain as we suck face and walk.

Then the blackout.

Fade in:

Int. – Night – Death Guild

Tony and girl from Chile dance and fall. Tony falls on top of her. She’s lucky it was Tony and not some corseted Krispy Kreme.

Fade out.

Fade in:

Int. – Night – Death Guild

Tony looses the Chilean and looks around the club for her, oh snap, they play a Nick Cave song. Tony can’t resist the pull of his favorite singer so he dances alone.

Fade out.

Fade in:

Ext. – Night – SoMa

Tony still can’t find her so he hails a cab home. Whiskey Thieves calls him for one last drink.

Int. – Night – Whiskey Thieves

The bartender asks with a smirk, how did it go?

I can’t believe she talked me into going to Death Guild.

He laughs.

The party in my head is no longer interested in sex play and brings me home to pass out and eventually leave my bloodstream.

I still can’t remember her name.


Just in case you happened to be wondering: no, dressing up like a Marilyn Manson fan is not, in fact, an effective deterrent for jury duty.

I’m going to blame this one on the fact that I’m a Gemini. Allow me to explain.

I hate to lie. As a matter of fact, I can count the number of times I have lied blatantly to somebody on one hand.

Lying isn’t really my schtick. Instead, I withhold. Occasionally, I spin. Sometimes I give two completely different answers at different moments of the day. One of my twin halves pops up and what she says out of hearing of the other seems completely reasonable at the time. This can occasionally give the appearance of lying. It can also be just really, really ridiculously frustrating.

———-

Exhibit A

Random interviewer: “Do you like violence?”
Me: “Put me in the ring. Bring it.”

 

That conversation could have just as easily swung another direction at another given time:

Random interviewer: “Do you like violence?”
Me: “Why can’t we all just get along?”

———-

 

I could see how this might be confusing. But I don’t feel that I am being dishonest as it’s happening. I simply have a different opinion in a different moment – depending on whichever of the twins is in control of my gray matter in a given moment.

But what about another ugly tendency I – OK, “we” – have: the one involving giving an incomplete picture and/or withhold information? In other words, this is where I send one of the twins underground with a roll of duct tape and tell her to shut the hell up under threat of a smackdown.

———-

Exhibit B

Husband: “Do you think I said the right thing to Xavier* today when I told him to fuck off?”
Me: “I think you did the best you could under the circumstances.”**
Husband: “What does that mean?”
Me: “I don’t know. I mean, I might have chosen a different conversational path, but I think what you said fits you perfectly.’
Husband: “Right. So, you think I shouldn’t have said that?”
Me: [Shrugging]***
He: [Exasperated] “I swear, you are really, really ridiculously frustrating.”

*I know nobody by the name of Xavier. Xavier represents a completely fictional entity. Xavier is not real. He is fake. Made up. In my mind. Xavier may in no way be used against me as a “lie” as I have fully disclosed his non-existence from the get-go.

**In other words, no, I don’t think he said the right thing today, but if I look at it from his perspective, I can see why he would have said what he did. Half of me gets it.

***To be interpreted by his own conscience.

———-

So, Ladies and Gentlemen of the jury, regarding the incident at the Boulder County Courthouse:

———-

Exhibit C

When I got the letter summoning me to jury duty, I admit I may have overreacted a wee bit. I’d never actually been called to jury duty before, and I had no idea what to expect. All I knew for sure was that people generally try to get out of it and, therefore, it must be bad.

My friends gave me all sorts of advice:

“Tell them you have a tendency to always root for the underdog.”

“Tell them you hate lawyers.”

 

“Tell them you have a Ph.D. and that you are currently studying for the LSAT. Lawyers don’t like smart people who are studying to be one of them.”

“Just tell them that you have been taking care of an elderly auntie with a highly contagious strain of the E. Bola virus and that if you weren’t sitting in that courtroom, you could be getting tested for infection at the nearest hospital.”

The obvious problem with any of these suggestions, of course, is that they all involved a blatant lie. And so I decided to do what any selves-respecting Gemini would do: I sent one twin down to the basement…and brought the other one up.

All of my life people have told me that I have an innocent look. They take one glance at me and decide that I can be walked on. Shaped. Molded like Play-Doh in six fun and delightful colors. It’s not true. I have a dark side that is incredibly jaded and discerning. But I knew that those lawyers would take one look at me and insist I stay.

“The rest can go, but keep that girl in the front row there,” they would no doubt whisper amongst themselves. “We’ll have her drinking the Flavor-aid by the end of this trial. She’ll be all ours. [Insert wild hyena cackles] Plus, she comes in six fun and delightful colors.”

I wore all black, of course. Long skirt, high boots. Lacy underthings sticking out in all the appropriate places. I still looked perhaps a little too clean on the parts of my skin that were showing, but a few rub-on tattoos took care of that. Blackened up the eyes and nails. Powdered my face. Put green streaks in my hair.

I screeched into the courthouse parking lot with my Emo attitude and blasting my Emo music. (OK – I don’t really have any Emo music, so I made the best of Zombie by the Cranberries. I just had to keep reminding myself to stop singing along with it in case anyone was looking. Karaoke = very UN-Emo.)

When I arrived in the courtroom, I didn’t smile. I slouched. I flashed my tats. I stared brazenly at the lawyers, daring them to choose me.

“Come on, fuckers. Choose me.”

They chose me.

When I originally hatched this plan, it never occurred to me that it would fail. Bluff called, I had no choice to stick around. But a person can not very well just show up all rife with angst in the morning and then suddenly clear up like a sunny day after a storm. I had to keep up my persona. Not so difficult in the jury box, but that deliberation session was a bit of a challenge as I am used to my sunny twin being my normal spokesperson. Mostly I kept quiet, but I threw in a few eye rolls for effect. After I realized that nobody actually thought I wasn’t a Goth chick, I started to have fun with it. I think a couple of the guys were actually afraid of me. I started toying with them just for fun. Kind of semi-flirting and then giving them a death stare.

Heh.

———-

So, no – my plan to get out of jury duty didn’t work. On the other hand, it was really, really ridiculously satisfying.