Wednesday, January 20, 2010

8/4/76 - 9

We glommed a patch of lawn somehow, maybe fifty feet from the stage, and huddled around the cooler. I looked back at the stands. The sun had set behind them; its last rays shone through the gaps that ran along the very top, making silhouettes of the most remote.

"Hey man, be cool," the man to the right of me said in a terse and demanding tone.

"I'm cool."

"You're in our space, man."

I made myself small as his girl stretched back out the corners of their blanket. Someone else nearby had planted a Confederate flag.

We drank cold cans of Ballantine Ale. I squeezed a dent into the middle of mine. Like I always do. I took rapid sips, sucking the beer through clenched teeth. It, too, tasted of metal. Was I able to taste the can? I looked down at it and noticed the logo: three interlocking rings.

"What do the rings mean?" I asked.

"Deaf, dumb and blind," said Jim.

I looked to the others for an alternative answer. Jenny shrugged. Rick was sitting cross-legged and fiddling with the grass.

"How's it going, Rick?"

Just then the band came on. Most of the crowd stood up so we did, too. As I examined the stage I discovered that each of the drummers' bass drums was painted with an Eye of Horus.

"Jim, look at the bass drums," I said.

"Well I'll be damned."

"Are you sacred? I'm a little sacred."

"What do you mean, sacred?" Jim inquired.

"Did I say sacred? I mean scared. Scared."

I looked at him pleadingly. He appeared to be formulating an answer when he suddenly spat out a sudsy mouthful of beer and leaned over, clutching his knees and howling with laughter.

The band began to play. It was a lazy, lilting country song:

When they come to take you down
When they bring that wagon round
When they come to call on you
And drag your poor body down