It was after he said what he said about Delta Force that I punched him in the throat. He hadn’t been completely off the mark, of course, but still. A little respect for the man’s final film.
See, the stupid alternative station plays pretty much what you’d expect: whatever crappy band that’s big at the moment with their dumb haircuts, and a healthy mix of Nirvana and Pearl Jam. But then they’ll hover over other genres, y’know, being just edgy enough to get dopey college kids to listen to their station all day. Like, they’ll stray from the beaten path, but only onto other beaten paths. So, no Geto Boys, but plenty of Beastie Boys. No Toots and the Maytals, but Bob Marley by the bongload. And never any Marty Robbins, or any Merle Haggard, or any Statler Brothers.
But always with the fuckin’ Johnny Cash.
When they begin playing “A Boy Named Sue” for the third time that week, I go over to the radio and start flipping around. I don’t care if it’s Kyle’s turn or not.
“Hey,” Kyle says to me, looking up from the Honda he’s working on.
“I know,” I says to him, “Look, you can have my next two turns. But I can’t take any more Johnny Cash today.”
“You can’t take any more Johnny Cash? He’s a legend!”
“Yeah, a legend.” I turn the knob more slowly, but all I’m getting is static.
“Johnny Cash is the bridge between country and punk rock!” Kyle says to me.
“Man, don’t go quoting T-shirts at me,” I says to him, “If what’s-his-name, that dipshit from Social Distortion, had gotten into Barry White back whenever, you’d be talking about the bridge between soul and punk rock right now.”
And Kyle says to me, “Ah, whadda you know about music anyways? You just sit in your room and watch fuckin’ movies all day.” Not completely off the mark there. “I’m in a band,” he says to me, “Guys in bands actually get actual girls, while you stay home and masturbate to The Dirty Dozen.” He chuckles, and the wings tattooed on his neck bobble over his Adam’s apple.
I feel the tops of my ears get hot. “Hey, man,” I says to him as I march over there, “You only get girls because you’ll fuck any piglet stuffed into a black corset. I could slap a Bettie Page haircut on that mini-van over there, and you’d put your dick in its tail pipe.”
“Oh, yeah?” he says to me.
And I says to him, “And watch your fuckin’ mouth about The Dirty Dozen there, Ponyboy. Lee Marvin is more of a bad-ass than Johnny Cash any day of the week.” My chest is starting to get tight.
He narrows his eyes and he says to me, “Oh, yeah?”
“Yeah,” I says.
And he says to me, “Yeah, well, Delta Force is a piece of shit.” I don’t punch him yet. But then he says to me, “The only good thing about that movie is Chuck Norris.”
So, now, whatever Kyle says to anybody next is gonna have to be around the plastic tube keeping his trachea from collapsing entirely.
As for me, who knows?
Maybe they’ll send me to Folsom Prison.
Jimmy Callaway lives and works in San Diego, CA. Direct yourself over to attentionchildren.blogspot.com for more hi-jinks.