Excerpt From WEEK (+DAY) OF BOMBS
by Todd Dills
The weather is beautiful this day. Winds blow a surge of cool, fall-like air into the city. My friend Amber from high school in NC is here for the National Poetry Slam event. She and her team--a ragtag group of bearded boys and dredlocked girls from Winston-Salem, NC--slammed against a crew of incoherent Canadians from Ottawa and a team of blond girls from Delray Beach. The NC crew took last, but that didn't dim the party. Joey and V and I were in attendance, and once the loss was complete, we convinced Amber to skip her solo slam and head to more hip climes, namely Joey's rooftop just near downtown.
We grab a case of Old Style on the way, and Amber grabs wine coolers for herself.
Joey, absolutely gregarious this night after five vodkas at the slam, sent the lot of us on up to the roof, Amber by virtue of quiet circumstance leading the way up the stairs. She hummed an antiquated showtune . . .
Oh how I love you, darling!
Oh how I love your beard!
. . . ardently sucking back a wine cooler* and singing to her lumberjacklike boyfriend. She reached the precipice, then, the small gaggle of us chattering at her back. She opened the door onto the cool night, the song belting forth from her throat and quickly turning into a blood-curdling scream; she slammed the door to the cool night, Amber now white as a sheet in the yellow stairway light--she said, "Oh--My--God there's two people out there. And they're fucking."
A collective groan, after which Amber sang the verse once more . . .
Oh how I love you, darling!
Oh how I love your . . .
then catching V's eyelashes (batted coyly to my gaze) and exclaiming, "It looks like somebody's done that before!" The lot of the crew turned vulture eyes on us. We shrugged, redfaced. "Fuck it," I said. "Give the fuckers thirty minutes." We tramped back downstairs into the heat of Joey's hole to give him the news. He was not surprised. "I'd heard rumors of that shit going on," he said, to much laughter, himself actually eyeing V and I like he knew something . . .
* by the end of the night, Amber (herself and bearded boyfriend being nondrinkers, normally, young nondrinkers of the type who might indeed be able to get shitfaced on a four-pack of wine coolers) and her man will be slobbering on each other they are so very drunk, causing much delight among the jaded crew of V and I
Bred in StromThurmondville (otherwise known as South Carolina), Todd Dills lives in Chicago where he oversees the broadsheet The 2nd Hand. This excerpt from a longer piece about the Weathermen, guillotining CEOs, literary terrorism, homemade flying machines, perps wanting to blow shit up, the activities of an organization named TRAFFIC, and bicycling to Lake Michigan at 5 a.m. comes from the book All Hands On: A The2ndHand Reader published by Elephant Rock Books/TNI in 2004. It'll make you go ape.